What Christmas is really about
Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder, and his name shall be called[b] Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 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.
Peace – shalom – fulness. Having everything you need to be whole and happy (Jesus – The Prince of Peace)
(Luke 2:6-7 NIV) “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Peace on Earth? But the Light Came in the Midst of Darkness
Fredrick Buechner said, “Peace is not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”
The Song is wrong – the world wasn’t silent. There was no peace in Israel at this time. Gloom, anguish, and contempt were just some of the adjectives used to describe this darkness.
•The word of God had not been heard for four centuries. Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, written in the fifth century BC.
•The people of God were under the oppressive rule of Rome. Political darkness reigned!
•The nation of Israel was fracturing. The Pharisees, Sadducees, The Essenes, The Zealots – which resulted in the oppressive rule of Rome
•The census was a considerable imposition. Living in Nazareth, Mary and Joseph lived more than 100 miles North of Bethlehem. Yet, there was no way around it. They were forced by legal constraint to make the arduous trip.
•The poverty of Mary and Joseph did not fit the royal son they had. Joseph had no bargaining power. Without family or hospitality, darkness surrounded them.
•Through the hostile forces of Herod, Satan tried to kill Jesus. Herod, so paranoid for his own position and power that he had multiple family members executed, attempts to use the wisemen to lead him to the Christ child—not to worship, but to exterminate. He orders the execution of all the children in and around Bethlehem.
(Luke 12:51 NIV) “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
(John 16:33 NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Internet search for peace of mind – home security, hypnosis, funeral services, perfume, plumbing to insure your toilet
(Jeremiah 4:20 NIV) “Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.”
Sometimes the pain and problems in your life is nobody’s fault
John 9:1-3 Message – Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” 3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”
(Psalms 109:3 NIV) “With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.”
Never forget 3 Types of People in Your Life. Those:
1. Who helped you in your different time
2. Who left you in your difficult time
3. Who put you in your difficult time
(Matthew 27:46 NIV) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
3 Reasons for life’s problems
1. Sin – Imperfect world
2. Satan – Common Enemy
3. Self – we make mistakes
Problems are God given opportunities to grow – challenges drive us to deeper understanding and maturity. Problems come from the greek word which means “To Throw” or “To Drive forward”
Robert Schuller said, “Impossibilities vanish when a man and His God confront a mountain”
(Jeremiah 6:24 NIV) “We have heard reports about them, and our hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor.”
God doesn’t want you to worry!
I Peter 5:7 NIV – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Focus on God, not the problem!
Myth – I can control and fix things by worrying about them / Truth – Worry only makes me miserable
2 Options – Panic or Pray / worry or worship
On Earth Peace
(Luke 2:10-14 NIV) “’Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”
(John 14:27 LB) “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
- Receive God’s Grace.
(Romans 5:1 NIV) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Micah 7:18 NIV – Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
2. Run to God’s presence.
(Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”
(Psalm 46:1, 10 NIV) “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble…Be still and know that I am God.” (180,000 troops to attack Israel)
3. Respect God’s principles.
(Psalm 119:165 NIV) “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
Peace Comes through obedience to God’s word
Romans 8:6 NIV – The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
4. Rely on God’s provision.
(Philippians 4:6-7 LB) “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”
•Trust God to take care of things beyond your control
•Quit dwelling on the “What if’s” of life
•Live one day at a time:
•Matthew 6:34 says, Don’t worry about tomorrow, Matthew 6:11, Give us today our daily bread
Peace in today’s society is a commodity much desired and rarely found. Most people are familiar with tension, stress and anxiety than peace. The lack of peace is the result of our complex, accelerated and stressed out world.
When we put our care in God’s hands, He puts his Peace in our Hearts