Introduction to the Book of Luke “THE PEACE OF GOD”
I want to relate some of the great truths in this book that have to do with “The Peace of God.” When the angels announced the coming of the Lord Jesus to the shepherd on the hillside, they said in chapter 2, verse 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The announcement of His coming included the message of peace on earth. When Jesus was making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem toward the very last of His ministry in chapter 19 of Luke, the people came out and said in verse 38 “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.” The angels from heaven and the people from on earth are announcing the entry of Jesus. Angels are announcing His entrance into the world and the people are announcing His entry into Jerusalem. The angels say Peace on earth. The people say Peace in heaven. In both cases, Jesus is soon to go there, so to speak. When they say Peace on earth, it is because He has come there and He is the source of peace. When the people say Peace in heaven, He is soon to go there, so to speak, in His resurrection. So wherever Jesus is there is the absolute potential for peace, whether He is coming to a troubled world or whether He is leaving it and going someplace else, Luke is saying to us that wherever Jesus is, there is the absolute potential for His glorious peace.
Between those two passages, I want to mention very briefly five different times when Jesus brought peace in very unusual circumstances. Here he came bringing peace on earth and even in troubled times, He is able to step in and bring peace. In the very first chapter of Luke we are told about the searching of the people to understand about what God is doing. We have Zacharias who is moved upon by the Holy Ghost and he prophesies in chapter 1, verse 79. He says, starting n verse 78 “…whereby the dayspring from on high [which is Christ] hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” In times of searching, in times of seeking, in times of wanting to know God, in times of trying to understand where God is and what He is doing, the Lord knows how to come to us and open up our hearts and our minds to bring peace to us in our searching.
I thought when we heard some of these testimonies tonight, especially this sister here, the searching that was going on in her life to come to the full reality of the power of the Father and His love and the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to people who sat in darkness so that they could see a great light and so the searching could be over, that we could find Him and He could find us. I like the way somebody said it here tonight when he said they found him then he changed it and said He found me. In times of searching, He is able to bring the light to guide our feet into the way of peace.
In Luke chapter 7, verse 50 we’ve preached about this before now but here is a sinner woman who comes and washes the feet of Jesus and she wipes His feet with the hairs of her head. Jesus explains that this great act that she has performed is because she has been forgiven of so much. Now she loves so much so He said to her, ‘Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.’ So here in time of sin, not only in time of searching and seeking and striving and reaching out, but in the time of sin He comes to bring peace. When I’m cast down in spirit and soul, He brings and whispers sweet peace. Even in time of sin and sorrow that caused a woman to bow at His feet and open up her soul to Him in love and adoration, she heard the words of forgiveness. She heard the words of peace. What a beautiful and wonderful experience!
I want you to think back tonight; some of you have said it is 60 years, some say 50-some years, some in the 40s perhaps and then there are some younger people here tonight, but I want you to think of when you came to Him and your soul was troubled and you had all kinds of questions. You didn’t know what life really held for you. You came to Him in your sin and He brought and He spoke peace to you and said ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’
I remember in my early boyhood I was praying and seeking God and somebody came to me and knelt by me. They kept saying ‘Believe’ because at that point, that’s exactly what I needed to hear because I couldn’t believe that the Lord would take me in, that He would bring forgiveness and peace. Somebody just kept saying close to my ear ‘You have to believe what Jesus has said,’ and he would quote some Scripture. ‘You must believe the Lord, and that’s how it comes.’ When I began to think ‘Well, it might happen, well maybe so, yes!’ I passed ‘maybe’ after awhile and began to say ‘Yes! I do believe!’ and the peace came. Raise your hand if you know about when the peace came to your heart. The storm subsided. The worries and the troubles just vanished away. Everything in your heart was right in the world with God. What a glorious peace.
Not only does He bring peace to us in times of searching and in times of sin, but He brings peace to us in times of storm. This story is found in Luke 8:24 where the storm came upon the disciples and shook them, disturbed them. They were fearful. They thought they may go down, but Jesus arose and He rebuked the winds and He said Peace, be still. In Mark 4:39 He said Peace, be still. And oh what a calm it is. How many of you have been in storms? I know one couple that have been in an actual tornado that lifted their house up and floor and dashed them down a block or so. But there are other storms where you are so torn you don’t know where to go and where there are things boiling up all around you. Conflict is there and you wonder how in the world it will ever work out. Storms come even in the church to disturb the fellowship of the people. Then you pray and God moves and He comes and speaks peace. Only He knows how to do that.
I remember pastoring in one place there was double trouble it seemed to me. I felt like maybe I ought to leave if that would solve the problems, but the Lord said no, that’s not it. One day while I was preaching and I had prayed so earnestly and God had touched me, I want to tell you, that right out of that storm all of a sudden, the power of God fell in that place and brought peace and that trouble and turmoil vanished. There was the glory and love of God that came to that church that day. You could have cut the tension with a knife when I started preaching. But when I was finished and God had done His work and His Word has spoken to the people and His Spirit had done His work, there was peace reigning in that church. We had many more wonderful years there. Thank God how He knows to come to our storms. I don’t know why we get so worried and so upset and so afraid at certain times. After all, He is the Master of every situation.
