THF SUNDAY SERMONS
10TH JULY, 2022
SERMON TITLE: How to Enjoy Peace in the Midst of Storm
SERMON TEXT: Mark 4:35 – 41
PREACHER: Rev. Ebenezer Olawuyi
God wants us to learn from Him. This month is a month of rest, but you have to learn how to invoke that rest. You’ve got to be skilled on how to walk in peace in the midst of the storm. You have to find out from the eagle how it survives in the midst of the storm when other birds are dying and crashing. Friends, it’s a skill that you’ve got to develop. When you stop learning, you begin to stink, when you stop learning, you go to extinction. As food is for the body, necessary for its survival, learning is important for you to still be relevant. When you don’t learn, you will begin to stink. So, you’ve got to open your heart and be ready to learn.
We want to share the nature of Christ. The scripture says in 2 Pet. 1:2 – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Everything we need, we have it in His Word. “…through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3). He has called us into a glorious life, a life where your life becomes a wonder, but you’ve got to know how to do that. He has called us by glory and by virtue. The Bible says, “…by which have been given to us exceedingly grace and precious promises…” (2 Pet. 1:4). There is a tool that he has given us to live the life he lived. He was unconquerable and unstoppable, we can also be. No armed robber stopped him on the way, never admitted to the hospital at one time, we can also be like that. He never lacked at any time, we can also live that kind of abundance. We can share that nature, because He has given us exceeding great and precious promises through which we become partakers and partake of his divine nature having escape the coruption in this world. He didn’t bring us out of Egypt to live a life of ridicule, shame and disgust, He has brought us into glory (Ps. 105:37). You’ve got to learn from Him.
The scripture says, “In the days of Solomon, there was no war, adversary, for God gave them rest on every side” but let me tell you this, rest or peace is not only the absence of war, it’s not only the absence of trouble, but the presence of God in the midst of the trouble. Jesus was in the boat but he was sleeping (May God give you sleep in the midst of the storm). He was unruffled, unperturbed and unmovable… “I have set the Lord always before me, therefore, I shall not be moved.” He was unmoved, sleeping, sound sleep, I want to believe that he was even snoring. He was in deep sleep to the extent that the disciples went to wake him up. That is peace. It is knowing that God is in control; He is the one driving me, I can’t be afraid. It is that confidence that gives you rest and peace. So, I emphasize it, “Peace, rest is not only the absence of war, trouble or lack, but the presence of God in the midst of it.”
God has promised us peace (John 14:27). He bequeathed his peace unto us. He gave us His father’s inheritance – peace. No wonder the scripture says in Ps. 16:5 – 6, “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.” David says in Psalms 73:26, “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Even in the midst of health challenge, I refuse to be moved because God is the portion of my heart forever. Psalms 46 says, “The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. He is there. Rest, peace is knowing that God is there with you in the storm, in the trouble. I am unmoved because I know He is with me, so that gives me peace. God is there; at the nick of time, He will show up. He will not come late.
Let me go ahead and lay this foundation: There are three levels of peace and they are interrelated. The first determines the others.
The first and the most important one is “Peace with God”, not Peace of God but Peace with God. Before you knew the Lord… Eph. 2:1 – 2 talk about us who walk according to the dictates of the flesh. That was our life before we knew the Lord, but in verse 3, “among whom also we once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh… and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” We were waiting for God’s anger. No sinner can ever have peace with God, he is going to meet the wrath of God waiting for him. Anyone who has not known the Lord dies on earth and meets judgment with God but by the grace of God, we have passed from judgment to justification. No more judgment for us, no more condemnation. We are going to him and he will meet us, telling us to enter into His joy. There is the anger of God hanging upon every sinner. He does not go to heaven but to the wrath of God. If you don’t have peace with God on earth, you can never have peace with God there.
Everyone working according to the lust of his flesh and the dictates of this earth is at war with God. You are taking weapons against God, fighting God. An enemy of God, that’s who you are. You are an enemy even if you don’t know it. You might say you are not carrying a weapon, but when God says you should do this and you are walking contrarily, you are an enemy of God and God’s judgment is on you. When you have two warring factions… when the Nigerian government was fighting against Biafra, there was trouble, death and there was no peace but the day the Biafrans surrendered, peace came. When you surrender to the Lord, peace comes to you (Rom. 5:1). When you gave your life to Christ, God gave you peace, it has become your inheritance. Peace is your inheritance in Christ. You have peace with God and no longer wrath. He died for you to get that peace. He became our peacemaker that brought us and God together through the cross (Romans 5:8, 10). No longer judgment for us because he has died for us and we have yielded by faith to accept him. We are no longer children of wrath. We have peace with God. The day I surrendered to the Lord, my sins were written off. I believe him that Jesus died for me to make peace with me and God and the moment I came to him by faith, he wrote off my past and said, “No longer anger between you and God.” I have peace with God, even if I die today, I am not going to judgment but to His presence with welcome. That’s the first and most important.
