Jimmy Evans - The Power Of Peace
I will preach on peace, the power of peace. The last time I preached on peace at Gateway, it didn't go well. It was about 16 years ago and we were in the day care center. Pastor Robert was preaching for me. I was preaching on peace in the midst of the storm was my message, and the longer I preached, the more upset people got. I just was preaching on peace and people were getting more and more upset. I'm preaching, and people were talking to each other, fidgeting around in their chairs and they are troubled, then they start getting up and leaving. I'm thinking this is the worst sermon in the history of the world. Does it get any worse than this. Then the guy in the sound booth did this to me. I'm thinking this is so bad, the sound guy is telling me to stop, to wrap it up.
Well, there were tornadoes touching down all over the neighborhood, and people started hearing about it in the back and it spread to the front, but I kept preaching. I didn't know, nobody told me. Sound guy's doing this, people are getting up, but what stopped the message was the softball-sized hail that started hitting the roof. When that happened, it was over, so I am hoping for a better experience, if you don't mind, please. God's peace is profound. I lived a lot of might have life without it, I lived some of my Christian life without it, but in the days we're living in, it is the most precious commodity on earth. This is Jesus prophesying about the end times, and they are asking him when will the end come. He's being extremely specific, and we will talk about this for a minute, about some of the prophecies.
Luke 21:25, and there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars: and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity. That means there's no answers. Is there a distress of nations? Yes. The sea and the waves roaring: the sea represents people, so unrest amongst people, men's hearts failing them from fear. That means terror. Jesus prophesied worldwide terror here. And the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth. The worst thing about terrorism is what you fear they will do. It is the expectation of what is coming to earth. People say we only have twelve years left if we don't stop global warming. All kind of stuff going on. For the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
Jesus said I am coming. Put your eyes on the skies because I am coming to get you, so these are absolutely, and I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. Jesus said it would be like the days of Noah, I believe we are living in the days just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. And Jesus said when you see these things happen, don't get down, don't get overwhelmed by it. Put your eyes on me, your redemption is drawing near. Where you put your focus these days will depend on whether you live in peace or anxiety or terror. And a loft of people are drug-addicted, alcohol-addicted, trying to find a moment of peace, buff Jesus promised us an eternity of peace, beginning right now. I lived a lot of my life without it. It is a profound thing. This is what the Bible says about peace.
Romans 14:17, the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. You can tell how close you are to the Kingdom of God based on your level of peace. Your proximity to Jesus will always increase, and he is in your heart, but I'm talking about walking with Jesus. The closer you are walking with Jesus, the more peace you will experience. Romans 15:13, now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22, but the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. The Fruit of the Spirit is peace. It is in the Holy Spirit, and he gives his peace to everybody who asks. Isaiah 9 calls Jesus the pins of peace. Hebrews 6:20, having become high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. That means king of Salem. Salem means peace. Jerusalem means city of peace.
Jesus will reign forever from a city called the city of peace. Our God is a God of peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the king of peace, and everything he does is peace. God never uses fear. He always uses peace in our lives. Peace is a profoundly important thing in the life of a believer, but Satan wants to keep you from it, especially in the days we are living in now. He wants to take it from you. If you don't have it, he wants to keep it from you, but it is the promise to every believer.
This is John 14. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you'. If you loved me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the father,' for my father is greater than I". This is where Jesus is telling the disciples he will prepare a place for them, but as surely as I leave, I will come back. He is promming, from the time that he left, until the time he returns, he is programing his peace, not as the world gives. I am giving you my peace. So the peace of Jesus is an abiding trans-circle peace. The peace of the world is a fragile and circumstantial peace that is hard to get and easy to lose.
When I was a young believer, and we have been married a couple of years or so, I had a lot of anxiety, and I had add skin problem. The skin problem got worse. It was kind of after rash, but it kept getting worse. I want to the dermatologist one day. I need to get some medicine for this. So went to the office, and he looked at it and he said yeah, he gave a name for it. He said my nurse will be in here in a minute. I thought I'll get this over with. She came in the room about five minutes later, with a cassette recording. Anyone remember those? Before that, it was rocks and chisels, but she came in with a cassette recorder and put it down on the counter and pushed play and left the room. It was a little speech on anxiety and how to deal with it. I'm listening to this thinking I did not come to the skin doctor for a lecture. Or a sermon. I want medicine.
So I listened to the cassette and no one else came in the room, so I said is that all? That's all. I just got in my car, thought I'm a nervous wreck. They all know, and I was. I did not have the peace of God. We were not designed by God to live in an atmosphere that isn't peace. Your body has to live in peace to be healthy. Without peace in your life, you will have all kinds of physical problems. The number one reason for doctor's office visits in America is stress. The number one reason for prescribed medication in America is stress. We are not designed by God to live under stress and anxiety. We are designed to live in peace. I lived under stress for years, but I live in peace. I have lived in peace many years. It is a profoundly different thing, whether you are living in God's peace, remember, Jesus promised you his peace until he returns.
Let me talk about the importance of walking in the peace of God. Peace is how God guides us. A lot of believers don't know this, and I didn't know this. This is Colossians 3:15: and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body: and be thankful. The word rule means to umpire, like an umpire in a baseball game, it means situational guidance. Why is peace so important for guidance? Many decisions we make are not a matter of right or wrong. They are a matter of right and right. Where do I go to church? What major do I take in college? What house do I buy? There are many, many decisions in life that the Bible doesn't everybody talk about, so how do you make those decisions? You pray and you wait on God's peace.
In the Old Testament, it was called, you may have read about it in numbers, but the high priests wore a breast plate over his chest. Behind the breast plate, there was a rock and a stick. It means fire or light and perfection or standard. So it was in a pouch, over the high priest's heart. He couldn't see it, but he could feel it, so they would consult God, and they would go before God and the high priest would say Lord, do we go against the Philistines? He would just wait. If God were saying yes, it would heat up and stand up, and he could feel it. This is peace. The peace of God is tangible. It is not a subjective thing. It is something you can feel or not feel.
Karen and I have made hundreds of decisions solely on peace. If the Bible says not to do something, don't do it. If the Bible says to do something, do it, but there are many things, decisions we make, every single day, the Bible doesn't have anything to say about. It is a matter of letting the peace of God rule in your hearts, so you are praying about a decision, Karen and I bought a house one time, we had a small group in our house and this is before I came on staff at Trinity. We were looking for another house, so we bought this other house and we went to look at it. It was the perfect house, right price and everything, but we hadn't sold our old house. They said they wouldn't take a contract with a contingency to sell your house.
I remember I will thought, we have to get this house. We just have to. So I made it happen. We bought the new house, we got into it, carpeted it, painted it, we still have another house and it didn't sell. Every month that went by without that house selling was absolutely excruciating. Every month I became more humble. I went before the Lord first month, second month, third, fourth, ninth month, said God, please, I repent. The Lord said, you made that decision by fear, because you thought you were going to lose that house. He said it was the right house. It was the wrong timing. If you would have waited on me and my peace, you would have had that house, but you would have not had this stress.
I remember when the Lord said it to me and I repented. The house sold the next month and Jimmy has never done that again. Jimmy has been clean ever since. God will never use anxiety to guide you. I have never regretted, we have made hundreds of decisions based on peace. Never made a wrong decision. We wait on each other. We don't bully each other. If Karen doesn't have peace, I know God is saying that's not right. Every single time God is guiding you, he will guide you by peace. Everything can look right, but you don't have peace about it. There had been so many times that if you used reason, everything looks right, but there's a profound lack of peace. The presence of peace is profound. The lack of peace is profound. When God is saying no, he doesn't want to give you peace about it. But when you feel a peace, especially when both of you are feeling peace, that means God is saying yes. When the devil takes your peace, he's knocked out at critical instrument from your life.
Peace is how God guides us. Peace is how God protects our mind and hearts against Satan's attacks of fear and anxiety. Philippians 4:6, 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. The word guard there means to protect by a military guard, to prevent a hostile invasion. Be anxious for nothing. Anxiety is not a condition. It is a choice. The Bible wouldn't tell us not to be anxious if we could choose not to be anxious. I will talk about prayer, but it says don't be anxious for everything, but with thanksgiving, and the peace of God that passes all comprehension, that means you shouldn't be at peace. Know one else is. Everybody else is upset, based on what is going on in your life, you should haven't a peace. It passes understanding. Why do you have so much peace? Because the Holy Spirit built a fortress around you of peace the devil can't penetrate. He can't make you worry.
One time, we were fasting, doing a fast the first of the year, I said to the Lord, what do you want me to fast. He said worrying. I thought well, I don't worry that much. He said, yeah, you do. You are going to fast worrying the next 21 days. I started worrying about how I was going to stop worrying. I did. I could not worry for 21 days. I tried to make myself worry. When God puts his peace on you, the devil can't penetrate it. Without the peace of God protecting us, we're vulnerable to the devil.
Number three thing, the platform of our witness. The apostle Paul talk about the armor of God. Ephesians 6:15, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The Gospel we preach is one of peace, reconciling God men, but people in the hospital are not writing get well cards to other people. They are sick, they are thinking about getting well. When you don't have peace in your life, you are not really thinking about other people having peace in their life, through Jesus. You are not witnessing, you are not helping, not saying you aren't helping anyone, but peace is so attractive to unbelievers. This is what they are looking for. They are looking for it through money, looking for it through relationships, through substances. The world is looking for peace, and we have for free what they are looking for. It says when you wake up every day, put on the Gospel of peace.
