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When Peace Gets Personal - Isaiah 26:1-4

Taught on | Keywords: conflict, millennial kingdom, peace, right living, righteousness, sin, thought life, trust, world peace

Though peace cannot be found nationally, internationally, politically, or societally, what about personally? Well, the Bible has a lot to say about personal peace, and Isaiah 26 hosts one of the great promises of it. Though the biblical context of this chapter has an eschatological setting, today we will explore five fundamentals about personal peace. It is my great hope that you will not only look forward to a future of peace, but that you will experience God’s personal peace in your life right now.

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2/28/2021
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When Peace Gets Personal
Isaiah 26:1-4
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Though peace cannot be found nationally, internationally, politically, or societally, what about personally? Well, the Bible has a lot to say about personal peace, and Isaiah 26 hosts one of the great promises of it. Though the biblical context of this chapter has an eschatological setting, today we will explore five fundamentals about personal peace. It is my great hope that you will not only look forward to a future of peace, but that you will experience God’s personal peace in your life right now.

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Give Peace a Chance

Give Peace a Chance

The desire for peace has always been part of human history. Activists protest for it, celebrities demand it, and pop culture makes it a memorable catchphrase, but humankind's natural inclination toward conflict has kept peace out of reach. True peace is so much more than the absence of conflict and its only source is the Prince of Peace. He alone offers a lasting peace that can't be found in or understood by this world. In this series, Skip Heitzig explores the theme of peace throughout the Bible, including internal, interpersonal, and eternal facets. Peace is possible.

Outline

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  1. Personal Peace Is Found in God (vv. 1-4)

  2. Personal Peace Is Forecast for the Kingdom (v. 1a)

  3. Personal Peace Will Flourish with Virtue (v. 2)

  4. Personal Peace Is Fostered by Focus (vv. 1-3)

  5. Personal Peace Is Formed by Trust (vv. 3b-4)

Keywords: conflict, millennial kingdom, peace, right living, righteousness, sin, thought life, trust, world peace

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: February 28, 2021
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "When Peace Gets Personal"
Text: Isaiah 26:1-4

Path

Though peace cannot be found nationally, internationally, politically, or societally, what about personally? Well, the Bible has a lot to say about personal peace, and Isaiah 26 hosts one of the great promises of it. Though the biblical context of this chapter has an eschatological setting, in this teaching we will explore five fundamentals about personal peace, not only looking forward to a future of peace but also experiencing God's personal peace in our lives right now. Skip Heitzig's path through the text is:
  1. Personal Peace Is Found in God (vv. 1-4)
  2. Personal Peace Is Forecast for the Kingdom (v. 1a)
  3. Personal Peace Will Flourish with Virtue (v. 2)
  4. Personal Peace Is Fostered by Focus (vv. 1-3)
  5. Personal Peace Is Formed by Trust (vv. 3b-4)
Points

Personal Peace Is Found in God (vv. 1-4)
  • There are roughly 400 references to peace in Scripture. God wants you to have peace.
  • In Isaiah 26, peace is connected to God's name; peace comes from God Himself.
  • As we've learned in this series, true peace is an inner calm that's independent of external circumstances.
  • Many people define peace as the absence of war, conflict, strife, or animosity. That's a partial picture, but not the full portrait.
  • Biblical peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of someone—God.
Personal Peace Is Forecast for the Kingdom (v. 1a)
  • Isaiah predicted God's coming kingdom, when true public peace will be present.
  • The phrase "in that day" (used forty-four times in book of Isaiah) references a future time when a believing remnant of Israel will be saved and ultimately delivered from the tribulation.
  • After the tribulation, Christ will return and set up His millennial kingdom.
  • In this kingdom, Jesus will rule from Jerusalem, and personal peace will grow into world peace (see vv. 12-13).
Personal Peace Will Flourish with Virtue (v. 2)
  • Living righteously means keeping the truth (remaining faithful).
  • Living righteously—best demonstrated in producing the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23)—helps you experience peace. Put another way, peace is a by-product of right living.
  • Sin is the great disturber of peace. It's like a thief that comes to steal tranquility. Sin causes anguish of heart because it hinders fellowship with God.
  • This is why confession is so necessary. It deals with guilt and unburdens the soul, restoring peace (see Psalm 32:3-5).
Personal Peace Is Fostered by Focus (vv. 1-3)
  • In Hebrew, the phrase "perfect peace" is shalom shalom.
  • Shalom means peace. When doubled, it refers to a genuine, intense, satisfying peace.
  • Shalom is a peace without the undercurrents of anxiety; it is total well-being and internal tranquility, a settled heart.
  • How do you experience this peace? By staying your mind—disciplining yourself to fix your thoughts on God's ability, promises, power, love, and intentions for you.
  • Neuroscientists say humans can have up to 70,000 thoughts in one day. That's over 25 million thoughts in a year.
  • We need to harness our thoughts. As 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (NIV).
  • Be careful about what you allow to enter your mind: what you watch, listen to, etc.
  • Focus on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (see Philippians 4:8).
Personal Peace Is Formed by Trust (vv. 3b-4)
  • Personal peace comes from God and is given to the righteous who fix their thoughts on Him.
  • The reason the righteous fix their thoughts on Him is because they trust Him, because He's trustworthy.
  • God designed humans to be dependent, but when sin came into the picture, man began to act independently of God.
  • However, when you trust a trustworthy God, you will experience perfect peace.
  • We live in a time when we have two basic choices: trust or torment.
  • Choose trust. In the midst of all that's going on in the world today, choose to focus on God and meditate on His truth.
Practice

