Peace in Communion
Message 15 of 16 in the series Life in Christ
It is so important for us to have a discipline of intentional remembering of God, His character, and who He is.
Peace in Communion
It is so important for us to have a discipline of intentional remembering. Remember what God has done. Remember who he is. Remember his works, his words, and his promises. Know that when you practice remembrance in your life, that it will benefit you. The benefit of peace that comes from remembering all that God has done.
One of the big ideas in this message was that the Bible calls the people of God to remember Him and all that He has done and said. And that God works through this remembrance to grant them some kind of spiritual benefit. Here are a few examples from the Bible:
- Remembering God fought your enemies on your behalf brings courage in place of fear (Deuteronomy 5:15, Deuteronomy 16:12).
- Remembering how God worked miracles and good deeds brings affection and praise during trials (Psalm 77).
- Remembering times of being close to God and His people in worship brings hope to a weary soul (Psalm 42).
- Remembering God in the days of your youth saves you from the consequences of sin in your older years (Ecclesiastes 12).
- Remembering his forgiveness of your evil works brings a godly guilt that leads to repentance (Ezekiel 36).
- Remembering the people of God and their works brings about thankfulness (Ephesians 1).
- Remembering the promises of God stirs up sincerity of faith (2 Peter 3).
In the Bible, remembering God is contrasted to forgetting God. Even for those who have experienced great moves of the LORD, forgetfulness can come quickly. What can cause us to forget God and what He has done for us? What are the consequences of forgetting him?
Taking communion as a church is one way that we practice remembrance of all God has done. In particular, through communion, we remember what Jesus has secured for us. Read Colossians 1:21-22. What are some of the things that Christ gained for His disciples in his death?
Remembrance is something that we should practice daily, being disciplined to call to mind His character, His works, and His words. What are some ways/methods you can engage in to remember God daily?
One spiritual benefit of practicing remembrance is PEACE. Read Colossians 3:2 and Colossians 3:15. Notice the correlation between “setting your mind on things above” and the “peace of Christ” ruling your hearts. In the sermon, we quoted Paul David Tripp who says, “Your life will be shaped by whatever has functional control of your heart”. If the PEACE of Christ controls your heart, how will that peace shape how you live toward God, toward yourself, and toward others?
I will start off this morning. This is not part of my notes, but just to say to you as a confession, you know David, in the Psalms he would say, “My sin is ever before me” and I think he meant that he’s just always aware of his sin and his frailties before God, and how much he needed God. And I really relate to that this week especially. I’m just so aware of what a mess I am and I’m not going to elaborate on that except just to say I am constantly in need of God’s grace.
And that is so true. Just in my life in and just day-to-day living as a Christ-follower, but certainly in pastoring and being in a position to where I’m standing and teaching others, and I’m so desperately needy for him and I want to pray that he would be with us today, Be with me today. I’ve been praying that over and over. And overcome my flesh to do his work.
But we also need that just in our hearing, just to be able to hear from him and understand what he’s saying to us, we desperately need him. We talk about that all the time as a church, we rely on Christ, we need him for everything.
So, Jesus, I ask you today that you would please help us. Forgive me for my sins, as they are many. I ask that you would in your Grace, give me the power, the strength — as Rob was praying earlier. The strength to live in a way that pleases you. The strength to teach well and not just to teach through words, but just by my example of life. I cannot do that without you. I pray that you would overcome my humanity today and that you would speak to us through your word, and I ask that you would overcome our humanity and that you would help us to hear well today. And that we would be able to leave today having worshipped you and given you praise and affection from our hearts. But also, that we would leave here today, having received from you because you were gracious to give to us in worship. And that we would receive what we need today, especially as it relates to peace in our lives. I pray that you would bring peace today. And that you would save those who were lost, bring back those who have wandered, that you would strengthen our lives for your cause. It’s in your name that I ask these things, Amen.
