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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1368

The Foundation for Peace
Part One

December 23, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, I had some thoughts and a scripture that came to me. Of course, I knew what we were going to be doing this morning and one of the themes of some of the songs that were sung reminded me of one of the passages that is often read at this season of the year. It’s in Luke chapter 2. I may just go ahead and read that real quickly, and just ask the Lord to bring out what He wants to bring.

But anyway, this is the account of the birth of Jesus. “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (NIV).

You know, most often when we hear this quoted we hear the King James version, peace on earth, and good will to men. And, you know, how many of you have heard many times this kind of quoted almost like it’s some magical wish that somehow there’s gonna be peace on earth? There’s gonna be no more wars among the nations and everybody’s just gonna hold hands and sing Kumbaya and it’s just gonna be great, and as though that’s what Christ came to bring.

And, you know, I feel like — I just felt like I wanted to explore this subject and just trust the Lord. I think everybody here knows that Jesus, or the angels rather, in referring to the coming of Christ, did not mean to suggest that He was gonna bring peace to this world, certainly not a political peace.

You know, you’ve got a whole lot of people that believe that he is coming one day and there will be an era of peace under His rule. He’s gonna have — gonna rule from Jerusalem. I’m not one who sees that in scripture. Jesus didn’t say anything about it. In fact, He warned that when He was coming there was only gonna be two results. There were gonna be people who were ready who were gonna go with Him and be rescued, and the rest, what’s gonna happen to them?

( congregational response ).

They’re gonna — every single one will die and after this the judgment. It’s a sober, serious thing. But the picture we get in the scriptures is of a world that gets worse and worse, darker and darker, nation going to war against nation.

They can do what they want to, but the problem is not political. The problem is not military or cultural or all those things. The problem comes from in here. And it comes from the simple fact that the world is — well, that men are at war with God. That’s what it boils down to. The human heart has been at war with God since the beginning. And until that is solved, there will never be anything else.

We were not made to live independently of Him and when we do and we put self at the center, war and conflict is the result. And there’s never gonna be any peace upon any other ground.

You know, another scripture that is often read, and I’m just gonna go ahead and read it because it begins to introduce this a little bit, and it goes back to Isaiah chapter 9, very familiar scripture to us. This is one of the prophecies. How many of you know that when Paul and the others went out and preached the Gospel there was no New Testament?

( congregational response ).

They preached the Gospel from the Prophets and from the Old Testament. The message is all there, just people didn’t understand it, didn’t know what was coming. God had hidden it from their eyes. But it was all unfolding and suddenly, when their eyes were open, when the Holy Spirit began to explain and give them an understanding of what the prophets, who themselves didn’t always understand, but what the prophets were talking about, suddenly, the message just popped off the page and they were able to go and open up Isaiah, and Jeremiah and from Moses right through the Old Testament and preach about Jesus and what He’d done.

But, let’s see, 9, chapter — let’s just pick it up in verse 6, familiar scripture. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” So there’s that word peace again, isn’t it?

“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” Thank God! “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

You know, so many who were of the Israelite nation were expecting an earthly kingdom. They were expecting that somehow there was going to be this wonderful Messiah who was going to come and drive away their enemies, exalt Jerusalem to become the capital of the world and reign over everybody and bring all this peace.

But God had a different kind of kingdom in mind, didn’t He? He said, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” That’s what He said to Pilate. Pilate was worried. Is this guy a rival, is He a rebel, is He somebody I’ve got to be worried about? And Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent…” me from being delivered to you. So, His kingdom is not of this world, is it? And it never will be. But there is a — but the words of the angel, that He came to bring peace on earth are still real!

( congregational amens ).

And they’re real in a way that so many people who sing those words and recite those words at this time of year have no idea. You know, we know the words from also another passage in Isaiah. You know, we preached about this a year or so ago, I guess, we spent a lot of time on it. I don’t want to go through all of that, but the fact that there is no peace, for whom?

( congregational response ).

The wicked, those who are separated from God. We think of the wicked as being murderers and somebody who’s really — the evil is just out there for everybody to see. But the fact is, if a heart has never been conquered by Christ, in God’s eyes it is a wicked heart. It is one that is separated from Him.

And you will, if anybody that hears this is in that condition, you have never — you heard what was just said in that little video presentation. Do you know Him? If you do not know Him, you will never ever find anything, anytime, anywhere, that will ever settle the question of what’s in here.

People are forever running around trying to scratch this itch and it’s relentless, it will not go away. There is a need, a hunger in the human heart for rest, for peace. You will never find it any other place except in the Prince of Peace.

But oh, the kingdom He came to establish is one in which peace will grow and grow and flower and blossom and it won’t end when this world ends. It will go on and on forever. Praise God! The zeal of the Lord of Hosts, I mean, the Father of Lights, the God of Heaven is behind everything that He sent His Son to do. Thank God! Thank God! So, there’s no peace for this world.

