Photo by Rusty Popp, lake Tahoe 2012
IX. The Sermon: Peace That Passes All Understanding – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church
Intro. Everything the disciples thought they were called to in what they thought it was going to be like to follow Christ is shaken to the core.
The Big Idea: Jesus provides peace for his followers through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
I. Not circumstantial, but supernatural (v. 27).
Peace in this passage is not the kind of peace that is after a war or after a conflict. Rather, it is peace THROUGH and WITHIN the conflict and strife. If the world did not treat Jesus well, and they didn’t, they will not treat his followers well either. So, Jesus promises true peace in the midst.
We can look at all that our hands have created with a sense of accomplishment. Look at what I have built. Look what my family has done where there was nothing. This is not entirely bad.
However, this work ethic that has served us well is not the gospel. What happens when things do not go well in life? There will be no peace if we rest on the things we have accomplished. Things will be done to unseat those things we have built so our feet are not on a perfect rock.
The Old Testament reading today on Gideon sending home all of his army except 300 guys per the Lord’s direction makes this point. Gideon faces a huge battle with a fraction of his army, so that in victory it will be clear that the Lord won the battle not Gideon by man’s strength. He has peace on the eve of the battle not because of an absence of battle but through it and within it.
Nate Saint is also an example of this. Why doesn’t he fire his revolver at the Auca Indians when they approach the party in hostility? Because he does not have circumstantial peace but supernatural peace.
II. Keep on expressing your love via the Word (vv. 23-24).
How does Jesus say we can distinguish between followers of his and those who are not? Those who keep on loving me, says Christ in these verses, go on to continue to obey God in his word.
What happens when our culture and the ways that we grew up don’t fit in the box that we put God in? My choice now is, will I side with my tradition I grew up with or with the word of God?
Piper’s book called Desiring God had an atomic affect on Kyle in seminary. It can be hard when your categories of God get blown, but it can also lead to an incredibly liberating path. Let scripture blow your categories of who you think God is.
III. Have a book of Acts spirituality (v. 26).
Jesus says that he is going to leave the spirit behind when he leaves. This is not something new but a fulfilling of Ezekiel where the prophet says we get a new heart that WANTS to obey God’s word!
The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring to our rememberance all that Jesus spoke – reminding us at key times and moments of our days, weeks, and our lives what Jesus said and how all of Scripture s about him.
In Acts 2, Peter says the Holy Spirit’s coming fulfills Joel’s prophecy. The disciples move from guys who didn’t get much of what Jesus was saying when he was with them on earth to guys that now powerfully proclaim the point of Christ. Why? Because they now have the Spirit who is causing this all to make sense to them and boldly proclaim it!
IV. Find your peace in Jesus (vv. 30-31).
There is no one who can say that the ruler of this world has no claim on him. Not us even on our best day- we can’t. None of us can say these remarkable words. Only Christ can. The question is not, can I say this like Jesus can, namely, the ruler of this world has no power over me? The question is am I pursuing this Christ who alone has this power?
What if our kids are not doing well? If our functional savior is “I am okay and as happy as the least happy of my children”, I am not walking in this true and deep peace. If we want this supernatural peace, then we cannot trust in our own resources and talents. We trust functionally and whole heartedy in the One who brings and IS supernatural peace.
The Sermon Passage: John 14:22-31
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.