This week, it seemed good to me and to the Holy Spirit to take a little break in the series we’ve been on about God’s love and cover something that I believe the Spirit is saying to the church in this hour.
This was something I shared at Healing School on Thursday morning that spoke to a lot in attendance. But even before I shared it, during my preparation time that morning, the Lord bore witness with me that this was something He wanted me to share on Sunday morning as well.
So I say all this to say, take this as a Word from God for you this morning …
Let’s first look at John 14:27 and dig out some of its treasures: In this verse, Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
So, apparently, when Jesus ascended on high, not only did the Lord give us the Holy Spirit, the love of God, joy, His name, etc., but here Jesus tells us that He has left us peace by saying, “Peace I leave with you.”
Now this peace is not something that God hopefully will give us one day; this peace has already been left for us. In fact, this peace was apparently left on our front door 2,000-plus years ago because it was when Jesus was leaving the earth. But like it is when someone leaves us a package, it doesn’t do much good to call the person who left us the package and ask them would they please give us what they already left us. What would their reply be? Something like— “Uh, I told you I left it there for you. Didn’t you pick it up?” In other words, if they already “leaved” it, then it wouldn’t make much sense for us to ask for them to give it to us. So, if we persisted in trying to get them to give it to us when they said they already left it, then that would just indicate that we don’t believe what they said. Amen? No, I can assure you that Jesus has already left us this peace we desire. So, we first must simply believe that Jesus has already delivered it to us.
And this is not just any old peace that He left for us either. No, it is not some generic form of peace that Jesus has delivered to us. This is His very own “piece of peace!” That’s why He went on to say, “My peace I give to you.” Praise God! So, do you know what this means, church!?!? The peace that has been afforded us is the very same peace that He possessed in the midst of the storm that enabled Him to sleep peacefully in the boat (a story we are about to look at)! So, this is the quality of peace that He has left with us and freely given to us! Amen!
But the fact Jesus said in this phrase “My peace I give to you” shows us that this peace is not earned or to be worked for either. No, it is a gift of grace to us! Amen. Like we just learned, peace is a fruit of a spiritually-alive and Spirit-empowered life. So, just like the Lord has freely deposited all of these other eight fruit of the Spirit in our born-again, recreated spirit—which are the Lord’s very own attributes and characteristics—Jesus’ peace has been freely given to us as well. Glory to God!
Then Jesus went on to say, “not as the world gives do I give to you.” Now this has a couple of possible meanings—both of which have truths contained in them:
Number one, it can mean that Jesus does not give us His peace like the world would give it. In other words, He does not have a bunch of stipulations and conditions to receiving and walking in His peace like the world might “give” something. No, when the Lord gives something, He really gives it—for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29).
Number two, it can mean that this peace of Christ is not the same kind of peace that the world speaks of—which is a total absence of conflict, wars and fighting. No, Jesus left us the peace of God which, in the midst of conflicts and troubles, we can have a total quiet and tranquil state in our hearts! In other words, this peace is a peace within, not necessarily a peace without. So, like in the example of Jesus sleeping in the boat that we are about to look at, while there was certainly not a rest, quietness and calmness on the waters at that moment, there absolutely was a rest, quietness and calmness in Jesus in the midst of the storm! Amen!
So, this peace of Jesus which describes a state of rest, quietness, tranquility and calmness of soul is resident within us. Jesus not only left it with us, but freely gave it to us. So, it’s there—like that package that was once and for all delivered to your front doorstep. This is the first very key and vital step to seeing His peace work in our lives—knowing that it is already ours. Amen.
But as Jesus went on to say in this verse, we must let it! That is why He went on to say, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” So, the understood subject here is us. The ball is in our courts. We are the ones who decide whether or not we are going to let our hearts be troubled or not. We are the ones who decide whether we are going to let this peace that is resident within us operate or not.
Now let’s go over to this example in the Scriptures I have alluded to already and learn more about these truths that peace is already living within us and how we need to let it rule in our hearts. Amen?
REST IN THE STORM
I believe that in Mark 4:35-41, we have this concept of walking in Christ’s peace perfectly illustrated:
In verse 35, this story begins with the following words— “On the same day, when evening had come …”
Now the first thing we need to understand and be prepared for is that “evening” will come to all of us—that is, the dark time where it seems like we have no light, and that trials and tribulations surround us. In other words, we shouldn’t live under the delusion that if I do everything right or if God loves me, that I won’t have troubles in my life. We have an enemy, saints. And He is absolutely going to try and sink you every chance he gets, just like he did Jesus and His disciples here.
