December 19, 2021 Service
Advent Week 4: Peace
Jesus is the Peace We Need
  • Peace

    is the fourth theme of our Advent series from the Christian Women Conection Christ’s Birthday Observance.

    Christmas Together

    is the over-all theme of the Christ’s Birthday Observance for 2021. It is a theme that calls us all together, asking us not to be separated by the things that the world thinks are important.
    We began with Hope, then spoke of Love and last week of Joy.
    Every one of these themes is important to us in this topsy-turvy world in which we live, where life and society and power-brokers and financial realities hit us so often.
    In Kentucky and other states with towns and cities devastated by tornadoes, we need Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    In places where there have been shootings at schools, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    For Pastor Francis who developed a blood clot and is spending this weekend resting in hopital; for Pastor Jesus Mena of our Santa Ana church, with a tough recovery from COVID-19, and for Pastor Tim Poldrugo and his wife who are in hospital and on oxygen with COVID-19 disease, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    For my brother whose wife had a heart attack and is still in a rehab facility, we need these things—specially because during these two weeks both of his elderly pet dogs have died, and the cat is looking at him suspiciously, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
    For retailers facing an unprecedented run of brazen smash-and-grab robberies, we need these things.
    For my school friend who is dealing with some bleeding in her brain stem and may or may not have treatment available, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    For homes that are ripped up because of violence and broken relationships and challenges between family members, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    For another friend who has, within less than 3 weeks suffered the death of her Dad because of COVID-19 that he contracted because of contact with her un-vaccinated sister, and then the death of that same sister from COVID-19 last week, then suffered the death of her aunt a few days ago and who, yesterday, got the most terrible call a mother and father can get, that their 26-year-old daughter died at home, leaving behind a 3-year-old boy, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    For communities that are torn by economic, cultural, racial and political differences, we need God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    Your own stories are also filled with the need for God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
    But I have good news for you: God loves us so that he has sent his one and only Son to bring hope to the hopeless, love to the lonely and isolated, joy to the broken and broken-hearted, and peace to our souls and our world. Even when everything is crashing down around us, we can still hang on to the gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born to Mary as Joseph stood in as adoptive dad more than 20 centuries ago.
    This is the gift of God that the Angels spoke of to the Shepherds around Bethlehem, saying,
    Luke 2:14 LEB
    14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”
    There will be many presents given this holiday season, but none greater than or equal to the gift we received through the birth of Jesus.
    Praise be to God for the gift of His son, whom we celebrate as . . .

    Jesus: Our Prince of Peace.

    We praise Him because Jesus brought the peace we need in himself and gives it continuously to us.
    There are many reasons we need the prince of peace.
    We need Jesus, our Prince of Peace, because we need. . .

    Atonement for our sins

    reconciling us to God, from whom we are separated because of sin.
    When the Prince of Peace becomes our peace through our acceptance of his atoning grace, he brings peace to our souls.
    And Jesus did not come just to and for a wealthy white America. America wasn’t even a reality until 1750 years after Jesus was born, a Palestinian Jew born in occupied Israel, into the family of a laborer.
    This is the Jesus we celebrate on Christmas. Jesus, our Christ, the anointed Son of God who first opened his eyes into the basement or rooftop of a house with no room inside. Jesus, our Christ, whom we celebrate. So we call it Christmas: the word means “Celebration of Christ.” Christmas does not mean Santa’s day. It does not mean Saint Nick’s day. It does not mean “Family Gift-giving day”.

    Christmas means a celebration of Christ

    So it is the celebration of Jesus. Our waiting lines shouldn’t be for a photo-op with an imposter in a red suit with a white beard. We should all be lining up in awe of the grace of God as we gaze upon the face of the one and only Son of God, in whom we find our peace in the midst of all the storms of our lives. That’s because. . .

    Worshiping Jesus and Receiving His Peace empowers us.

    But we can’t make this peace for ourselves just because it seems like a good idea.
    This kind of Peace is simply unattainable without Him. We can’t make it or make it up.
    Jesus said in
    John 14:27 CSB
    27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.
    The word Peace is not an adjective that describes a noun; it is the noun. In fact, it is a proper noun: It is Jesus, our Prince of Peace, Jesus, our Peace. When we have Jesus, we have peace.
    An old Meme, before we even had the word meme in our vocabulary, goes like this:

    Know Jesus, know Peace. No Jesus, no peace.

    Jesus planned for us to have his peace in a troubled and fearful world. Jesus doesn’t leave us a description of peace, He leave us peace.
    Peace that is the guardian of our souls, peace that is the advocate for our person. Peace that become our champion and defender.

    Jesus says to us, “Worship Me, focus on Me, and you will have peace.”

    The angels began the celebration of Jesus as our peace with the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem:
    Luke 2:10 CSB
    10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:
    The angels were announcing that there is a new relationship that God wants to have with us because of the gift of his Son. When we have a relationship with the Son of God, we have a relationship with the God of the Universe. We enter into in awesome infinity of an unsearchable reality.
    God, who is our life, sends Jesus who is our light, and the Holy Spirit, who in our insight into the reality of such a great God. Father, Son an Spirit, the holy Trinity of who God is.
    Remember that the angels said this is for all people. The announcement set the stage for what God was about to do. His message, His gift, was to the world, not a people-group.
    When life is crushing in on you, He is your Peace. When circumstances are beyond your control, He is your peace. When difficult choices must be made, He is your peace. When the world around us is in an uproar, and many voices are competing to be heard, He is our peace.

