Rabbi Schneider - Experience Complete Peace
Benedictions are a blessing bestowed by God upon His people. They often fall at the end of one of the New Testament books, but not always. Benedictions are also associated with the blessing that a pastor or priest will pronounce upon a congregation at the end of the service. We are going directly into the Word of God to dig out those benedictions that come straight from the heart of God and are in His Word. I'm continuing now a brand new scripture with you, 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 23.
Last week we looked at Ephesians chapter 3 verse 20 and 21, and we looked at Jude chapter 1 verse 24 and 25. Today we're moving forward going right to a new scripture, once again, we're looking at 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 23. The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of God abides forever. Hear, beloved one, the Word of God. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". That's a lot. And there's a lot of themes going on in just this one verse. Remember, this is a benediction and a benediction is a blessing bestowed upon you, God's child, from Father Himself.
Let's see what Father is saying to His people right here. "Now may the God of peace". I wanna take that phrase "God of peace". You're gonna see in several of the benedictions the same themes as here. The God of peace, the God of peace. Do you know, almost every single letter in the New Testament begins in this way: "Grace to you," get it now, "and peace from God our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ". That's how Paul begins his letters. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ". We often times think of God's power, He's all-powerful. We think of God's omniscience. He does know everything. And we think of all these other essential attributes of God. But sometimes we are not as aware as we should be that God is fundamentally, get this now, a God of shalom, a God of peace. That's why in order to be led by God's Spirit, we need to cultivate peace in our lives.
A lot of times we can be really jerked up emotionally when we have, you know, the worship music playing and the heavy guitars and the drums and we feel a lot of energy you know, and that can be a good thing. But fundamentally beloved one, listen to me, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of peace as I said. Every single one of Paul's letters begins, speaking to the people of God as being people that have been blessed by the God of peace. "Grace to you and peace," Paul says, "from God our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ". So let's look at this again, 1 Thessalonians 5 23. "Now may the God of peace Himself". We're gonna see later that it's the God of peace, listen, that crushes Satan and all demonic power under our feet.
Let me concentrate with you on a very specific application of this. Some of you know I travel all over the world especially into Africa and Israel, preaching the gospel. What I find especially in Africa in so many of these countries in Africa, listen, whose roots are in witchcraft, and we've gone to Haiti, a lot of voodooism. What I find is as I start preaching the gospel, suddenly, without any provocation of my own, but as soon as I begin to sing in the spirit or begin to preach the gospel, there'll be many many people who'll begin to manifest demons. Again, I'm not trying to conjure it up, it just happens. When the God of peace is released, demons start manifesting that are hidden in these people's bodies.
Now, again, how do you explain this? You ask yourself, well why have I not seen that more in America, is that really real? Beloved, America was rooted in Judeo-Christian principles. America was founded, listen, on the Scriptures. But in Africa, their spiritual roots often times have been in witchcraft, voodooism, and other types of idol worshipping. So they don't have the foundation that we have in America and that is why I believe we see many more demons manifest there, although I have seen the same type of thing happen in the United States. I start preaching the gospel, I start singing to the Lord in the Spirit. Demons start manifesting. I mean if you saw what I see, I promise you that you would know that it wasn't made up, that it's for real, that demons are real.
I'm telling you the truth, if you saw what I see you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people that I'm seeing are possessed by demons. They're foaming at the mouth, they're screaming. They're hysterical. Their eyes are transfixed on some horror from another world. They're totally out of their mind. I'll begin to take authority over those the demons, listen, with the peace of God in the name of Yeshua, in the name of Jesus, and instantly often times their eyes that are crazed their eyes that were transfixed on some otherworldly being filled with horror and confusion and chaos, suddenly clear up. You see their soul come through. You see the love of God burst forth and tears begin to come to their eyes as they're set free. But how do I minister that deliverance? Listen, I do it by the God of peace. God's peace is what crushes demonic power.
And so again back to our text. God is speaking His blessing over His people. And He's speaking His blessing over His people, get it now, as the God of peace. It's important to remember this, and it's important to cultivate in our soul, listen, peace. Be aware when you're not in peace, and pull back your energy and say to yourself you know what, I'm not in peace right now. But God, you're a God of peace. I wanna walk in peace. Father help me to be grounded in peace. You see you can cultivate peace. God is a God of peace, so in order to walk with God, you and I need to be grounded and rooted in His peace.
