Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7
Thesis: The "clash" of images presented by "warriors" talking about "peace" signals a concept of "peace" that requires a clear-eyed understanding.
Introduction: In our study last week I made the claim that the angel-warriors' statement was a highly condensed theological statement. It's more of a "seed" than the enormous "tree" that will grow out of it. Also last week I spent more of my "preaching time" on the first half of this "seed" -- the issues involved in God getting the glory. That pretty much forced me to "condense" the "condensed version" of the last half of the "seed". So, this morning I want to go back to the issue of "peace on earth" and unpack an issue or two that resides in that part of the seed.
Does it cause anyone here this morning besides me to have a mild case of confusion to read that a vast army of unnumbered warriors are laying claim to the issues of "peace"? If a very large army, bristling with all kinds of weapons and armament, suddenly arrives on the border of a country, what do the inhabitants of that country immediately begin to think? Then, if the leaders of that army say, "We have come in peace", isn't the first question that any thoughtful person is going to ask is "OK, peace,...so why are you here with all those weapons and armament?" Then, if the leaders of that army say, "Well, we are here because we are going to invade your country and put to the sword everyone who doesn't want to be at peace with us", what do the inhabitants think? Doesn't it smack of a kind of "Oh, sure, peace by means of the edge of the sword" -- in other words, "I'll have peace as long as I do things your way and if I don't I'll get my head cut off???"
How does God ever intend to get men to understand the "peace" issues as long as the sword is hanging over their heads? Let's look into this for a bit.
March 20, 2005
- I. What IS the Essential Necessity of "Peace"?
- A. Romans 14:17 identifies a crucial issue.
- 1. This text is very much like the warrior statement in this respect: it is a highly condensed "seed" statement.
- 2. This text seems to be organized in a "tiered" structure that puts the character of the Kingdom of God into a kind of cause/effect relationship.
- 3. Since the warrior announcement focuses upon "peace", and that is the middle issue of Paul's declaration about the Kingdom, I am going to make this assumption: the underlying issue of "peace" ... the essential necessity ... is "righteousness".
- B. What, then, is the essential necessity of "righteousness"?
- 1. According to the doctrine of "justification by faith", it is "righteousness" that puts two people into harmonious accord with each other. We are brought into a relationship of harmony with God when we are "counted" by Him as righteous.
- 2. According to Amos 3:3, a harmonious relationship ("walking together") can only exist if those in it have "made an appointment" (i.e., "made an agreement to do it").
- a. "Walking together" requires a common objective.
- b. "Walking together" requires a common method.
- c. Thus, "walking together" requires a common understanding of what is valuable and what is true.
- 3. Conclusions...
- a. The essential necessity of righteousness is a combination of both an understanding of eternal values and eternal truths, and a practice that is compatible with that understanding.
- b. It is the actual practice of true love and faith that makes "peace" possible.
- II. Why is That Necessity Surrounded by "Warriors"?
- A. That "warriors" bring the announcement can only mean one thing: there are those who reject eternal values and eternal truths and insist upon the pursuit of false values by evil means.
- B. As long as unrighteousness is allowed, there can never be any final "joy", not to even mention "peace".
- 1. The "message" is of "great joy" as an absent commodity.
- 2. The setting, then, is of people who have been enslaved by those who have embraced false values and evil methods.
- 3. The warriors have arrived on the scene to make sure that the plan of establishing righteousness is not frustrated by the "slavers".
- C. Thus, the "warriors" do indicate the basic fact that it will be "peace" or "death".
- 1. This indisputably means that "someone" has not only decided what is valuable and what is true, but has also decided to gradually impose all of the aspects of that decision upon the entire universe.
- 2. This raises the final question: how does "peace by the sword" bring "peace"?
- III. Is There Any Other Way?
- A. We live in a Creator's creation where the law of cause/effect is a very dominant reality.
- B. We live in a Creator's creation where "life", as joy, is an enormously desired commodity without exception; and, "death", as grief, is universally abhorred.
- C. We live, then, under only one question: Who defines what is valuable and what is true?
- D. We also, then, live with the nagging reality that there are many creatures who think that the Creator should not have the prerogative of definition.
- 1. Since the inescapable facts are cause/effect and life/death, this question arises: Why do so many creatures think the Creator should not have the prerogative of definition?
- 2. On the rational level, why should creatures with limited intelligence (non-omniscience) have the prerogative?
- 3. On the "love" level, why should not those who are committed to "good will" as defined by Paul in Romans 10:1 and 9:3 be allowed to dominate the scene?
- 4. On the "faith" level, why should not those who are committed to "good will" be permitted to "hope" in the message of "great joy"?
- IV. Conclusion.
- A. We have several issues before us that need our attention.
- B. Those issues are these...
- 1. What is "my" objective?
- 2. What do I believe about how I am going to achieve it?
- 3. Where are the eyes of my soul focused?
- a. Are they on myself?
- b. Are they on my circumstances?
- c. Are they on any other "me-istic" reality?
- C. The bottom line is "turn our eyes upon Jesus".