Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Peace on Earth

"Peace on earth, good will to men" is from the carol  I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. "Longfellow got it wrong" I thought, until I finished singing his song: "There is no peace on earth,  For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men."!

 Wesley got it right too! "Hark! the herald angels sing 'Glory to the newborn King Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!' " from Hark, The Herald Angels Sing. Jesus came to reconcile every individual to him. That's individual peace.

We get so accustomed to rattling off cliches that fictions becomes truth. Not really truth, but people accept it as such!

We've shortened the thought! It has become "Peace on earth, good will to men"! That's not true. Jesus actually said the total opposite:
Matthew 10:32 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
Jesus came with  a sword and with that sword a battle is to be fought here on earth! Jesus wields a mighty sword and with it, people will turn on one another! There shall be dissension in households and there will be war against principalities. What is the sword Christ wielded?
Epehsians 6:17 "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."
The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. It's scripture which we use to receive truth, comfort and strength from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God who remained on earth to guide and direct us. His guidance and direction are the words of Jesus, left here for posterity. Christians can only wield the sword if they read scripture and by having the sword, they excel the enemy who has nothing! Jesus went on to explain about the war he was to bring:
Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."
The first four warnings are negative on context. People who love  others before God are not worthy of him! That includes father, mother, son and daughter. If we allow others to influence or diminish any faith we might have, even though they are loved ones, then we aren't worthy of God! Our love is displaced. Love of God comes first and many, even in our home, will disparage Christ! We must defend our faith against even those we love and are not to relinquish our faith under pressure from anyone!

Another negatively connotated  warning is that those who fail to "take up the cross" are not worthy of Jesus. Taking up the Cross is having a strong belief and trust in Jesus, called faith. Those with little faith battle against God. They put the things of the world before God, just as they put family members before God! Not only do men battle against God, but they put family before God. That's warfare!

Lastly, on the negative side, is our own life! Those people who put themselves first, battle with God. However, this negative warning is followed by a positive reward "he that loseth his life for my name sake shall find it". Under persecution for being a disciple of Christ, if we hold firm, then we shall be rewarded for our battle. In this case those dying in Jesus' name place Jesus over them self!

The next are not truly warnings, but instructions. We are to receive Jesus, the prophets, righteous men, and have charity, "he in no wise lose his reward". The obstacle to all these charges are the two "S's": Self and Satan. Choosing "good" and charitable acts are war! Satan tries to deceive the Self into not listening to Jesus, the prophets, righteous men and certainly charitable acts to demonstrate love. We always have that deceiving voice saying "You're pitiful! Don't do that!", whereas the Spirit comforts and instructs us. That's the war between us and principalities being waged all the time!

The sword of the Spirit is the offensive weapon of the full armor of God. The shield, breast plate, etc. are defensive. We're not to just stand there and be struck by the forces of evil, but are to strike out against evil with the sword provided by the Spirit. If we learn, understand and live scripture, our righteousness becomes the paramount weapon against evil!

Yes, there is a war going on! It's spiritual warfare and that's because Jesus came. It was war Jesus brought to earth. It was waged in heaven, but now it's here! There will be no "peace on earth" until Jesus comes back to reign. However, in the interim, Jesus did come to bring peace to our hearts!
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Jesus came to provide islands of peace in a sea of turmoil. While mankind fights God and each other, good cheer resides in the hearts of those who trust in Jesus. We have peace in our hearts because Jesus said "I have overcome the world",  and he did just that!

No comments:

Post a Comment