Connect Up: Isaiah 26:1 tells us that it is God who "[appoints] salvation." As Pastor Skip referenced, the Hebrew word Isaiah used for salvation is yeshuah, a derivative of Jesus' name. Yeshuah also means deliverance or victory. It's fitting that Jesus' name is connected to salvation; He's the one who saves. How is Christ the ultimate fulfillment of God's rescue plan? How does Christ bring deliverance, salvation, victory, and peace? Share a story of how Christ delivered you from something, leading to personal victory and peace.

Connect In: Peace is promised to those whose mind is "stayed" on God because they trust Him. The Hebrew word for stayed is samak, meaning established or rested on. As individuals and as the church, how can we rest our minds on Christ? According to Philippians 4:8, what are we to meditate on? Talk about what the following characteristics mean: true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

Connect Out: Our text in Isaiah tells us that God is "everlasting"; that is, there's no vanishing point with Him—He's eternal. How can God's eternality act as a tool to talk to unbelievers about Christ? For example, the physical world had a beginning (even most atheists believe in the big bang), but what was before that? Only one person, by definition, can create something from nothing—God. What other ways can you use God's eternality to witness to the world?

Transcript

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When Peace Gets Personal - Isaiah 26:1-4 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC - PLASTIC ONO BAND, "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE"]

Peace, celebrities demand it. Pop culture makes it a catchy tune. Activists protest for it. Still, keeps seems out of reach. True peace can't be found in or understood by this world.

(SINGING) All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Give peace a chance.

Good morning, again. Did you bring one of these? Yeah, these are really important, I have discovered, to have. So let's turn in those Bibles, shall we, to the Book of Isaiah. It's the biggest book in your Bible, longest book in your Bible in terms of chapters. 66 chapters in that book. Isaiah, chapter 26 today-- Isaiah 26. I'm going to throw a picture up on the screen. See if you recognize this painting. Do you recognize that?

OK, so this is a painting-- let's just keep that up. This is a painting called The Scream. It is by an artist named Edvard Munch, and he painted this picture. They say it is as recognizable-- second only to the Mona Lisa, in what people would recognize as a famous painting. In fact, this is now an emoji. So that's how famous it is. It sold for, in 2012-- at Sotheby's, it sold for $120 million. Yeah, I know, you're looking at that, going, my kid could do that.

So that sold for $120 million, and I was able to see this picture myself when I was in Oslo. Here's proof that I was there. It's standing in front of the picture, trying to make the same face. This picture has been called a timeless portrait of anxiety or a timeless depiction of anxiety. A lot of people look at the picture, and it sort of creeps them out.

Edvard Munch, the artist, was believed to be a very tormented soul, somebody who lacked peace-- lacked peace in his heart. Some even believed he was not of sound mind. And there is a message at the top of that picture, The Scream-- a little inscription that is written in the top left-hand corner-- that says this. Can only have been painted by a madman. Can only have been painted by a madman. And for years, people argued who put that there. Nobody really knew who wrote that there. Somebody thought it was a vandal-- a viewer came and put an inscription. But experts have since come to the conclusion that it was the artist himself who put the inscription at the top of his own painting, can only have been painted by a madman.

Now, I believe one of the reasons that that picture is so famous and would sell for $120 million is because it's sort of this creepy mirror for a lot of people. It's like, yeah, I feel that lack of peace, that presence of anxiety. It represents what a lot of people are feeling. You see, I think if it was a happy face, it would look something like this.