    We Were Created to Live in Peace, Unity, and Community

    So we must make every effort to live in peace and to be holy. Our efforts should be about finding ways to live in harmony. Economics, politics, race, doctrine, and personal preferences are ever-present to divide us. But we must live on a higher level than the baseness of division.
    As Christ-followers, we belong to Him, and we are the seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:28 reminds us “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
    We cannot live separated from each other, for everyone is important in kingdom work.
    We read in Ephesians 2:14 that

    “He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.”

    Jesus’ coming for believers has made the two one. His shed blood joined us together. The nail-pierced hands and feet were for every one of us, not some of us.
    Living in peace is not easy, but it is achievable. When we focus more on the things that connect us and less on those things that separate us, we can find common ground.
    Jacob’s son Joseph could have chosen to be unforgiving to his brothers for the many wrongs they did to him, but when he had the opportunity, he chose peace. He chose love, and he chose those things that connected them. He refused to allow the works of the evil one to win; he chose the good that God had in store for him and his family.
    We must choose a life that brings glory and honor to God. Your choices must be those that say without words spoken, what we read in Psalm 133:1

    “How delightfully good when brothers live together in harmony!”

    We need to be Christ-followers who choose to share the gift of hope, love, joy, and peace that Jesus has given to everyone.

    Christ’s Followers Must Be Peacemakers

    In a world where breaking peace is way more common than making peace.
    The first step we need is to live in peace. This means we don’t break the peace. This means we settle in peacefully through the love of Christ instead of trying to find the ways to make a division between people.
    And more than that, each of us is called to the ministry of reconciliation. That means we offer ourselves to others in whatever way we can be used to mend the brokenness between people.
    To live an intentional life as a reconciler is not an easy choice. There will be tests along the way that will threaten to erase all the work we do. We must look beyond the surface and see the heart and humanity of others.
    This Christmas, how many ways can we find to share God’s love with those who do not know Him? To share the birth of Jesus with those who don’t know who He is?
    Are we willing to go out of our way to allow Christ to bring us together this Christmas?
    We have to see beyond the stereotypes and the barriers, and help destroy the things that society and doctrinal differences have made important. These barriers too often have become more important than the message of our Savior.
    Sometimes we have to eliminate the faulty parts of our own personalities first. God has given us the ability to live in peace and perform the required surgery on our hearts.
    We must be willing to give up the “them and they” descriptions of others and live more in the “us and we.” Yes, we are each other’s keepers and are responsible for the health and wellbeing of our neighbors.
    Barriers are real, setbacks and interruptions are all a part of life, but none should impede the work of the cross.
    Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”
    There are times in life when things divide us. We cannot overlook this fact on the road to a life of peace. There are times when we are hurt, abused, misused, persecuted, and abandoned, just to name a few. Jesus encountered these same struggles. His life was not exempt from hardship. Yet, He modeled for us how to overcome. Yes, scripture tells us to turn the other cheek, but forgiveness must always be present to move forward.
    Jesus could have held a grudge when Peter denied Him. He knew it would happen, and He even cautioned Peter to look out for what was about to occur. He could have easily said, “I am warning you, Peter, be who you say you are to Me and the cause”. But Jesus took a different position, one that would leave the relationship whole and result in a teachable moment for Peter.
    Peter was in the inner circle, a trusted friend. Yet, within Peter was a weakness Peter couldn’t see, a vulnerability that led to disloyalty at a crucial moment.
    When dealing with each other, we must never forget to leave room to be re-made, whole, in spite of the failures of humankind.
    Luke 22:31–32 CSB
    31 “Simon, Simon, look out. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
    Peter was the one who asked Jesus how often he should forgive a wrong from another, only to need this same forgiveness at one of the most important times in Jesus’ life.
    The love of God is so broad that He has given us His word to follow and sent His Son, Jesus, as a living example of how we should seek peace and offer peace to others.

    Forgiveness is a Path to Peace

    and that is exactly what Peter needed. He needed forgiveness to have peace within. He needed forgiveness to be at peace with his Lord. He needed forgiveness to be used by God to be a pillar of the church.
    Our call to live as people together in Christ must last beyond this holiday season. We must always have open hands and hearts that allow others to come back to themselves, to redeem themselves, to receive forgiveness before they even ask. This posture will free us to live unencumbered lives. To live in the freedom of peace.
    Some of us have been harboring hurt feelings and disappointment long enough. Philippians 4:7 says,
    Philippians 4:7 CSB
    7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
    We can restate that like this: “Because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. This peace will control the way you think and feel.”
    Others may never understand how you are able to walk away from the hard places in relationship and still be whole. It is because of the peace of God. Because he offers us peace, we can let go of things that would keep us apart and seek the peace of God.
    Let’s enter our celebration of Christ with open hearts because of the peace of God in our hearts. All because of Jesus.
      • Luke 2:14GODSWORD

      • John 14:27GODSWORD

      • Luke 2:10GODSWORD

      • Luke 22:31–32GODSWORD

      • Philippians 4:7GODSWORD

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