Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – September 18, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Will Give You Peace
Main Texts: John 14:19-31; Philippians 4:4-9
Key Verse: John 14:27: ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we studied the implications of God’s promise “I Will Be with You” for the Christian – how a realisation and experience of this promise can bring about an unmatched confidence. Some of our learning from that study are:
- God’s presence with us not only emboldens us in the face of threats and dangers, it strengthens us to accomplish tasks we never thought we could.
- We should not judge God’s presence with us by the immediate outcome of our endeavours, but by His commitment to His promise. He can be with us while we still go through suffering and severe challenges. His presence is manifested in the grace with which we go through such situations, and in His intervention in His perfect time.
- For us to rightly claim His presence with us, we must live in obedience to Him. We cannot live in disobedience and continue to enjoy His abiding presence.
This Sunday, we will be having our last study on specific topics on the theme “Standing on God’s Promises”. (Next Sunday will be Review and Summary of the quarter.) The study will be on the promise “I Will Give You Peace”. Jesus spoke a lot to his disciples about what they would experience after his departure from this earth. He however promised that they would have peace despite the turmoil. That valedictory speech by Jesus, and his accompanying prayer for the disciples (and for us) were key in sustaining the disciples. Our key learning from this study should include the following:
- If we take God’s word about the experience of the Christian life seriously, we would know that the things that rob us of inner peace are things God has taken care of, and we should therefore be at peace. In essence, much of our inner worries are a direct result of not taking God’s word concerning us seriously.
- Things we think, say or do that are contrary to God’s Spirit also rob us of inner peace: a strained relationship with a brother or sister, holding on to perceived past wrongs done to us, brooding over our past failures that we can do nothing about, failure to repent of a sin of which we have been convicted, a contentious attitude in groups to which we belong, letting our minds dwell on negative things about ourselves or about others, etc.
The entire three chapters 14 to 16 of John’s Gospel document what we might call Jesus Christ’s valedictory message to his apostles. The overall objective of the discourse is summarised in the first sentence in John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled …” He intimates them of what to expect after his departure. He starts by telling them about their ultimate abode – His Father’s house (14:1-11), His assignment for them to do “greater works” than He has done (14:12-14), how He would prepare them for the assignment (14:15-20), the part they need to play to assure success and what to expect in the course of the assignment (14:21-16:33). He especially lets them know that they would have a hard time with the world (15:18-21). He expected that their knowledge of the roadmap would usher in peace of mind. The apostles indeed kept these things in mind, and it sustained them through the turbulent days and years that followed.
1. (a) What were the subsequent manifestations in the lives of the apostles of the kind of peace Jesus had in mind in John 14:27? (b) What would have been different if Jesus had not had this discourse with them?
Our peace is most easily disturbed by situations for which we are unprepared and for which we cannot immediately figure out a solution. Examples include: opposition from unexpected quarters, serious health challenges threatening our benefactor or loved one, unplanned but required financial demands, a beloved child going wayward, personal failures that threaten our career, etc.
We can see why Jesus said to the apostles, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). It should be noted that the basis of the peace Jesus spoke about was not that the trying times would be averted. This is why Apostle Paul described it as “the peace of God which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). However, despite the forewarnings, we still experience inner turmoil when faced with life’s challenges.
2. Think of situations that have robbed you of your peace in the past – issues that gave you sleepless nights, perhaps. Looking back, what would you say robbed you of the peace God promises in those situations?
It is not only when we are in desperate situations that we could be troubled. Whatever upsets our fellowship with God or with other people also robs us of our peace: A hurt that we have not forgiven, a broken relationship with a brother or a sister, an unconfessed sin that the Holy Spirit keeps hinting at in our spirits, a personal disappointment, etc. In admonishing ourselves and others on the recipe for peace, we tend to focus on Philippians 4:6-7 – that if we, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make our requests known to God, then we would enjoy “the peace of God which transcends all understanding”. However, there are times when the answer does not lie in prayer alone; deliberate actions may be required on our part.
3. In what ways does obedience to the instructions in Philippians 4:4,5,8,9 contribute to our inner peace?
Father, I want to enjoy the peace You promised all the time. While I bring all situations before You, with thanksgiving, also show me whatever actions I need to take for full restoration of my inner peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.