2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

John MacArthur, in a sermon, “Peace in Every Circumstance”

This peace is defined for us in several ways in verse 16.  First of all, it is divine.  “Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you peace.”  The Lord of peace is the one who gives it.  He is the one who grants it.  “Himself,” by the way, that pronoun is emphatic in the sentence and it’s emphasizing His personal involvement in this.  “Himself, the Lord of peace, may He give you peace.”  May God, the Lord, personally give it to you because it comes personally from Him.  It is the very essence of His nature.

To say it simply, peace is an attribute of God.  I don’t know if you think of it that way, you think of God being characterized by attributes of grace, and mercy and justice and righteousness and wisdom and truth and omnipotence and immutability and eternality and whatever.  But do you ever think of God as being characteristically peace?  He is peace.  Whatever it is that He gives us He has and He is.  God is love, we don’t argue about that.  And God is also peace.  He has no lack of perfect peace in His being.  God is at all times at perfect peace.  There’s no stress.  God is never stressed.  God is never in anxiety. God never worries, God never doubts and God never fears. God is never at discord with Himself.  He is never at cross purposes, it’s never so that He can’t make up His mind.  He is never troubled.  He is never indecisive.  He is never unclear.  He is never unsure.  He is never threatened.

God lives in perfect calm, God lives in perfect tranquility, God lives in perfect contentment.  Why?  Because He’s in charge of everything and He can operate everything perfectly according to His own will exactly the way He wants it all the time.  There is nothing in the entire universe that goes on that He doesn’t know about and there is nothing in the entire universe that can withstand His purposes.  He knows there are no surprises for His omniscience.  There are no unknowns to His omnipresence.  There are no changes, no doubts, no fears.  Even His wrath is clear, controlled, calm and confident.  There are no threats to His omnipotence.  There is no possible sin that can stain His holiness. There is no sinner who can appear before Him who is beyond His grace.  There is no threat to His immutable plan.  There is no guilt in His mind. There is no shame in His mind. There is no regret in His mind for He has never done anything, said anything or thought anything that He would in any way change.

He enjoys perfect and eternal harmony within Himself.  He therefore is peace.  And here He is called “the Lord of peace, the Lord of the peace,” literally, the definite article is there.  The peace, not the kind the world has, but the real peace, the divine kind.  He is peace, He is the source of peace.  And what Paul wants is that the Lord of peace would give His kind of peace.  If you look at the trinity you find that it’s clear in Scripture that every member of the trinity is peace and gives peace.  First Thessalonians 5:23 says, “The God of peace,” so does Romans 15:33Romans 16:202 Corinthians 13:11Philippians 4:9, and Hebrews 13:20, a common name for God, the God of peace.  He is the author of peace.  First Corinthians 14:33 says, “He is not the author of confusion but of peace.”  He is peace, the originator, the source and the author of it.

The second member of the trinity, the Son the Lord Jesus Christ is here called “the Lord of peace.”  Interestingly enough at the end of 1 Thessalonians Paul refers to the God of peace, here to the Lord of peace…both the first and second member of the trinity equally being God, equally being Lord, equally being the source of peace.  Ephesians 2:14 says, “Christ who is our peace.”  He is called in Scripture “the prince of peace.”  He is peace.  He is the source of peace.  Colossians 1:20, He has made peace.

Also the Holy Spirit is the source of peace. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.  Romans 14:17 says the Kingdom is peace in the Holy Spirit.

So, God is peace.  It is that divine peace possessed by the trinity…Father, Son and Holy Spirit…that Paul wants us to have, that well‑being that is deep‑down settled and confident that all is well with God.

J. C. Ryle on Luke 12:54-56  

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens.And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens.You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

exit_futureThe first thing which this passage teaches us is the duty of noticing the signs of the times. The Jews in our Lord’s days neglected this duty. They shut their eyes against events occurring in their own day of the most significant character. They refused to see that prophecies were being fulfilled around those who were bound up with the coming of Messiah, and that Messiah Himself must be in the midst of them. The scepter had departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet. The seventy weeks of Daniel were fulfilled. (Gen. 49:10. Dan. 9:24.) The ministry of John the Baptist had excited attention from one end of the land to the other. The miracles of Christ were great, undeniable, and notorious. But still the eyes of the Jews were blinded. They still obstinately refused to believe that Jesus was the Christ. And hence they drew from our Lord the question–“How is it that you do not discern this time?”

