H. G. Spafford sent his wife and four daughters on a ship to England. The ship sank, and all four of his daughters died. His wife was all alone. He heard the news, sat down and wrote the song, "It Is Well With My Soul"
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
1. The near
The near are those of us in the church. We are Christians. We have been bought with the blood of Christ. We are part of that royal family, part of that priesthood. Nobody's going to take our salvation away from us. Nobody can steal it.
Too many times we worry about whether we did the right thing. Is this the right thing for me? Maybe I need to decide to go somewhere else. We play around with God, and then when he calls our bluff we get an attitude. We are worth more than gold. There's no price tag to describe what we're worth to God. Instead, we live like chump change, like we're not worth anything.
We have one standard, and we need to believe in it and to preach it. We are special, we're set apart. Just like God said to Elijah, "What are you doing here?" "I just used you to do the most incredible miracle in history. Why are you here?" Go appoint your successor, and by the way, I've reserved seven thousand faithful.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
What about in our marriages? Is it well with our soul? With our children, do we have peace? Are we tight in relationships, all pretenses down, nothing to prove, just loving one another. Trying to make it on this journey. Is it well with our soul?
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
If it's going to be well with our soul, there are two things we need . . . vs. 6 says we need to trust. If we trust fully, he gives the full measure of peace. vs. 9 says that it also depends on our obedience. Fully obedient, fully at peace.
For the near, let's make sure we are trusting and obedient.
2. The far
When God came to Gideon, he was weak, hiding, sinful, faithless.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."
We often don't believe we can change, because we're living in sin.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.
21 "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."
7 Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.
8 The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace.
It's scary living in sin. We'll never know peace. Hell is a reality, a certainty
23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
We don't want to mess with God's wrath. One of the worst aspects of hell will be the regret that we didn't take the warning. There's no fellowship, no community. It's the only place we won't mess up heaven.
If we want to change, there are four things we need to do:
i. Let us give our heart fully, and be committed to God's Word.
ii. Let us have faith, let us pray for our faith to grow.
iii. Let us be humble before God's Word and God's people.
iv. Let us wait on God to do what He says He's gonna do.
Is it well with our soul? Jesus said that he came to bring a sword, not just peace. Let us decide to be more willing to stir things up, in order to bring inner peace . . .
a. To pray daily that God will open their eyes, send godly people into their lives
b. To pray daily that God will remove all crutches and obstacles that hinder them
This means war. Jerusalem is known as the city of peace, but it took a war.
25 "All this I have spoken while still with you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
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.
28 "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,
31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave.