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) Last week we wrestled with the necessity of Hope. Hope looks backward at the promises of God and brings them into the present through declarations of the prophets, in this Hope precedes Faith. It precedes it, by means of the fact that Hope is an anchor that is based on already provided realities, much like trust is actually accrued and based on past actions or indications. Hope is the anchor of my soul (Hebrews 6:19) being rooted in the promises of God, but it alone 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. Whereas Hope precedes faith, Peace & Joy are products and processes of faith. 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 comes as an position because of justification. If that last sentence left you looking for me – justification is the removal of the barrier between us and God. This work is done for by Christ, to completely wash our sins white as snow and makes us right with Him. This is what Jesus came to bring – access to be with God – to be “right” with him. Justification makes Righteousness in us possible and it is found by faith (Romans 1:17, 3:22, 4:13) Faith is found by hearing and believing in the hope of the promises of God. Therefore we know that righteousness is not simply 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, without faith or peace – yet often this is true. 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 – Let us say – this shall not be!
Rather, let us become slaves to righteousness which leads to holiness (next week’s topic tied with joy). (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? It is 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) and leads us into a preferred future. 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)
- Whereas Hope looks backward – Peace looks forward. Where are you lacking peace about the future?
With regards to that situation, the answer to peace lies in claiming and discovering righteousness of Christ in your present circumstance. In this way, we are to Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all other things will be added. (Matt 6:33) This addition is a result of peace in every circumstance.