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Sermon #76 — Isaiah Series
Title: “Perfect Peace”
Text: Isaiah 26:1-3
Subject: The Peace God Gives His People
Date: Tuesday Evening — March 12, 2019
Readings: David Burge and Rex Bartley
I’ve been trying to preach this message to you for two weeks, but the Lord prevented me from doing so. As always, he has done so for a good reason. I think one reason has been that I might experience it freshly and more fully for myself. You will find my text in the 26th chapter of the Gospel of Isaiah. My subject is “Perfect Peace.”
Illustration: Faith in the Emergency Room
One of the old writers said, “Peace is such a rare precious thing that I would give all the world to obtain it.”
Š Blessed is that person who has peace!
Š Blessed is that home where peace resides!
Š Blessed is that church that enjoys the sweet fellowship of peace!
Š And blessed is that country whose citizens live in peace!
But Isaiah 26:3 speaks of the peace God gives to his elect as “perfect peace.” That is my subject — “Perfect Peace.” — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Isaiah 26 gives us a picture of God’s church as a secure, well-fortified city in the midst of hostile enemies, enemies who are bent upon her destruction. Her enemies are many, mighty, and malicious. But they can do her no harm, because the city is an impregnable fortress. The city here spoken of, I remind you, is the church of God, enclosed and defended by God’s salvation. The person who has come into fellowship with the Triune God, through the sin-atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ and the gracious operations of God the Holy Spirit in the new birth, that sinner who has come to God by faith in his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has come into a place of perfect safety where he will dwell forever without the possibility of danger (v. 1).
(Isaiah 26:1) “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.”
Š Salvation’s walls are the high and lofty works of God in heaven. ― His Covenant ― His Decrees ― Christ’s Acceptance ― His Intercession.
Š Salvation’s bulwarks are the mighty, unalterable works of God in the earth. ― (Redemption ― Regeneration ― Providence).
Though the church of God is a city enclosed and protected, yet the gates to this City of Life are open to all (v. 2).
(Isaiah 26:2) “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.”
In preaching the gospel, we throw the gates of life wide open and bid sinners come to God by faith in Christ. — “Enter ye in.”
Š The Gate, the Door, by which sinners enter his church is Christ himself.
Š Here is Christ. Will you yet be Christless?
Š Here is Atonement. Will you yet be guilty?
Š Here is Righteousness. Will you yet be unrighteous?
Š Here is Life. Will you yet choose death?
Come now, enter into the City of Life, come into the family of God, come into this fortified place of security and eternal life by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust Christ and live forever.
To all who trust Christ there is a promise given of infallible, sure, eternal security. ― “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” I love those words of unconditional grace. ― “Thou wilt keep him!” This is the promise of God to all who believe. God’s saints are all kept in faith and kept in grace forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14; John 10:27-28; Philippians 1:6).
(Ecclesiastes 3:14) “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.”
(John 10:27-28) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
(Philippians 1:6) “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
We are not kept by our works, but by God’s work. We are not even kept by our faith. We are kept in faith. And we are kept through faith. But we are kept by the power of God and the grace of God.
Proposition: One delightful result of that salvation and security which God gives to his people in Christ is peace — “Perfect Peace.” — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Divisions: As God the Holy Spirit will enable me, I will give you my message by answering four questions.
1. What is this perfect peace?
2. Who can give this perfect peace?
3. Who shall obtain this perfect peace?
4. What is the connection between peace and faith?
1st — What is this perfect peace? — That is a question I cannot answer. If the peace of God “passeth understanding” it certainly “passeth” explanation. When our text speaks of “perfect peace,” it is telling us that the peace God gives is true and real. It is not an imaginary false peace. It is not peace without fear, or peace without disturbance, but real, sure peace, secure peace.
These words “perfect peace” might be translated, “peace, peace,” or “peace upon peace.” They are intended to express peace in an emphatic way, certain peace, real peace, increasing peace, extensive peace, everlasting peace.