It becomes the servants of God, in every age, to observe the public events of their own day, and to compare them with the predictions of unfulfilled prophecy. There is nothing commendable in an ignorant indifference to contemporary history. The true Christian should rather watch the career of governments and nations with a jealous watchfulness, and hail with gladness the slightest indication of the day of the Lord being at hand. The Christian who cannot see the hand of God in history, and does not believe in the gradual movement of all kingdoms towards the final subjection of all things to Christ, is as blind as the Jew.

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!

C. H Spurgeon, commenting on Psalm 150:

There is nothing little about God, and there is nothing great apart from him. If we were always careful to make our worship fit and appropriate for our great Lord how much better should we sing! How much more reverently should we adore! Such excellent deeds should have excellent praise.

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. —2 Chronicles 34:1-3

In the cover flap of “Do Hard Things,”

dht_bookA generation stands on the brink of a “rebelution.”  A growing movement of young people is rebelling against the low expectations of today’s culture by choosing to “do hard things” for the glory of God.  And Alex and Brett Harris are leading the charge.

You can read more about “The Rebelution” by clicking here.

In today’s Bible passage, we read about Josiah, a young rebelutionary of his time.  He begins reigning as king at the age of eight!  And by the time he is 16, he is seeking after God and when he reaches 20, he is implementing radical change in his nation.

My prayer:  Oh God! Make me more like Josiah! I want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, walk in His ways and not turn aside to the right or the left! I want to SEEK You and KNOW You!

 

July 25

2 Thessalonians 3:14-18 (ESV)

14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Benediction

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

July 25

Luke 12:49-59 (ESV)

Not Peace, but Division

49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Time

54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Settle with Your Accuser

57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” [1]

July 25

Psalm 150 (ESV)

 

Let Everything Praise the Lord

150:1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens! [1]
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

 

July 25

2 Chronicles 34-36 (ESV)

Josiah Reigns in Judah

34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the incense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the Asherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins [1] all around, he broke down the altars and beat the Asherim and the images into powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

The Book of the Law Found

Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had cleansed the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. They came to Hilkiah the high priest and gave him the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim and from all the remnant of Israel and from all Judah and Benjamin and from the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 And they gave it to the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord. And the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord gave it for repairing and restoring the house. 11 They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone, and timber for binders and beams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. 12 And the men did the work faithfully. Over them were set Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. The Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music,13 were over the burden-bearers and directed all who did work in every kind of service, and some of the Levites were scribes and officials and gatekeepers.

14 While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given through Moses. 15 Then Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of theLord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16 Shaphan brought the book to the king, and further reported to the king, “All that was committed to your servants they are doing. 17 They have emptied out the money that was found in the house of the Lord and have given it into the hand of the overseers and the workmen.” 18 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it before the king.

19 And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. 20 And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 21 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.”

Huldah Prophesies Disaster

22 So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent [2] went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. 23 And she said to them, “Thus says theLord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah. 25 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore my wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched. 26 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 27 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord28 Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants.’” And they brought back word to the king.

29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord31 And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.

Josiah Keeps the Passover

35:1 Josiah kept a Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem. And they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed the priests to their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the LordAnd he said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built. You need not carry it on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and his people Israel. Prepare yourselves according to your fathers’ houses by your divisions, as prescribed in the writing of David king of Israel and the document of Solomon his son. And stand in the Holy Place according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of your brothers the lay people, and according to the division of the Levites by fathers’ household. And slaughter the Passover lamb, and consecrate yourselves, and prepare for your brothers, to do according to the word of the Lord by Moses.”

Then Josiah contributed to the lay people, as Passover offerings for all who were present, lambs and young goats from the flock to the number of 30,000, and 3,000 bulls; these were from the king’s possessions. And his officials contributed willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the chief officers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings 2,600 Passover lambs and 300 bulls. Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave to the Levites for the Passover offerings 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 bulls.

