Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

12-03-05

Title: The Peace of Christmas

 

Text: (Micah 5:1-5)

 

Call to Worship: Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to allpeople.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David aSavior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10 –11).

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Can there really be peace on earth? 

 

Since the beginning of recorded history the world has been entirely at peace only 8% of the time. 

 

In other words, in over 3,100 years of recorded history, only 286 have been without war. 

 

During that same period of time, 8,000 treatises have been broken as well. 

 

And what about personal peace? 

 

Peace at home? 

 

Peace at work? 

 

Financial peace? 

 

In the midst of national uncertainty brought on by terrorist attacks, and personal turmoil resulting from high unemployment and natural disasters, can the hope of Christmas still deliver peace? 

 

The prophet Micah lived between 725–610 B.C, during the reins of  Israel’s kings; Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. 

 

He came from the poorer class of Israel and was acutely aware of the injustices of the rich. 

 

Micah explained that because of the sins of Israel, God had sent the cruel armies of the Assyrians as His arm of punishment. 

 

However, the people were not to lose hope. 

 

Following God’s discipline, would come a time of tremendous blessings; blessings connected with the coming of the Messiah. 

 

At some time in the future, he predicted, a woman will give birth to a child in Bethlehem.

 

This child, proclaimed the prophet, “will be their peace” (v.5). 

 

Some 700 years later, in a stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem, a virgin by the name of Mary gave birth to this promised Messiah who brought peace.

 

But the peace He brought was peace with God, not peace between men or nations. 

 

He would break down the barrier between God and man and reconcile mankind to God by His death on a Cross.

 

Micah’s prophesy of peace on earth is for a time that today is still in the future when all the equipment of war will be consumed.  

 

It can only refer to the Second Coming of Christ and His reign over the earth for a thousand years.

 

It will be a time of peace, since the Lord will have put down all rebellion, all opposition and all the forces of evil that are around today.

 

Isaiah likewise called Jesus the “Prince of Peace” (Is.9:6). 

 

“Prince of Peace” refers to a rich, harmonious life given by Jesus. 

 

But there can be no peace on earth until He is reigning. 

 

His government is not stagnant; there is increase and growth. 

 

No two days are going to be alike when He is reigning. 

 

He is going to occupy the throne of David. 

 

This is a literal throne that He will occupy at His Second Coming. 

 

Justice will be dominant in His rule. 

 

God’s zeal, not man’s screwball plans will accomplish this.

 

Micah, in the fifth chapter of his book tells how God is going to bring peace to the world.

 

I’ll read the first five verses.

 

1 Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; He has laid siege against us; They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
 (This verse is a prophesy that the Messiah will be born in Jerusalem.)
3 Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel.
4 And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;
5 And this One shall be peace.

 

Here’s the good news; you don’t have to wait until Jesus returns to experience peace in your life, because you can have—

 

Peace through Forgiveness.

 

What type of peace does Jesus bring? 

 

Jerome, an early church father, had a dream one night in which Jesus visited him. 

 

In the dream, Jerome collected all his money and offered it to Jesus as a gift.

 

Jesus said, “I don’t want your money.”

 

So Jerome rounded up all his possessions and tried to give them to Jesus.

 

Jesus responded, “I don’t want your possessions.”   

 

Jerome then turned to Christ and asked, “What can I give you?   What do you want?”  

 

Jesus simply replied, “Give me your sins.  That’s what I came for; I came to take away your sins.”

 

Forgiveness of sins!

 

That is the essence of the peace Christ gives. 

 

Without that forgiveness you and I cannot experience true peace. 

 

Once we accept Christ’s forgiveness, then we can experience His peace.

 

Marjorie Holmes was struggling with some past failures in her life until she got an interesting letter from a friend.

 

The stationery related a recent visit this woman had with her granddaughter when they went to see a plane write messages in the sky.

 

The young girl loved watching the words being drawn in the air, but was puzzled when the letters started disappearing.

 

She studied the situation for a moment then suddenly blurted out, “Maybe Jesus has an eraser!”

 

When we find ourselves wrestling with our own fallen humanity, we can take comfort in the fact that God is able to erase all of our failures with his remarkable eraser . . . a cross.

 

His peace is characterized by three truths.

