Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Road To Bethlehem Part 2 "Peace"

We are leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  When the day comes and the presents are opened and the food is eaten and the family is called or hugged, we want there to be something more left over then just torn wrapping paper, empty boxes and broken toys.  That is why we are taking these five weeks and focusing on just what Christ’s coming means to us.  So there will be more meaning, more substance in our celebration.

The angels announced His coming, telling us that they brought good tidings of great joy to all people.  Presents under a tree, grandma’s ham, sis Martha’s sweet potato pie, may all be good, but not sufficient to announce GREAT Joy to all people. So why is there such a celebration?  Let’s see.

Last week we deal with Recovery. Christ’s coming means we can recover the most important thing we lost:  Our relationship with God.  That is why when we learn His name shall be Immanuel, meaning “God with us” we can have great joy.  Our relationship with Him can be restored.

This week we read of Him being the Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:6
(6)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

In the OT the word for Peace is Shalom.  Just like some greet people here.  Peace….so they would say Shalom.  But it means more then just an absence of war, fear etc.  It means wholeness, prosperity, a completeness throughout creation. The end of injustice, that this Shalom would flow deep and wide and there would be one who would bring it.  The Messiah, or the Prince of Peace.

Tim Keller illustration...see HERE

I.                   Sin shatters our peace and makes it “unrestorable” in our own methods…
a.       When Jesus Comes He promises to bring an end to war.  That the nations would beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and nations would not learn war anymore. 
b.      Politicians try and bring this peace…
c.       Our problem is we want peace without the prince…
d.      Treaties etc.  Neville Chamberlain…peace in our time…
e.       No peace until the Prince of Peace returns for the world
f.       That may be great and perhaps would strike a deeper chord if we were in the middle of a war with tanks in our streets and hiding for our lives, but I can’t relate well to that peace.
g.      What about the war in our heart? What do we do with our guilt?
h.      What about the guilt that steals our peace.
i.        ILLUS: when I almost died and had no peace standing, sitting etc…
j.        Hell is described as a place where there is torment forever
                                                              i.      Fear has torment
                                                            ii.      Constant noise
                                                          iii.      Constant burning fumes
                                                          iv.      Eternal pain, no rest
                                                            v.      There is no rest to the wicked.  No peace
                                                          vi.      Isa_48:22  There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
                                                        vii.      Isa_57:21  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
k.      The devil is the enemy of peace and works to have constant turmoil
                                                              i.      Music
                                                            ii.      Media
                                                          iii.      Business
II.                There can be no peace with others until there is peace within yourself (Need to be Peace with God, Peace with self, Peace with others)
a.       Most of the fights are because there is an unrest within
b.      Jealousy is a symptom of insecurity within
c.       But by pride cometh contention
d.      REMEMBER the mote in your brothers eye shows you that you have a beam in your own!
III.             That’s what Christ brings, a peace treaty
a.       Unconditional surrender
b.      ILLUS” the girl that ministered among the Japanese p.o.w.s and the man asks how they were treated.  Why was she being so kind?  He parents were killed by Japanese in the Philippine islands, and were allowed 30 minutes to pray.  What did they pray for?  She determined to show the love of Christ that melted the need for revenge. 
c.       The soldiers wanted to know what kind of power could melt that reging hatred and desire for revenge into loving service to her enemies?  It was Jesus and His forgiveness.
d.      If Jesus can say “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do….” Surely we can forgive others and have peace among ourselves.
e.       We had offended God by our sin.
f.       We had brought a brokenness in our human condition because of our sin
g.      Families are affected
h.      Hearts are broken
i.        People are shattered by the war
j.        ILLUS Many soldiers coming home with PTSD and other mental disorders…Horrible to see what mankind can do one to another. Yet there is a peace giver.
k.      (Col 1:20)  Through him uniting all things with himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, uniting all things which are on earth or in heaven.

Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

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