A Better Life
God wants you to be a happy, wholesome, normal human being, and full of His Word and full of His Spirit.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? I’m fine, thank you, and so glad to be back with you once again. We’re walking around in the book of Ephesians, just gotten started. We are now in verse two, “Grace be to you, and peace from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” We talked about grace the last time we were together. Grace to save. “By grace are you saved through faith and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” The grace of God, picking up a poor lost sinner, deserving nothing, but hell, and judgment, and forgiving, and cleansing, and then adopting into the family of God, so that you and I are the children of God by grace. Grace to speak, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” “They wondered,” it says of our Savior, “At the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth.”
Grace to suffer. Paul the Apostle said he had a thorn, some affliction that was in his body, and three times, he engaged in protracted times of prayer, asking God to remove it, but the answer came back, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” So that Paul said, “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmity, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am weak, then by God’s grace,” he said, “I’m strong.” Grace to suffer, and of course, grace to shine. He said, “With great power, the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all.” The shining out of the grace of God, from lives that were dedicated to the living Lord. “Grace be to you,” said Paul.
Then he said, “And peace.” Now, this is a typical Pauline benediction, he uses it often, and with real reason, I think, in that it encompasses the great truths of the Christian life. We just talked about grace. Let’s think about the peace of God. Now, there’s peace with God, of course. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The war is over, not just an armistice. It’s total surrender, and you and I have said, “Yes,” to God, in a way that has committed our whole life to Him. Peace with God.
Has that happened in your life, dear friend? Have you committed yourself to the Lord completely, without any reservations whatsoever? Oh, I hope you have. And if not, settle the matter, even today. All you need to do, is to talk to the Lord about it. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” we read in Romans 10. And there’s a parallel passage in Jeremiah 33, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” God wants you to talk to Him. Ask Him to save you. Ask Him to forgive you. Ask Him to enter your life with His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to make you His child by faith. Commit yourself to the living Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And find for yourself the delight, and the joy, and the relaxation of having peace with God.
Then, there is freedom from worry, peace that is the result of freedom from worry. Paul says in Philippians four, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.” The exact wording of that text is, “Be care-filled for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God.” “And as a result,” we might add, “And as a result, the peace of God that passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts, and minds through Christ Jesus.” “The peace of God that passes all understanding.” No, you can’t analyze it. You can’t buy a pound of it. You can’t package it, and wrap it up, and merchandise it, but you know when your soul is at peace. Vast, ineffable sense of well-being, because things are right with you and God, and you know that God is in control. I used to tell our fellows, when I was President of Youth for Christ, I used to tell them, “Fellows, the only time you need to worry, is when you’re not quite sure God can handle things, then you better worry. Otherwise, if you know that God can handle the situation, tell Him about it and trust Him to work out His perfect will in your life.”
Form the habit of expecting God to work in situations that are filled with stress, in trials, in disappointments. Even in sorrows or sicknesses, form the habit of committing the situation to God and expecting Him to work. Romans 8:28 has to be true or else it’s one of the most dreadful frauds that ever was perpetrated upon the human race. What does it say? “And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called, according to His purpose.” So, if you give the situation and yourself in it to God, you know then, that you are becoming part of God’s purpose. You are operating according to the plans that God previously made for you, and because that is so, you know that these experiences, this situation in which you now find yourself, all of that is going to work out for good. Why? Because it’s according to His purpose. It’s something that He is doing. You have turned it over to Him and He is in charge. Thank God for that.
Peace through the cessation of worry. Dale Carnegie says that, “Worry is the absence of an organized plan and the only way to make that real in the life of a Christian, is to submit to God’s plan. Turn the matter over to the Lord and let His plan begin to work out in your life.” Another thing I’ve learned, incidentally, about worry, is that you can get away from the pressure of worry, if you find what you can do, as a single step of action and obedience. If you take one step of obedience to God in a worry situation, you’ll find that the concern, and the stress, and the pressure begins to drain away. That’s a fact. Talk things over with your Lord, and then listen to the promptings of His Holy Spirit, and do the thing that He whispers to you in that moment. Take one step of obedience and you’ll find that the pressures of worry begin to drain away. That’s a fact. Peace through release from worry, because of trust, and prayer, and obedience.
Then, there’s peace, because of concentration on the Word of God. “Great peace,” says the Psalmist in Psalm 119, “Great peace have they, that love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119, Verse 165. Concentration on the Word of God makes you insulated against the nicks and abrasions of everyday life. It says, “Nothing shall offend them.” That means bring them to a place where they stop being spiritually productive. Tell me, how do you handle everyday life? Hmm, somebody says, “Don’t ask.” [laughter] I know. Some of my friends are in exceedingly difficult situations, I know that. And no amount of my lecturing is gonna make it any different. But I can tell you a procedure that will make you proof against the abrasions, and the cuts, and the bruises that occur in the hurly-burly of everyday life. “Great peace have they, that love Thy law.” That is to say, concentration on the Word of God makes you different in your reaction to the stress of life. You see, you’re not gonna change things in people very much around you, but you can change the way you react to things, and people, and situations around you.
God’s blessed man, as described in the First Psalm, is one who concentrates on the Word of God. “Blessed is that man,” he says, “His delight is in the law of the Lord. And in his law, doth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither. And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” You want the secret of prosperity, beloved? Start living in the Word of God. Start meditating on the Scriptures. Start applying the Word of God to everyday living. Start concentrating on the truths of the Word of God, so that you can obey them in daily life situations. You will be surprised, amazed, and delighted, I predict, at the way God keeps your heart and mind in perfect peace, even though you’re going through situations that are filled with stress, and perhaps, even some trauma. “Great peace have they, that love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Why? Because you’re living according to a higher authority. You have a higher set of concepts to which you have reference, instead of the present nagging, irritating circumstances.
That doesn’t mean that you’re a recluse and an improbable dreamer. No, no. God is not in the business of making fanatics. Dr. Barnhouse used to say, “Don’t be afraid of fanaticism. Fanaticism is not too much religion, it’s too little brains.” [chuckle] Said he, “If you have any brains, use them, and God will keep you from fanaticism.” Well, good idea. God is not in the business of making fanatics, oddballs, neurotics. God wants you to be a happy, wholesome, normal human being, but full of His Word and full of His Spirit, so that you are operating on the basis of a higher law, a higher authority, a supernatural motivation. Yes, you’ll be aware of these things, but they aren’t going to throw you. That’s the difference.
Then, there’s peace, because of the focal point of devotion. “Thou wilt keep him,” says Isaiah. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” The coefficient of peace is related to the question, “Whom do you trust?” If I am trusting in myself, or in some other human being, or some other human agency, I am destined to be disappointed. If, however, my trust is focused upon and anchored in, to change the figure of speech, anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ, then I will never be disappointed, because He never fails. And He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” So that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper.” You see, if your trust is in yourself, you get to the end of yourself. If your trust is in other people, they do fail. But if your trust, ultimately, is in God, if you risk, as I often say, risk the situation on God, if you do that, my friend, you’ll never be disappointed. You’ll have God’s perfect peace as the atmosphere of your life. “And then, the Lord Jesus breathed on the disciples, and said, ‘Peace, I leave with you. My peace, give I, unto you.’ ” The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, ultimately, is the secret of divine peace. It’s a beautiful truth, isn’t it?
Dear Lord, today, we pray Thou would give us Thy peace through Jesus Christ, our living Lord. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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