[LAUGHTER]

I don't think that would sell for $120 million, do you? That is something your kid could do. But I rather you would look like this rather than like The Scream. And so with that sort of as a background, because here's this depiction of lack of peace and presence of anxiety, I want you to look at a verse of scripture in Isaiah 26. It's a verse of scripture-- this is the first time I've ever preached on just this verse, and so I'm glad to have had a time this week to really study through it. But I'm calling this message When Peace Gets Personal. I want to talk to you about personal peace. All in favor of personal peace? Yeah, I am too.

So Isaiah 26, verse 3, it says-- here's the promise-- you will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. I remember the first time I saw that verse. I was a Christian maybe for two weeks. I was in a Bible bookstore buying a Bible, and I saw that verse on a plaque. You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You. And I thought, that's a great saying. I didn't know it was a scripture. It's a great saying, and I've discovered that it is a verse of scripture.

It is a verse that I call to my mind several times, often every night, when I'm going to sleep. Especially if I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm wrestling with thoughts, I will just meditate on this verse. It's such a beautiful promise. Well, we're in a series called Give Peace a Chance, and we decided we would do it because of the difficult season that we have experienced in our country and in humanity. I think you would agree that our world is anything but peaceful. After a worldwide pandemic, after a contentious election cycle, after government-enforced lockdowns, after job loss and business closure, we just felt like we needed to breathe in God's peace-- take a few weeks and just see what the Bible has to say about peace.

Because we don't have peace internationally. We don't have peace nationally. We don't have peace economically. We don't have peace politically. We don't have peace in nations. We don't have peace in cities. We don't have peace in states. We don't have peace in communities. We don't have peace in homes. We don't have peace in hearts. But you can. You can have peace in your heart. And if you do, you will be the exception, not the rule, because the rule is this. The exception is this, right? Having peace in your heart.

Well, I discovered that the Bible mentions peace about 400 times, which gives me an indication that's pretty high on God's agenda-- that he wants to confer on his people peace, he wants us to have it. So we want to look at personal peace because this section, like any section of scripture, has its own context, its own background. And that has to be considered, but in the midst of that-- and we will consider it in a minute. But there is a promise, the one that we just read that, transcends all culture, all time frames, all languages. It's a promise of God's peace to individuals for peace, personally-- inner peace. The feeling of tranquility, that's what I want to get at.

And I've discovered lately that there's more and more talk, more and more chatter about inner peace. I've seen ads on meditation techniques lately. I told you in our first message that when I googled in, when I typed in Google, "inner peace," I got back 1 billion, 60 million results. And of course, I don't have time to go through even a tenth of those. But just clicking on a few of them, telling you how to get inner peace, inner calm, personal peace, they will advocate things like using crystals, or herbs, or spirit guides, all of which are placebos. And the real source is what we want to talk about today.

I want to give you, then-- in this section of scripture, we're going to look at primarily the first four verses and a couple of others-- five fundamentals of personal peace-- five fundamentals of personal peace. I've written them down in an outline in your worship folder for you to use for taking notes. First of all, this personal piece is found in God. Now, I know you would expect a preacher to say that. And that's because you should expect the Bible to say that, and it does. Personal peace, the real source is found in God. So let's look at the first four verses of our text.

Isaiah 26, verse 1, in that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah. We have a strong city. God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD is everlasting strength.

This section is a song of praise-- a song of praise. I'll get into that context in just a minute. But notice in what we just read that the author, when he writes this-- Isaiah-- goes from the third person, to the second person, back to the third person, that is, he talks about God, then he talks to God, then he goes and talks about God. But that is the theme of his writing. He's talking about the Lord, God. And you'll notice that he uses the covenant name for the Lord. I want you to look at verse 4. And it says, trust in the what? Now, how is that written in your Bible? All capitals. Every time you see all capitals, you know that that's the covenant name that God gave to his people way back in the law, when he introduced himself as Yahweh-- Yahweh, I am that I am, the LORD.

Then in verse 4, it says, trust in the LORD-- Yahweh-- forever. Then it says something a little bit unusual in this translation. For in YAH-- which is simply a shortened form of Yahweh. For in YAH, the LORD-- so literally, for in YAH, Yahweh-- is everlasting strength. So what he's doing is saying that the source of all of this promise that we're going to sing about is the Lord himself. So personal peace is found in God.

By the way, in verse 4, see where it says, everlasting strength? How many of you have a marginal note in your Bible? If you look really closely and you can read that small, if your eyes are still good, it has a little marginal note that says, literally, or, rock of ages. Does it say that? That's because in Hebrew, that's the translation. So the verse literally is, trust in Yahweh forever, for in YAH, Yahweh is the Rock of Ages.