 

First, The Peace Christ Gives Is Above Circumstances.

 

Happiness is dependent upon ones circumstances. 

 

Can you imagine being happy in jail, when you’re told that you have a deadly disease or at the death of a loved one?

 

Perhaps nothing causes more misery than war.  

 

World War I affected many millions of people; most of whom were innocent victims. 

 

Battles were fought from trenches, where the soldiers were forced to live for months. 

 

Neither side was able to gain the advantage in spite of the introduction of modern day war machines, including tanks and the airplane.   

 

Poison gas was used by both sides with deadly results. 

 

But there were reports from the front of charitable acts during one brief period of peace.

 

This story has been told in a variety of ways, but this is the researched version that appeared in newspapers nationwide on December 25, 1994 from the Associated Press, dateline London.

 

Eighty years ago, on the first Christmas Day of World War I, British and German troops put down their guns and celebrated peacefully together in the no-man’s land between the trenches.

 

The war, briefly, came to a halt. 

 

In some places, festivities began when German troops lit candles on Christmas trees on their parapets so the British sentries a few hundred yards away could see them. 

 

Elsewhere, the British acted first, starting bon fires and letting off rockets.

 

Pvt. Oswald Tilley of the London Rifle Brigade wrote to his parents: “Just you think that while you were eating your turkey, I was out talking and shaking hands with the very men I had been trying to kill a few hours before!  It was astounding.” 

 

Both armies had received lots of comforts from home and felt generous and well-disposed toward their enemies in the first winter of the war, before the vast battles of attrition began in 1915, eventually claiming 10 million lives.

 

All along the line that Christmas Day, soldiers found their enemies were much like them and began asking why they should be trying to kill each other. 

 

The generals were shocked. 

 

High Command diaries and statements express anxiety that if that sort of thing spread it could sap the troops’ will to fight. 

 

The soldiers in khaki and gray sang carols to each other, exchanged gifts of tobacco, jam, sausage, chocolate, and liquor, traded names and addresses and played soccer between the shell holes and barbed wire. 

 

They even paid mutual trench visits.

 

This day is called “the most famous truce in military history” by British television producer Malcolm Brown and researcher Shirley Seaton in their book “Christmas Truce.”

 

The point is that there can be peace even in the worst of circumstances, because peace isn’t determined by outside forces unless we allow it to be.

 

Peace is the result of Christ living in my heart.  

 

Peace is the assurance I am safe in His hands, no matter what may be going on around me. 

 

Peace is trust in the midst of turmoil. 

 

The peace of Christ gives you the confidence to say, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose ...For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord ” (Rom.8:28,38 –39).

 

Here, in this passage, Paul searches the entire universe to see if there is anything that can possibly separate us from the eternal presence of God.

 

He goes first to the realm of death and finds nothing there.

 

Then he turns to the realm of life and again finds nothing.

 

He looks to the angels and they have no power to separate us.

 

He turns to principalities which, in this case, may refer to the demonic forces representing Satan.

 

There is nothing there.

 

He proceeds to examine things present and finds nothing.

 

He explores the future, and in the things to come there is nothing which can separate us.

 

Nothing can happen now nor in the future which can remove the love of God from us or us from His eternal security.

 

Paul does not stop here for next he searches the entire universe and nothing in the expanses of space, height, nor depth can be found to bar the presence of God from us.

 

But just in case he has missed something, Paul then says that there is no other creature or creation of God that is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Nowhere can the apostle find anything in the whole universe of God which can sever the relationship that the children of God have with their Father’s love.

 

This great assurance is enough to bring peace to the heart of those in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!  Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!  Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born, of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (8:1).

 

Paul is persuaded that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

All these wonderful promises belong to us because we belong to Him. 

 

The Peace Christ Gives Is Above our Circumstances, and also,

 

The Peace Christ Gives Is Beyond Understanding.

 

How can a Christian lose his job and not worry? 

 

How can a believer look cancer in the face and not flinch? 

 

How can a Christian keep going after the loss of a loved one, or a child, or some other tragedy? 

 

How can a believer give his life up to the flames instead of denying Christ? 

 

It is because of the peace Jesus gives when you place your faith in Him. 

