Kingdom Principle: The peace of the prophets is limited only by their righteousness
|Malachi 3:1-4||Luke 1:68-79||Philippians 1:3-11||Luke 3:1-6|
Building on last week– as a prophet I will see the signs in the sufferings, but that does not mean I am at peace with either the signs or the sufferings. The peace of the prophet is in relationships to the righteousness of the prophet. Let me remind each of us – we are not relegating the prophets to ages past who did crazy things and knew the future. The prophets are God’s people who hear and respond his Spirit and carry that message to the designated recipient. The name Malachi is simply a name which translates to messenger – (The Hebrew word mal’ak means ” messenger” –– similar to the Greek word angelos in the New Testament). We as God’s servants are called to be his messengers “aka” prophets. This week the text focuses on the most famous New Testament prophet – John the Baptist or Evangelist or simply John the cousin of Jesus, son of Zachariah.
The message this week is that the peace we have in this life is in direct correlation to the righteousness that we enjoy. In fact Isaiah 32:17 tells us that the “Fruit of Righteousness is Peace”. So if you want peace in your life – you cannot simply look for it, or earn it, nor accumulate it, further Jesus did not even come to bring peace… (Matthew 10:34) So where do we find it or how do we get it? Last week we wrestled with the necessity of Hope. If you joined us on Sunday – we then took that a step further to discover the truth that Hope precedes Faith. And that Hope is the anchor of my soul (Hebrews 6:19) being rooted in the promises of God, but does not move us to do anything. Rather, it is the belief in this hope that produces faith, which is a movement of the Spirit and demonstration of the hope that is within us. If you desire Peace, it is going to require righteousness, and if you seek righteousness (Matt. 6:33) it is going to require faith, which as we were just reminded is rooted and requires hope. What then is righteousness? Righteousness is to be aligned with justification, which unfortunately will not help most of us understand what it is… Back in Oct – we defined justification as the step which was taken on our behalf by God the Son to completely wash our sins white as snow and make us right with Him. This is what Jesus came to bring – access to be with God – to be “right” with him. Righteousness is found by faith (Romans 1:17, 3:22, 4:13), and faith is found by hearing and believing in the hope of the promises of God. Therefore we know that righteousness is not our right actions, however obedience & training in the scriptures (Romans 2:13, 2 Tim. 3:16) demonstrates that righteousness has taken root and will not be uprooted (proverbs 12:3). So we can cling to hope, yet our faith may be dead, we can be justified by faith but still lack peace – and this is not where we want to find ourselves – yet often we do. Hoping for a miracle, but doubting it will come, knowing that God is doing something in our lives but resenting Him in the midst of it – THIS SHALL NOT BE!
Rather, let us become slaves to righteousness which leads to holiness. (Romans 6:19) This choice to seek His righteousness by faith is the road to peace, (Romans 5:1) which means not to worry (Matthew 6:25,33). This week the scriptures confirm that to be pure and blameless) will result only by the fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:10-11 And that as the prophet John the Baptist was called in a time of worldly peace, he came to prepare the way for a peace that is not of this world. We can know this peace as we walk in righteousness and holiness serving God without fear. (Luke 1:74-75)
Therefore – What is peace? Is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) which when it is rooted in us, we will not be afraid (John 14:27). As you embrace of your calling (Col. 3:15) to be slave of righteousness and prisoner of the Lord, peace is something that exists between you and others (Ephesians 4:3). Joy also precedes Peace(next week) and it is the opposite of envy (Pr. 12:20, 14:30). Therefore let us be peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God (Matt. 5:9) and reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18) – meaning we shall have wisdom from heaven that leads us in the practice of confronting chaos giving people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins and to shine our light on those who are living in darkness and in the shadow of death. (Luke 1:77-79)