Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. Peace. This series of peace I hope brings great assurance and promise as you face the realities of life, personally, externally, and eternally. The words that we are studying comes from 2 Thessalonians 3:16. And I hadn’t seen that verse still code struck the planet.
It’s being a huge encouragement to me. Simply goes this way, “Now may the Lord of peace himself continually grant your peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all.” Today, I want to focus on the word himself, because the apostle Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, has had a special fondness for the word himself, the personal pronoun, himself. So there would be no confusion as to whom he’s referring to as the source of whatever is needed for Christian existence.
For example, in 2 Thessalonians 2, he said “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort in good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and deed.” At the end of 1 Thessalonians 4, he says, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. And then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the air together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
That’s what he offers to us in comfort. And then at the end of 1 Thessalonians, I see a connection between himself and peace motif. “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, to be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus.”
Between now and then, even through death. And even if we don’t die, caught up. And right now, in good works and good deeds. One day, we will be without blame. We’ll be preserved complete.
The end of 1 Thessalonians 5 rehearses a verse in my mind that my father-in-law gave to me a long time ago. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, “Faithful is he who calls you and he will bring it to pass.” He will bring the preservation of your life and your work to pass. That comes from the God of peace.
Now back to our key text. The Lord of peace, himself– he, himself, as a source of peace, as a sphere of peace. There’s no peace found outside him. If you’re trying to find peace in any other source, in any other sphere, you’re not going to have it.
After the Resurrection, four times, the Lord Jesus appeared, not only with the traditional greeting that is found the Middle East even today. You’ve heard Shalom, and you’ve heard Salaam. But to disciples who were disturbed, they were wondering what had happened to the one they had followed for those 3 and 1/2 or so years.
He appears before them. He stands among them and he says, peace be with you. On the first day of the week that we celebrate Easter Sunday, the Lord’s day. Even though the doors were locked because of fear. Fear is a sure indication that peace is lacking. He appears and he says, peace be with you.
As she sends off his disciples into the world, like you and me, in the Johannine version of the commission, he says, as the father sent me, so I send you. But he professes it with, peace be with you. That’s his habit. He, himself, is the giver of peace. That, in a way, is the definition of peace. Not merely a psychological and a philosophical definition of peace, but a personal definition of peace which has to relate with the Lord Jesus, himself.
There are other religions in the world which are called peaceful religions. They propose mindfulness and a lessening of anxiety as you go into meditative states. A famous Buddhist monk died in 2022 at the age of 95. Name was Thich Nhat Hahn. And gave many practices for Buddhist mindfulness.
And perhaps some of the practices can help with a bit of a psychological peace. I’ve been to those areas of the world, but I’ve got some great news for you, “Himself”. This himself can give you peace because he’s the only resurrected one. No other religion has a self-resurrected Savior of the world who can live peace and give peace to you.
The Lord Jesus himself. Himself, because he’s the resurrected, unique one. There is no source of peace outside, no sphere of peace outside him. His peace is your peace.