So, we are stepping out of this series that we’ve been doing in first and second Peter and just stepping out of that for one week. And we are adding to this series that we do periodically throughout the last couple of years called Life in Christ, where we talk about what it looks like to really live as Christ-followers and those are different topics, I think this is the 15th one of these sermons that we’ve done in this series that’s on our website.
And today we are — this sermon’s built around our observance of communion, which we will be doing together in a few moments. If you missed the announcement on the way in, there are some communion elements on the back table. so be sure that you grab one of those for anyone in your family that will be taking communion. Anyone who is a follower of Jesus. A born-again, saved follower of Christ. You are welcome to take communion with us today. We’re going to be doing that in just a little bit.
The big ideas that I have for us in this message today called peace and communion. As I hope that as we go through this, by the time we get to the end that you will see, understand, relate to the importance of practicing remembrance.
We’ll talk more about what that means, but that we will see the importance of practicing remembrance as part of our Christian life. In particular, remembering God and His character and who He is. Remembering His word, what He has said, commanded, and promised, and remembering His works, what He has done in the history of salvation, the history of human beings, and our time on the earth, but also in the history of your life. What He has done specifically for you. It is so important for us to have a discipline of intentional remembering and bringing to our mind what God has done.
And I want you to see that today, and I want you to see that it is more than just an intellectual exercise, but it actually has benefit for us, and in particular, today we’re going to talk about the benefit of peace. Peace that comes from remembering all that God has done.
We talk about communion, the one overarching instruction that Jesus gave relating to communion was, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22 He says that. that every time we take some form of elements of bread and wine or bread and juice, and we take that to observe the Lord Supper, that we are to do it to remember Christ. A memorial to him.
But it is not simply a remembering of facts, but it is a remembrance of who he is and what he has done and how that changes our lives. This is a very simple meal. And obviously, for us, we have a piece of cracker and some juice, and so it’s very simplistic. But even if we had a full Lord’s supper with tons of loaves of bread and wine or juice and cups, we went really elaborate with it. It would still be a very simple act. Eat bread and drink.
And yet the spiritual realities that this meal points to are deep. And the more that I live and the older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t really know all of the depth of communion, the Lord’s supper, and what it is to mean for us.
But we are to do it in remembrance of Christ, but this is not the only time in Scripture that we’re told to remember God. So if you have your hand out this morning, if you’re a note-taker, we’re going to start with this life truth.
And it is this that in Scripture, the people of God are called to remember him, and all that He has done.
I’ll pause there to say this is throughout the Bible. You start in Genesis and go all the way to Revelation and you see over and over that the people of God are told. Remember, Remember God? Remember His Word, remember who He is. Remember what He has done.
And what we also see is that God works through this remembrance to grant His people some kind of spiritual benefit. That God actually takes this command that he has given us to remember Him. And what He has done, and He uses our practice of remembrance to give us some type of spiritual benefit.
When we discipline ourselves to remember God and His kindness to us and His grace to us and His works for us, God gives us in return some type of practical blessing. So this is not merely just, “Hey, don’t forget” so that you know you have your mind filled with historical facts. This is, no — This is good for your life to be intentional. To remember God and all that He has done for you and God through that.
Through you working to remember and even make that known to others. God will give you practical blessings. Spiritual blessings that’s going to enrich you and enrich your soul.
We see this throughout the Bible. I just went through yesterday studying and I looked for places where God commanded His people to remember and then I looked for what followed.
And here’s 10 or so of these that I saw. Remember, God’s people were told, remember how God fought for you, how He fought your enemies on your behalf? Deuteronomy 7 and the result of that was that his people would have courage instead of fear.
So if you’re afraid, the blessing that you need is courage and boldness. How do you get that? Remember, every time God has fought for you. That you have not had to do a thing, because God went to war on your behalf.
God’s people are told to remember how God delivered you from slavery. Deuteronomy 5 and Deuteronomy Chapter 16, and then again in the New Testament. Remember how you were a slave and God delivered you? What is the result of that? Encouragement to follow him.
If you are a Christ-follower, yet you find it hard to follow Jesus and obey what he is asking. Remember the slavery to sin, to self, that he is delivered you from.
