Peace on Earth
Perry Duggar |
We can experience PEACE ON EARTH as we are reconciled with God, restored to others and rely on Jesus.
Peace on Earth
Experiencing Christmas - Message 3
December 20, 2020
I. Introduction: We continue our series, Experiencing Christmas.
(Luke 1:78-79; 2:8-14)
A. The title to today’s message is Peace on Earth.
- Angels made a promise to shepherds at the time of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.
Luke 2:8–14 (NLT)— 8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” [theme verse]
- Is there peace on earth? Anxiety about illness, frustration about mask-wearing (or not wearing), disputes about the election, clashes about quarantines and closings, protests, violence and vandalism—and yet, the miraculous birth of
- Jesus promised peace.
- APP.: Do you need peace? What does the word peace mean?
- The New Testament Greek word ĕirēnē, translated, peace, is based on an Old Testament Hebrew word shâlôm, which refers to “an absence of strife, prosperity, personal well-being and bodily health, but also, “fulfillment, completeness, wholeness;” it speaks of a full and satisfying life.
- You may respond, “Jesus has come, but peace hasn’t followed.”
- Zechariah (priest, father of John): Luke 1:78-79 (NLT)—78“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
- We must discover and pursue the path of peace the Christmas child provides us.
II. The path of peace includes…
A. #1 - Reconciliation with God. (Luke 2:28-32; Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:19-22)
- God is our Creator, we all live our lives in relation to Him; this is true whether we acknowledge Him or not.
But are not naturally, by birth, at peace with God; because of our sin, our relationship is broken, we are separated from Him, but more accurately, opposed to Him, because we have not submitted ourselves to His rule over our lives. (Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:19-22)
- When we reject God, refuse to believe, obey, or even acknowledge Him, we live with a sense that something is missing, an inner emptiness, an uneasy unrest.
- Without God, we are unsettled, seeking satisfaction, security, fulfillment, from what this world offers in terms of possessions, pleasure, status, popularity, or we may seek a cause to pursue to find meaning for our lives. (This is the source of many addictions.)
- Nothing this world offers will satisfy because it’s all temporal; what we are missing is inner wholeness, peace, which only comes from reconciliation with God. (Micah 5:5)
- We need know God intimately and be known by Him fully, to be forgiven and free!
- Jesus came that very first Christmas to offer what we needed!
- Forty days after Jesus’ birth, His parents went to the Temple to offer a purification sacrifice for Mary’s delivery and to dedicate their firstborn son to God. (Luke 2:22-24)
- A man named Simeon was promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah; he was led there that very day by the Spirit. (Luke 2:25-27)
- Luke 2:28-32 (NLT)—28Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Sovereign Lord, now let Your servant die in peace, as You have promised. 30I have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared for all people. 32He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of Your people Israel!”
- Israel had received God’s revelation and are the people through whom the Savior came.
- Jesus came to provide salvation to people; He was a light to reveal God to us.
- Another Hebrew word for peace is shâlam, which means, “repay, fulfill, finish, restore, make restitution, recompense;” it refers to paying the debt we owe God for our sin.
- We can only be reconciled, restored to relationship, with God by trusting in something Jesus did, receiving punishment for our sins, which provided us peace!
- Romans 5:1 (NLT)—Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
- APP.: Do you have peace with God? Do you desire it?
The next step on the path of peace is…
B. #2 - Restoration with others. (Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:13; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-4)
- Jesus’ birth and subsequent death effects (causes) peace with God and also enables peace with others.
“But you don’t know whom I live with! Whom I work for! Whom my brother married!
- Thank God for Covid-19, so I can tell them they can’t come to my house!”
- Let’s begin by asking, “Why don’t we have peace with others?”
- James 4:1–3 (NLT)—What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? [source of conflict is within! Mark 7:20-22] 2You want what you don’t have [possessions, position, prestige, respect], so you scheme and kill to get it [damaging others to build up self]. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. [selfish, self-centered]
- The cause of conflict is based in our own selfish jealousy, which might be expressed, not as wanting what others have, but also wanting others to listen and accept our opinions, live the way we want them to, and treat us the way we want to be treated.
- We have adopted the world’s pride-producing values of possessions, position and power, so anyone who competes with us, challenges our ambition, or doesn’t show us sufficient respect, is seen as an adversary we must injure and defeat.
- Peace with others is a product of peace with God; it is knowing you are accepted, loved, valued, by your Creator and Heavenly Father; it enables you to love and respect others, no longer comparing yourself or feeling threatened by them.
- If you feel less than others, you don’t understand how much you matter to God.
- God enables us to have peaceful relationships with others by providing the Holy Spirit who conforms our character, transforms our natures, so that instead of jealousy and insecurity defining our lives, we have spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. [Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)]
- Even as the Spirit changes us, making it easier to get along with difficult people, or to stop being difficult people, we are responsible for treating people in a Christ-like way.
- Colossians 3:13 (NLT)—Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
- All of us want mercy and forgiveness from God for ourselves, but many of us refuse to extend it to those who have hurt us. [“Mercy for me, justice for you.”]
- We may justify our attitudes, saying, “but this person keeps on hurting me; it’s not fair that they be forgiven without suffering pain, without being punished!”
- Experiencing God’s forgiveness and acceptance, removes the need to punish others.
- The grace (unmerited favor) we receive from God removes the need to be above others.
- APP.: Is there a relationship that needs to be restored? Do you need to forgive?
The third step on the path of peace is…
C. #3 - Reliance on Jesus. (Isaiah 26:3; Micah 5:5; John 14:27; 16:33; Philippians 4:6-9)
- Our world is experiencing frustration, conflict, fear, anger, illness, injustice, dishonesty, manipulation, and exploitation—not peace—yet we are promised peace!
- Do you understand that peace is a spiritual gift, an internal state of being, that is not based on calm external circumstances?
- We can possess peace internally even when conflict and chaos exist externally.
- Many of us were experiencing inner turmoil and distress before 2020 began.
- Peace is a sense of secure contentment and settled confidence; it is feeling “whole,” free of anxiety, even in the midst of threatening external circumstances. (“Is that possible?”)
- John 14:27 (NLT)—Jesus: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
- The peace the world gives is dependent on favorable circumstances, comfort, an absence of conflict, no stress, needs, problems or difficulties—but this isn’t possible in this life!
- The only way to experience and express peace in this world is to rely on Jesus’ words, to trust in His promises, to live in His presence through prayer and reading God’s Word.
- Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)—6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
- The Presence of Jesus within is more powerful than the problems without!
- We experience peace because we trust and rely on Jesus regardless what happens!
- APP.: Are you at peace because you rely on, trust in, the promises of Jesus?
Memory verse: John 16:33 (NLT)—"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”