Living At Peace With Others
You work every day under the supervision of God. Do what you do because God has you there. Live at peace. The war in your own heart is over and you don't need to worry with your focus on God.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I hope everything’s alright at your house, and remember, if you’ve struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will, for He hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” You can always depend upon your Lord, no matter what the weather, either climate-wise, or life-wise, is doing. Yes, this is your good friend Bob Cook and I’m glad to be back with you for a few moments of sharing from God’s Word. We’re looking at 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, and I’ve been doing a little word-study in some of these truths that are packed so tightly into God’s wonderful Word.
We’ve gotten to Verse 11, 12, and 13, around in there: “Comfort yourselves together and edify each other, even as also you do. Then, he said, “We beseech you.” That word beseech is a word “request,” very respectful and courteous. Paul is not giving commands; he says, “I would request this of you.” To know (which means “to perceive; to see, to honor,” “honor” would be a good free translation of that word) those which labor among you. That word “labor” is a verb which means “hard work.” In case you didn’t know it, if you go into Christian service, it involves a lot of hard work. Maybe it’s not like digging ditches (although sometimes that may be involved) but it’s work that “takes it out of you” because you’re actually sharing your whole life with other people in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; people who work hard among you and are over (that’s the Greek word proisteme, which means “set ahead, set in leadership.”) you in the Lord, and admonish you.
That word “admonish” is interesting; it’s a combination of two words: the word nous for mind, and titheme, which means “put in place.” So actually, that word admonish means “get your head in place; get your head set straight.” Robertson says, “Putting sense into the heads of people. That’s his free translation of that word admonish. That’s a thankless task; any time you try to set people straight, they resist it, don’t they? Well, that’s human nature; somebody comes up to you and says, “I know you’re not going to like this, but I’m going to tell it to you for your own good.” Immediately, you’re on the defensive. We resist being changed or set straight. Of course. But then, that’s part of God’s way of leading His people. There are some folk whose job it is to lead, and to set things straight, to admonish.
Then it says, “Esteem them very highly in love,” and that word highly, of course, is an interesting word which means “beyond all perimeters or measures.” It’s a big, long, compound word: hyper, which means “up, over, or beyond,” ek means “out of,” and perisso means “the perimeter” or the measure. So it means, “out of and beyond all measure.” Hey, that’s a big order, isn’t it? And what is he saying, using that kind of a word? He says that is the kind of love and respect you should have for your pastor: beyond all measure.
Well, I must say that some of us who have been in the pastorate haven’t always been all that worthy of that kind of love. We’re human beings, aren’t we, preacher? And sometimes, we’re not all that lovable. But he doesn’t say to love the people who are in leadership because they’re lovable; he says love them for their works’ sake. You see, it is God’s plan that some people are responsible for work in the local church or in organizations that promote the gospel, and it is a relationship that goes right to the lordship of Christ. That is the almost shocking thought there. “For their works’ sake”: And because He is Lord, and because He has given that kind of work, I am to hold them in high esteem.
Why? Because they’re so wonderful? Well, they may be. There are some wonderful people in Christian work. I’ve met many of them across the world. God’s noble men and women are wonderful people. But that isn’t the reason for holding them in high esteem. Do you understand me? It’s because they belong to the Lord and He has put them there. Now I venture to say that your relationship with people who are in leadership in your particular sphere, would be vastly improved if you began to look at them as being placed where they are because of God and His work. It puts an entirely different cast on the whole set of circumstances within which you live and work. Esteem them highly in love; that’s agape, Calvary Love. John 3:16 kind of love, because God put them there.
Now, let me turn the thought around and talk with you, pastor, or Sunday school teacher, or deacon, or trustee, or elder, or head of a missionary society, or whatever your leadership position may be. Have you thought recently of the fact that you are where you are not because you got elected or appointed, but because God put you there? Your work everyday is under the supervision of Almighty God. He’s the one that you are to please. “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as for the Lord, and not just for people,” says Paul in Colossians 3:23, “knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Do what you do because God put you there, and you’re doing it for Jesus. That’s a great truth, and one that will revolutionize your attitude toward daily routines, and toward leadership-followership relationships. Oh, yes it will.
Now, he says, “Be at peace among yourselves.” This is the best the translator can do in putting the verb into good English language, but it’s just one verb. Instead of saying, “Be at peace,” if you translated it literally, it would say, “live peace.” Eirenuo: the quality of peacefulness as your life’s atmosphere. Live peacefully among yourselves.
Well, it has to be admitted that it’s pretty hard to have peace with some people because they are fractious and difficult, and what are you going to do about it? Well, let me give you a few thoughts that come to me just now about being at peace and living in peace. First of all, the war has to be over in your own heart. Romans 5:1 “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” If, when we were sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, we’d be justified by His blood, saved from wrath through Him.” When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. We will have peace with God. We are reconciled with God, saved because Jesus died for me and lives today to be my living advocate and high priest, and elder brother, and coming King. Peace. That’s where it starts, beloved.
I have noticed that if a person has deep inner problems, it becomes much more difficult for that person to be peaceful with other folk around him or her. So, you have to start with yourself. If you want to “live peace” as we said this verb means, eirenuo (we get the girls’ name ‘Irene’ from that: peace.) If you want to live in an atmosphere of peace, as the very stuff of which your life is made, then you start with your own life.
Is the war over between you and God, or are you still fighting Him? That is a question, of course, that only you can answer. But oh, how wonderful it would be, even right now, if some who were listening to my voice might say, “Lord, I give up.” I’m going to stop fighting your will. I’m going to stop complaining about where you’ve put me. I’m going to yield myself to you just as I am and just as you have placed me.” Peace with God: let the war be over. On God’s side, it is over. Christ has died for us and risen again. The holiness of God has been vindicated and the Holy Law has been satisfied. The Lord Jesus, who as God’s slain Passover Lamb offered Himself without spot to God, everything on God’s side is satisfied.
The only thing that is still lacking, for some of us, is for the war to be over on our side. “Justified by faith” means a commitment of yourself to God in faith, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and let Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come.” That’s how to live peace; start there. Start at the cross. Start with your knees bent and your head bowed, and your eyes with tears, and your heart open with faith to the Savior, and let that relationship that has been marred by human rebellion, let that now become one of peace. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, then, of course, if you’re going to live peace, you’re going to have to keep on committing yourself to God, and we call that prayer. Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be care-filled for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your prayer requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Don’t worry about anything. Worry simply spins your emotional and mental and physical wheels, and wears you out.
Dale Carnegie said “Worry is the absence of an organized plan.” You worry because you don’t know what to do next and you haven’t analyzed the problem, and so you’re afraid of it, and you worry. He says, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything, and the peace of God will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The next time we get together, we’ll talk about this matter of how to get rid of worry. You don’t get rid of it by someone telling you, “Don’t worry; be happy.” That doesn’t work, does it? But there is a way to get rid of it and we’ll talk about it the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, oh, may the war be over and may our hearts be filled with Thy peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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