Once again, to be able to discern the movement of God's Spirit in our life, of His leading, we need to have peace, because peace gives us the ability to discern God's Spirit. Without peace, we're not gonna be able to discern His Spirit. In other words, if we're all nervous, we won't be able to discern in a sensitive way what's going on around us or within us because we're just bound be the nervousness. But when we get grounded in peace, we have the ability then to discern what's going on in our own soul. What is happening outside of us and most importantly, God's Spirit.
"Now may the God peace Himself," get it now, "sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete". So I wanna focus on this word here, sanctify. God is speaking a blessing over us and He's saying the God of peace sanctify you completely. I love this because I know in my own life, beloved ones, I need to continually grow in being sanctified. Listen, salvation is a free gift from God. Being born again, coming into a saving relationship with God, takes place in an instant, as soon as we open our heart and receive Jesus, instantly we now stand before Him, saved. In other words, our sins are forgiven, we're gonna go to Heaven, because of what Jesus alone did for us. Salvation happens in an instant, but sanctification, listen now, is a process. We become more and more sanctified as we step out of the old man, as we more and more step out of the old nature, as we more and more learn how to move by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
As we gain more and more discernment so that we can discern between what is God and what is not God and choose Him. As we do this we grow in sanctification. And if you're honest with yourself, and if you have self-awareness, you can tell that over the years things that you didn't even discern were not of God, now that you're older, now that you've matured, you're able to discern, wow, I used to think that way, and I wasn't even convicted about it, I didn't even know it was a wrong way of thinking, but now that I've matured, now that I've grown in grace, I can see that that thought pattern that I once accepted and thought was normal, I see now that that was not of God. You see, sanctification works along with maturity. And the Bible tells us that through maturing, we gain the ability to discern the difference between good and evil. Again beloved one, sanctification is a process.
Now I don't know about you, but I know that for me, I have a great need to be more and more sanctified. As much as I love God, as much as I've pursued God, as much as, you know, I've done to try to apprehend Him, I realize I've got still such a long way to go. But the good news is that the God of peace is sanctifying me. It's a long journey. My experience has been that when I first, you know, encountered Jesus back in 1978, I just prayed God, what is that one thing I need to do, what's the one thing I can do God that will get me to the top of the mountain? So if I just do that one thing, you know life Abraham when he offered up Isaac. He did that one thing and as a result of that God blessed him. So my thought process was, what's the one thing, Father, I can do that will just put me on top? But what I've learned over the years is that it's not just one thing. It's every day putting one foot in front of the other, choosing to obey Him, all day long, every single day, thousands and thousands of thoughts go through our mind.
We're constantly having to make the decision as to what thoughts we're gonna receive, what action we're gonna take. So my experience has been that becoming sanctified, getting to the top of that mountain, is not done through obedience to that one act, but it is done progressively as we choose God's way which is often the hard way, every single day. That's why Jesus said if we're gonna be His disciple, we must pick up our cross daily. And what does it mean to pick up the cross? It means to choose Him rather than ourselves. And so I say to you today that the God of peace is at work within our lives and is sanctifying us. It's a mystery because on the one hand, we are choosing to obey and it's so hard.
Remember before Jesus went to the cross He said "Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me," because He didn't wanna go to the cross. And it was so hard, it was so grievous, it was so difficult for Him to choose to obey, the Bible said He sweated and it was like drops of blood. So on the one hand you and I too have to strive just like Jesus strove to obey and chose the Father's will rather than His own way when He said "But not my will, but Thy will be done," at the end of that verse. So you and I every single day have to labor in the Spirit to choose God's way. It seems like we're the one doing it, but in actuality God is the one that's at work in our life, and we are choosing, listen now, to cooperate with Him. And so there is this intermingling of the God of peace that is sanctifying us. He is accomplishing in us and through us what pleases Him by His Spirit. But He doesn't do this, beloved ones, listen to me, without our cooperation.