I know that I cannot define this peace, or explain it to you. The best that I can do is describe it.
The peace Isaiah here speaks of certainly means the absence of war and danger (Isaiah 40:1-2). But the promise is talking about spiritual things not carnal, spiritual peace not political peace.
(Isaiah 40:1-2) “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
There was a time when God himself appeared to be at war against us. But as soon as a sinner trusts Christ, his warfare is over. And the danger of war is gone. Therefore we have peace, real peace.
Š Look upward! ― There is no sword of justice against you, no cup of wrath threatening you, no angry God against you.
Š Look downward! ― For the believer there is no condemnation, no death, no judgment, no second death.
Š Look backward! ― All your past sins are blotted out, forgiven, taken away, and remembered no more.
Š Look forward! — “There shall no evil befall thee!”
Š Look around you! ― “All things work together for your good.” ― “There shall no evil happen to the just.”
Š Look outward! ― God has made all the beasts of the field, all the stones of the earth, all the trees of the forest, and even your enemies to be at peace with you.
Š Look inward! ― God has set up a guard in your heart. His name is Peace, the peace of God that passeth understanding keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
If we who are believers do not enjoy this peace, the blame must be laid at our own doors. We make ourselves restless by unbelief. God promises, peace upon peace to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This perfect peace reigns over all things within the circle of our lives. — Not only is it impossible for any enemy to come near us (Isaiah 54:17), but our God assures us that all the affairs of our lives are ruled by him for good. ― If we had any cause for restlessness it could not be said that we are kept in perfect peace. Perfect peace implies that there is nothing that should disturb our souls.
(Isaiah 54:17) “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
Š Our sins are forgiven once for all. ― Never to be charged against us.
Š Christ has taken possession of us ― Never to lose us.
Š Our heavenly Father rules the universe ― Never neglecting us.
Š There is nothing that we cannot safely commit to him. — Our Sins. — Our Families. — Our Affairs. — Our Lives.
Perfect peace means a peace that is well founded. — Our peace is a matter of grace and of justice (Romans 8:32-34).
(Roman 8:32-34) “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
“The pardon which God gives us is not a covering-up of our sins, nor a blinding of justice. God is as just in his pardons as he is in his punishments. It shall be seen at the last, when believers enter into their glory, that they rise there by law, just as surely as the lost sink down to hell by law. That is to say, that the Lord Jesus Christ hath rendered to the law such recompense by his perfect obedience and his matchless atonement, that it shall be as just on God’s part to save his elect as to condemn the unbelieving world.” — C. H. Spurgeon
Our peace is just and right!
Peace in a city implies agreement, unity, and fellowship. — The church of God is indeed a city of peace.
Š God’s saints are at peace with God, the Governor.
Š God’s saints are at peace with one another.
The peace that God gives is rest in the soul (Psalms 42:5, 11; 43:5; 56:3).
(Psalm 42:5) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
(Psalm 42:11) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
(Psalm 43:5) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
(Psalm 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”
As the body cast upon the bed finds rest for every limb, so the soul stretches itself upon Christ and finds rest for every faculty.
Š My heart rests in God’s everlasting, distinguishing love.
Š My judgment rests in God’s wisdom.
Š My desire rests in God’s goodness.
Š My hope rests in God’s Word.
Š My expectation rests in God’s promises.
Peace is resignation to the will of God. — Peace is confidence in the goodness of God. — Peace is contentment with the providence of God.
Being kept in perfect peace means that we are kept from despondency. — Despondency is the fruit of unbelief. Peace is the fruit of faith. Our Anchor is not in ourselves, but outside ourselves. Our Anchor is Christ (Hebrews 6:18-20).
(Hebrews 6:18-20) “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: (19) Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; (20) Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
To be kept in peace is to be kept from rashness. — Peace makes men prudent. If we rest in Christ, if we repose our souls upon our God, we need not be hasty. We can wait on the Lord. He will deliver us in his time. Every second of every day is controlled by God’s infinite wisdom, love, and goodness to us. — I say, that man or woman who has this peace is the richest person in all the world.