Jesus promised us this—that in the world, we will have tribulation (John 16:33). You could say it this way: in the sea, you are going to have winds and waves. It is just to be expected if you’re out on the water that you will experience these ups and downs. Likewise, it is to be expected—that as long as you and I are in this world, there will be the winds and waves of life that will try and affect our boat. But I love that Jesus did not just say, “In the world, you will have tribulation…” He went on to say, “…but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” Amen! What that says to me is that even when these winds and waves of life come against us, we don’t have to let our joy sink because Jesus already walked on those troubled waters for us! Therefore, we can walk on them too! Amen and Glory!
But notice how these troubled waters occurred “on the same day” that Jesus taught them all of these principles of the kingdom. Did you know that this is an established kingdom principle? Yes, we have multiple witnesses in the Scriptures that teach us that Satan comes immediately to steal the Word that was sown in our hearts (Mark 4:15). So, it seems apparent to me that Jesus was preparing them for this trial of their faith in the evening by teaching them all day how the kingdom works. And this is why we are learning these things as well, church—because we are going to have ample opportunity to lose our peace. In other words, just as sure as we are going to have daytime, we will have nighttime as well—and particularly as the Word of God’s kingdom is being sown in our hearts. Amen or Oh me.
Then the next thing we see is Jesus speaking a very powerful statement to His disciples. Yes, He spoke a Word that I’m sure was not properly heeded because His disciples did not fully perceive or understand who it was coming through. The Word made flesh Himself said, “Let us cross over to the other side!”
And like it is with us, we hear the Word and don’t truly realize that these Words are not just the words of men that hold no power; no, these Words are life-giving and able to empower those who yield to them. In other words, these words by Jesus here in verse 35 had power in them to cause this very thing to happen, no matter how much adversity would come. Amen!
Now the terminology here is important: Notice that Jesus did not say, “We are going to cross over to the other side” or “I am going to take you to the other side.” No, He said, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Why? Because it was not just up to Jesus whether they crossed over the troubled waters. His disciples had to “let” it happen. This signifies to us that we have a part to play in overcoming the obstacles of life while getting to the other side and also maintaining peace throughout the journey.
Now I wanted to make this point because we need to understand that we need to cooperate with the Lord. And one major way that we do not cooperate is by allowing ourselves to fear, worry and be anxious.
LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
In looking back over at John 14:27, we see again that after Jesus described leaving His peace with His disciples, that He said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Now this statement by the Lord speaks volumes, so let me ask you a few questions:
Now do I always do this? Certainly not! But should I? Certainly! Why? Because Jesus said I can, and the Word tells me I should. My prayer is that the Lord would elevate our experiences to match His Word instead of us watering down His Word to match our experiences. Amen!
Now it is important to note here that Jesus is talking about our hearts here, not our heads. What do I mean by that? I mean, we will certainly have thoughts come into our heads, tempting us to worry. We will certainly have feelings and emotions try to rise up in our flesh, tempting us to panic and fear. But the key is in understanding that we don’t have to let those thoughts and feelings impact our hearts. Amen?
As you likely heard me say before, “You can’t keep a bird from flying around your head, but you can sure keep him from building a nest there.” Likewise, we can’t keep the thoughts and emotions from coming, but we can certainly keep them from taking root in our hearts. This is when we need to do exactly what Jesus said here and not let our hearts be troubled even if our heads are screaming troubling things.
So, Jesus essentially was telling His disciples the same thing in Mark chapter 4 when He said, “Let us cross over to the other side.” He didn’t say, “Let us go halfway and then drown” nor did He say, “Let us go as far as we can and hopefully without a storm hindering us.” No, the God of the universe—the Master of the winds and the waves—said the other side was where we are going, and “dagnabbit,” that’s where we are going! Amen?
HOW STRESS AFFECTS US
Now in verse 37, we are told— “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.”
You know, I believe this is a great description of how fear, cares, worry, and anxiety affect us: These “windstorms” describe the circumstances we find ourselves in in life. They are the trials, tribulations, and “mountains” that we invariably find ourselves confronted with. And when those “great windstorms” arise in our lives, they seemingly come out of nowhere (i.e. the word “arose” denotes unexpectedly and out of nowhere). This might be that alarming bad report given to us by the doctor, our children, etc. And when this happens, these bad reports usually catch us off guard. This is when these “great windstorms” produce waves that beat into our boats. I would liken these “waves” to the emotions, fears, anxieties that come as a result of the adverse situations and circumstances going on in our life. And this is when the stress begins to affect us—for these worries and cares like to “beat into” our souls to where we are “filled” with those troubled waters.