And so when we cooperate with the Lord, we're pushing forward with this process of sanctification. He's the author and the finisher of our faith, and yet along the way, we really have to struggle to choose to follow Him and obey Him. Paul said "I work harder than you all. I'm laboring," Paul said, "harder than everybody". So Paul was speaking about his own labor to follow God to complete the purpose that God gave to him on Earth, the assignment of spreading the gospel. Paul said "I labor more than everybody," but then he said, "but not I, but Christ within me". So once again, God is sanctifying us, we're moving forward, we're being cleansed, we're growing, but God doesn't do it apart from us, He does it through us and with us. God in you and I, us in Him, and Him in us. Let's continue on here. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete".
Now for me, this encourages me to belive God, listen to me, for divine wholeness all my life, spirit, soul, mind, and body. Now as of today, as I'm filming this, I'm freshly minted 60 years old, I just turned 60. And so, there's something about turning 60, at least there was for me, it's like different than all the other birthdays I've ever had. I mean I've never thought of myself in any way but youthful. But somehow when you turn 60, it's like, it kinda shifts your paradigm a little bit. I mean you realize at 60, you're moving into a different phase of life. Now I want you to understand, I'm not surrendering to a spirit of antiquity. But I'm just saying there's a bit of a paradigm shift that at least happened to me as I turned 60. But I'm not surrendering, listen now, to just getting old and you know, having my life fall apart because Paul says here, "May the God of peace," listen to me, "preserve you complete, spirit, soul, mind, and body".
So even though I'm aging, I'm trusting God to preserve me, spirit, soul, mind, and body. I can't stop the fact that I'm aging, neither can you, but what I can trust God for, and what you can trust God for is that as we age, He will preserve us. You know Moses for example, was still so full of vigor when he passed away, as were all the patriarchs, even though there were symptoms in their body that showed that they had aged, their eyes maybe had gone dim, still there was a vitality that they had, they were preserved.
And I have a great friend, some of you have even seen her on my broadcast, I've shown a picture of her, in fact we'll put her picture up right now, she's a Jewish believer, her name is Agnes This woman is 90 years old almost but every time Cynthia and I spend time with her, she's like a little girl. She brings out her little journal that she's been journaling in all these years, talking about being sanctified, still repenting, I mean she's been a believer for like 50 years, but every time we meet her, you know, she's got this fresh spirit. Her body looks old, but inside she's like a little girl. Because God has preserved her. There's something about her that can't be explained other than the everlasting life in youthfullness of God Himself that lives within her. So beloved I say over you today, may God preserve you as you look to Him, spirit, soul, mind, and body, complete. And that's what that Scripture says here, complete. May you be preserved, listen now, complete.
You might ask yourself what exactly does that mean? But you know, this world that we live in is a dangerous place. And there's a lot of things that can happen to us along the way. That if we're not preserved by God, some of those things that we go through, and some of those things that happen to us, can end up taking something away from us, and we can end up finding ourselves getting weaker and becoming discouraged, and some people end up, they feel defeated. But that is what the Scripture promises us that that's what God's purpose for us is. God wants to preserve you complete, that even thought the outer man is decaying, the inner man is being renewed day by day, that you're being preserved, my beloved one, complete. And finally the Scripture ends by saying "and this is God's blessing upon your life and His desire for you," listen to me, "until the Lord Jesus Christ comes again".
And so within this benediction is the light shining on the fact that Jesus is coming back for you and for I soon. Oftentimes we're so focused on what's going on right now, we need to wake ourselves up to realize it's not just about what's going on right now. Jesus is coming back soon. That's the last words that He spoke to us in the New Testament; "Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to each one according to what he has done".
So I want to encourage you today beloved ones, as we end today's broadcast, look up for the coming of Jesus. Remind yourself that Jesus is really coming back. That everything is gonna change. And not only is He coming back, He's coming back for you. And as you set your sights on His coming, as you set your sights on Him, God is gonna continue to sanctify you, spirit, soul, mind, and body. He's gonna preserve you through life, no matter what you go through. And you're gonna continue to go up the mountain getting stronger and stronger and stronger, until finally beloved as you speak your last breath or Jesus returns, you're gonna be the strongest you've ever been in your life, because of the power that's working within you. This is Rabbi Schneider saying I love you, more importantly God loves you. Shalom.