A few weeks ago, we had a message on the Mediatorship of the Saviour. I took as a primary illustration the historically based movie, “Bridge of Spies.” Something I didn’t share with you that day was a line which came up three or four times during the story. Tom Hanks’ character asked the Russian spy, Rudolph Abel, “Aren’t you worried?” The soft-spoken man would usually hesitated for a moment and then reply, “Would it help?” If his defense was going badly, would it help to worry about it? Would it change anything? If he was going to prison or to be executed, would it help to worry? If he might not be well-received when he returned to Russia, would worry help? In my opinion, Rudolph Abel was my favorite character in that movie, primarily because he was imperturbable – there was a calmness, a serenity about him that couldn’t be shaken.

Now, what about us? You and me. What sets us apart from the average American? What do we have that others would like to have. A friend of ours called the other day, thoroughly agitated after listening to the Biden/Trump debate. It looks like this country is falling apart; it looks like the prison in Philippi during the earthquake. Would it help if we worried over it? Would it help our sleep? Does it help us to digest our meals to fret over who is going to be our next president or what will happen after the election? I’m not saying that you Americans are supposed to be as apolitical as I am, but again I ask, will worrying over the state of the union change the state of the union?

John 14 is one of the most uplifting chapters in all the Word of God – if someone is a child of God. The Lord Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled… I go to prepare a place for you… and I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” “If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it.” “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter… even the Spirit of Truth… I will not leave you comfortless.” “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you… Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid.” And related to that last statement in chapter 16 He adds – “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” What sort of assistance can our worry add to those promises of Christ’s peace? If anything at all, anguish over the decay of society, only robs us of the blessing of these promises.

Consider what JESUS SAID in the light of JESUS’ LIFE.

Christ Jesus was a very busy person after His baptism and He began His public ministry. I wonder if someone has ever tried to figure out how many times Jesus walked the 80 or so miles from Galilee to Jerusalem? How many sermons and lectures did Christ share with people? How many miracles did He perform that are not recorded in the Bible? How many times did He cross the Sea of Galilee into the wilderness on the east, and how many time did He travel to the Mediterranean coast to minister to people? We know that He climbed several mountains for various reasons. He was constantly on the go – for three and a half years. And we know that despite being the Son of God – the God man – He at times appeared to be physically exhausted. But He never became curt or surly. Never out of exhaustion did He become angry or impatient with people. There was always a serenity, a calmness, a peace about Him.

I’m not saying that He didn’t get angry with the sin which was around him. I’m not saying He shouldn’t be angry with us for our lack of faith, our lack of worship, our lack of service. But His patience and soft-spoken replies to our outbursts set Him apart from the children of Adam. Matthew quoted Isaiah 42:3 when speaking about Christ, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” Oh, there is coming a day when He will act as the supreme judge of all things, but even then it will be with a unruffled divine serenity. Peacefulness is one of the attributes of God.

Remember too, that Christ knew, throughout those years of public ministry, exactly where it was going to end. There wasn’t a glimmer of hope, as there was in the life of Rudolph Abel, that a reprieve was possible. Christ often told the disciples that His life was going to be cut short. And yet, when His enemies, with fire in their eyes, picked up stones to crush His skull, He was at peace. And when that mob came to Gethsemane to arrest Him, He knew the road leading to Calvary was short, but there was a divine serenity about Him. It was more sure that He would die, than when a second opinion reaffirms that we have terminal cancer. And yet nothing could perturb our Saviour; nothing could keep him from walking down that lonesome path.

How could there be no fear? Why was there a complete absence of worry? I already answered that question. He was in the infinite Son of God. He knew that following His death there would be life again, because it was a part of the eternal counsel of the God-head. And He knew that His Heavenly Father was in complete control of every detail. He knew that nothing was being left to chance; no detail would fall through the cracks. There was absolutely no reason for Christ to be anything but in perfect peace.

There used to be a day, when foolish people permitted their kings to think of themselves as gods. In some countries, even out of habit today, citizens are encouraged to address their leaders as “your serene highness.” What foolishness on so many levels. First, a truth uttered by Shakespeare has become, “Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown.” Brother Bowles mentioned to me yesterday that he has been reading the book of II Kings, where king after king was murdered, to be succeeded by another king who murdered, etc. etc. To be an earthly king is anything but “serene.” Second, “highness” is a relative position, because there is always someone who is higher. And third, both those terms can properly be applied to only One. Only the Lord is “our serene highness.” Only He is above all, and only He is truly serene.