And I bring that up because some of you are familiar with a very famous hymn by that title. It was written in 1776 by a hymn writer named Augustus Toplady. Story is he was walking down a path and a thunderstorm broke out, and rain, thunder, lightning. And he didn't have shelter, so he found a little cleft in a rock by the side of the road-- a little cave. And he kind of hit himself in it, and he thought about the shelter that God provides, the peace that God brings.

And so based on that verse, he thought of the words to this famous hymn. Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee. Let me draw your attention to the last verse of that hymn. He says, when mine eyes shall close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.

Here's the hymn writer basically saying, no matter what happens in life-- even the very worst, my own physical death-- my hope is in you. My trust is in you. I know that you are the provider and sustainer of me. You provide peace. So the experience that the author is getting at here is the peace of God-- the peace of God, the feeling of tranquility. It's that calm or inner calm that we experience independent of outward circumstances.

If you remember in our very first study, I talked about the cushion of the sea. Sailors call it that. There's a place so far under the ocean that no matter what storms are going on on the top of the water, you can get to a place where it is absolutely undisturbed, the cushion of the sea. God wants to place you in his cushion, the cushion of his sea, and give you that calm, and that peace, and that tranquility. So that's the thought here in these verses, that God is the source of peace. Personal peace is found in God.

I've discovered that most people define peace as the absence of something. You say, well, what is peace to you? They'd say, no war. It's the absence of war. It's the absence of strife. It's the absence of conflict. Listen, you can have the absence of war, and strife, and conflict in a cemetery. And that's not the best role model of peace, is it? So it's not the absence of something. It's the presence of something.

God's definition isn't the absence of conflict. God's definition of peace is the presence of God, of himself, in the midst of conflict. No matter what conflict is going on, God says, I'll be there. I'll be there. When two Jews meet on the street-- two Jewish people in Israel-- and they see each other, and they want to give each other greetings, what word do they say? They say "shalom." You hear it all the time, shalom, shalom. It means "peace."

Now, when they say that, they're not saying, may you have no more wars. What they're saying is that may experience the deep and abiding peace, calm, and tranquility that God brings. So let me give you a definition of peace-- of this personal peace. Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best. Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best.

So peace isn't just the absence of conflict and the presence of nothing. That's just a cold war, right? You can have that in your home. It's called a "truce." You can have peace by just avoiding the issues. You don't really talk about the issues. You have this sort of uneasy peace produced by the fact that you don't open your mouth. And so you keep it inside, and you fume, and you walk around angry. That's not peace. That's just restraint.

What God offers is far deeper and far better. So personal peace is found in God. Let's keep this going. Second, personal peace is forecast for the kingdom. Now, I want to explain this because I always tell you that every text has to be interpreted by its context and its setting. And none of us has the right to lift a verse out of scripture and make it apply to anything we want. So this also has a context, and here's the context.

Chapters 24, 25, 26, and 27, those four chapters are called by scholars the "Little Apocalypse" or Isiah's Little Apocalypse because they deal with a future theme, an apocalyptic theme. And so often, the prophets did this, right? They wrote about an immediate event going on around them, but they use that as a model of something that will be fulfilled to a greater extent in the future. So it's sort of like prophetic bifocals. You're seeing something close, but you can also use that to see something much further away.

So this is Isaiah's Little Apocalypse. And chapters 25 and 26 are two songs that are written, songs of praise. And they are the songs that the restored Jewish remnant will sing after the tribulation period, when they go into the kingdom age. We're going to do a whole message on that era called the kingdom age at the last of this Give Peace a Chance series. But just so you know, the setting here is a prophetic setting of the millennial kingdom, the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the Earth, that age of peace that is coming up.

So with that in mind, look at verse 1. In that day-- that little phrase, "in that day," is used three times in this section. It is used 44 times in the Book of Isaiah. He's using something to speak about a far-flung event. In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah. We have a strong city. He's referring to Jerusalem as a strong city. That's because in the kingdom age, Jerusalem is going to be HQ, Messiah headquarters.

It has always been God's intention, plan, purpose to have his son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, rule and reign literally, geographically from Jerusalem, to rule over the whole Earth, which he will do for 1,000 years-- even though the world, coming out of the tribulation, won't be excited about that. Psalm 2 puts it this way. Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the Earth have set themselves, and the rulers of the Earth have met together and have come against the Lord and against his Christ-- literally, his Messiah, his anointed. And they have said, let us break their bonds asunder or let us cast their cards far from us.

But God says this. I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. That's Jerusalem. God goes on to say, you are my Son. This day I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance. It's a picture of Messiah ruling and reigning the world from the city of Jerusalem, and it will be an absolute government.