Remember the Bible tells us how God worked miracles and good deeds on your behalf. And the result of that is it causes us to want to seek his strength. 1 Chronicles 16
And it draws out of us affection, especially during trials. Psalm 77. So you find yourself in the midst of a trial. Things are not going well in your life. The Bible says, remember how God has been good to you. Remember the miracles that he has done. And you will find in the midst of your trial that affection for God comes out of your heart.
If you have a weary soul, the Bible says, remember the times that you were close to God and close to His people in worship. Remember that longingly. And that will be an encouragement to your soul. Psalm 42.
Remember how God has been your help. In those times where you were in need and you cried out to Him and he helped you and the Bible says what that will bring about is a motivation in your soul to rely on Him. The more you remember how you had a need and God filled it — And God doesn’t always fill our needs the way that we would anticipate. Sometimes He meets the need. Sometimes He changes the need.
But remember every time that God has met your needs and that will cause you to want to cling to him closely.
Remember his character. God is good. He is gracious. He is kind. He’s slow to anger. He abounds in steadfast love. He will not simply overlook the guilty. Remember the character of God and that, Psalm 119 says, will cause you to be faithful to his word. And it will cause you to pray to him when you find yourself in danger. Jonah 2. In the belly of the whale, the Bible says that Jonah remembered God and who he was. And that is what caused him to cry out to God. It wasn’t simply that he was in trouble, it was that he was in trouble and he remembered who God was.
Ecclesiastes 12, says young men, young women if you will remember God in the days of your youth, that will save you from a lot of consequences of wickedness when you’re older. That if you will remember God and who He is and what He has said when you were young, it is going to save you a lot of trouble when you’re older.
Ezekiel 36 says remember how God Forgives you and that will lead you to repentance. Ephesians 1 says to remember the people of God and all of their works that they’ve done on your behalf and that will lead you to thankfulness.
And 2 Peter 3 says, remember all the promises God has made to you, and that will stir up in you a sincerity of faith.
10 or 12 places right there very quickly through Old Testament and New Testament that we’re told over and over. Remember and here’s the benefit. If this is your need, remember God. What he is done and who he is.
What we read this morning, Psalm 143. What Anna read to us. If you look in that passage in Psalm 143 you see in verses 3 and 4. This darkness I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like this in your life.
But then the Psalm ends with hopeful prayers.
How do we get from this place, and in verses 3 and 4 where our soul is fainting within us? Like we feel like we’re dying on the inside and our heart is appalled and we feel like there’s nothing there. How do we get from that place to a place, where we are thirsting for God and stretching our hands out to him and asking him to help us?
The bridge between those two things is verse 5.
It is that simplistic, yet the profound exercise of remembering what God has done, meditating on all of his works, that takes you from a place of deep darkness to a place of hope.
If you have a Bible this morning, would you turn to Lamentations? Lamentations, it’s a small, smaller book of the Bible, if you will find Jeremiah and go right, you should run into Lamentations and look in Chapter 3, and I want you to see the same picture. Just wanting us to see it over and over in Scripture. To really get it into our heart how important this is.
Look at Lamentations verse. Excuse me. Chapter 3, look at verse 17 again. I wanna ask if you ever felt this way in your life. Maybe some of us, we feel this way right now.
“My soul is bereft of peace”, it’s missing peace, “I’ve forgotten what happiness is.” Any of you ever felt that way or even said that “I don’t remember what it’s like to be happy”?
“So I say”, verse 18, “My endurance has perished.” In other words, I’m about to give up, I don’t have anything left. And “so is my hope from the Lord.” I’m even questioning if he’s still with me. I don’t even know that I still find hope in him.
Verse 19, a prayer, “Remember my affliction in my wanderings.” The wormwood in the gall”, which means bitterness. “My soul continually remembers these things and is bowed down within me.” That word means sunk down. So he’s saying, all the time I feel like my life. Is filled, distracted, confused by all the things that I’ve been through. By all the affliction that has happened to me, maybe even the affliction that I’ve put on others, and I just continually feel like I’m distracted by these
things around me. My circumstances. Some things that I just don’t think are fair.