And yet as our scriptures tell us, the Christ of peace yearns to share that same kind of peace with His disciples. He has said to us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I have unto you.” He has said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.”

Why do so many Christians lack the peace which Christ has promised us?

It is sort of the way in which the mammals, and some of the other creatures, which live in the ocean. We are like the seals, or the turtles, or the whales which are surrounded by sea water. We abide in, and work or hunt, in the water, but we must breathe the air of the open sky in order to live.

I know that it is a poor illustration, but we can become so oceanized that we don’t often enough lift up our eyes and nostrils unto heaven where sits the God of peace. Mixing my metaphors, we live in two environments; one which is inward and one outside of ourselves. The outward is always restless, pulled with tides and waves, huge ocean-going ships and predators, but the inward has the capability of peace. The outward may be confused, but the inward can be composed. Outward tribulation and inward peace seem so distinct and contradictory that it seems that they shouldn’t co-exist, but they can.

That context is behind what the Lord is promising. “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “These things I have spoken unto you, that in ME ye might have peace.”

I made a little study the other day of the New Testament word “peace.” It is“eirene” in the Greek, and is it found in the old fashioned girls’ name “Irene.” Eighty-nine times out of ninety-two that word is translated “peace.” But then it is also rendered “rest,” “quietness,” and “at one.”

Very often the scriptures where the word is found take the troubled soul right up to the gates of Heaven where the Lord resides. At the birth of Jesus, when God became incarnate, the angels shouted, “glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.” Several times Jesus authorized the people He had healed to “Go in peace,” because divine grace had touched them. Peter when explaining his ministry to Cornelius said that he had been commissioned to “preach peace by Jesus Christ.” Paul said in Romans “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ:” And on several occasions Paul opened or closed his epistles referring to “grace and peace which come THROUGH the Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice that – grace and peace come through Christ Jesus.

I probably should take time to read all ninety-two references to “eirene” or “peace,” but I’ll restrain myself for your sakes. But I will read two of verses where the word is translated differently because they provide an excellent definition. Acts 9:31 – “Then had the churches REST throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” When the entire membership of a church possess the peace of Christ, their ministry will be hard to stop. This world is searching for peace and not finding it, because God’s people are not as filled with God’s serenity as they ought to be. Acts 7:26 contains Stephen’s description of Moses’ intervention between two Jews who were fighting. “And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at ONE again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?” Peace is the bringing of warring parties together in amiable agreement – making them one again. There is a peace with God, and there ought to be peace between brethren. There is also the peace which fills the heart of Christians who were permitting themselves to be emotionally victimized by their environment.

Trying not to keep you long this afternoon, I’ll return to my earlier question:

Why do so many Christians lack the peace which Christ has promised?

It is because they have missed that key ingredient in the formula Christ has given us. I mentioned it a moment ago. Jesus said to the disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I GIVE unto you.” It takes the peace OF CHRIST to serenely navigate the tribulations of life. It isn’t our peace, but His peace that matters. It is not even the peace which we might manufacture through materials the Lord gives to us – our study of the Bible, our time spent in prayer. This peace is first and foremost the peace of Christ, and it is found in Him. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” and if you want to live above that world, you must come to me for my peace. Over and over again in those scriptures which I didn’t read, we find statements like Revelation 1:4 – “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from HIM which is, and which was, and which is to come…”

Why should God’s saints have peace in this world? Because of the One who is the source of this peace wants us to possess His peace. Serenity is the result of the confidence we have in God’s control of all the forces and events in our lives. How would my worry help or in any way to assist the Lord in His sovereignty over His creation? The castle of my life is guarded by the omnipotent God. Going back to our scripture from this morning, the jailor had no peace in the midst of the earthquake. And with good reason, because he was at enmity against the God who was shaking creation. But Paul and Silas, were not the least bit afraid, because they knew exactly Who was in control. The prison of my life is kept by a sovereign control that will never give way to anyone or anything. Worry? Would it help?

No matter how severe the storms may be, and it doesn’t matter if the seismic reading is an 8.1… No matter severely the earth is made to move, every pebble, every iron bar and every concrete block are under God’s control. The Lord wants us to have that peace. And the world needs to see that we have that peace. What is keeping you from enjoying it this afternoon? Is there sin in your life that you need to confess and forsake? Is there unbelief that you need to shake and conquer in the power of the Lord? Again, the Lord Jesus has said to us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you… Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid.”