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This week's sermons:

               John 14:23-29  -  The Peace Of Christ In A World Of Chaos
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One of the best newspaper cartoons of all time is Calvin and Hobbes. One day Calvin and Hobbes come marching into the living room early one morning.  His mother is seated there in her favorite chair.  She is sipping her morning coffee.  She looks up at young Calvin.  She is amused and amazed at how he is dressed.  Calvin’s head is encased in a large space helmet.  A cape is draped around his neck, across his shoulders, down his back and is dragging on the floor.  One hand is holding a flashlight and the other a baseball bat.

“What’s up today?” asks his mom. 

“Nothing, so far,” answers Calvin. 

“So far?” she questions. 

“Well, you never know,” Calvin says, “Something could happen today.”  Then Calvin marches off, “And if anything does, by golly, I’m going to be ready for it!” 

Calvin’s mom looks out at the reading audience and she says, “I need a suit like that!”

That’s the way many of us feel as we see the news and deal with life. Sometimes this world seems quite violent and people seem to be at each other’s throats.  A suit like that would help, so we can say with Calvin, “Whatever may come my way, I’m going to be ready for it!  Bring it on!”

Well, I don’t have a suit like Calvin’s to give you this morning, but I do have word for this morning: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

There is a defining phrase in that statement. One that tells us what kind of peace it is that Christ gives us. Listen to it again and see if you can pick it out: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The defining phrase is: “Not as the world gives.” Do you see how that defines God’s peace? The world promises peace through the rule of law. Law and order is the only way for a society and a people to experience peace and law and order must be kept by the aggressive use of force. That’s the only way that the world can bring about peace.

 

But here is how Jesus will give you peace. If you obey his word He and the Father will come to you and make a home with you. Right in your heart. Not by force but by choice. They will abide in your heart bringing peace. The world’s peace is peace through strength. The Lord’s peace is peace through surrender.

 

We have all been asked by our children: if you could have any wish what would it be? I think the most common answer given is world peace. Peace is important. Jesus makes a point to tell his disciples that he going to leave them with peace. Peace is part a vital part of our faith. Let’s look a little closer at what Jesus means by peace:

 

1. First there is the Peace the World Gives

2. Second there is the Peace the Lord Gives

3. Third there is the Obedience We Give

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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....

 

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