It goes on to say, you will break them with a rod of iron. You will them in pieces with a potter's vessel. So because Messiah will be ruling and raining from Jerusalem during that time, it will be a very strong peace. It will be a maximum security facility, not in terms of a jail or incarceration, but in terms of peace. He's going to bring an absolute peace to the world.

So it says, in that day. That day is when the believing remnant of Israel is safe and secure, protected by their Messiah, delivered from the tribulation period. In the kingdom age, as Jesus is ruling and reigning, his people are going to have deep peace. You will keep him them perfect peace. His mind is stayed on you. That's the context of it. It's in that Little Apocalypse section.

So with that in mind, go down to verse 12 now. We're not going to go through the whole chapter, just a couple verses here. Verse 12, LORD-- Yahweh-- You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works in us. O LORD our God, marsters besides You Have had dominion over us. But by You only, we make mention of Your name.

So the personal peace will grow into a national, international peace. And in verse 13, it makes mention of the fact that the Jewish people have, in history, been ruled by many different nations. They've had many taskmasters over them. They have suffered slavery and takeover by a number of different groups. I think of the Egyptians. I think of the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Medo-Persians, the Syrians, the Romans, right? There's a long list of that. All of that is over. Now it's just their Massiah. And there's peace in the land, and there's peace in their hearts. So that's the future. Peace is found and God. It is forecast for the kingdom.

Here's the third fundamental fact of personal peace. It flourishes with virtue. It flourishes with virtue. Look at verse 2. Open the gates-- that is, open the gates of the city. Does it say, the nation will come in? What kind of nation is it? The righteous nation-- here's the description-- which keeps the truth may enter in. What I want you to notice is the relationship here between peace and righteousness. the righteous nation, these are people who keep the truth, that is, they remain faithful.

Do you know that right living, obedient living, righteousness will help you experience peace? If you wonder, gosh, I'm always lacking peace, I'm sort of like that picture of The Scream, could it be that in your war with sin, sin is winning? That will rob you of peace quicker than anything else. There's always a relationship between righteousness and peace.

What did Paul say? The fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit-- this is what the Spirit produces, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, et cetera. It produces peace. In contrast to that, Isaiah 48 says, there is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked. He says it again. Isaiah 57, there is no peace, says my God, for the wicked. So then personal peace is a byproduct of right living, and sin is the great disturber of the peace.

What will disturb and disrupt your peace faster than anything else is sin. It hinders fellowship with God. It causes anguish of heart. It is like an intruder, a housebreaker, a thief that comes in to rob you of peace. That is why confession is so important-- confession of sin. And you go, why do we confess our sins? Why do I have to tell God I'm a sinner? Doesn't he already know it? Yes, he already knows it. Believe me, he knows it, but he sure likes to hear you say it. He likes it when you just go, OK, I admit it. I'm busted. I'm sorry, I've done that.

The Bible talks a lot about confession. Because when you confess to God your sin, you are dealing with guilt, and you are restoring personal peace. That's what restores peace. David wrote about this he wrote about his own experience, where he refused to confess his sin. It was the sin of Bathsheba, when he committed adultery. Just sort of held it in, didn't talk about it. He's a man.

And so Psalm 32, he writes, when I kept silent, my bones grew old, through my groaning all day long. For day and night, Your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Then I said, "I will confess my transgression to the LORD." I still remember, July of a long time ago, when I gave my life to Christ. I remember that summer. I remember when I watched Billy Graham on television, and I said my little prayer in my bedroom.

And I always tell people, I never saw a bright light. I never heard a voice from heaven, but I sure felt something. And what I felt was a burden lift. I felt like it was like, whew, man, I've been living under such guilt for so long, and all that is lifted now. And that's because I confessed my sin, and admitted my need, and asked Jesus to fix it. And I was unburdened. And I got to tell you, I have experienced that feeling many times since, many times since.

I had a friend who said, you know what confession is like, Skip? It's like brushing your teeth. I go, what? What? Is that what you're saying? You're going, what? You know what it's like this morning, when you got up in the morning and you brushed your teeth? Felt good, right? I mean, I don't know about you, but when I brush my teeth in the morning, you know what I say afterwards? Ahhh, right? That minty, fresh feeling, right? All that bacteria and gunk has been in my mouth all night long. Eww, and then ahhh. Confession feels like that for the soul. It unburdens the soul. It deals with the guilt.

Psalm 119 says, great peace have those who love your law. Here's a description of people in that kingdom, the kingdom age, who will love the law of God. It's when you break God's law that it robs you of peace. So a few fundamentals of personal peace. It's found in God. It's forecast for the future kingdom. It flourishes with virtue. I'll give you a fourth. It is fostered by focus.