On the day of Pentecost, it was 9:00 in the morning and Peter said these people are not drunk like you think they are. They had so much peace and were so full of the Holy Spirit, they had to explain to them they weren't drunk. People should be walking up to us and say who's your pusher? Where do you get that stuff? That's good stuff. You are on the good stuff. Yeah. Holy Spirit's my pusher. I'll send him to you. If we are walking in the peace of God, it makes us attractive and also, when you are walking in the peace of God, you start thinking about other people and how they are living their lives. Four, it's the purpose of our ministry and our influence.
This is Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God". Luke 10:3, "Go your way: behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals: and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, 'peace to this house'. And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it: if not, it will return to you". That is a profound thing. Paul's greeting an the greeting in the Bible is peace. Shalom. When you walk into a house, you can speak your peace on that house. Your ministry is to extend the peace of the Kingdom of God, wherever you go. That's your ministry. This is Mark 4: on the same day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side".
Now when they had left the multitude, they took him along in the boat as he was. And other little boats were also with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing"? Then he arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still"!. And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But he said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith"? And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey him"!
Our ministry is peace. The disciples were on the deck, Jesus is asleep and this storm has arisen. They come down and wake Jesus up. He says peace, and the sea grew calm. Why could Jesus do that and the disciples couldn't? And here's the answer: because the sea looked like their hearts. When Jesus spoke, it stopped, the storm stopped and it looked like his heart. You can't give away what you don't have. Your environment will manifest your inner nature. There are peace-makers and trouble-makers. If your heart is a raging sea and you don't have peace in your life, you won't have peace in your relationships won't have peace around you, because your environment is always going to fan fest your inner nature. Let me finish this. How do you get this peace? That why it is important. There are five foundations of peace. One is submission to the Lordship of Christ. This is the most important.
Isaiah 9: for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called wonderful, counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. If I are not submitted to God, doesn't marine you don't love Jesus, but if you are not submitted to God, it means you are out here. The peace is here. So when Karen and I got married, I talk about anxiety, and the skin problems I was having and things like that, I was a believer and I was committed to Christ. My marriage and our finances were not submitted to Jesus Christ. I was a bad husband, I never prayed about our marriage. I just thought Cain was the problem.
I never prayed about our finances. Just who are rid about our finances, but when I came under the authority, I remember the day that I submitted our marriage that we submitted our marriage to Jesus and everything, when you are not submitted to Jesus, you have two strong wills trying to overpower each other when when you are submitted to Jesus, two wills are surrendered to Jesus and you are in peace. You know you are submitted by how much you pray. If you don't pray, means you are just acting on your own, but being submitted to Jesus, the more his government increases in your life t more peace you will have. And when you look at an area of your life, where you don't have peace, its simply means you haven't yielded in that area. You love Jesus, you are a good person, but it is telling you something.
Number 2, foundation of peace is dell gent faith-filled prayer. Let me go back to Frillians. 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. With thanks thanks. Did you know, without faith, prayer is just griping in the spirit? I have prayed before and I was upset when I got finished praying as I was before I prayed. Really, the purpose of my prayer was to upset him. I was worried and I just wanted to worry him. I was just worrying God. Prayer doesn't work if you don't transfer the burden. Here's what Peter says: casting all of your care upon him, because he cares for you. And your concept of God is critical when it comes to prayer. Here's what it means. When I come to God and I pray, don't be anxious for anything. That is your choice. This is what I learned. It is my choice.
Some people say, I don't know how to pray. Let me teach you. Wake up in the morning, make a list of everything you are worried about. At the top, write prayer list. I just taught you how to pray. And here's what you do. You pray with thanksgiving. What does that mean? I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you hear my prayers. Jesus said every hair on my head, you care about every detail in my life and I am thankful I have a loving daddy to take care of me. I am come together you not to inform you, but as I know you already know, I am coming to transfer the burden of this, I am just a sheep. I can't bear burdens. It stresses me out. I am giving this to you, father. And I am trusting you with this. I am trusting you with my relationships, with my job, I am trusting you with my friends, with my education. The burden is off of me and now the burden is on you. Peter says cast all your care upon him.
Faith-filled prayer brings peace. And the peace that passes all comprehension, when you pray and do it with thanksgiving, it says it will guard your mind and heart. The saints of old called it praying through. How do you know you have prayed enough? When you have peace. If you don't have peace, keep praying. Don't just be worried while you are praying. Trust God while you are praying.