Other things that I, I realize they probably are fair, but still I’m just distracted, I’m confused and I just get so focused on how I’ve wandered from God and the bitterness of this life. I’m bitter. Sometimes toward God, sometimes toward people, sometimes toward myself.
But then look what he says in verse 21. “But this I call to mind.”, In other words, but I remember and therefore I have hope. Just like that, he says in all the confusion of my soul and all the distraction in my affliction. Even though I don’t even remember what it’s like to be happy. Even though I’m searching for peace and I can’t find it, I have hope because I’ve remembered something. I’ve called something to my mind and I’ve reminded myself. And what is that that he remembers in verses 22, 23?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness, and the Lord is. My portion says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.“
Jeremiah, as he writes this. As he writes this lament, he says I’m going to bed and I don’t know where peace is. I don’t remember what it’s like to be happy and all that’s going on in my head right now is I’m distracted by my affliction and the bitterness of this life. But as I’m going to bed, I’m going to remind myself of the goodness and the faithfulness of God, and his mercies are going to be waiting on me when I wake up tomorrow.
No matter what happened today, when I get up in the morning, his mercies are new and they’re going to be waiting on me. He is faithful. He is not going to leave me. And how do I know that? Because he’s never left me. And because of that, I hope. I hope in him.
The bridge between bitterness and hope, Is remembering..
The bridge between worry and hope is remembering.
The bridge between anxiety and fear and distraction and hope. Is remembering.
Remembering what God has done. In Scripture, remembering is contrasted to forgetting. If you don’t remember, the Bible says that means that you have forgotten. And just like throughout the Bible, there are all these passages that tell us to remember, and here’s this spiritual benefit that comes from remembering. The Bible also tells us that if you forget God and if you forget His word and if you forget what he has done, there are consequences to that.
And as a matter of fact, the Bible shows us that to forget is always followed by calamity. Throughout the Bible, you see this refrain that is spoken about God’s people over and over.
They did not remember, so they did this.
They did not remember, so they wandered.
They did not remember, so they fled God,
They did not remember, so they fell into sin.
They did not remember, so they went away from his word.
As a matter of fact, in Psalm 106, when the psalmist is writing about the people of God coming out of Egypt. He says they believed his word and they sang his praise, verse 12, and then in the very next verse it says, but they soon forgot His works and they no longer waited for his counsel.
Just like that. God brought them out and they were singing his praise, but very quickly they forgot. They put it out of their mind and what happened as soon as they put it out of his mind. What happened? They stopped going to God. They stopped looking to Him. They stopped asking Him for counsel. They stopped seeking his word. They started doing things on their own. They became their own God. And it’s a very good question for us to ask, that as Christians what causes us to forget what God is done? What causes us to stop remembering?
There’s a few of us as leaders that are reading a book right now by a pastor named Paul David Tripp, and the book is called Dangerous Calling. And one of the chapters in this book. Paul Tripp is writing and he says, you know, there’s some people in life who they are oppressed by hard conditions. Every day they’re getting up and they’re just struggling to find their daily bread. Make ends meet and live this life and because of that they never have time to think about God. They never seek him and they will end up never coming to Christ because their life is so filled with the cares of this world.
But then he says, other people, their life is already marked by Christ. They’ve already come to Christ, they’ve they’ve professed him, they’ve confessed him, they’ve been baptized. And they’ve been walking closely to him, yet soon they find themselves at a place in their life where the things of God are no longer seen to them as a privilege. They don’t think about gathering with other Christians as a privilege. They don’t think about opening God’s word and hearing him speak as a privilege. They don’t think about prayer as this gracious opportunity to have an audience with the creator of the universe and to speak to him and have him speak to them. They don’t think of that as a privilege anymore. And their walk with Christ becomes very commonplace, and they lose their awe of God.
