Big Screen Christmas Part 3
Christmas Eve Service
Christmas Day service with Calvary
New Years Day Worship Service
We’ve been in this Christmas series using Christmas movies to introduce us to a theme that we see in Scripture
So week 1 we talked about how Christmas always brings with it expectations and that a problem with our faith isn’t so much so that we have false expectations but that a lot of times we have no expectations
So the challenge was to begin to expect God to do God things in your life every day!
Last week we spoke about how unmet expectations usually lead to disappointment which turns into pain
And how Scripture promised us Emmanuel. That God is with us and even with us in our most painful and disappointing moments. That He works and moves even in those moments
This week I want to talk about something that gets talked about a lot this time of year…peace
There's a lot of talking and singing about peace during Christmas. A lot of the carols we sing mention peace.
You probably have an ornament or a coffee mug with it on there.
We even have a sign on our stage that says it
And I think everyone’s searching for peace, it’s just that very few know how to get it.
The problem is there's actually very little peace experienced, at least at my house.
We’ve got performances, parties, decorating, gift wrapping, gift opening, elves on shelves, we’ve got all this stuff but my guess is if you took someone from the outside looking in the one thing they wouldn’t say you had is peace
Now, what is probably the most nostalgic christmas movie for me gives a pretty clear picture of what I think most of our houses look like this time of year so check this out
Home Alone Clip
Isn’t that pretty accurate?
The crazy thing, again, I'm not sure how much peace there was leading up to the first Christmas either.
Pregnant, unwed Mary
A teenage girl who is engaged, gets pregnant before they are married, claims it’s God’s doing.
Probably not a whole lot of peace in that relationship
They have to make this long journey back to bethlehem in the middle of it all
There’s people everywhere. No one is peaceful
When has any labor ever been peaceful?
But especially one in the middle of those circumstances in a barn
Whoever wrote silent night has never had a baby before cause there ain’t nothing “Silent” about it.
And yet, that first Christmas night, peace did break into the world, heralded by a choir of angels.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
I want to point something out here.
In verse 10 the angel says, “I bring you good news.”
"Good news" lit. The Gospel
So here we have, the announcement of Jesus’ birth and a gospel declaration
That this Messiah will do things that will cause great joy for all people
And we begin to see a glimpse of that here in this moment
The first announcement of the Messiah’s birth was given by an angel to some anonymous shepherds.
Why shepherds? Why not to priests or scribes or kings or governmental authorities?
Because by visiting the shepherds, the angel of the Lord begins to reveal the grace of God toward mankind.
Shepherds were really outcasts in Israel.
Their work not only made them ceremonially unclean, but it kept them away from the temple for weeks at a time so that they could not be made clean.
These were outcasts
But, God, in His grace, does not call the rich and mighty; He calls the poor and the lowly
So, What was this gospel? What was this Good News? Not that God had sent a soldier or a judge or a reformer, but that He had sent a Saviour to meet man’s greatest need.
It was a message of peace to a world that had known much war.
The famous “Pax Romana” (Roman Peace) had been in effect since 27 b.c.
but as we know, the absence of war doesn’t guarantee the presence of peace.
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy. He cannot give peace of heart for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.”
Is anyone familiar with the Christmas truce of 1914?
On Christmas Eve in 1914 during the first world war the Germans and the British were fighting in Belgium
They were all in their trenches hunkered down with a large space between them filled with barbed wire and mud known as “no man’s land.”
For 6 months they had battled, fought, and fired at each other.
But this night something strange began to happen
The Germans began to make all kinds of noise and one in English yelled out for the British to come over.
They decided to meet half way and ended up making a truce.
For the next 24 hours they shook hands, sang Christmas carols, played soccer and were at peace
The Christmas truce of 1914
It was definitely a form of peace, the problem was, they had been at war for the past 6 months and the next day would go back to war for the next 4 years
The Jewish word shalom (peace) means much more than a truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness.
It has to do more with character than circumstances.
Life was difficult at the time of Jesus’ birth just as it is today.
Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower. Roman law, Greek philosophy, and even Jewish religion could not meet the needs of men’s hearts.
And here in the middle of that, God sent His Son to usher in peace
So the point is not that God comes to save the worthy but rather that through the birth of the Messiah God extends his favour to people who have done nothing to deserve it; and he graciously grants them peace.
And so, God is offering us all peace this morning.
But there are two types of peace.
There is peace from God and there is peace with God
Peace with God expresses the nature of salvation as the restoration of good relations between God and sinful people and the consequent reception of his blessings toward them
Peace from God is circumstantial and often leads itself toward more of a feeling of well being
Peace from God is a feeling, Peace with God is a standing.
The message of peace that came that first Christmas had nothing to do with the crazy circumstances surrounding that first Christmas.
True peace isn't based on what's happening around us
Peace with God isn't the absence of our problems, but the promise of His presence.
We all want peace from God, but we need peace with God.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Jesus is the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord!
Jesus the Savior
Jesus the Messiah
Jesus the Lord
The peace that the Christmas story is talking about is the peace we can have with God.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while 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! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Put your faith in Jesus. Declare that He is Lord and you will be justified and reconciled.
Peace is yours to have
Everyone’s searching for peace, but few know how to get it
Scripture makes it abundantly clear and abundantly simple
Christ’s birth announces the arrival of peace, the cross paves way for peace
So yes we want peace from God and yes we need peace with God
Peace from God AND peace with God only come through Jesus
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.