Jesus in HD 109: Swimming in a Sea of Tranquility

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From Dewey Bertolini, Pastor of The Safe Haven in McMinnville, OR:

In this PODCAST, we will discover together an amazing privilege that is ours, especially given tormented world in which we live. We have been given a unique gift of God’s blessing that Jesus Himself empowers us to bestow on His behalf to others.

Just so you know, this is the kind of person I long to be.

This blessing and privilege defines a pretty amazing purpose statement for our lives.

This is HUGE!

There are so many troubled people in this tortured world of ours. In case you hadn’t noticed, this world has become a very scary place. There seems to be a fog of uncertainty that leaves many of us reeling from feelings of unease in our world today — on a global level, as well as on a personal one.

It seems to so many as if the world spinning out of control, as if their world is spinning out of control. To the point where God’s peace is the polar-opposite of what people experience in their self-medicated souls.

Something that is as unsettlingly true in our day as it was in Jesus’ day. Believe me: Life was tough then too.

So in this passage, a very gentle Jesus, who sees people then and now as harassed, helpless, confused, fearful, insecure, fragile… Precious people whom Jesus describes as vulnerable sheep without a loving, caring shepherd.

To people just like that, He then and He now offers the blessing of His peace: the calm contentment that in a world spinning increasingly out of control, Jesus is and ever shall be very much in control.

The most amazing aspect of this is the fact that — as you are about to hear — Jesus gave us, gave YOU, the ability to confer His peace on those so desperately in need of, and craving, His peace.

Let’s begin by reading Matthew 10:11-15

11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

You see, you and I have the extreme privilege, as followers of Christ, of being the actual conduits of Christ’s peace to others.

But, if the gateway to God’s peace is for us to be worthy, how is that possible, since we – on our own – are not worthy?

Actually, you are.

The word “worthy” is used 82 times throughout the New Testament. Sometimes, it is used in reference to God being worthy of our praise, such as 2 Corinthians 11:31 –

31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise…

But, much of the time, the word “worthy” is in regards to you and me, such as in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 –

12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.

We see the word “worthy” used like this used throughout the epistles. But, what does it mean?

As used in the New Testament, in reference to you and me, a person worthy of God’s peace is simply someone who hungers to know the word of God and to live the word of God.

This doesn’t mean that we are supposed to live it perfectly or even consistently, but that it is the pursuit of our lives.

So, when Jesus sent out his disciples to the nearby villages, declaring God’s peace, He told them what type of people to look for – worthy people who hungered to know the truth and who hungered to live out the truth. He also warned them against the type of people to look out for – those who do not want to know or live out Biblical truth.

The key is that anyone who chooses to live their life in defiance of God’s truth – deliberately choosing to reject God’s truth – invariably forfeits God’s peace. Therefore, when chaos does (and it will) reign in their lives, it cannot be God’s fault.

This is why I may be shocked at the barbaric things that happen around the world, I am never surprised. Everything is proceeding as Jesus described. And, while so many of the people in the world today are forfeiting God’s peace through their decisions, thus creating chaos in the absence of peace, I have read the end of the book and I rest assured that history ends well with Christ’s peace reigning supreme.

Paul writes about this in Romans 1:18 –

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness

When it comes to suppressing the truth, I can’t think of a more vivid example than what we see in the Book of Acts, while Stephen was preaching in Acts 7:54-58

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.

They were unworthy. Not only did they shout down Stephen to suppress God’s message, they literally killed the messenger.

But know this – while they (and many people today) chose to be unworthy of God’s peace, they were at no time unworthy of His love, grace, or forgiveness.

Now, when it comes to God’s peace, most notably Jesus’ blessing on the peacemakers in His Sermon on the Mount, we too often get the definitions confused. We think that making peace is when we see two people not getting along and we stick our noses into their situation and try to mediate peace into their lives. For me, every time that I attempt to do this between two friends, instead of making peace, I end up causing greater rifts between all three of us.

Instead, peacemakers are actually people who bring God’s calming peace to others. So, if we simply exhibit God’s truth, and proclaim His peace through our words and actions, we are peacemakers.

We are privileged.

We are blessed.

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