Even the wonder of Grace can’t get their attention. They’re no longer astounded by the fact that God has forgiven them of their sins. It’s just commonplace. Yes, I’m forgiven. They don’t confess they don’t repent. They don’t rejoice over how good God has been to them and their family.
They’re no longer amazed that God chose them to be a disciple. They’re no longer moved in their heart by God. And if they’re honest with themselves, they’re even a little bored by him. And when they’re not moved anymore, they’re not thankful. And when they’re not thankful, they began to think, God owes them.
Something bad happens and they think where’s God? Why is he not with me? Why has he let this happen? And eventually, their heart shifts to something else.
Because here’s the secret. Your heart is made to be in all of something. Your heart is made to be amazed and astounded by something. And if it’s not God, then it will be something that you make your God. It will be a created thing that you can’t get enough of. Because you’ve lost your awe of salvation.
Your life will be shaped by whatever has functional control of your heart. Whatever you’re in awe of, whatever you’re astounded by, that thing will begin to shape your life, how you live and how you think.
How does that happen to us? How do we lose that awe and that zeal?
I think it’s the condition of our hearts —Llike it’s happened to all of us. That may be where you’re living right now, and this is hitting you very hard because you realize this is where I am. But all of us have been there at some point or we will get there. And how does that happen?
And I believe in part it happens because we stop meditating on the goodness, the graciousness, the love of God, and who He is for us. We let our prayer lives dwindle and our time in the word dwindle, and just our very mental exercise of thanking God for all he’s done.
We go to pray but we don’t stop and thank him for all the prayers he’s answered. We just use prayers, the next thing to lay before him that we need him to accomplish or do.
In Deuteronomy 8 God warned his people if you forget me, you’ll go after other gods. You will serve them and worship them. And I warn you, this day, you will surely perish.
The hard words. But hard words in Scripture always intended to make us soft people. They’re always intended to rattle us with conviction that we might turn from where we are. And so I say to you again this morning.
Big idea of this sermon. Remember God. And what he is done. And set a way and a plan and a path in your life that every day you can meditate on his goodness. You must fight to be in awe of God. You must fight to be thankful for him and what he’s done. You must fight to rely on him for everything.
So practice remembrance. Make it a daily practice. Remember the character of God. Remember the word of God and his promises. Remember his works. And one way that we do this corporately is communion.
So what we’re going to do together in just a moment, is one way in which we practice remembering, because that’s what Jesus said that this is about. In your handout, we have some notes in communion you remember what God, the Son, has secured for you.
When we take this meal, that should be the big picture that’s in our mind. What has Jesus done and what is he secured for me. Again, if you have a Bible this morning, go to Colossians chapter one.
So we’re in Colossians. We’re gonna be in Colossians 3 in a moment, but go over to Colossians 1. Just one page over probably.
And look at verse 21 and 22. Here is what Christ has secured for us.
“You, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,” we’ll pause there. He says before Christ, this is what life looks like. You are alienated from God. You are a stranger to God. That’s what that means. Not that God doesn’t know who you are. But God doesn’t have a relationship with you. You are a stranger to him in relation to him. And not only that, but you are hostile in mind. That means you’re an enemy of God. The very disposition of your life, your thoughts, and your feelings, and eventually your actions are opposed to God. You may not even think that you’re that bad of a person.
You may not be someone who does a lot of morally bad things. Yet the Bible says, without Christ, the very disposition of your nature is hostility toward God. There will be someplace in some time where you will come to a command of God in a thought of God, and you will be hostile toward it. You won’t relate to it.
But what has happened to you? Verse 22 “he has now reconciled. In his body of flesh by his death,” You have been reconciled to God by the body of Jesus in his death. Reconciled means, in a more literal form, you have been transferred from one condition of life to a totally different condition of life. What you once were, what you were once in, that is not who you are anymore. And now you have been transferred to it an entirely different state. An entirely different condition of heart and life. You have been reconciled. The enemies of God have been welcomed to the table of God.
Remember that every time you take communion, you have been welcomed into God’s home to sit at his table. You think about our lives, right, we probably struggle some in our lives with hospitality unless you just really have that gift, so you may have people that you really love, right? But just the idea of going through all the motions of getting my home ready for people to come over, getting a table set for them. I love them, but it’s just a lot of work.