10 When the service had been prepared for, the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command.11 And they slaughtered the Passover lamb, and the priests threw the blood that they received from them while the Levites flayed the sacrifices.12 And they set aside the burnt offerings that they might distribute them according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of the lay people, to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the Book of Moses. And so they did with the bulls. 13 And they roasted the Passover lamb with fire according to the rule; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, in cauldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the lay people. 14 And afterward they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat parts until night; so the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15 The singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place according to the command of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the gatekeepers were at each gate. They did not need to depart from their service, for their brothers the Levites prepared for them.

16 So all the service of the Lord was prepared that day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josiah. 17 And the people of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days. 18 No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah, and the priests and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.

Josiah Killed in Battle

20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to meet him. 21 But he sent envoys to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war. And God has commanded me to hurry. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you.”22 Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight in the plain of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot King Josiah. And the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am badly wounded.” 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in his second chariot and brought him to Jerusalem. And he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah; and all the singing men and singing women have spoken of Josiah in their laments to this day. They made these a rule in Israel; behold, they are written in the Laments. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his good deeds according to what is written in the Law of the Lord27 and his acts, first and last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

Judah’s Decline

36:1 The people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and made him king in his father’s place in Jerusalem. Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. Then the king of Egypt deposed him in Jerusalem and laid on the land a tribute of a hundred talents of silver and a talent [3] of gold. And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Jehoahaz his brother and carried him to Egypt.

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of theLord his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried part of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon and put them in his palace in Babylon. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and the abominations that he did, and what was found against him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.

Jehoiachin was eighteen [4] years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord10 In the spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon, with the precious vessels of the house of theLord, and made his brother Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.

11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that he had made holy in Jerusalem.

15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.

Jerusalem Captured and Burned

17 Therefore he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or aged. He gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. 19 And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. 20 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

The Proclamation of Cyrus

22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’”

2 Thessalonians 3:13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

John Piper, in a sermon, “Do Not Grow Weary in Well-Doing”

weary-manProbably the worst enemy of enthusiasm is time. Human beings have a remarkable and sad capacity for getting tired of wonderful things. Almost every one of you can think of something you were enthusiastic about recently, but now the joy is faded. Your first day of vacation on the coast the sunset was breathtaking and made you so happy you could sing. But by the end of your stay you hardly noticed it any more. Vacationers get tired of sunsets, millionaires get tired of money, kids gets tired of toys, and Christians get tired of doing good. At first the excitement of teaching that Sunday School class was strong, but now you have grown weary of well-doing. The thrill is gone. At first you felt clean and strong in the Holy Spirit as you drove the van, taught the Lao English, led the small group, visited the newcomers, started reading the Bible, worked in the emergency shelter . . . but now you have grown weary in well-doing. The inner power and joy have seeped away. It’s a chore. You’ve lost heart.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

    And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. —Luke 12:42-43 ESV

J. C. Ryle comments on Luke 12:41-48 at GraceGems.com:

We hear a great deal about people’s intentions, and hopes, and wishes, and feelings, and professions. It would be well if we could hear more about people’s practice. It is not the servant who is found wishing and professing, but the servant who is found “doing” whom Jesus calls “blessed.”

The lesson is one which many, unhappily, shrink from giving, and many more shrink from receiving. We are gravely told that to talk of “working,” and “doing,” is ‘legalistic’, and brings Christians into bondage! Remarks of this kind should never move us. They savor of ignorance or perverseness. The lesson before us is not about justification, but about sanctification–not about faith, but about holiness. The point is not what a man should do to be saved–but what ought a saved man to do! The teaching of Scripture is clear and express upon this subject, A saved man ought to be “careful to maintain good works.” (Tit. 3:8.) The desire of a true Christian ought to be, to be found “doing.”

If we love life, let us resolve by God’s help, to be “doing” Christians. This is to be like Christ. He “went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38.) This is to be like the apostles, they were men of deeds even more than of words. This is to glorify God–“Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.” (John 15:8.) This is to be useful to the world–“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16.)