And you know, Paul was describing the human condition when he was outlining the Gospel in Romans chapter 3. I’m just gonna refer to this scripture, I’m not gonna try to read this. But he was laying out the groundwork for why we need the Gospel, why we needed what Jesus came to do. And he’s describing the human condition, and it’s not just that everybody has sinned, but it’s the condition that drives that.

And he says the way — one of the scriptures is this, “…the way of peace they do not know.” There is a way. There is a way, even in this world, that brings peace. But people, apart from Christ, have no clue as to what that is. They’re gonna try to find their peace out of a bottle, out of a pill, out of pleasure, out of going to Hawaii, I don’t know what, a thousand and one things, they’re gonna try to find some way to get what they call — achieve what they call peace.

But you will never touch the needs that are in here, outside of Christ, because that’s the problem. It’s human hearts in rebellion against God. And you know, when you think about peace among people, the primary problem is not with human relations, it’s not that we just need to learn how to get along and be tolerant and all of that, the problem is — it begins with a relationship to God. If you’re not in relationship to God, you are gonna have one heck of a time trying to relate to other people because there’s always going to be that thing in there that just drives you to live for self. There’s no other way to put it. Praise God!

So the peace that He came to give is one that I believe there’s a goodly number here that you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? There was a time in your life when you were at war with God. You were doing your own thing. You were wanting your way in life and then there came a time when God conquered you, not with His meanness, not with any of the negative things that we associate with the idea of being conquered, but He conquered you with His love and with His mercy, the very thing we’ve been thinking about and singing about this morning. He conquered your heart and when you were brought to that place of surrender, what happened? What’s the fruit of that?

( congregational response ).

It’s peace, isn’t it? And you wonder, why, why did I wait, why did I fight? You know, the scripture we’re so familiar with, I want to go through several here, but I just pray the Lord will take this. I don’t want to just go around and go down an outline. I want to just give out the thoughts that the Lord has given. But, praise God, Romans chapter 5.

You know, the human heart is so self-driven. And what I want to express is certainly not a new truth to this place, but I want to focus on it, for just a moment, because we somehow in our human arrogance suppose that the way to acceptance with God and this place of peace is through something that I must do. I must somehow meet the qualifications that God lays down and when I do that, then He will reward me by accepting me into His kingdom and then I will have peace.

How many of you know it’s the exact opposite? It’s coming to the place where we recognize the condition of our hearts, not just in general, but we look in the mirror and say, ‘my’ heart is completely unclean. I am completely helpless. There is nothing I can do but recognize what Jesus has done! The King came from Heaven and He laid down His life and He took the punishment that justly should have fallen upon me, because I’m a sinner.

( congregational amens ).

He stepped into my place and took the wrath of God for me, and my hope lies in surrender! My hope lies in putting my faith in Him! “Therefore, since…” Paul says, “…we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” I praise God because that absolutely, as we’ve said many times, that levels the playing field, doesn’t it?

( congregational response ).

 I don’t care whether you’re sitting in a penitentiary somewhere because you’re a mass murderer, or whether you’re a good little Sunday School boy or girl that just never has really surrendered, you have the same need—exactly the same need!

And many times, it’s the fellow that’s in the penitentiary that has the advantage because he knows he’s a sinner, where we have this way of kidding ourselves about how good we are. And there is no goodness that we can offer that God will find acceptable.

But what He finds acceptable is surrender and trust in the promise of God that He made through His Son, Jesus Christ who bore our sins on that tree. We are justified! You know what justified means? It means we’re accepted as righteous, we’re just in God’s eyes. God says, “That one is right. I put him down as one of the righteous people. He’s right with me. There’s no sin that I can hold against him because it’s been paid for by Christ.” Praise God!

( congregational amens ).

What a Gospel! What a hope we have because of Him! But oh, how it brings us into that place where we who were His enemies — you go down in the chapter and you find out we were enemies of God. We weren’t just sort of somewhere in La La Land, we were enemies of God, we were directly fighting against Him and against His purpose. We were struggling to find our own way, right to shaking our fists in His face, not literally very often, but doing it simply because we wanted our own way.

And God looked down on a world that was in blindness, in hardness, in rebellion against Him, His enemies. And do you want to know what love really is? Not this human sentimental stuff: I love you because you make me feel good. This is, I love you because of what I have the power to do. I have the power to pull you out of that. I have the power to make you, to bring you to a place of peace and joy and meaning and everything that I created you for. And I’m willing to do what it takes even to the point of sending my Son to that cross.

And He was willing to do it and do it with joy! Praise God! Praise God! That’s the foundation for peace! There is no other! You know, as I was thinking about this, I was thinking back to World War II. I didn’t quite discover America till a few days after it, but nonetheless….