Now imagine doing that for your enemies. That person that you really can’t stand. That person who’s hurt you. That person who you don’t even know them but you just see them, you hear of them and you know they’re my enemy. Imagine doing all of that to prepare them a place at your table. That’s what God’s done.
But not as a one time guest. No, your home is with him now. In Christ, your home is with him, and that table is your table and that meal is constantly put before you. And this has happened because of the physical death of Jesus. The breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood.
That is what has reconciled us to God. That is what has secured these things for us and look at that, look at what it says, he’s done this “in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.“
In Christ you stand before God above reproach. Guiltless. Blameless.
The recesses of your mind when you get reminded of all that you’ve done. When you get reminded of all of your temptations and all of your sin and how every day of your life, you struggle with some of these things. You remind yourself of what Christ has secured for you. That what has been secured for you is that you are guiltless before God because you’ve been justified in his presence by your faith in Jesus of his death and his resurrection. You are above reproach. This is what the son of God has secured for you.
And even though in communion we are focused on Jesus, we know that all of this, in your notes, was planned by the Father. It was planned by the father Jesus came to do the will of the father. Jesus came to drink the cup that the father gave him.
So what Christ has secured for you has been planned by the father, and it has been worked ny the Spirit. The Father planned your rescue. Jesus has secured, your rescue and the spirit of God works that rescue inside of you.
Ephesians 1:13 says He, the spirit of God, seals you as a believer. Which means that you are protected and preserved until that day that you reach your inheritance.
So communion is one way of remembering, when we take this together, and I do think it’s a corporate meal. The pictures of it in the Bible are not simply something we would do alone. It is something that we do with other believers. But corporately, when we take this, we are remembering what Christ has secured for us. But I also want to point you to remembrance is something that’s not just done corporately in communion, but it is something that is done every day in your life.
I believe it is something that is to be done every day. A personal spiritual discipline, where every day you are reminding yourself of God and who he is and what he has done. How do you do that? How do you remind yourself of those things?
You could sing songs. I would say doctrinally rich songs, songs that teach your heart about God and his goodness and who he is.
You could pray. Parts of those prayers should be praise for what God is done and for how, it’s a matter fact, I think that’s biblical. We’ll look at it in a moment, but I think Philippians 4 points us to that till we bring before God prayers of Thanksgiving as we make our requests known.
We can study his word. What better way to remember his promises and what he has said and done than by reading his word to remind ourselves of these things.
We can journal. We could write. It doesn’t have to be long eloquent essays. It might be for some of us, but it could just be jotting down. I prayed this. Here’s what God did. I was going through this. Here’s what God said. Here’s what God spoke to me.
We could take time to have quiet moments of reflection. Maybe it’s in our car driving. Maybe it’s taking 10 or 15 minutes in a day just to go for a walk or get alone and just think and reflect on God in his goodness to us that week, that month, that year.
We could discuss these things with each other. We could get together and not not just waste time on earthly things and talking about earthly things, but we could get together and talk about God’s goodness. We could give testimony to one another. Or we just call each other up, said hey man I wanna bother you I just want to take 5 minutes. I gotta tell somebody something God did today. And lucky you, I picked you to call.
If we don’t discipline ourselves to do these things, they will not happen. We have to be disciplined to remember, and with remembrance comes spiritual benefits. And one of those benefits I want to point out to us today is peace. One of the benefits of remembering what God has done is peace and we talk about peace. I know I’ve taught on this before. I think Kevin has told us before that peace in the Bible is not just the absence of conflict. It doesn’t just mean that you’re not at war with anybody peace in the Bible. Means every kind of blessing and good.
The peace of the Lord means God giving you blessings. When you wish peace on someone else, you’re wishing blessings on that person. So our texts today, the one that Nick read to his Colossians 3 if you have a Bible, would you go there? And let’s look at it together again.