So, you see, that is what the devil strives to do—to bring adverse weather conditions that will cause pressures to continually crash into our soul, until hopefully our hearts are filled and drowned with those intoxicating cares. In other words, his goal is not just simply to bring trials, tribulations and persecutions against us; his goal is to then use the worry and fear to beat into our boat to where we are filled up with the stress from the circumstances. This, my friends, is when he can sink us—when the stress fills our hearts with the cares which come from circumstances.
But the good news in this is that the “great windstorms” of life cannot sink us in and of themselves; it is the waves that we let crash into our boat that will sink us. Glory!
So, if we combine these two truths (i.e. not letting our hearts become troubled or afraid and let us cross over to the other side), we come up with a truth that is worthy of all acceptance--if we let our heart become troubled, we can keep ourselves from getting to the other side. In other words, if we do not deal with the winds that are crashing into our boat and we become filled with the water from those waves, it is going to be all but impossible to cross over to the other side.
JESUS IS IN THE BOAT!
But notice what Jesus was doing while all of this was going on: Verse 38 goes on to say, “But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.” So, in the midst of this great windstorm and the water that was filling their boat, Jesus was just taking a nap! Amen!
You see, this story illustrates our lives: The boat in this story describes our lives—and because Christ was in the boat in this story, we see a picture of the truth the apostle Paul gave us in Colossians 1:27— Christ is in us, the hope of glory. Yes, because Christ lives in our boat, we have a hope of glory of getting to the other side! Amen! So, Jesus is in our boat resting and because Christ has put His peace within us, we can have peace in Him! Therefore, we can just rest, praise God, because Jesus is resting in your boat!
But as we know, Jesus’ disciples were not at peace in the least bit. Even though Jesus was in the boat with them, they were stressed out to the max trying to keep the water from filling their boat. But if Jesus’ disciples would have just considered that Jesus was in the same predicament that they were in, don’t you think it would have changed their outlook?
First of all, did they really believe that Jesus did not care about their plight? After all, was He not in the boat with them? If they would have honestly considered it, they would have known that the Lord was not going to drown. No, the Word said that they were going to the other side. That was their seed! They were to let that Word be planted in their heart and then let it produce its own results even though they might not know how. They could (and should) have stood in the midst of that great windstorm and said, “No, we will not drown, and you will not keep us from our destination. The Lord said that we were going to the other side. So, you might as well calm down storm because we are going to the other side!”
But as we’ve seen, not only did they have the Word that they were to go to the other side; they also had the Lord in the boat with them. So, if for no other reason than that, they should have known they were not going to sink.
Likewise, we need to understand that Jesus is in the boat with us too! He lives within us! He is in our lives! Therefore, He has a stake in the game! He is not going to let us drown! He is going to make sure we cross over the windstorms of this world and get to our destination! Hallelujah!
But the main reason why Jesus’ disciples did not consider these things is because they obviously did not fully know who this man was yet. Sure, they had plenty of evidence that He was more than a man, but their hearts still were not persuaded of all that He was. We know this because down in verse 41, after Jesus took care of the storm, we are told that the disciples “feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
And did you know that this is why we too get drowned in anxiety? It’s because our hearts are not completely impacted yet as to whom Jesus is in our lives. If we “knew” whom we have believed, we would be more persuaded that He is able to keep those cares we have committed to Him (Second Timothy 1:12).
On top of that, we are also drowned in cares because we don’t know who we are in Him—because in other accounts of His disciples being caught in the middle of a storm on the water, Jesus indicated that His disciples could have done the same thing in His name.
DO YOU NOT CARE?
Now let’s look at what happened next in verse 38: They awoke Jesus, saying to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” You see, they obviously expected Jesus to be consumed with the same “cares” that they were because, after all, this is a real and serious problem they were in, right? And how many times have we done this? In the midst of an alarming situation and it seeming like the Lord is asleep somewhere, have we ever cried out— “Lord, do you even care!?!”
While I certainly sympathize with those who have had these types of situations, having had some of them myself, the truth is, that is not the right question to ask. Of course, Jesus cares! He loves us so much and cares about our welfare in many ways more than you and I do about our own welfare. But the real question is not, “Does He care?”; the real question is— “Why are we caring?”
You see, we must remind ourselves in those times where it seems like the Lord is not present in our troubles, that He truly does care for us and that He knows what we are dealing with. And then, because we know He cares for us, we cast those cares upon Him (see First Peter 5:7). On top of that, if Jesus does not deem it important enough to fret about, then why do we? We must stay on His side in these things—His side of the boat. So, while we might want to know why the Lord is not caring like us, He wants to know why we are not resting like Him?
