"THE GOD OF PEACE"
I. "AS IT IS IN ALL THE CHURCHES OF THE SAINTS."
A. There is great flexibility in the churches in the forms of worship, and order of worship.
1. From the very staid, to the highly emotional.
2. From formal ritual to informal loose structure.
3. It must be noted that the Bible does not give to us any direct teaching on how many hymns we should sing, when prayer should be offered, whether the songs should be accompanied by organ and piano, or by guitars and drums.
4. Paul does tell the church in Ephesus:
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
5. We know from the book of Acts that they continued steadfastly in apostles doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.
6. To Timothy Paul wrote,
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
7. The Apostles said that they would give themselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word.
8. Paul wrote to Timothy:
These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, but that was in the context of setting up elders.
B. It would seem that in the church of Corinth things were sort of out of hand.
1. It would appear that they were abusing the gift of speaking in tongues.
a. They would interrupt one another.
b. There would sometimes be no interpretation given.
c. Sometimes they were all speaking in tongues.
2. When they came together everyone wanted to share a psalm, or some doctrine, or a tongue or a revelation or an interpretation.
a. Not always did this edify the whole body.
3. It would seem that the women would call across the room to their husbands who were, as in the synagogues, sitting on the other side of the church asking for clarification on some subject.
a. Paul told them to keep silent and ask their husbands when they got home.
b. It was a shame the way they were speaking out in church.
C. You can imagine how confusing the services were there in Corinth.
II. "GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION."
A. God is a God of order. You can tell that by looking at the orderly fashion in which he created the Universe.
B. There is a definite form for the worship of God in heaven.
1. John saw the Cherubim about the throne of God worshiping God as they declared His holiness, and eternal nature.
2. He saw the 24 elders respond to the worship of the Cherubim by falling on their faces and casting their crowns on the glassy sea before the throne of God and declare the worthiness of God to receive the glory and honor that is being ascribed to Him.
3. It is not everyone doing their own thing, but a definite order.
C. When you go to a church service and everything seems to be disorderly and confusing, you know that God is not the author of that confusion.
D. Paul closes this chapter with the exhortation, "Let everything be done decently and in order."
E. I believe that we can carry this out in our personal lives.
1. Many times things get very confusing.
2. God is not the author of that confusion.
3. Many times we are the authors of the confusion because we insist on doing things our way instead of God's way.
4. It is amazing how confusing a mess we can make out of our lives.
5. Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear.
F. It is quite possible that some of you are in the midst of confusion today. Things are so confusing, you do not know which way to turn.
1. You can be sure of this, that confusion doesn't come from God, He is not the author of confusion.
2. The beautiful truth is that God brings order out of confusion.
a. We read in Genesis 1:2
that the earth was without form and void.
b. God began His work of bringing order out of the disorder.
3. When we turn over to God the tangled web that we have made of our lives, He is able to bring order and beauty to us.
III. HE IS THE GOD OF PEACE.
A. It was man who initiated the war against God.
1. He is the one who has rebelled against the laws of God.
2. My flesh is still in rebellion against the laws of God.
3. God's laws are contrary to my fleshly desires.
a. God tells me to forgive. I want revenge.
b. God tells me to love my enemy, I want to hate him.
c. God tells me to do good to those who are spiteful against me, I want to kick them in the teeth.
d. God tells me to turn the other cheek, I want to smash them in the nose.
e. He tells me to be fair in my dealings, I want to cheat.
4. Look what happens when I follow my flesh.
a. James asked, "Where do the wars and fighting come from? Do they not come from your own flesh?
b. So I have sought to fight back, I have sought revenge. Has this led to peace? No, only greater conflict.
5. Not only am I at war with God, I am at war with everyone else.
6. The result is that my life is one constant turmoil and confusion. From one crisis to another, from one conflict to another.
B. One of the names of the Messiah was Prince of Peace.
1. Eight times in the New Testament God is referred to as the God of peace.
2. He is not a God of turmoil, or confusion, but a God of peace.
C. If I am to know peace, it must begin with God.
1. I must make peace with God.
2. I remember the speech of President Roosevelt when he declared war. He said, we will not stop short of anything less than the unconditional surrender of the enemy.
3. That is what God demands from us. Unconditional surrender. This is His term for peace.
4. I must surrender to His will, to His law.
D. That is not so bad.
1. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.
2. The prophet Micah said, "He has shown you O man what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to live justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
E. Not only does the New Testament refer to Him as the God of Peace, but many times the phrase "The peace of God" is used.
1. Peace with God will bring to you the peace of God.
2. You will find that once you have peace with God the confusion of your life will disappear, and you will begin to have the peace of God filling your heart and life. No more confusion, no more turmoil. Just that glorious peace of God filling your heart and life.
F. What will it be? It is your choice. Will you go on fighting with God and anybody else that crosses your will? Will you continue in your inner turmoil and confusion, or will you settle with God, and begin to enjoy the wonder peace of God filling your heart and life?