Fostering Peace

Asbury Free Methodist – December 6, 2020

John 14:26-27, Philippians 4:6-7

               The theme of this second Sunday of Advent is peace. The angels sang

Luke 2:14 (NIV) “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

               The question I want to look at this morning is how to have God’s peace rest on us? How do we foster peace?

               There are at least three kinds of Peace mentioned in the Bible. There is Peace with God. We were God’s enemies, we had rebelled against God, but Jesus came and through his death paid the price for our sin and reconciled us to God – so now we have peace with God. That is what we celebrate in communion a little later this morning.

               The second kind of Peace that the bible talks about is peace with others. In the passage that was just read, it talks about Jew and Gentile become one under the power of the cross. When we come to Jesus, whether we are rich or poor, young or old, black, white, Asian, Aboriginal we are one in Christ and we have peace with each other, who are followers of Christ. If we don’t have peace, something has gone sideways in our faith.

               The third kind of peace that the bible talks about is peace in your heart. It is that kind of peace that I want to dwell on today as I talk about Fostering Peace.


               Jesus says in John 14

John 14:26–27 (NIV)

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

               Jesus says that one of the gifts that he is leaving with his disciples and with us is the Holy Spirit. Another related gift that he is leaving is peace. He calls it “His peace.” It is the peace that he walked in and lived in. It is different from the world’s peace. So, he says, because I am leaving you this peace you don’t have to be troubled or afraid.

               I want to unpack that in a moment. But before I do that, I want to take you another passage of Scripture. We looked at this passage a couple of weeks ago when we talked about fear and anxiety. Today, I want to camp on peace portion of this scripture.

Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

               The peace of God that we are looking at Fostering this morning transcends your understanding and it guards your heart. In other words, you will experience peace in the face of adversity and trouble, and that peace will post a guard on your heart so that things that are not of God will not settle into your heart.


               That is 30000-foot view. Now, come back with me to

John 14:27 (NIV)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

               As you know, Jesus was a Jew. He probably spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. When Jewish people greet each other, where we might say Hi, or Hello – they say Shalom. That is the Hebrew word for peace. But it carries with it more that our English word for peace – it has the idea of wellbeing. It has the idea that things are well with you. So, when you greet a person with “Shalom” you are wishing them, or blessing them with peace, and well-being – that may it be well with you.

               So, when Jesus says, “My peace I give to you.” It is more than just a feeling of Peace. It is a peace that encompasses your life. Your internal state affects your outward world.

               It is not that you don’t experience trouble – In this world you will have trouble – but there is a peace that Jesus gives that doesn’t allow the trouble on the outside to create trouble on the inside.

               There is a sense of well being that you can have on the inside despite your circumstances. That is the kind of peace that God want to give you.


               Jesus says that the peace that he wants to give you is different in kind than the peace that the world gives. I think that it is particularly important to understand that these days.

               There is a counterfeit peace that the world offers- but it is more akin to numbness. If you have a tooth ache, and you go to the dentist, when he freezes the tooth – when the pain stops it feels like peace, but it is really only numbness. If the problem isn’t fixed, when the anesthesia wears off, the pain will be back.

               This world urges us to do that with our heart. But numbness is a counterfeit for peace. We try to numb ourselves in three different ways. We try to numb ourselves with distraction. We all have our distractions of choice. It can be anything from Netflix to novels. It can be hobbies, to social media. It can be sports to soap operas.  As Paul says, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.

               These things can be fine, or they can become a place where you look for peace – but when the binge is over – the pain is back.

               The second way that we can try to numb our hearts is through experience. The primary experience that the world is promoting these days is casual sex. If you believe the press, the answer to all your problem is more sex or better sex.

               But, the pleasure will be short lived and the consequence outside a marriage will be long felt. You will not find long term peace here.

The other way that the world offers peace is through masking pain. We have so many things that can do this in our world. Some of them are legal and others not. But you can mask your pain with beer or wine or spirits. You can mask them when prescription and nonprescription drugs.

               I will tell you this, if you use alcohol and drugs to mask your pain, you on a very slippery slope. I have heard that addictions are skyrocketing during this pandemic. That is because our society has learned to look for peace in a bottle. God offers a peace that is different in kind.

               Jesus says, John 14:27 (NIV)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

               The peace Jesus gives is different from masking our pain.

               Here is what you need to know. We cannot find joy or peace apart from a life of obedience to the teachings of Jesus. C. S. Lewis wrote, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” God is not being stingy and withholding joy apart from our obedience; there simply is no joy apart from a life with and for God. “God, please give me happiness and peace,” we plead, “but let me also live my life as I please.” And God answers, “I cannot give you that. You are asking for something that does not exist.”[1]

               Hear what God has to say in his word

1 Peter 3:10–12 (NIV)

10 For, “Whoever would love life

and see good days

must keep their tongue from evil

and their lips from deceitful speech.