What I mean by that is it is related to your thought life, your focus, what you contemplate, what you think about. Go back to verse 3. Here's the essence of the promise. You-- God, You-- will keep him-- I'm going to put "or her," sort of a general term for God's people. You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You.

First of all, let's talk about perfect peace. It doesn't say you'll keep him in peace, but you'll keep him in perfect piece. What is perfect peace? What's the difference between peace and perfect peace? Well, it's an interesting idea here. Because in the original Hebrew, the word for perfect is the same word for peace. In fact, in Hebrew, it says, you will keep him in peace peace. That's how it's written in Hebrew. You will keep him in shalom shalom. It's the same word. It is just repeated, and it's called the idiom of reduplication-- the idiom of reduplication-- that is, whenever you take a word and you double it, you now intensify its meaning.

So like in the New Testament, Jesus said verily verily, right? It's not just verily or truly, but it's truly truly, verily verily. So when it's peace peace, it's perfect peace. And so when the Hebrew does that, it just simply means complete, genuine, deep, satisfying peace-- that kind of peace, right-- a settled heart. I call it a peace without ripples. There's no undercurrent of anxiety. It's total well-being. It's internal tranquility.

You go, sounds good to me. How do I get that? By focusing your thoughts. It says, you will keep him in peace peace-- perfect peace-- whose mind is stayed on you. "Stayed" means fixed, glued, focused, concentrated on. It refers to a steadfast mind, one that's been disciplined to constantly focus on one thing-- one thing.

It's like Psalm 112. It says, the righteous will not be afraid of evil tidings. His heart is steadfast-- same idea, stayed, fixed-- steadfast trusting in the LORD. His heart is established. He will not be afraid. So simply put, it's when we focus on his love, his power, his ability, his care, his plan, his intentions for me, which is always good. All things work together for good to those that love God. It's when I focus on that.

Have you noticed that our peace can easily be disrupted by outside thoughts? My wife tells me. I have ADD. I don't know if that's true or not. But anyway, she always says I get distracted with all sorts of thoughts. And I have discovered that other thoughts can easily disrupt us from the one thing we should be thinking about, right? We hear a news report, we get a doctor's diagnosis, somebody tells us of something one of our children was involved in, maybe a car accident. Our peace is suddenly disrupted by the news that we hear. A letter from a lawyer will often steal your piece.

Neuroscientists tell us that the human mind, in one day, has about 70,000 thoughts. that just seems monumental to me, 70,000. Well, what do we think about all day? Well, 70,000 things, 70,000 thoughts, that's 25.5 million a year. Here's what we all need to do. However many thoughts you have during the day, you need to learn to harness your thoughts. You need to learn to tell your brain, your mind, your heart-- however you want to call it-- what to think on. You tell it that. The Bible calls that bringing every thought into captivity.

That's 2 Corinthians, chapter 10. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Just picture that for a second. Here's your thoughts. Your thoughts are taking you in one direction. Grab that thought. Lasso it up. Chain it up. Bring it to Christ. Say, here, Lord, you take it. Let me focus now on your love, and your power, and your care, and your ability. Bringing every thought captive.

Philippians chapter 4, verse 8, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there's anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things-- or think on these things. We have to be very careful about what input we allow in our lives-- what we allow ourselves to see, what we allow ourselves to hear, what we allow ourselves, therefore, to think about and bring those thoughts into captivity. Personal peace is fostered by focus.

Let me give you a final component, a final fundamental of personal peace. Personal peace is formed by trust. You will keep him in perfect peace-- verse 3-- Whose mind is stayed on You-- focused on you, concentrated on you-- Because he trusts in You. The reason he focuses his thoughts is because he trusts in you, is the thought. And then in verse 4 is the command. Trust in the LORD forever.

So let's follow the thought so far in this message. The peace that we're talking about the personal peace comes directly from God. It is given to his righteous ones, his obedient ones, who focus their efforts on him. And the reason they focus their thoughts on him is because they trust him. And the reason they trust him is because he's trustworthy. You only trust somebody who's trustworthy. Because God is trustworthy, his children focus their thoughts on him because they trust in him. They trust in him.

Do you realize God designed you to be dependent on him? And I know I'm talking to Americans, right? We love our independence. God designed you to be dependent on him. In fact, I would say that the whole problem of sin is independence from God. That's really the definition of sin. Sin started when man said, I'm going to be independent of what God wants. That was sin. That's where it all started. God designed us to be dependent on him.

Now, here's one of the most famous verses on trusting God ever to be found. You know it by heart. I'll prove it to you. Proverbs 3:5 6, trust in the LORD with--

All your heart.

--all your heart. Lean not to your--

Own understanding.