( laughter ).

Some of you will remember it. But anyway, there was a terrible conflict, it involved Germany, but I’m thinking principally of Japan. And the culture of Japan was so relentlessly militaristic. It was all bound up in their own sense of who they were and their superiority. And so, they really went after us with everything they had and it was a pitched battle to bring them to surrender. And you know, whatever you want to say about the way it ended with those two bombs, nonetheless, what it accomplished was a surrender, wasn’t it?

( congregational response ).

And the surrender that took place was not a conditional surrender. Like, I’ll surrender if, I’ll surrender if you will do this, if you will do — it’s just, we surrender. Now I thank God for the leadership that we had that didn’t turn that into trying to abuse the people there, that actually went in there and tried to help and tried to get things going again.

But the point is the same. There is only one condition that will lead to peace. It is unconditional surrender, where my life is handed over and becomes His life! It belongs to Him! He has the right to it, for time and for eternity! Praise God!

And you know, the amazing thing is, human nature just hates this idea, because we observe what happens many times in human society when somebody is able to exercise power over somebody else and bring them into a kind of submission. Man, it is a selfish, abusive kind of situation in which, the person on the bottom end loses. And they sit there and they chafe, and they wish they could do it different, and they hate it and it’s terrible for them.

But you know, when you surrender to this God and to this Savior, the minute you do, you will find that you have not bowed the knee to a selfish, abusive tyrant. You have entered the arms of a loving, heavenly Father…

( congregational amens ).

…Who wants to bring you into a place where you will enjoy Him forever! It’s not that He’s bringing you in to serve your interest, but in serving His interest you find out that’s what it was really about to begin with! What have I been living for? I’ve been living for myself, trying desperately to scratch this itch and it just won’t go away, and there’s nothing I’m able to do about it. I have no power. Oh, praise God!

Praise God for what He…for the kind of a God He is! I’m so thankful the greatest power in the universe is benevolent! He loves! He wants the best for you! And oh, how we fight that! We fight it! We just think, oh, I know what’s best for me. I know what’s right. I know this. I know that. Oh, you don’t! And you will never have peace until you come to a place where you realize you don’t know anything as you ought to know it.

( congregational amens ).

Peace and meaning in life begin with knowing Him. He came to bring peace. And He came to bring it on earth. That’s the amazing thing! That in the midst of this world that is going to Hell, it’s possible to belong to a kingdom that will produce peace in the human heart.

And He brought it, didn’t He? Praise God for what He did, for what He was willing to do to do that! The humility, the humbling that came about through what He did.

And you know, once you get that relationship established, once God begins to conquer the human heart, then you begin to have a relationship, or a foundation, I should say, for a relationship with other people, because this isn’t just a you and Jesus on the Jericho road kind of thing, as we’ve said so many times. God wants to build a kingdom, a community in which there is harmony between you and me.

And what is it that produces that harmony between you and me? It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Because if I want what I want and you want what you want, we’re gonna have a fight. You know what it takes to have a fight? Two people!

( laughter ).

Two human beings simply being what they are! That’s all it takes to have a fight! Unless one of them is just gonna rub the other one down into the ground, but there’s gonna be a whole lot of fighting going on in the inside of the one who’s down there!

Oh, I’ll tell you what, when God takes the fight out of our hearts and we realize what we’re made out of, and how much we need Him and what His life is really like that He gives us. He gives us a new heart. He doesn’t give us laws out here, He puts the laws in here.

You know, I think I said recently that according to what Brother Thomas used to say, that after God changed Him, he said, I rob all the banks I want to, I commit all the adultery I want to, whatever thing — I murder all the people I want to, but God’s changed my ‘want to.’ That’s what He does. I’ll tell you, if you’ve got peace in here, then you’ve got a foundation for relationships.

But you know what it takes? It takes two people who are each brought into harmony with Him and now our wills beginning to align with His will. And the more my will aligns with His will, the more it’s going to be aligned with somebody else, because we’re all on the same page and it’s got to be His page. Praise God! Do you believe this is possible on earth?

( congregational response ).

I do too! That’s what He said! I came to bring peace on earth! It’s not the other kind. It’s not the kingdoms of this world that’s gonna experience this, but it’s human hearts. Jesus said, the kingdom of God doesn’t come with outward observation, didn’t He? And He said that to people who were expecting an outward kingdom. He said, it doesn’t come that way. The kingdom of God is among you, or it’s within you, is another way to translate that. The kingdom of God is in here. And when my heart is surrendered to Him then He becomes the king here.

( congregational amens ).

Oh, when He comes in, He brings His peace, doesn’t He? Praise God! Peace with God! What an awesome thing that is!