11 They must turn from evil and do good;

they must seek peace and pursue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

and his ears are attentive to their prayer,

but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 

               Here is what I have noticed about many Christians. They want God to zap them with peace. There are times when God does that. I don’t know how many times I have walked with people through grief and they have testified to a peace that passes all understanding.

               That is supernatural intervention for a particular need. However, peace in the New Testament is something to be sought and pursued, or as our sermon title indicates, it is something to be fostered.

               Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Those fruit are grown as God by his Holy Spirit works in our lives over time. You cannot expect God to give you peace if you don’t let him work in your life.

               You can’t live a life that is self-centered and expect peace. You can’t live a life where you are violating your conscience all the time and expect peace. You can’t live a life where you live independently from God and expect peace.

               I think that there are many people who have bought into the lie that if I believe the right things – if I believe that I am a sinner and that Jesus died for my sin, and that if I receive him into my life and repent of my sins – I become his child. – that if this happens my birthright is a heart of peace.

               Believing those things are good and right and true – and they do give you peace with God. You do become his child. But a child of God that does not spend time with God, who does not let God change them, a person who does not deal with their hearts as God show them to, cannot expect to experience peace.

               Peace is not earned, but it is a byproduct of abiding in Christ, of living in such a way where the Holy Spirit is given permission to change you.

               So, I want to urge you to seek peace and pursue it. Peace is something to be fostered. But for those of you who are willing to Foster it let me take you back to

Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

               Paul here is talking about fostering peace. He is having us pray about “Every situation.” When you are doing that, you are becoming much more God centered. He tells us to pray in a certain way – He says with “prayer and petition.” Prayer, in this context is asking God for help. Petition or some translate this “supplication” means to humble entreat, even humbly beg God for answers.

               There are certain situations that come up in our lives where we really need to lean into God. There are days when I am just going through my prayer list. God bless Lynda and Ethan and Amy. Lord bless Asbury and help her to walk in your ways. But there are other days when hard times hit – and they come to all of us – Where we cry out to the Lord and say -O Lord, if you don’t break through, I don’t know what we are going to do. These kind of deep heart felt prayers – are what he is talking about in petition or supplication.

               The verse goes on – with thanksgiving. Worship is a key ingredient to fostering peace. When we remember what he has already done and give thanks for it, it builds faith, and with faith comes peace. When we give thanks, we know that God inhabits the praises of his people – and it brings the presence of God to bear on our situation, which again, fosters peace. When we give thanks, we are engaging in spiritual warfare, which is often at root of the stuff that is disturbing our peace.

               And here is God’s promise to you.

Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

               When you bring God into the situation, when you abide in Christ, there is something supernatural that happens. The peace of God comes in a way that our understanding doesn’t fully comprehend. There is peace.

               But more than that, that peace guards our hearts. The Greek word could be translated as goaltends our heart.

               The peace of God is not only a state in which we can live, but it is also a tool by which we can use to protect our heart. When you are abiding in Christ, and walking in his ways, your peace guards you. When you start to sense that peace slipping, there is probably something going sideways.

               From experience, if I don’t know why my peace is leaving, then I have probably unwittingly believed a lie. Maybe I believe that God isn’t good or as full of grace or love as I thought he was. Whenever lies get in, they affect our peace. The peace of God has a way of guarding our hearts.

               Here is what I know – Jesus is called the prince of peace. The angels heralded his coming by talking about peace on earth, upon whom his favour rests. God is a God of peace. I know that so many people need peace, but peace is something that must be fostered. It must be grown in your life in such a way where God can use it to protect your heart.

               My question is this, do you value God’s peace enough to foster it? Our temptation is to say, I would be more at peace if it wasn’t for so and so. But the peace that God wants to give is not about the people around you and it is not about the circumstances around you, it is about what God wants to do in you. Will you lean into him for his peace? God desires to give you this gift if you are willing to cooperate with him.

Sermon Questions – Fostering Peace

December 6, 2020

Note: These will be the last sermon questions until the new year.


1. What are you thankful for today?

2. What are you praying for?

Digging IN

3. What are different kinds of peace that you can experience in this world?

4. Read John 14:26-27. What are some of the ways that the world gives peace? How is Jesus peace different from that? What can you expect if you experience the peace of Jesus.

5. Read 1 Peter 3:10-12. What are the promises and the exhortations of this passage? What does it mean to seek and pursue peace?

6. What the difference between peace as a momentary experience and peace as process?

7. Read Philippians 4:6-7 What are the things we have to do to receive God’s peace? Is this more a process or a momentary experience?

8. Would anything change if you pursed a process that developed peace in you?

[1] Smith, James Bryan. The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ (The Apprentice Series Book 2) (p. 30). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.