--own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. See how well you know that verse-- verses? What a great promise. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. When you trust a trustworthy God, the experience you walk away with is perfect peace-- perfect peace. Isaiah 30 reminds us, in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. In quietness and confidence will be your strength.

Seems to me that we live in an era where we are given two choices. It's either going to be trust, or it's going to be torment. Those are our two choices. Either we trust God and we say, God a sovereign, and I don't get this whole virus thing. I don't know this is so weird. Isn't this weird? What a weird year this is. Can you believe it? Unprecedented. But God is sovereign and I trust Him. Or torment. This is nuts. This is crazy. Who knows what could happen next? Anything can happen. Everything's random. That's torment. And that's this, right? That's The Scream, torment, not this. It's either trust or torment.

Most people opt for which one? Most people in the world opt for torment. They do, and here's why, or here's a proof of that. One source that I read said 60% of illnesses are due to emotional stress. Wow, 60% of illnesses are due to emotional stress. Things like fear, sorrow, envy, hatred, guilt all help to produce physical disease. Another report I read just yesterday said 90% of illnesses and diseases are stress-related.

OK, back to that thing of trust. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. Not only will he direct your path, but he's going to give you something. It's called peace. Because it says in Proverbs 3, verse 8-- that same scripture says, when you trust the Lord, it will be health to your flesh. It will be health to your flesh.

The word "flesh" in that text literally is navel. And everybody wants a healthy navel, right? That's an old Hebrew way of talking about your nervous system. It will be-- you want a healthy nervous system? Trust the Lord. Trust the Lord. It'll be the best thing for your nerves. That's the idea of that text. Trust the Lord with all your heart. We live in a great modern era of technology, and innovation, and medical advancement. But you know what? Medical science can add years to your life, but trust in God will add life to your years. You want real life? You want real peace? You want something deeper than just existence? Trust in the Lord.

And that's why words of truth are so important. That's why Bible study is so important. That's why coming to church, singing these songs together, reading the word together is so important. It helps restore peace. Jesus said, these things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace. I'm telling you this so that you'll be peaceful. So be fixed on God. Be stayed on him. Be fixated on his truth. Meditate on his truth, especially with all the bad news going on out there. Don't get up in the morning and read Twitter or Instagram as the first thing. You just wa wa wa all day long. Get yourself some good news first. Get yourself fixed on truth, and God, and his love, and his care.

There was a great story about a couple. Well, actually, it doesn't start out great, but it sort of ends kind of funny. This couple had been married 40 years. And after 40 years of marriage, the husband died, sadly. And so his wife is left alone. And as the months went by and about a year passed, she was having a conversation with one of her friends who happen to own a pet store. And her friend said, you know, have you ever thought about getting a pet? I know that that won't replace a life partner, but it would sure help.

So she goes, yeah, that's not a bad idea. She goes down to her friend's pet store, and she looks at all the pets, and tries to decide which one should I get. I'm not going to get the iguana. That's not really helpful, or the grasshopper is not a good thing. But maybe a dog. So she puts the dogs. No, you know-- and cats, no way. I'm not going to get a cat. Cats don't care about me.

So she's thinking what to get. And she goes, you know, I'd really love an animal that could talk back to me. And the pet store owner said, oh, you want a parrot. I happen to have a parrot. It's quite expensive, but it can be trained to talk. In fact, this parrot will be a chatterbox. So she goes, OK. She bought the parrot. It cost her a lot of money. She bought it, took it home.

Came back a week later, and the pet store owner said, that bird's talking it up, right? And she said, nope, hadn't said a word yet. She's a little frustrated. Pet store owner said, well, have you bought a mirror for the cage? She said, no. He goes, well, I've discovered that when the bird sees its reflection in a mirror and it sort of feels like it's not alone, like there's another bird there, it'll start talking.

So she buys a mirror, puts it in the cage, comes back a week later. Pet store owner said, did it work? Owner said, nope, didn't work. The bird's not saying a word yet. Pet store owner said, well, did you buy a ladder for the cage? I've discovered that when a bird sees itself in the mirror, it goes up and down the ladder, gets a little energy going, and starts talking. So she buys a ladder, takes it home, puts it in the cage. Comes back a week later, nothing.

She's really frustrated at this point. Pet store owner said, well, do you have a swing in the cage? Because I've discovered sometimes, when a bird sees itself in the mirror and goes up and down the ladder, if I can just move a little bit more on a swing, it'll talk. So she buys the swing, takes it home, puts it in the cage. Comes back a week later, fuming mad. The pet store owner said, is that bird talking yet? The lady said my bird is dead. This expensive carrot that I laid down hard, cold cash for is dead at the bottom of the cage.