The second is the “Peace within Us.” You cannot have all others without having the first. Phil. 4:6 – 7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” You have peace inside of you, you are just at rest. No matter the situation, you are just at rest. One martyr was being killed and thrown into the fire, He said, “I have peace as if I am in an air-conditioned room.” Even in the midst of the fire, he had peace. They threw the three Hebrew men into the fire and by the time the King came and looked into the fire, not even the flame of fire came upon them. They had ‘inside fire’, ‘inside peace’ and were unmoved. That’s the peace within you that nothing can disturb. You are just at peace, because you have peace with God.
The next level is the “Peace with Others” – the Horizontal Peace. A lot of reasons why people don’t have peace with others is because they don’t have peace with God. They are so quarrelsome, always fighting everybody. They have everybody as enemies. So, you cannot give what you don’t have. You can only give what you have. If you don’t have peace in yourself, how can you give peace? They don’t have peace in their families; they have many enemies; even inside the church, they have enemies – many people they don’t greet. If you have peace with God, you have peace with yourself. You will become a giver of peace; where there is no peace, you will bring peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall become the sons of God.” You are not a quarrelsome person, you enjoy peace and are not comfortable where there is no peace. I’ve met a lady who said, “I am just a quarrelsome person until I met Christ. Sometimes, the ‘thing’ just come upon me and I get sad throughout the day, nothing you tell me can take it away.” When this lady came to know the Lord, she had peace within herself and started having peace with others. So, there are three levels of peace: Peace with God, Peace within You and Peace with Others.
Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Hebrews 12:14 – “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Pursue peace, run after peace; even when there is no peace, begin to run after peace, until you get to a wall when you can no longer run, that is, run after peace until you catch up with it. Look for someone who does not have peace with themselves, or someone quarreling with you, go and look for that person and tell them you are a giver of peace, you have come to give them peace. If you don’t have peace, you cannot see God. It doesn’t matter how many tongues you are speaking, if you don’t pursue peace, you can’t see God. Even if you speak with the tongue of angels and of men and have no charity, you are like a sounding cymbal and empty brass. Pursue peace with all men. It is not possible to see God for a man or a woman who is not pursuing peace. I have spoken the Word of God, these are the words and the promises of God that can give you peace. Say, “Pursue peace! Run after peace, even when peace is running away from you.” Don’t enjoy keeping malice. Don’t enjoy being a quarrelsome person, be a peacemaker! Where there is no peace, bring peace. If you are in a family, organization and there is no peace, bring peace. In a family where there is no peace, there are plenty witches there. You don’t need a prophet to tell you that some witches are in that family. When you see people always living quarrelsome lives, the devil is there but where there is love, there the Lord pours out His blessings. God cannot pour his blessings where there is wrangling and bickering and bitterness. God cannot pour out his blessings where there is no pursuer of peace and forgiveness.
Things you need to do to enjoy peace
- You have to learn to trust God (Is. 26:3, Jer. 17:5 – 6). Isaiah 26:3 – “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” What a promise! The disciples were worried because they didn’t trust him and thought they could perish if they didn’t wake him up. They forgot that the one who rules the water was with them, it was not possible for him to be drowned. As long as they were with him, it was not possible for them to be drowned but they expressed no confidence in him. He cares for you and have great plans for you. God has a great plan for you, it doesn’t matter what you are passing through today, he has great plans for you (Ps. 37:37, Prov. 23:17 – 18). Say it to yourself, “God has a great future for me, I will trust him.” I may not know tomorrow, but I can trust my life in the hands of He who owns tomorrow. Don’t fear, He won’t let you down nor disgrace you. He hasn’t brought you this far to leave you here. He hasn’t called you to a life of shame and disgrace, you won’t be embarassed (Job 8:7, Jer. 17:5). Men may forget you, but God won’t forget you. Trust Him and the peace of God will come.
- Learn to cast your cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:8, Phil. 4:6). The load you put on Him does not stay with you again. Can you put that worry on his table? Instead of grumbling, pray. Instead of looking for men’s help, look for God’s help. Go on your knees and pray. Cry to the Lord, don’t cry around. When you give your worries to Him, he will give you His peace. When you give your troubles to Him, he will give you His peace. When you give your pains to Him, he will give you His peace. When you give your concerns to Him, He will give you His peace. Cast your cares on Him, He knows what you need. Believe Him when you cast your cares on Him.
- Surrender to His Word and His Will. The Word of God is His Will, surrender. You can’t have peace when you struggle with doing God’s will. You hear God’s word yet it is what is in your mind you still want to do. God is no respecter of any man but he respects one group of people – those who tremble at His Word. One of the reasons why God loved David… after David committed adultery and Nathan, the Prophet came to him and told him that story of a rich man who took the lamb of his poor neighbor to entertain his guests. David was furious, Nathan then said, he (David) was the rich man. If it was Saul that Nathan said that to, he would have been killed. There are some people who are too big for God’s correction, they can’t ever have peace. They are higher than the Word of God and so God can’t speak to them. When you get to that point, you are on the path of destruction. The Word of God touches you, speaks to your situation, dissects you but if you rebel against it, then you get yourself into trouble, you are on the path to destruction. God respects those who yield and surrender to him. Immediately Nathan told him, David went on the ground… it was then he wrote Psalms 51. He was crying and confessing. Immediately, the same man who said to him what will happen, probably he had left, the Lord stopped him and told him to go and tell David something else. The benefits of obeying God’s word is that you have peace. Let the Word of God be your umpire. Let it reveal yourself to you. Let it rule and have the final say. Don’t argue against the word of God, then you will have peace, but if you argue against it, you will not have peace. Say, “Lord, I will not argue against your Word from today. Help me to submit to your Word in the name of Jesus.”