Three, a Godward mindset. Isaiah 26:3, you will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. I was in my office one day studying, I have a TV in my office. A lot of times I watch golf or something, that's why my messages are anointed, but on this day, I had it on cable news, and I was studying, and about three or four hours into it, I began to lose my peace. What I realized was I was watching the worst thing in the world happening live, moment by moment. I like watching the news, but if you watch it too much, you lose your peace, so Karen and I were on a flight to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary or something, we had a hard year. We had things happen that just were bad, hard, hurtful, painful. And it upset me, it hurt me. I was sitting by the window, and Karen knew I was upset, so we got up in the air and we were flying over the pacific ocean, she said, are you okay?
I turned and said I feel like I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop. I just feel like a lot of bad things happened and just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. She patted me on the hand, and I was just sitting there on the flight, just thinking about stuff. The Lord said to me, real comforting, Jimmy, fear is expecting the devil to move. Faith is expecting me to move. You could put your mind anywhere you want it, but if you are going to have your mind on the devil moving, you will have no peace. It helped me tremendously. During that whole trip, that's all I meditated on. Romans 8:5, for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Your mindset is yours to set. No one sets your mind for you. You set your mind. I set my mind. We have to make a decision, this is the importance of the word of prayer, of worship, of meditation.
Wherever you set your mind is going to determine whether you have peace or anxiety. David went down to the valley floor to fight Goliath. The army was terrified of Goliath. David walked up and said who is this uncircumcised Philistine. You are thinking what is the big deal about that? God made a covenant with Abraham. The sign of the covenant was circumcision. I will be your God and I will protect you from your your enemies. David walked up, all the other men could only see a 9-foot tall guy. David realized I am circumstantial-sized, he is not. I could kill him with a slingshot. It is all your perspective. It is all where your mind is.
Number four, foundation of peace is daily dependence upon the Holy Spirit, depending on the Holy Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Our emotions are like an engine, but they have to have oil or they overheat and lock up. The Holy Spirit is the oil, the engine of our emotions was designed the run on. Your car will do unbelievable things, as well as it's well-lubricated. But without oil, it locks down quickly. Every single day, we need to pray and say will you give me emotional grace. It is a free gift. We have to admit we need it. We say Lord, would you give me your peace. I have some difficult things coming up today, I have difficult people to deal with. Would you help me. After 46 years of being saved, it is amazing how godly I can be in difficult circumstances under the power of the Holy Spirit. It is amazing how carnal I can be when not walking in the Holy Spirit, especially in traffic. People who are wonderful Christians are heathen Philistines behind the wheel, and we need the Holy Spirit. Five is praise and worship.
Isaiah 61:1, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all who mourn to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: the garment of praise".
Why? Pause you have to put it on. You don't wake up with it. The Bible tells us in Colossians to put on humility. Why? Because we are naturally prideful people. Two things I decide: try to remember every day is humility and praise. Today I will be humble and I will open my mouth and praise God. It says God will give you a garment of praise if you will put it on. For a spirit of darkness, that's what the word means, this is depression and discouragement and anxiety. It is a spirit. Anxiety just wears our emotions out and we become depressed. One of the clinical definitions is just anger turned inward, it wears your emotions out, then the devil comes and puts the spirit of darkness on you, and all you could think about are your problems. I saw someone said one day, if you can't smile by feelings, smile by faith. Here's what I say. If you can't praise with your feelings, praise by faith. But the devil hates praise.
This is Psalm 149: "Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples: to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron: to execute on them the written judgment". This honor have all his saints. This is talking about the devil. Let the high praises of God be in your mouth and a two-edged sword in your hand and attack the devil. When the devil comes to try to put discouragement, depression, anxiety on you, you have to open your mouth and begin to praise God. You have to decide I am not going to let the devil put a spirit of heaviness on me. Psalm 22 says God is enthroned upon the praises of his people. The cannot minister in the presence of God.
Whenever you are praising, you are creating a throne for God right there. It is very important we understand we were designed to live in peace, submission. Are you submitted? Is there an area of your life that isn't submitted? That will create problems. Faith-filled prayer. Do you believe God is your father and he cares about you, and do you go regularly before him, not worrying, but praying? Where is your mind? What are you thinking about? What is your perspective of life? Dependence on the Holy Spirit. How often do you tell the Holy Spirit you need him? How often do you ask him for peace. And the things he is to give? Do you praise God in the storm, do you praise God in the difficulties of life? Or is your confession more negative, whatever it might be. I have made every mistake related to this. But I have learned, and a lot of it the hard way, I have heard peace is is the only way to live your life. Peace is why Jesus came. He came to make peace between God and men and give us the ability to live our lives in peace.