The pet store owner said, man, I'm shocked. Really, I'm shocked. Did that bird say anything at all? And the lady said, well, yes, as a matter of fact, it did. As it lay there taking its last few breaths, it said, don't they have any food down there at that store?

[LAUGHTER]
All of the world's gymnastics that they are telling you to do to get peace, what you really need is to eat. You need food. You need nourishment. You need God's promises. You need God's truth. And when you get God's truth and you stay fixed on that, fixed on him, and you trust him as his child, you walk away with peace-- peace. And even though it wouldn't sell, you're going to be looking like that. Yeah, yeah, keep that in mind.

Father, thank you for your peace. Thank you for your joy. Thank you for the personal sense of tranquility that we get when we trust in you, when we confess our sins, if need be, and restore the peace that is broken. Thank you, Lord, for what Jesus did to give us peace with you. And thank you that, as a byproduct of our relationship, we have the peace that comes from you in our hearts that we experience-- that calmness, that sense that what you're doing is the best. And it brings us such a sense of peace. Thank you for that. I pray for anybody who doesn't know you that they would come into a relationship with you, that they would come to trust you as Savior, as Master, as Lord. In Jesus's name, amen.

Let's all stand to our feet. And as we sing this song, maybe you have a burdened heart and maybe you haven't taken that thought captive. So in this song, you need to bring the rope out, and you need to take that thought, and tie it up, and present it to Christ, and decide from here on out to focus and concentrate on his love for you. Let's sing that.

[BAND PLAYING]

Let's sing it together.

(SINGING) We will not be moved when the earth gives away. For the risen one has overcome. And for every fear, there's an empty grave. For the risen one has overcome. Ohhh. For you have overcome, God. Can we just celebrate that, church? Amen. I don't know about you, but I'm glad I came to church this morning. We pray that you will be blessed and you would be a blessing as you go, and we will see you back here Wednesday. You are dismissed.

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
2/7/2021
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The Gift of Peace
John 14:27
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
With the Global Peace Index the lowest it’s been in a decade and the Misery Index at a high, it’s hard to believe that peace is within reach in today’s world. But peace is possible. Jesus promised it to His followers, and the only place you’ll hear about true peace is the church. In this teaching, Skip Heitzig begins a new series, unpacking four aspects of the peace Jesus promised believers in John 14:27.

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2/14/2021
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All You Need Is Love
John 13:34-35
Nate Heitzig
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Everyone seems to have a cause these days. All of us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. The problem is that we as the church won’t really succeed in changing the world if we only use the world’s tools and systems to do so. In this message, Nate Heitzig explains that if you want to see society truly change, you need God’s love.

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2/21/2021
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Making What Everybody Wants
Matthew 5:9; Genesis 32-33
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
One of the easiest things in the world is to march for peace; one of the hardest things in the world is to make peace. What does it mean to be a peacemaker and how can it best be done? Today we consider the great beatitude of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers” and the unique place of the child of God in this role. We also cover some practical steps to accomplishing it as shown in the life of Jacob and his estranged brother, Esau.

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3/7/2021
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How to Have Unfathomable Peace
Philippians 4:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
According to data from Mental Health America, the number of people reporting anxiety is at an all-time high. That’s understandable given the recent crises the world has faced. But let me suggest something: there will always be another crisis, another calamity, another difficult season. We will always be faced with the challenge of some problem. Is there a path to peace of mind? Can the anxiety that presses down upon us be neutralized by God’s resources? Yes! Let’s see how.

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3/14/2021
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The World’s Greatest Peace Treaty
Colossians 1:19-23
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
A peace treaty is a legal agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between them. The most important agreement in the history of humanity was when Jesus died on the cross. That single act brought a state of peace between God and the people who choose to live under His reign. Today we contemplate the work of Christ in establishing peace with the Father.

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3/21/2021
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The Peace-Stealers
James 4:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have been going to war for centuries. Conflicts and clashes are part of our history both as a civilization and as a nation. But there are three wars that are being fought everywhere in the world right now, even sadly among Christians. These three wars steal our peace, divide our hearts, and insult our God. James tackled these three wars head-on and told us how they can be ended.

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3/28/2021
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Peace on Earth—At Last!
Isaiah 9:6-7
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Yes, there will be peace on earth. It’s coming. It’s real. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of God’s people. This will be a literal worldwide peace brought on by the dominion of a righteous King. After several millennia of giving war a chance, the earth will finally enjoy the Prince of Peace giving peace a chance. Today we conclude our series with the final reign of Christ on earth during the millennium.

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There are 7 additional messages in this series.
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