I want you to see this in just the passages that we picked out for this morning in Colossians 3. Beginning in verse 1,” If then you have been raised with Christ”, It’s a statement pausing if you are saved.
If you truly know Jesus, then here’s what you should do. “Seek the things that are above, Where Christ is seated at the right hand of God and set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth”
All right church, listen, and that is not how we typically live all the time. That is not how we will live, just in if we’re not disciplined. We are totally trained by this culture, to set our minds on all the things happening around us. Everything happening to us around us. What we’re worried about what we’re mad about? That’s what we set our minds on, what we hope to accomplish. What we didn’t get done. And absolutely there are those things that we have to think through.
But the Bible says if you’ve been raised with Christ, set your mind on the things that are above. Let that be where your mind is mostly found. Don’t let it be that you have to drag your mind out of the earth to find time to be with God. Let it be that your mind is with God and it has to be brought down to the Earth sometimes.
I think Josh has rightly pointed out several times when he was preaching that the statement, “You can be so heavenly minded, your no earthly good” is lack of better terms really really dumb, and not at all scriptural. The more heavenly minded you are, the more earthly good you will be.
When it says, “set your mind on the things that are above.” I said in your notes that what this means is that you should meditate on these things daily. I use the word meditate to show, not just think, but actually chew over them.
The word meditate in the Bible means mutter, mutter to yourself, talk to yourself about the things of God. And these things set your mind on things that are above. I have in mind there the things that we’ve been talking about today, God, his character, his word, his works, the things that are above.
And if you do that, the rest of the text from this morning shows us the results of that. verse 12 through 14. If your mind is set above, on daily on these things, then you will understand what it means to “Put on as God’s chosen ones, compassion and kindness and humility, and meekness and patience. Bearing with one another” … That literally means endure or tolerate one another. Endure with each other. Make allowances for each other’s faults. Bear with one another.
That’s what we do when our minds are set above. We forgive. We put on love. And then in verse 15. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” We’re not told there to put on the peace of Christ. We’re told to let the peace of Christ do its work.
Because see when you and I have set our mind on the things that are above. When we’re practicing remembrance. That will result in a certain way of life and it will result in peace coming to our hearts, the peace of Jesus, So you should meditate on these things daily that peace might preside over your entire life.
In the Bible, it says let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. I found it interesting that that word rule could refer to a judge in an athletic game. Imagine a referee. It’s in charge of the field of play. The Bible says that the Christian life is like running a race. And one day that we will be judged. Here it is the peace of Christ that will preside over your life and help keep you running your race well.
Because peace is a spiritual benefit that comes from Jesus and it will referee or judge your life in a way to help you run well. Peace will preside over your life.
I said earlier to you that your life will be shaped by whatever rules your heart. Whatever functionally rules your heart is what will shape your life? And here church we’re told. Let the peace of Christ be what rules your heart. Therefore let the peace of Christ be what shapes your life. Let the peace of Christ be what functionally causes you to live in a certain way.
And what does that look like? I want you to think of peace in three directions.
1. Peace above you.
That when I say that the peace of Christ, that I believe we get from setting our minds on what is above, remembering what God is done and who he is, In his words, I believe that that peace will preside over us. Peace above us. Peace from above, peace above you. What I have in mind there is that you will constantly remember, you should constantly remember. And your life should be shaped by the reality that you are at peace with God.
Romans 5:1, because you’ve been justified by faith, you have peace with God.
When you come to a passage like Psalm 84:11,
He’s talking about you, in Christ. He will be a son and a shield to you. You have the favor of God. You might not have the favor of anyone else. You may feel like the constant outcast, but the Bible says you have the favor of the creator of the universe because you have peace with him.
In Christ, you are at peace with God. You never have to ask, “Is God happy with me?” The answer to that in Christ is a resounding yes.
There may be times where you displease God by your actions. We can do that. If you have children or if you one day have children, you know that sometimes your children displease you by what they do. But you are never displeased with your children. Their life, their heart, who they are — You’re never at displeasure with them. God is much greater a parent than we are.