I remember years ago when I was in Mississippi. Brother Wade Horton came and preached one of his hour and a half sermons that seemed like it was about 30 minutes long! He preached about Christ, the Master in every situation. He was Master of the storm. He was Master of the demoniac. He was Master of demons. He was Master of disease. I want to tell you, He is the Master of every situation whether it is storm and danger, demons, disease, death, He is the Master and He brings peace. I love the song we used to sing “He gives me peace in the midst of the storm.” How many of you have had answers to prayer where He moved in with his peace when you were experiencing a storm in your life?
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise God!
There is nothing like it in the world, is it, saints? When there is trouble, when there is division, when there are all kinds of things happening and He just moves in and it is gone and there is peace that reigns. Not only does He bring peace to us as Luke tells us in the time of searching to guide our feet and in the time of sin and storms, but also in the time of sickness. The woman who came to Him with the issue of blood, Jesus says some of the most beautiful words to her. First of all, He calls this woman who had been an outcast because of her affliction – He called her Daughter. When others had said ‘Because of your issue of blood, you can’t even associate with people. You have to be set aside.’ This had gone on for years. Can you imagine the turmoil? Can you imagine the anxiety, the fears, the loneliness that she had faced? I think that’s the reason she tried to slip around behind Him and just touch the hem of His garment. I don’t think she wanted to be seen and brought out openly. So she just touched His clothes. But He told her, ‘Daughter, be of good comfort. Thy faith hath made thee whole. Go in peace.’ If you’ve ever been healed by the miraculous power of God, then you know that there is nothing so rich and wonderful as to have the pain to leave and the fear of what may be happening to you physically to leave. Suddenly His presence comes over you and you are healed. I know when I was healed of gall bladder attacks and gall stones it was like warm oil had flowed over me. I got drunk in the Spirit. My good people at West Frankfurt, Illinois gathered around me and prayed for me and God healed me. I never had to have the surgery. I don’t know what happened to the gall stones. What a wonderful peace comes over you when the healing virtue of God comes. He said to this woman ‘Daughter…’ which means you are accepted. You are in the family. You don’t have to be an outcast anymore. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.
When the anxiety and worry of disease and affliction is gone, thank God what wonderful peace comes into your life. When you know that His hand is upon you, His peace is abiding there.
There is one more incident in Luke I want to mention. That is in the time of sorrow He can speak peace to you. Chapter 24, verses 36-41. This is after the crucifixion and after the resurrection when Jesus comes upon a little band of people and He says unto them ‘Peace be unto you.’ Today as I have done a few times, I assisted Mark in a funeral driving the hearse. This is an unusual experience. I have always been in the other position as minister to speak. But as we stood at the graveside, their pastor spoke some sentimental things to the family, I didn’t hear his message so I might should not say what I’m about to say, but I wanted him to go to the Word because as I understood it, this was a Christian lady who was being buried. I wanted him to talk to the loved ones who were there in sorrow. I wanted him to preach a little bit and say from the Word that there is hope beyond this grave. There is hope for the resurrection. There is hope of seeing mother and grandmother again. I wanted him to just say a few words like that. He never did get around to it. I hope he did in the message. As I said, I didn’t get to hear his message as he preached the funeral. I think of the times that I have stood there in his place and felt God so real and could speak peace to people and give them the glorious consolation of seeing the Lord, the glorious consolation of having a loved one knowing that the loved one would overcome death one day through the resurrecting power of God. There is eternal hope because of His great power. Jesus brought it to them that night.
In this book of Luke, there is only one time that Jesus was unable to speak peace in a situation. I want to read that to you. It is right after the triumphal entry, right after some of the people have said to Him ‘Peace in heaven and glory to God in the highest.’ They said that in verse 38 of chapter 19. If you will, just turn in your Bible to chapter 19 and read with me at verse 41. Here is one time He was not able to bring peace like He would like to have had. The Bible says He came to His own and His own received Him not. Reading Luke 19:41, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it. Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Here is the heartbreaking example in Luke when Christ could not bring peace. It is when people failed to recognize the things that belong to their peace and in their turning away from the Lord, even the very ones He came in Jerusalem and they turned aside f rom Him. He said ‘Your house is going to be desolate. You are going to have great troubles. Your enemies are coming because you didn’t know the time of your visitation. You missed it.’
I don’t mean to end this message tonight on this sad note, except to remind us the saddest thing I know that is happening in this world now is people who do not recognize their opportunity to receive peace. They don’t know the time of their visitation. They are rejecting Christ and His great love. I think it is up to us, somehow, to keep praying.
I was so touched by that testimony earlier in tonight’s service. How long did you say you had been praying for your brother? 42 years. And you didn’t give up. I tell you that ought to encourage us not to turn loose of anybody, to hold on. I remember Sister Warren in West Frankfurt, Illinois when Satan said to her ‘You may as well give up on Earnest.’ He was a 40-something year old man at that time, one of her sons. ‘Besides you’ve got all these other children that are saved. Just give up on Earnest. He’s never going to get saved. You may as well quit praying for him.’ She rose up in the bed, a widow, and said ‘It’ll be over my dead body that you get Earnest.’ She began to talk and rebuke Satan and she held on and the very next revival meeting we had, Brother C. E. French was the evangelist, Earnest got saved.
Aren’t you glad for the peace of God tonight?
Dr. May relates some of the truths in the book of Luke that have to do with "The Peace of God."
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