My Peace I leave with you

peace

Sunday 12/05/21

Message –  My Peace I leave with you

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My Peace I leave with you

We’ve been focused upon the return of the Lord this year… and our reasons had nothing directly to do with the times we’re living in… it was due to how helpless I felt as a Pastor in my ability to stir up a sustainable…maintainable earnestness in our walk with the Lord. 

How to keep from getting side stepped in our devotion – being drawn off into the mundane by the trappings of life and this world we live in.

God’s answer to me was in the partial quote of a verse “Those who maintain this hope in themselves, purify themselves even as He is pure.”

What hope? Well His return, but according to this verse maintaining a longing… an expectant and earnest desire for His return produces lasting changes in our lives regarding our purity. 

It isn’t escapism…it is a cry of the heart of the body of Christ who longs to be with Him – not just to escape the wickedness and drudgery of this fallen world.

And we’ve discovered how teaching about Jesus’ return for the church a theological backbone of the entire gospel message and the Bible at large. 

The entire Bible is less focused upon sin and righteousness than it is on passion for God. 

THAT is the first and greatest commandment! 

  • It isn’t obey the Lord you God with all diligence. 
  • … or live holy and righteously before a holy God or else. 

What it says is quite refreshingly, shockingly surprising. 

What Good is looking for in us is devoted love and in order for love to be devoted for the long haul it requires passion. 

The first and (according to Jesus Himself) the greatest of all the commandments is to Love the Lord your God with EVERYTHING THAT YOU ARE! 

So we’ve made Jesus’ Return for His Church a primary focus this year. But even THIS topic of passionately longing and looking for His return can itself become mundane if all it is…is teaching.

At some point, you are going to have to respond…you are going to have to keep the first and greatest commandment or at very least cry out in faith and desperation to God to help you do so.

So, as so often happens this time of year, I have been reflecting on all we have covered and I still find it wanting. 

I find myself asking under my breath… Lord, how do we get this from the printed page to the heart in a way in which it is believed enough to live it?

And one name comes irresistibly to mind…the Holy Spirit of God!

After all, as the preamble to His return is stated in Revelation it is the Spirit and the bride who in concert cry “come Lord Jesus” 

Turn with me to John 14…Which is where we see Jesus first bringing up the Holy Spirit as the future, full-time person of the Godhead Who will be with each person in the body leading them into Jesus and preparing them for His return. 

Last week we got as far as verse 17 where He is introduced as the Spirit of truth. 

But before we press forward, as I was reviewing the chapter again three sections we covered last week really stood out to me to readdress.

“(7) “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” (8) “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” (9) Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son

(15) “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Now picking up where we left off last week…

John 14:17

“17  He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. 18  I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19  “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. 20  In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21  The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

22  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” 

23  Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24  The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. 

The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me. 25  “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit–the Father will send Him in My name–will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”

1Corithians 2

“1  When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3  And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4  My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, 5  so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power. 6  However, among the mature we do speak a wisdom, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7  On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. 8  None of the rulers of this age knew it, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9  But as it is written: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. 10  Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. 11  For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. 12  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. 13  We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14  But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15  The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16  For: who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Mind of Christ = we are of the same mind as. 

Amplified… 

“16  For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.” [Isa. 40:13.] {lead and feed as a shepherd holding them close to His heart} 

John 14:27-31

27  “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. 

28  You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 

29  I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. 30  I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. 

31  On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do. “Get up; let’s leave this place.”

John 15

1  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2  Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.

 3  You are already clean (pruned) because of the word I have spoken to you. 

4  Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” 

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!