 

A peace that “transcends all understanding” (Phil.4:7).

 

In other words, it surpasses all power of human reason or comprehension (Eph 3:20).

 

The peace of God in the Christian will keep peace in the church, peace in the family and peace between individuals.

 

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isa 26:3).

 

The Christian can put everything into God’s hand and let the peace of God rule in his heart (Col 3:15).

 

The Scripture speaks of several kinds of peace which we can understand.

 

There is world peace. 

 

We have the assurance that someday peace will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. 

 

It will come through the person of Christ, the Prince of Peace. 

 

Also there is the peace that comes when sins are forgiven. 

 

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” according to Romans 5:1. 

 

The Bible also speaks of the “peace of God.”

 

This is more than peace with God (Rom 5:1); it is a peace which God has and which Christ gives (Jn 14:27).

 

The peace of God comes to a child of God who trusts and prays.

 

All Christians have peace with God, and all Christians may have the peace of God, that is, that inward tranquility of soul grounded in God’s presence, and in His promises, and in His power.

 

However, one may have peace with God without having the peace of God.

 

Peace with God is dependent upon faith, and the peace of God is dependent upon prayer.

 

Peace with God describes the relationship between God and the Christian, and the peace of God describes the condition of tranquility within the Christian.

 

The Lord Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you…” (John 14:27). 

 

That is a marvelous peace, but it is not “the peace…which passeth all understanding.”

 

I don’t know how to tell you this, but I do know that it is a peace that we do not have at all times. 

 

I think it is a peace that sweeps over our souls at certain times. 

 

I was seventeen when I stood on top of Longs Peak in Colorado, where I could see into four states. 

 

At sunset the Rocky Mountains were magnificent, and as I looked at the majesty of God’s creation, what a peace came over me. 

 

I can’t tell you what it did— “it passeth all understanding.” 

 

And that same peace came when my heavenly father let me have a heart attack. 

 

I went to the hospital scared to death, and then that night I committed it all to Him and told Him that all I wanted was for His will to be done. 

 

If I died, I knew I would be with Him, and if I lived then it was only because He had more for me to do. 

 

He made Himself real to me and gave me that peace that “passeth all understanding.”  

 

I don’t know how to tell you what it is; I can only say that it is wonderful.

 

The peace which Christ gives is greater than our circumstances, beyond our understanding, and—

 

Third, The Peace Christ Gives Is Always Available.

 

Before Jesus left His disciples He promised after He was gone the Holy Spirit would come and be with them, comforting, teaching, and encouraging them. 

 

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit did come. 

 

Now His comforting, teaching, and encouraging is available to all who believe in Jesus.

 

There is never a moment in which we are away from Christ‘s peace. 

 

There is never a second when we need to worry, or need to be afraid.

 

The peace that comes from Christ is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

A visual reminder for the source of true peace is on regular display along New York City’s Fifth Avenue.

 

At the entrance of the RCA building is a large statue of Atlas struggling to keep the world on his shoulders.

 

On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

 

Behind the high altar of this church is a small statue of Jesus effortlessly holding the whole world in one hand.

 

Peace is hard to come by when we strive to balance the world on our own back, but when we heed God’s invitation to give him our concerns (1 Peter 5:7), the weight of our world becomes an effortless lift for the Prince of Peace.

 

Conclusion:

 

During the Korean War, Billy Graham had the opportunity of ministering to American soldiers.

 

While there, he learned of an incident that stirred his heart.

 

On Christmas Eve, a young Marine lay dying on Heartbreak Ridge.

 

One of the chaplains climbed up to the young man and whispered, “May I help you, son?”

 

 The Marine replied, “No, it’s all right.”

 

The chaplain was amazed at the soldier’s tranquility.

 

When he glanced down at the man’s side he understood the source.

 

He was clutching a small New Testament in his bloody hand and his finger was placed on the calm assurance of John 14:27, “My peace I give to you . . .”

 

Are you in need of this type of peace? 

 

Is your life characterized by anything but peace? 

 

Today Jesus is waiting to give you His peace. 

 

He came into the world to be your peace. 

 

He is the Prince of Peace.

 

 I E S A N D M

 

 

 

 

Make a Free Website with Yola.