(Psalm 27:14) “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
(Psalm 37:9) “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”
(Psalm 59:9) “Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.”
(Isaiah 40:31) “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
2nd — Who can give us this peace?
Š No Philosopher.
Š No Psychologist.
Š No Therapist.
Š No Physician.
Š No Pill.
Š No Preacher.
Š No Church.
Our text says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.” Peace is God’s gift. Only God can give it. Yet, it can be had very easily. We attain peace by putting ourselves in God’s hands. Striving after peace is hard work. We can never attain peace by work or even by inward strength. Peace can only be had by trusting Christ. — God gives us peace by…
Š The special application of his Word.
Š The inner work of his Spirit.
Š The gracious revelation of his Son.
Š The blessed operations of his Providence.
Š He gives his Jonahs a whale and a gourd, as they are needed.
Š He gives his Josephs’ a Pharaoh.
Peace is God’s gracious gift to faith. That is to say, as God gives us faith in Christ, he gives us peace. Peace was made for us by Christ when he reconciled us to God by his blood. And this peace is bestowed upon us as we trust him. Sprinkling our hearts with the blood of Christ, the Lord God proclaims peace in our hearts by his Spirit.
Š Like Abel, we obtain from God the witness that we are righteous, made the righteousness of God in Christ (Hebrews 11:4).
Š Like Enoch, we obtain testimony from God that we please God because Christ is made of God unto us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (Hebrews 11:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
Š Like Job, we obtain peace from God when we are brought to our knees before God, trusting Christ (Hebrews 4:16).
3rd — Who shall obtain this peace? — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.” — The “mind” here refers not only to the intellect, but to the whole of our inner being. If I am stayed upon Jehovah, I have peace. If I am straying from Jehovah I am wandering into misery.
Let all my thoughts be stayed upon my God. — I want never to think of anything without thinking of Christ.
Š My Sin.
Š My Family
Š My Needs
Š My Past.
Š My Future
Š My Life
Š My Death
Let my imaginations be stayed upon my God. — I ought never to imagine anything a possibility that is in any way contrary to the goodness, grace, power, and promise of God.
Let my desires be stayed upon my God. — My soul, want nothing but what God wills to give. Desire nothing but what God deems good, and be kept in peace.
To be stayed upon the Lord is to rest upon him. ― To be stayed upon the Lord is to depend upon him, to be glued to him. To be stayed upon the Lord is to be kept in perfect peace (Philippians 4:12-13).
(Philippians 4:12-13) “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Peace and Faith
4th — What is the connection between peace and faith? — Look at the text one more time. ― “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Š Faith is not the cause of peace. Grace is.
Š Faith is not the foundation of peace. Christ is.
Š But faith is the means of peace!
(Romans 4:25) “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
(Rom 5:1-11) “Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Š God rewards faith with peace.
Š Faith proclaims peace to the soul.
Š And faith nurtures peace.
If you would have peace, it is as simple and as difficult as faith in Christ. It is impossible for me not to have peace if I trust Christ’s Redeeming Work ― His Providential Care ― His Infinite Wisdom ― His All-sufficient Grace, ― and His Everlasting Promises.
We have a Refuge strong,
A place of peace and rest;
Our Refuge is the Lord our God,
And in Him we are blest.
There is a Man above;
Christ Jesus is His name;
He is our God; in Him we trust;
We hide ourselves in Him.
Christ is our Rock secure,
A Covert from the wind,
A River in a desert place,
Peace in a troubled land.
My soul, on wings of faith,
Fly to your Refuge dear,
Your foes defy, your troubles too,
And cast on Christ your care!
(Isaiah 3:10) “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”
(Isaiah 32:1-4) “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (2) And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (3) And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. (4) The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.”
(Isaiah 32:17-18) “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. (18) And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”
(John 14:1-3) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
(Philippians 4:4-9) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”