Old Brick Reformed Church, Organized 1699

490 Route 520 • P.O. Box 153 • Marlboro, NJ 07746

Office Phone: (732) 946-8860 • Office Fax: (732) 946-9254

Secretary's Email: secretary@oldbrickchurch.orgInfo

Sunday Worship: 9:30AM - 10:30AM

Pastor Kaden's Sermon Notes for Sunday May 17, 2020

PEACE

Count Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf has been called the "rich young ruler who said YES." Born into one of Europe's leading families, he gave his life to Christ, established a Christian community at his Herrnhut estate, and oversaw the sending of the first missionaries in Protestant history. Then late in life, Zinzendorf married his beloved Anna.

Three years later, his strength ebbed. He pushed himself to finish some writing projects, but he noticed that Anna, too, was growing weaker. On Sunday, May 4, 1760, they attended church together, but with difficulty. Anna returned to her bed. The next day, Nicolas was unable to eat much lunch, and he complained of thirst. He visited Anna's sickbed, then fell into bed himself. Speech became difficult, and it grew apparent he and Anna were both dying in rooms next to each other.

About midnight on May 8, Zinzendorf was seized by a coughing spasm, and at nine o'clock the next morning, he said, "I am about to go to the Savior. I am ready. I am resigned to his will, and he is satisfied with me…. I am ready to go to him. Nothing more stands in my way." His eyes lingered another hour, then they closed. A friend at his bedside began praying, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. The Lord bless thee and keep thee... The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace." At the word "peace" Zinzendorf stopped breathing.

When Anna was told, she said, "I have the happiest prospect of you all. I will soon be going to him." She watched his burial from her window, then thirteen days later joined him.

There's a lot about this story that I really like. First, Zinzendorf gives his life to Christ and is nicknamed, the "rich young ruler who said, YES". Zinzendorf discovered, as all do who entrust their lives to Jesus Christ, that knowing Jesus is of greater worth and value than all the material riches of this world. Second, we learn that the assurance of eternal life that awaits us at the end of our earthly journey, fills our hearts with great anticipation even as our earthly lives near their end. And last, we see the incredible sense of inner peace the presence of Christ provides to people even as they walk through the darkest valleys.

In Isaiah's vision of the coming Messiah in Isaiah chapter 9, Isaiah identifies him as, "The Prince of Peace". When he came into the world as a baby, the angels announced a song of peace. "...and on earth peace..." He left the world with a legacy of peace. He told his disciples, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you..." When he prayed for his disciples in his high intercessory prayer in John chapter 17, even though he never used the word "peace", throughout the prayer he prays that they might experience His peace within. He also shed his blood on the cross that his followers would know his peace, "...having made peace through the blood of His cross," Paul said.

Everything we learn about the Savior, teaches us that Jesus is the author and provider of true peace between ourselves and God. And this is an extremely comforting assurance for us who are living through these difficult days of coronavirus.

Paul and Silas discovered this. Take a look at their experience while they were imprisoned in Philippi in Acts 16: 16-40. This is a wonderful story of faith, a story of two men who, under the harshest conditions, are found singing praises to God in their prison cell seemingly without a care in the world. They enjoyed a "transcending" peace that nothing this world threw at them could ever remove or strip away. "Not as the world gives, do I give to you," said Jesus. Jesus fills us with a peace that transcends human understanding and allows us to face every adversity in assurance and grace.

In his book, Living Stories of Famous Hymns, author Ernest K. Emurian, tells the following story:

President James A. Garfield had been in office only four months when he was shot in a train station in Washington, D.C. enroute to a class reunion. For weeks as he hovered between life and death, the worried nation discovered an old hymn titled, "Master, the Tempest is Raging." It was sung from coast to coast, over and over, and it gave comfort to America.

The hymn had been written by a woman at the end of her rope. Mary Ann Baker's family had been devastated by a certain disease. Her father and mother had died from it, she herself was bedridden, then her beloved brother fell ill. Hoping to find a cure, he left Chicago and traveled to a warmer climate. For weeks, the telegrams flew back and forth between brother and sister, until the last telegram came, telling her of his death. "I have always tried to believe in Christ," she said, "and give the Master a consecrated life, but this is more than I can bear. What have I done to deserve this? God does not care for me or mine."

But gradually, the Lord brought relief and understanding into Mary Anne's heart, and she acquiesced to His will. A great peace filled her soul, one she could hardly describe. Shortly afterward, in 1874, a friend, Rev. H. R. Palmer, asked Mary Ann to write a song to go along with a Sunday school lesson from Mark 4: 37-39, about Christ calming the sea.

Mary Ann hesitated at first, for she was familiar with the superb fourteenth century hymn on this text, the words of which were still popular in her day:

Fierce was the wild billow, Dark was the night;
Oars labored heavily, Foam glimmered white.
Trembled the mariners, Peril was nigh;
Then saith the God of God, "Peace! It is I
Master, the tempest is raging, The billows are tossing high;
The sky is o'ershadowed with blackness, No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threat'ning, A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will: Peace, be still.

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies, The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will; Peace, be still; peace, be still, it is I.

As you and I face a host of uncertainties in these unsettling days of coronavirus and other disturbing trends, let's find our rest in the peace that Christ provides, a peace that brings strength, hope, and confidence in the soul of those who have surrendered their lives to him.

God bless you all.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16

Yours in Christ,

Pastor George Kaden

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