Quest for Peace

Scripture: Luke 21:25-26, Revelation 11:18, John 14:27
Peace seems to be an elusive thing on our earth where war almost always seems to be occurring on our planet. Man's efforts have failed. What does the Bible teach us about finding peace? It will not come as mankind expects it to come. It must come from within, not an outward force.
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For literally hundreds of years the greatest minds of the world have been seeking a solution to the problem of war. Peace is just about the most elusive thing on the world scene today and, of course, it always has been. At times the diplomats seem to be very near the answer. Terms will be drawn up. Treaties agreed on. Truces arranged for, and then suddenly, bang! It all explodes in another violent conflict of hostilities. Border incidents are smoldering on many frontiers of the world right now and we know that open war is taking place on other scenes. Terms of arbitrators appointed by the United Nations are trying to inspect the vast stretches of no man’s land which lie between some of the disputed countries.

But what’s wrong, friends? Where have we failed anyway? After all, this is the most enlightened, advanced age of world history-so they tell us. Yet the savagery, the brutality, the humanity of man to man, is more ugly than ever before. Year after year the League of Nations didn’t change the picture at all. And year after year the United Nations has seen the world picture grow darker and seemingly more hopeless. I read recently that the U.N. Disarmament Committee held eighty-one sessions in a year and a half without reaching a single decision regarding disarmament.

You know, friends, if we should try to characterize the spirit of this age in just one word, we could make no better choice that the word, fear. And if we could read the heart’s desire of all people in all the world we could put it down in just one word, peace. Isn’t it a strange contradiction for millions to be filled with perplexity and fear when they actually hunger for peace. Today we are going to try to find the cause for this unseemly paradox. Apparently something has happened in very recent years to aggravate this contagion of fear which is now written on the faces of individuals and nations alike.

It’s not just a localized condition of just one people, but it’s gone out to the very corners of this world of ours. It you should go to any city in any country of the world and stand on the busiest street corner and look into the faces of the people as they go hurrying by, what do you think you would see there friends? Fear, frustration, anxiety, and very little peace which their hearts crave. Wherever the newspapers, radio, or voice of man has penetrated, the shadow of fear will also be found. Small and great, rich and poor alike are caught up together in this pervading spirit of our age.

Not long ago one of the world’s greatest scientists gave a lecture in the college from which I graduated. His first words were these. “I am a frightened man. And all the scientists I know are frightened men.” Well, perhaps, the explanation for this lies in the dismal record of man’s past achievements. Many of you who listen to this broadcast can vividly remember the ravages of the two greatest wars in history. You can still remember that those war were supposed to be the last, the wars to end all other wars.

At the close of each struggle, honest well-intentioned men gathered at the peace table to sign an armistice or a truce. Hopes were built up that some treaty or alliance would guarantee to future generations the golden age of peace. But how long did they last? The lesson of history has never really been heeded at all. The sad story has repeated itself again and again and again. The years stretch out into decades and then while the diplomats negotiate, the armies are out on the battlefields fighting. The ink is scarcely dry on the paper before there’s still another violent war somewhere in the world.

Do you realize that not one basic cause of war has yet been eliminated? Now why is this true? Is this not the most enlightened age? Yes, that’s what they say. Then why should peace be so elusive? Sometimes it seems so near, right at our fingertips. And then suddenly it’s gone, completely out of reach. Perhaps there has never been a stronger instrument for peace that the United Nations Organization. We surely admire its noble objectives, and we praise the work it has done, but the fact remains that peace today is just as uneasy truce on a dozen borders of the world and open violence on a few. Now I’m not an alarmist, friends, but we need to be reminded that the greatest minds in the world are thinking on this subject that we’re discussing today. The scientists, educators, and statesmen are planning for the future, but they don’t know what to plan. They don’t even know whether there will be a future or not.

My friends, the tense atmosphere of this age should not cause us to be surprised in the least because Jesus gave a clear picture of this very hour of world history in Luke 21:25 and 26: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Now there’s an accurate description of conditions all over the world today. Add to this the words of another great prophet in Revelation11:18: “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged.”

