Celebrating Jesus at Christmas (Week 4)

“Jesus is our Peace!”

Luke 2:1-20, emphasis on verses 13-14 (NASB)

 

Life is crazy! How can you find peace in the middle of it? Christmas is a time of peace, but what does it mean to have peace if the world is crazy all around us? How can we experience the promised peace of Christmas? Let’s look at the Bible to learn how to find the promised peace of Christmas and then bring it into everyday lives.

 

Read the Christmas story of Luke 2:1-20. Emphasize Luke 2:13-14,
 
“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (emphasis added)

 

The Christ of Christmas brought to this world the good news of a great joy which is peace with God, peace with one’s self, and peace with other people!

 

Listen to Jesus in John 14:27,

 

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

 

Jesus does not offer us the peace of the world (which at best is a cease fire, but not the end of hurt feelings and tensions), but Jesus offers us His peace. Jesus says, “My peace I give to you…” and the peace of Jesus is the end of strife between us and God, and the end of the enmity “among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14). Enmity is when there is strife/discord/hostility between two parties.

 

As Paul teaches us in Ephesians 2:13-18,

 

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

 

How do we receive the peace of Jesus Christ?

 

You can have peace with God by inviting Jesus to be the Lord of your life. By taking our faith off of ourselves, off of anything or anyone else, and putting our full trust on Jesus for this life and the life to come. There is no other way to peace. The catastrophic damage caused by trusting in yourself as Savior, trusting in a career, a person, an achievement, a goal, a degree, a job, or in anything or anyone is so prevalent and rampant around us that there is no peace to be found. Only in Jesus, can we have peace!

 

Listen to Romans 5:1-8, where the Apostle Paul teaches us of this peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ,

 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

But this is not just a promised peace between us and God, as we have already seen. We bring the Peace of Jesus into our everyday lives by bringing our peace with God to other people.

 

How do we have peace with other people when other people can be so “unpeaceful”?

 

To do this you first must be at peace with God and then with yourself. The Apostle Paul emphasizes this to the New Testament church in Philippi. He teaches in Philippians 4:6-9,

 

Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

This kind of peace – from God and internal to us – is one that will stand guard (military imagery!) in our hearts and minds, so that we can face even the worst of life situations. This keeps us off the roller coaster of the world’s concept of peace and stable in God. Listen to Jesus in John 16:32-33 explain how:

 

Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

 

We have this promise to anchor our souls in life’s storms so that the peace of God perseveres in us and through us, first from God, then into our own self, and then out to our neighbors. Only then are we ready to do what Jesus commands in the Greatest Commandment found in Matthew 22:37-40,

 

And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

 

You can’t love your neighbor with God’s love, and live at peace with him/her, unless you are first at peace with God and loving your “neighbor as yourself” which means giving them the peace you first received. This peace, like joy, is a grace from God, given to us as a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

 

Here is what I want to know: How can I walk in this peace every day?

 

By trusting that Jesus is who He says He is—knowing the promises of God and persevering in them! Listen to Jesus teach us about why He came that first Christmas morning. From John 10:10-18,

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.

 

Jesus came to earth to bring us into God’s care and protect us from the true dangers of this world (the thief, the wolf). Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He will walk with you no matter the storm or situation, relationship struggle or financial woe. The Lord is with you and He brings His peace with Him wherever He goes. Invite Jesus to walk with you and talk with Him along the way so that He can bring His peace to your mind and heart in each and every situation.

 

Do you know His voice? His leading? Do you know the peace that comes from abiding in His presence?

 

Listen to Psalm 23 to see how the Lord will walk with you as your Good Shepherd:
 

    1            The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

    2            He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

    3            He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

    4            Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

    5            You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

    6            Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Did you hear the final promise?

This promise is the promise of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, walking with you throughout your life on earth and taking you home to dwell with Him for eternity. This is why Jesus came to earth, so that we who put our faith in Jesus can have peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with other people.

 

Let us persevere in this peace, not just in this Christmas season, but as patiently wait for His 2nd coming. As Jesus taught us in John 16:33,
 
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
 
 
You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message here:
 

 


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