- Remain Faithful (2 Chron. 15:2, Ps. 85:8). After the defeat of the 1,000,300 men of the Ethiopian army by 300 men of the army of Judah, this was the word of the Prophet to Asa: “And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2 Chron. 15:2). If you forsake him, He will forsake you; if you stay with Him, He will stay with you and give you peace. He will speak peace to you but don’t be rebellious. Remain faithful and follow Him. Don’t play hypocrisy before God, you can mock man but you can’t mock God. Remain faithful to Him wherever you are, in the secret or closet. When Asa became unfaithful, in 2 Chron. 16:9, the word of God came to him and told him that he won’t know peace.
Today, we have a lot of people in the body of Christ that are unfaithful. Can you trust a man, worker, colleague, spouse, sibling? To be faithful means to be reliable. Can you be trusted with money? Money is a mammon. Can you be trusted? As a treasurer, can you be trusted in the Cooperative? Can your boss trust you? Can someone commit an organization to your hand? Can you be faithful and trusted? Can your spouse trust you when he/she is not around? Can you be trusted with young ladies? Faithfulness is something lacking in our generation today. Even people you would never imagine are unfaithful. No unfaithful person can have rest. You may have that money but you can’t get peace. Money does not give peace, find out from rich people. Whether you are eating ‘beske’ or ‘ponmo’ you can have peace and someone eating chicken will not have peace. Come to the Lord who gives you peace. If God does not give you peace, there is nothing that can give you peace. Determine to be faithful, to God and to men. Be known as a man who is faithful and can be trusted, especially with money and the opposite sex. 2 Kings 12:14 – 15 talk about some group of people in the days of the King Joash who were so faithful to the extent that nobody demanded account from them. Can you get to that level? May God make you, make me faithful. Be faithful in marriage. Marriage is honorable, the bed undefiled but adulterers, God will judge; they can’t have peace, it’s God’s anger that will be upon them. God will judge them because they have dealt unfaithfully with their spouse. In Psalms 107:18 – 20, the Bible talks about the unfaithfulness that led them to sicknesses and diseases. Let every unfaithful person stop the life of unfaithfulness. You may say God is not looking at you but He is. The Word of God is coming, I want you to tremble at His word and He will give you peace.
- Live in Contentment (1 Tim. 6:6 – 10). Be satisfied with what you have. Be satisfied with the wife and husband you have. Be satisfied with the children you have. Not that money is not good, but when you love it above your integrity and above God, then it has become your God. If you can do anything and don’t mind, just because of money, then mammon has taken over and you can’t have peace. Instead of peace, it’s sorrow. Be content. Some people spend the money they have not earned to buy the things they don’t want. That’s why godliness with contentment is a great gain. Don’t spend the money you have not earned. You can’t have peace when lenders are at your door knocking every time at the end of the month. Even in times that we are today… there is something called frugality, to be frugal and economical about spending. Even in these times, there is no reason why you cannot apply wisdom. It will place a crown of honour upon you. Apply wisdom. If you need to buy fairly used when you don’t have the money, buy fairly used. Don’t copy somebody buying new. Fingers are not equal and there are seasons and times for everything. Your own time is coming. Don’t copy others, you don’t know how much they are earning compared to you. I don’t ever envy anybody. I stay where I am. Nobody can make my head swell to the extent that I begin to envy. I am content with what I have and where I am and God will change my level. Live with contentment then you will not be troubled. Paul said in Phil. 4:12 – “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound…” Don’t struggle. At a point when I had an issue with my car, I didn’t tell anybody and would trek from my house to church. I used to get here even before the ushers. Learn to live in contentment. Stop borrowing… borrowing to buy clothes, etc. Live in your level when you are trusting God to change your level.
Pray: Lord, help me to follow your word as you have instructed me this morning so that I will enjoy your rest and peace. Help me to trust you and cast my cares on you. Help me to submit to your Word that it will be the umpire of my life, the final say. Help me to remain faithful, trustworthy and dependable. Help me also to be content with what I have. Help me never to live above my needs. Help me to trust you that you care for me.
Like I said, it all starts with peace with God. To have peace with God is to surrender struggling to him, to accept Jesus the peacemaker, then you will have peace. Once you have peace with God, the anger of God will be removed from your head. Surrender to Jesus today and He will give you peace. If you want to surrender all to Jesus and don’t want to struggle with Him from now, put your left hand on your chest and say: “Lord, I stop struggling from now. I give you my heart. I come to your side that you will help me from today and give me peace. Jesus, you are the Lord. Thank you, Father.”
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