The peace God gives is the luxury of the children of God in the midst of a sinful world! declares Swiss apostolic leader Michel von Allmen.
Genesis 3:8-11 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you ?”10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Since the beginning of time, peace (or the lack thereof) has been an issue for mankind more than anything else. Since his fall into sin and transgression, man has lived in fear. Fear, we know is not the outcome of love but of unbelief and disobedience.
Fear eats away and darkens our soul, dissolves our hopes, cancels drive and motivation for progress, keeps us in guilt, in a wrong type of dependence and in outright bondage.
Satan uses temptation (he opposes by nature of everything and anything God does to bless his creatures) to entice us into sin, because he knows that once sin is consumed, it will keep the soul into guilt and the fear of judgment.
The devil will also use the powerful «loudspeaker» of accusation in man’s mind, memory, emotions, conscience, even bodies, to reinforce that fallen condition of humanity, doing all he can to keep it in bondage, whereas we were initially made to live in peace and harmony. What sly and evil devices at work. But Christ has come to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8: «The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.»
Therefore we understand that sin is not dangerous and harmful because it is forbidden; on the contrary, it is forbidden because it is dangerous and harmful!
Once man is made to fear, he will retract and restrain from any positive posture to live out his life proactively; or maybe will try to overcome fear by «self-made» strategies of self motivation, denial, arguing, resorting to worldly principles or even fables and addictive substances, basically any kind of trick can be tried to escape the prison of fear, but to no avail. It is like trying to hold to a paintbrush while falling from a ladder. Totally and pitifully useless!
In contrast, we have God’s offer of love and peace always ready for the taking! For perfect love drives out all fear!
1John 4:17-18: «God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.»
Our loving Father knew from the beginning that he had to come up with a plan to rescue us from this slavery to fear. That is why he sent his beloved Son, the Word made flesh, to die in our place and taste the Father’s abandonment so we would not have to
Already this plan was announced some 800 years prior to Christ’s coming, by the prophet Isaiah in a masterful way when he stated:
Isaiah 9:6 «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. Of the greatness 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. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.»
We see clearly that the Lord’s plan is to govern our lives and the whole world for that matter, through the manifestation of his powerful wisdom, through his unlimited might and through his peace. The prophet says there WILL BE (assuredly) no end to his government and peace and he will do it through his justice and righteousness. What more might we wish for?
So Christ when he came into this world, came anointed, specially qualified to announce the coming Kingdom (and government) of his Father; all he said and did was motivated by creating a new dispensation or a new way for mankind to be reconciled with God through Christ’s sacrifice, the only path to reconciliation and peace.
John 1: 9-13: «The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.»
How disappointing it was for him to see that his city (and its inhabitants) the city of the great King, Jerusalem (Yerushalaim foundation of peace) had not received him nor his testimony.
Luke 19:41-44: «As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, «If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.»
How unfortunately true in history this has been and still remains the case. For Israel as well as for all of us, it is of uttermost importance to recognize the times of our visitation by God. To miss it, is missing your most important encounter and opportunity for change in life.
But Christ is his love and mercy will always come to us and reveal himself as the one who gives us peace, His peace.
John 14:27: «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.»
In our troubled world, the Church as a whole, together with her servant-ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) and her diversities of ministries have been given a wonderfully high calling; that of sharing, bringing and heralding Christ’s peace offer to all we meet.
It is too important an offer to pass up and too important not to pass on!
We would be surprised at the power of those simple but sorely needed words given to those we serve and are in contact with: «Peace be with you! Shalom!» «I bring you peace in the name of Jesus the Messiah»; for in doing so, we invoke, call for the presence of Christ to be with those we touch …and guess what…? He DOES COME with his peace and people are touched, blessed by his presence and thus get a glimpse of his Kingdom. Let’s bless people with the manifestation of His peace and not with our own arguments and see the impact it makes!
Indeed, as a company of ministers, we do want to bring you and to the old continent of Europe, this ever-true foundational message Christ has taught us and call on each of you and yours as well as those you serve, the peace of God and his Christ.
The peace he gives surpasses ALL understanding! It can even appear quite intriguing and unexpected to say the least at times because it manifests itself in the midst of trials and turmoil, in the midst of anguish and anger, in the midst of so much suffering and injustice in this world. It guards our heart and mind and keeps us Christ-centered.
Said otherwise, the peace God gives is the luxury of the children of God in the midst of a sinful world!
Philippians 4:7: «And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.»
So friends in Europe and beyond, may the peace of Christ be and abide with you for a most blessed Christmas and forevermore indeed !
2Thessalonians 3:16: «Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.»