PEACE, BE STILL!
And I just love what Jesus did in response to their question: Verse 39 says, “Then Jesus arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Amen!
So, what did Jesus do again? First, He rebuked the wind—which we likened that wind to the circumstances themselves. So, He rebuked the problem itself—and to “rebuke” something means “to correct, admonish, instruct, or charge authoritatively.” So, this means He set the source of the problem straight by “speaking to the mountain”—which was the wind that was causing all the problems on the water.
Then, we are told, that He “said to the sea.” Now we likened the sea that was beating against the boat and filling it with water to those fears and worries that impact us as a result of the circumstances. So now what we see is Jesus speaking to the sea, and we are told exactly what He spoke to it— “Peace, be still!” What did He say again? PEACE! In other words, we need to speak the peace of God over our mind, will and emotions when those unruly waves are trying to drown us with cares.
Now these words in this verse “Peace, be still” describe “to hold one’s speech, to be quiet, remain silent, & to muzzle.” So what Jesus was literally saying to the sea was, “SHUT UP!” And did you know this is exactly what you need to do with those thoughts and emotions that are beating against your heart and mind—tell them that you will have peace and for them to be quiet! The world will say you’re weird if you talk to yourself, but I think they’re weird!
QUIETING OUR SOULS
This is what I see as the Psalmist’s describing the “quieting our souls.”
Of course, we have a lot of Scriptures that refer to us as speaking to our own souls—telling ourselves what we are going to do. One of the most obvious ones is Psalm 103:1 when David says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
I feel sometimes we hear these Scriptures so many times that we get on autopilot and don’t really think about what they are saying. But in this verse, David was talking to his own soul! He was telling himself to praise the Lord! In fact, he wasn’t just talking to his soul; he addressed “all that was within him” to praise God’s holy name!
So, a good question is: Why would one ever have to tell their soul to praise God? It’s because there will ample opportunity in one’s life to either forget or not feel like praising God. And this is when we have to give ourselves a little self-talk, grabbing ourselves by the ear, and making ourselves bless the Lord at those times! Amen.
But just like David told his soul to praise God, in Psalm 62:5, he also said, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him” (NIV). God’s Word translation says, “Wait calmly for God alone, my soul, because my hope comes from him.”
So here, David was telling his soul to settle down. Almost like the admonition of a child, he speaks to his soul and says, “Wait calmly.” Do you think the Bible might be trying to teach us something here?
And I really like this next one David wrote: Psalm 131:1 says, “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.”
And did you know that is all that worry is—it’s being concerned about things that we cannot control. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 6:27 that we cannot, through worry, change anything anyway, so why do it?
Now David is also saying here that his heart is not “proud” or his eyes “arrogant” in relation to not being concerned with these things. Did you know that it is an arrogant and proud thing for us to be anxious and worry? It is basically us saying (without saying it) that we are going to concern ourselves with these things rather than casting it over on the Lord, in humility, and letting Him perfect those concerns.
Then in Psalm 131:2 David goes on to say, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother.” God’s Word translation says, “Instead, I have kept my soul calm and quiet. My soul is content as a weaned child is content in its mother's arms.” Amen!
So, again, David seems to be describing his soul like a baby that needs to be trained to grow up. Like when a baby is weaned, it won’t like it initially and might pitch a fit, but it will eventually adapt and do what it needs to do. Likewise, our soul must be put in its place and not be allowed to dictate our lives. That would be no different than letting our children dictate what we do and when we do it. No, our spirit needs to rule the soul well just like the parents need to rule their homes well.
So, here is the takeaway from today’s message: This peace has been left with us because the Prince of Peace Himself lives within us. And since we have the peace of Christ, we know the ability to walk in this peace is in our control. Therefore, it is up to us to not let our hearts be troubled and to not let them be afraid. And when we let this peace rule in our hearts, this is when we let ourselves get to the other side just like Jesus & His disciples. No, it is not the storms of life nor is it the winds & waves that can sink us; it is only the troubled waters that get in our boat that sinks us. So, the good news is, if we can keep the troubles around us from getting inside of us, they cannot sink us. Amen and amen!
So, we have learned that Jesus said we are going to get to the other side! So, no matter what the storm, winds and waves are telling us, we too can stand up in the midst of those troubled waters of life and say to our soul— “Peace be still!” and experience a great calm—that is, that perfect peace that passes all understanding! Hallelujah, and amen.