Faithlife Sermons

Christmas is Peace

Advent 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION A friend sent me this email recently ... A Wise man said to me! "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you’ve started." So I looked around the house to see all the things I started and hadn’t finished ... and before leaving the house this morning I finished off a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white, the Prozac, some Valium, some cheesecake and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how good I feel! Well that’s one road to peace, but I imagine that it will have worn off by the next morning. Another writer defined peace like this, Peace is .... “a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatever sort that is” (Thayer). True peace seems elusive, even to those who fight hardest and cry loudest for it. But at that first Christmas, angels appeared to some shepherds and declared that peace is available. And just in one single verse from the Bible, we find out where to find peace at last. So let’s take a look .... The verse is and it says, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests" ().
Luke 2:8–21 ESV
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

1. THE SOURCE OF PEACE

. THE SOURCE OF PEACE IL: The change: Just over a century ago, archaeologists discovered two magnificent silver cups both with Irish Celtic origins. The first is known as the Gundestrup Cauldron and comes from a century or two before Christ. This was a time when the Irish worshipped violent pagan gods. It is adorned with pictures of gods and warriors. One panel shows a gigantic cook-god holding squirming humans and dropping them into a vat of oil. These gods demand human sacrifice to appease their appetite. The second cup is called the Ardagh Chalice and comes from the seventh or eighth centuries after Christ. By this time in history, the Irish had turned to Christianity – thanks to missionary efforts of St Patrick. Like the first cup, it is a work of magnificent craftsmanship, but the God depicted on this cup is radically different. It has a simple but intricate patterning, and the names of the 12 apostles are engraved around the rim. It’s different to the first because this is a cup of peace, and it was designed to be used in communion. (Source: reported in T Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilisation - Hodder, 1995)
IL: The change: Just over a century ago, archaeologists discovered two magnificent silver cups both with Irish Celtic origins. The first is known as the Gundestrup Cauldron and comes from a century or two before Christ. This was a time when the Irish worshipped violent pagan gods. It is adorned with pictures of gods and warriors. One panel shows a gigantic cook-god holding squirming humans and dropping them into a vat of oil. These gods demand human sacrifice to appease their appetite. The second cup is called the Ardagh Chalice and comes from the seventh or eighth centuries after Christ. By this time in history, the Irish had turned to Christianity – thanks to missionary efforts of St Patrick. Like the first cup, it is a work of magnificent craftsmanship, but the God depicted on this cup is radically different. It has a simple but intricate patterning, and the names of the 12 apostles are engraved around the rim. It’s different to the first because this is a cup of peace, and it was designed to be used in communion. (Source: reported in T Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilisation - Hodder, 1995)
See the difference Christ made in a society?
Notice the peace that He brought?
Isaiah 9:6–7 ESV
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
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a. Real peace is from God.

a. Peace is from God.
That is one of the gifts He gives us
Galatians 5:22 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
fruit of the Spirit
tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace etc And the Lord has also promised to send his peace when we ask for it. ().
When we are saved, He gives us peace
And the Lord has also promised to send his peace when we ask for it.
Philippians 4:6–7 ESV
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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b. Peace is through Christ.

b. Peace is through Christ.
You can’t conjure Peace from within yourself
Look at all of man’s best efforts.
For ages we have tried to manufacture peace on earth.
We can’t do it!
It is through Christ!
Colossians 1:19–20 ESV
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
In reconciling us to God, Peace begins.
Ephesians 2:17–18 ESV
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
AP: People long and search for peace many places, but true peace comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
People long and search for peace many places, but true peace comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. THE SANCTUARY OF PEACE a. Peace is for God’s people

a. Peace is for God’s people only.

IL: the Picture: A father was sitting watching television, when his son came running over. "Dad, can you play with me?" Dad enjoys playing with his son, and plans to give him plenty of time, but not just yet. "Soon, son, soon" says Dad. "When this program finishes." Five minutes later the little boy returns. "Dad, can we play now?" "Soon, son, soon. When this program finishes." Two minutes later the little boy returns again. "Dad, is it time to play yet?" Dad realises he’s not going to get any peace, so he decides to set his son a task that will take some time. he notices a picture of the world on the front page of the newspaper lying in front of him. He tears the picture out then rips it into small pieces. "Now son, I’ve got a game for you. Take the pieces of this picture of the world and put them back together again and then we’ll play together." The little boy eagerly takes the pieces away with him and sets to work. Dad’s relieved he’ll get to see the last half hour of his TV program. But to his amazement his little boy is back in less than five minutes. "I’ve finished daddy. Can we play now?" The father is stunned when he turns around to see his son holding up the picture of the world, each piece sticky taped into the right position. Dad begins wondering whether he has a child prodigy on his hands. "How did you get it done so quickly?" he asks. "That would’ve taken me a good 20 minutes and I’m an adult." "Oh, it was easy dad. On the back of the world was a picture of a person, so I put the person back together and that’s when the world came together."
Our world is torn by everything but peace
Wars, terror, crime, family problems.
Jesus is making it right 1 life at a time
In Peace is on earth for God’s people
I’m NOT saying we are better than others
We definitely we don’t deserve it
But in grace, God gives His peace to His children.
All who become saved can have that peace!

3. THE SCOPE OF PEACE

U2 sings a song called “Peace on Earth.” Heaven on earth We need it now I’m sick of all of this Hanging around Sick of sorrow Sick of the pain Sick of hearing Again and again That there’s gonna be peace on earth.
Basically the gist of the song is, “Get over it, we’re never going to see peace on earth.” And if we watch the news on any night of the week, we might agree.

a. Peace is with God.

a. Peace is with God.

This is mankind’s greatest need!
Mankind’s greatest need!
John 14:27 ESV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
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Jesus brings us, people who were once enemies, into the family.
By paying for our sins, He can bring real and lasting peace to us.

b. Peace is between believers

Now that we are peace with God, we are challenged to be at peace with each other.
We spoke much of this when we discussed Love last week.
We are to love each other
We are to seek to help each other and carry each other’s burdens
We are to stir up love and good works sin each other
Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

b. Peace is not with the world

b. Peace is not with the world
Like love last week, the world has a false view of God’s promised peace.
In fact, the world will hate us as they hated Jesus
They focus on the here and now often at the expense of truth.
Keep peace by never proclaiming truth
Also, we are told that the world will hate us as they hated Jesus
We invite peace with God into our soul, and then, in spite of circumstances, we have peace
have peace
Even if the world is attacking.
Peace can only be with 1 or the other
James 4:4 ESV
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
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When peace is elusive, we need to check that the source of our peace is God, and that the scope of our peace is with God not with the world.
When peace is elusive,
We need to check that the source of our peace is God, and that the scope of our peace is with God not with the world.
CONCLUSION Maybe you are at war this morning. At war with yourself, or you’re at war with God because you have sinned against Him. Perhaps you’re at war with other people or the world. If that’s you today then God invites you to receive his peace in your life – what’s your answer?
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