Archive | June, 2017

After the march – now what?: Paul’s epistolary persistence model of peace – Transcript

25 Jun

“After the March – Now what?: Paul’s Epistolary Persistence Model of Peace”

Jones-Clark sings
Just for me. Just for me. Jesus came and did it just for me.
Just for me. Just for me. Jesus came and did it just for me.

Welcome to the House that Dignity Built. I’m Dr. Daintee Glover Jones-Clark, and I am so thrilled to have a moment to speak with you for our June 25 message of our 2016-17 series called “The Sum of Peace”. For the month of June, our speakers will be on one accord by speaking and teaching about the power of persistence and peace in our land. The title of today’s message is “After the March – Now what?: Paul’s Epistolary Persistence Model of Peace”. May God add a blessing to this word, and may He use me to encourage, empower, and inspire us to move towards peace in our land. Amen.

Back in September 2016, I spoke and wrote about marching for peace in Houston, Texas because of the unrest in our nation between civilians and peace officers. This historical moment was monumental for me, and hopefully, for others who were a part of this peace movement. The march reminded me of scripture from the book of Acts in chapter two that described the holy spirit coming at Pentecost where tongues of fire came to sit on each person and they were all filled with the holy spirit and began to speak in other tongues. At the peace march, the people were on one accord and understood each other’s different tongues of motivation for marching. Some marched for the general principle of marching while others marched for specific people who had been affected in some way because of violence. Some marched for policy changes while others marched for protective measures. Some chanted one message while others chanted another phrase, and yet they were all filled with a common spirit of obtaining peace in our land. Marching for a cause is a great start; however, what should follow? What should happen to persist in peace? If one examines Apostle Paul’s epistles, one can argue that this scripture suggests a formula for persistence that one carry on with the ministry of peace, remain in the body, and understand God’s idea of divine peace. The pertinent scripture for this message stems from 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Philippians 1:22-26, and Philippians 4:4-7.

Before discussing this persistence formula and delving into the scripture, it is helpful to provide some definitions. What is persistence? It is perseverance and an ongoing attempt to reach a goal. The online dictionary describes it as a firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Businesses think of it in terms of remaining afloat. Schools think of as students continuing to matriculate. Couples see it as remaining together as a family unit. For this message, persistence is maintaining a peaceful culture.

Now that this study has defined persistence and its link to peace, one might ask, “Who is Paul”? Paul was originally known as Saul prior to his conversion into Christianity. He was born to Hebrew parents in Jerusalem, and later became a Roman citizen. Before he became a Christian missionary, he was a Pharisee, a member of a strict Jewish sect that stressed their own piety. He went on at least three missionary expeditions. On the first journey, Barnabas was his partner. On the second journey, Silas went with him. For part of the third journey, Luke was his comrade. Because of his missionary work, he was imprisoned in Jerusalem, Caesarea, and in Rome. During his lifetime, he wrote 13 letters or epistles to support new believers in their faith. These epistles are Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

Persist by carrying on

Paul’s letter, 2 Timothy, explains to God’s people that they should continue to carry on in their ministry of peace. The scripture reads,
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

This scripture advises those who believe in the message of peace to continue to preach about it to all who will hear. This preaching is necessary because there will be others who will speak of messages that mislead or mimic the truth. The truth never fades; however, audiences can be fickle, so the truth will appear to go out of style or season to them. Regardless of this type of trending, the preachers of peace will persist in their ministerial duties.

Remain in the body

In addition to carrying on with messages of peace, Paul admonishes believers to remain in the body of Christ. Paul states,
If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (Philippians 1:22-26)

Being in the living body of Christ is to remain close to other believers of Christ. Paul knows that his work in this kingdom produces a substantial harvest which in Greek is karpos ergou (pronounced ergoo). This harvest is filled with converts for the kingdom who are each on their particular journeys and pathways for God. Some are new and see the word as milk while others are more established within the faith so the word is bread or meat to them (See 1 Corinthians 3:2 1 and Hebrews 5:12). Remaining in the body lifts up the name of Jesus with His love, His hope, and His prayers for His people.

Understanding Divine Peace

Paul’s persistence formula mentions carrying on with the ministry, remaining in the body of Christ, and lastly, understanding God’s divine peace. Philippians 4:4-7 is the scripture that explains His idea of peace. It reads,
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Paul is careful to begin with a commandment to rejoice in the Lord. A relationship with Him is celebratory because of His goodness towards His sheep. Paul reminds followers not to have anxiety because worry does not bring forth a solution. Instead, God’s people are to pray and make formal requests for their needs. These petitions to God bring forth a transcendent sense of peace, and this peace rises above other emotions, such as fear, anger, anxiety, and doubt. This peace is transformative because it constructs a new paradigm for the holder. Man is stronger with this transformative and transcendent peace. This divine peace is healing for his mind and it protects his heart.

So be committed
Be tenacious
Be determined to carry on your ministry of peace.
Be steadfast
Be purposeful
Be patient as you remain in the body of Christ.
Be diligent
Be dedicated
Be persistent in praying for God’s transcendent and divine peace that surpasses all understanding. So there we have it! In order to continue on a path towards persisting in peace, one can refer to Paul’s epistles as a model for peace.

As we come to the end of this message, stay tuned for lecture notes on this coming Tuesday, June 27, at our website http://www.dignityshouse.org. I’m Dr. Daintee Glover Jones-Clark, and this has been a message from the House that Dignity Built. I bid you peace and protection, and I grant a special thanks to Bishop Harold Gentry and First Lady Gentry of the Majestic Christian Center for offering a spiritual covering to this ministry. If you are looking for a church home, they would be happy to have you.

Amen and ashe’.

References
Jones-Clark, D. (Sept. 2016). And we march: A prayer formation for peace. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w0irMD1GmA
Holy Bible

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