- Sermon Notes
Peace that Jesus Gives
Jesus is speaking to His disciples, they are sitting together at the Last Supper, the Passover; these are some of the last words that Jesus will say to them before He is arrested, so these are extremely significant words to them and to us.
In this chapter we read some of the most famous and powerful words that Jesus taught His disciples. “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me…” And then in verse 6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
Then, in verse 15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Jesus repeats that three times in these verses.
Somebody reading that verse might say, “Did Jesus really give commandments? I mean like commandments like commandments? I knew there were commandments in the Old Testament, but are there actually commandments in the New Testament? I don’t like the word commandment, it sounds so command like, so concrete, so definitive, so inconvenient.
I think He should make suggestions, or perhaps recommendations; He could even exhort us, but require? Insist? Expect? Why would Jesus give us commandments?”
Maybe a way to think of it would be comparable to the relationship of a teen to his parents. That’s a good analogy because those are turbulent years when young people are trying to figure out who they are and whether they will agree that they need the wisdom, direction and input of parents or if they will resist at every turn and insist that they are their own boss.
When we were raising our five kids, we tried to communicate that our role was to help transform them; to help transform their character, and it was to their blessing and good that we gave certain commandments.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.” We had a very similar rule, they had to respect one another and they had to respect us, but it was to bless them and transform them.
In John 14 Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In other words, these are not commandments you keep simply because it’s the law; these are things you do because you love Jesus and you love His Father and that love causes you to want to do what He says.
On Wednesday we were studying in Jeremiah 6 where God is explaining to Israel why their lives were falling apart, saying, “Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.” They had no love for God and His Word had no value to them.
Many of you are perhaps too young to remember when the Dallas Cowboys were a good football team. Many years ago, they drafted Roger Staubach an accomplished quarterback. The problem was that he was used to calling all the plays himself, but he was drafted onto a team that was coached by Tom Landry, who was considered a genius in football strategy; and who called every play…The problem is that many people are also used to calling their own plays, but when you love God and trust that He is the way, the truth, and the life, you want to do what He says.
In John 10:10 Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it abundantly; life to the full. Many, however, don’t connect the dots; the way to abundant life that we receive from Him is by doing His commandments.
I. Love God First
- Over and over in these verses Jesus says that the one who loves Him is the one who has His commandments and keeps them.
- We pray for revival; that is what happens when the church falls in love with her Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.
- But Jesus connects the two together, “If you love Me, you will keep My word.” Because God loves you so much He wants to help you stop being a stinker and to be a good man with a good heart that brings forth what is good in your life.
- Jesus said that the greatest commandment God has ever given is that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
- God wants us to love Him first before all other people and all other things in our lives.
Luke 14:26-35 Loving God before all things
- When Jesus speaks of hating one’s own father or mother or wife or children, what He means is that we should love these less than our love for Him.
Illus - I love golf. And I would really love to be good at it. They actually sell memberships and if I got one of those, I could play golf all I wanted. But here’s the thing, I love my family more and I love God more. In other words, I’ll never really be good at golf.
- If you were to love golf, or a sports car, or video games, as your first and highest love, you couldn’t have love for God first and highest and your family would suffer.
- But when you love God first and highest, you are blessed because of who you will become and your family is blessed because God will tell you how.
- Jesus is a friend of sinners, the scripture says. He brings forgiveness, healing, hope and help to those that are broken and lost.
- The key then is to keep living in that relationship where God is your friend.
James 4:4, Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Luke 16:14-15, Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “… God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
- In other words, love God first and desire His ways and His path and His things in your life.
- If you love God first, and have the Spirit of truth in your life, if you have God as your friend, you’ll be different than the rest of the world.
- In fact, as God is transforming and blessing your life, you represent Him so the world will see that He is a friend of sinners.
Illus – If you went in to a gym because you were thinking of joining it, but the guy at the counter was 10 sizes overweight and was eating a doughnut while smoking a cigarette, you wouldn’t consider joining.
- If God has opened your eyes, then let Him keep changing your life and then help others be reconciled to God as well.
2 Corinthians 5:19, God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
C. We need sacrificial living
- Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
- What were some of these commandments?
John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- This is sacrificial love; love that blesses others even at my expense. But when you love sacrificially, you’re the one who is blessed.
- But He gave other commandments also…
Luke 6:27-38 Give and it will be given to you
- Give unto others; that’s sacrificial living. It’s part of a strategy of God to bless you through transforming your heart and character.
Illus - If you withhold forgiveness, you’ll be bitter. If you hold back love, you’ll be lonely and empty. If you hold back generosity, you’ll be greedy.
- When you leave this earth, you’ll leave your treasures behind, God is giving you spiritual treasures that are eternal.
1 Timothy 4:7-8, Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Illus - Spiritual exercise is a great illustration. My wife and I drove by Nike the other day and saw this buff guy running without his shirt. It takes a lot of exercise to look like that. What would happen if we did the same thing spiritually? “I’m lifting a commandment, I’m going to forgive someone… I need a spotter.”
- Here’s the thing; Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is the Helper whom the Father will send. He’s your spotter. Imagine the spiritual results in our lives.
II. Love God and Peace will Surely Follow
- Jesus then said in verse 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 heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
- In other words, the result is peace. Not the kind of peace the world gives, it’s different.
- Many people are very troubled in their soul, they’re looking, always searching, but never finding. We need to understand how to have the peace of Jesus.
A. The real war is within
- The word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of hostilities or conflict or strife.
- But Jesus spoke of giving His peace. Jesus certainly had conflict around Him, but he certainly also had peace within.
- Isn’t the real issue the real battle within?
James 4:1, What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
- In other words, as long as a battle brews within, there will be quarrels and conflicts because of it.
- The first quarrel or conflict that Jesus resolves is the conflict many have with God.
Isaiah 59:1-2, The Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.
- Jesus reconciles people to God, though we are the ones who created the separation.
Isaiah 1:18-19, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”
Illus - “Come now, let’s reason together,” in other words, let’s resolve this. When we found our teens resisting, we found it much more effective to say, “Come now, let’s reason together… What’s bothering you about our instruction? We are doing our part, what’s your part?”
Illus - Paul was kicking against the goads.
- Jesus brings peace with God and then sends the Spirit of truth so we can live truly, without resisting Him.
- We need the peace that Jesus is offering, but it comes from taking hold of what Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My word.”
- In other words, it’s about faith, it’s about trusting that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.”
Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:31, What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
John 14:15-27 NASB