Now let me ask you this question today. Are the nations angry? Are men’s hearts fearful? Look at the morning paper. If it carried a 3-inch banner headline, The Nations Are Angry!, it would not be considered extreme by a single person listening to my voice today. I repeat the question. Why can’t we, an enlightened civilization, settle the problems? What is the real difficulty after all? Naturally, everybody is ready to blame somebody else. One country blames another country and each political party blasts away at the other political party for causing all the world’s ills. But if we should ask the God of heaven, He will reveal that the cause, the real cause, lies deeper than either politics or religion.

In fact Revelation 16:13-16 reveals that evil spirits are involved in the present world conflict. Satan delights to see war, hatred and destruction. He’s responsible for inflaming passions of fear and hate. Now listen, friends, guns and tanks may compete with a natural enemy but it will take more than those and all that human power can produce to fight against the devil and spirits of evil. Only God can keep us in these days from being influenced by those spirits of devils.

Years ago, Mr. Ramsey MacDonald, Prime Minister of Great Britain, made this statement: “It seems as if the nations are bewitched, that they are laboring under some doom imposed upon them by devils. There’s something devilish in all the operations now going on to increase armies, navies, and air forces.” That’s the end of the quotation, friends, but I can tell you it’s doubly true in this year.

There is something devilish about the whole thing. The people don’t want war. They never will want war. But some sinister force seems to reach up from underneath and drive the nations on toward the abyss. I don’t think it’s too hard for us to imagine the spirits of devils working on the hearts of men today and causing them to hate each other and destroy one another. What else could keep the spirit of violence alive in such an advanced stage of civilization?

I don’t find that man has lagged behind in the sciences or in the social arts or in the development of industries either, it’s only in the realm of spiritual knowledge that we have fallen short. It’s only in the practice of devotion to God that we lag behind. And the great deceiver is trying to poison the atmosphere of this earth by his war plans so that our spirits will be soiled by hate and passion as well.

Isaiah correctly foresaw the picture when he prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-4: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Now notice something, friends. Who said these things anyway? Not God. The people will say, according to the text: Let’s learn war no more; we’ll not quarrel or fight anymore; we’ll ban warfare. Now have you heard anything like that that would fulfill prophecy? Have you heard about a disarmament plan in the world today? Why, such meetings are probably taking place right now while this broadcast is taking place. And while they are talking peace, what does God say that they are actually doing? Notice the answer in Joel 3:9, 10: “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.”

Now here is the greatest paradox of modern times. While delegates of many nations sing the hymn of peace, they actually ready their weapons of war for immediate use. The result of this situation is described in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 where men’s peace talks suddenly explode into utter destruction. Now does all of this mean that peace is an impossibility? Of course not. On the contrary, peace is not only possible but absolutely certain. But, friends, it will not come as men expect it to come. If men were able to achieve peace, it would mean that human nature had basically changed, and I certainly can see no indication that men have changed at all. Well, they are changing, but they are getting worse instead of better, that’s for sure. It is true that scientific progress has been made, but morally there’s been no change except for the worst.

As long as Satan operates in the world, there will be evil men to stir up strife among the nations. But here’s a wonderful truth. By the grace of God you can resist that evil power.

While nations are swept by the spirit of hate, you can have peace. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how this is possible because the natural thing is to go along with the crowd. But Jesus said, “my peace I give unto you.” And we can have that peace as a free gift from Him if we only open our heart and let Him come in. Notice the promise in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Well there it is. That’s the peace we need so much. It comes within. The world may be in a turmoil. The nations may be angry. Trials and tribulations may arise on every hand, but you as an individual can have peace by trusting in Christ.

A change is about to take place in this world. The scene will change, and on the ruins of war God is going to build His eternal kingdom that shall never be destroyed. The era of the atom will end. The reign of fear and hate will be gone. And a world without fear will be a reality. Notice this promise of the ancient prophet, Habakkuk 2:14: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Soon Jesus is going to intervene in human affairs and we will be taken to that wonderful place in heaven and then we will come back to this world that will be made over again like the Garden of Eden. Here we will spend eternity with Christ.

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