God loves you in Christ. You have peace with him. He will not withhold anything good from you. So when I say that the peace of Christ that comes from remembering God should rule your heart and functionally shape your life. I mean, peace from above, and then I mean peace within peace within you. Think back to that passage from Lamentations earlier.
There is always going to be some horizontal reason for you to be afraid. For you to be bitter. For you to be worried and anxious and mad. There’s always going to be something. That thing that you’re so worried about, if it went away tomorrow, it could be replaced by something else. There’s always going to be something.
But none of that should capture your heart. Why? Because peace means rest. God is with you always. He’s always with you and he is sovereign. He is in control. He is in power. Nothing is happening in your life that he is out of control of.
Peace means confidence. You are not what you have done. You are not what has been done to you. You are not the sum of what people think about you. Your life is not dictated by what other people say about you. Your life is shaped by one thing. That you are God’s in Christ. That is who you are. That is your identity and that is where your peace comes from within you. You get strange. You get worried. You get all out of sorts because you don’t know what people are thinking about you or what they’re saying about you when you’re not around because you remember what you’ve done. Or you know what they’re trying to do with you. And here is peace within you. God is with you. God loves you, You are his.
And then finally, when I say peace should shape our lives when peace should rule our hearts and shape our lives and stir affection for God and stir confidence in him. We should be in awe of God because of the peace that he has given us.
And I also mean peace around us. Peace around you. This peace that we experienced from above and in our core should work itself out into our lives.
Here’s the question. Are you a peacemaker? Because when we really experience peace, I think what functionally shapes our life is peace, when that happens, we want to make peace as much as we can. We want to be a peacemaker. We don’t want to be in conflict. We don’t want to be arguing. We don’t want to be out of sorts with other people. Because we’ve experienced peace from God and we want other people to experience peace from God.
And we want to experience peace with other people that we might be able to share with them.
Hebrews 12:14 says “strive for peace with everyone.” Romans 12 Says “if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” By the way, the context in Romans 12 is even our enemies. It’s not always possible to live at peace with all. But the Bible says if it is, be at peace.
If it’s not possible, at least let it not be said of you that you didn’t try. If it’s not possible, let at least not be said of you that you were the reason that there was not peace. Live peaceably with everyone if you can.
Even 1 Corinthians 11, it talks about communion. Paul said, “I can’t commend you church in the way that you take the Lord’s supper, ’cause there’s all kind of divisions among you. You’re not at peace with one another.”
Come to peace, he was calling them to, come to unity so that you can really call what you’re doing the Lord’s Supper. Look, that’s not easy and the world doesn’t make it easy for us.
There’s a passage in the New Testament that says. We no longer relate to people, we no longer consider people according to the flesh. That’s not the world we live in.
This social media is an incredible gift. It really is. If you think about the ability that we have to communicate with people today. It’s astounding. But here’s what social media has trained us to do. It has trained us to think, that we can tell people all about our lives in 160 or 320 characters.
And it has trained you to think that you can know everything you need to know about someone by what they post. And they’re no longer a person that you get to know. They are what you see them putting on social media and you are what they see you putting on social media and we’ve totally lost relationship and the ability to endure with one another and have peace.
If you guys in the booth. if y’all bring the lights down, I want to ask you if you’ll take your elements out for communion. Don’t do anything with them yet.
My big picture today has been “Remember”.
Remember what God has done. Remember who he is. Remember his works, his words, his promises. And know that when you practice remembrance in your life that it will benefit you. So please practice it. Think of how you can do that.
And we’re going to do that together this morning. One of the benefits of practicing it is peace. I want you to take just a moment. We’re just going to be silent. Now I ask you to pray. Be silent before the Lord. Is there a place in your life right now where you don’t have peace? Because of your sin or because you have not related to someone else as you should. And would you take this time to confess that to the Lord and ask him to bring into your heart the peace of Christ that would shape your life?
Let’s pray that together.
Get Agape in Your Inbox!
Subscribe to Agape News for the latest messages, news, events, & useful resources.