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Advent 1996 -2- Peace that Lasts!

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Readings: Isaiah 9:1-7, John 14:25-27
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.  Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

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.  John 14:27 (NIV)

I.   Jesus: The Foundation for peace

      A.  We Need peace.

            1.   Peace describes what’s there, not what isn’t.

            2.   Peace implies harmony (not balance)

            3.   We need to be right with God (that’s how God made us!)

      B.  There is no peace without Jesus

            1.   There has to be a “content” to contentment.

            2.   We can’t harmonize unless we know the tune.

            3.   Jesus came to teach us to sing, to empower us to harmonize

      C.  Jesus makes peace Possible

            1.   Peace isn’t possible in the context of unreconciled relationships

            2.   We are not able to reconcile ourselves to God

            3.   Jesus reconciles us to God and thereby to each other and to ourselves.

II.  Jesus: The Giver of peace

      A.  Jesus has peace to Offer

            1.   “My peace I give to you” Jesus claims to have peace to offer.

            2.   The baby born into the smell of mud and manure, to the sounds of feeding animals and the feel of hay on his back, offers us what all the wealth of the world cannot buy: contentment, satisfaction, tranquility, happiness.

            3.   We could not sing God’s song, so God became human to give us a song we can sing: the song of grace.

      B.  Jesus Gives us his peace

            1.   “My peace I give to you”

                  a.   The peace Jesus himself had he give to those who live to imitate him.

                  b.   Jesus has peace to give to us who have our own unique callings, peace in situation foreign to Jesus’ life (kids, traffic, payments).

            2.   The peace Jesus gives doesn’t have to be earned (he gives it to us).

      C.  Jesus in us Means peace in us

            1.   When we are out of harmony with the life God gives our symptoms include a lack of peace.

                  a.   We don’t get that peace back by achieving it, we get it back by receiving it.

            2.   When later on in life we get out of tune and off the beat, we don’t get back in harmony by singing louder, but by listening to the song of God in our hearts and following along.

            3.   Jesus always gives his peace. It is a gift we too often leave unopened. (We don’t think we need it — right now I’m to busy accomplishing stuff)

            4.   Too often we don’t know how to take advantage of this gift.

                  a.   Let me suggest that Jesus sings his song of peace in all our hearts. To hear the song we need only be quiet enough to hear it.

III. Jesus: The Protector of peace

      A.  His Rule guarantees peace

            1.   The peace “the world gives” is fragile and temporary. (This is not music but just advertising jingles — they stick with you but get annoying!)

            2.   Because the rules seem to constantly change, we have a hard time settling in to a relationship or a job or a career or a business.

            3.   Jesus rule is consistent. When the “government is on his shoulders” we have to call out His titles for all to hear: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

      B.  His given peace Stays given

            1.   Jesus does not withdraw his peace from us.

                  a.   However, this doesn’t mean that every instance of stress comes from the devil.

                        (1) Jesus also said that he didn’t come to bring peace but a sword (not merely to bring everything together, also to make some distinctions and in the process cause conflict)

                        (2) Sometimes that “sword” comes into our lives as God finds it necessary to rework us into a better representation of who He originally made us to be.

                  b.   Yet, even during these times of upheaval, God does not withdraw his gift of peace.

                        (1) We can still find it by listening — though it’s music be a mere whisper in us.

      C.  When he returns peace will be Everlasting!

            1.   Jesus came to give us peace and he has. But the peace we will have after his return will be far more than anything we can even imagine now!

            2.   In this lifetime His peace can and often is challenged by pretenders to His throne.

                  a.   We often mistake another tune for His.

            3.   After his return life will be an overture of wondrous music, filling our hearts with joys we don’t even know how to dream about.

                  a.   There will be no competition for our attention on God’s music in us and around us.

                  b.   It will all be the same song!

The Bottom Line:

Nothing is like the peace Jesus gives. It Cannot be destroyed. Open your hearts to it and it Will come!


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