One of the most enduring Christmas themes is PEACE.
Several weeks ago, I was asked to give a Christmas sermon based the names of Jesus in a famous Old Testament passage. The prophecy reads: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). My assignment was to preach on Jesus, our Prince of Peace. Here is the essence of my message.
People long for peace
People have lots of stuff in their life, but not a lot of peace. People often have houses, food, and clothing, but not peace. People have jobs and money, but not peace. As the Son of God, Jesus is the ultimate source of peace. To know Christ doesn't mean we're perfect or have no problems. Knowing the Prince of Peace simply means that in our hearts all is well. Here is what the "all is well" peace of God looks like in my life.
Jesus cancelled our debt
First, all is well because Jesus cancelled our debt. I once knew a woman who owed $50,000 on her credit cards. Imagine the relief she would feel if somehow her debt was paid. Spiritually, that is what Jesus did for us. In the Bible, forgiveness is defined as canceling a debt so that nothing is owed. Our peace with God is not a reward that we have earned or deserved. It is a simply a gift given by God through Jesus; it is a gift that we receive by faith.
I am sometimes tempted to think I need to somehow pay God back for his forgiveness. At times I make promises to be a better person, serve more, or stop doing something. But that is not the way God's forgiveness works. Nobody pays Jesus back. He paid our debt through his death on the cross for our sins. When I trust him and accept his free gift, all is well.
Jesus overrides our circumstances
Second, all is well because Jesus overrides our circumstances. Regardless of what stage of life I am in, I like control over my circumstances. I have simply noticed that I am happier when things go my way. But we all know that getting our way 100% of the time is an unrealistic expectation. So what is the solution? Christ's presence is the solution.
Right before Jesus was crucified he tried to prepare his disciples for some of the worst days of their lives. He did so by giving them a gift - the gift was his peace. In the gospel of John, Jesus said, "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" (John 16:33).
Problems come and go but Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His Presence gives us peace regardless of what's happening. In Jesus, there is a peace the world doesn't understand. Focusing on Christ brings peace. Then, all is well.
Jesus guides our future
Finally, all is well because Jesus guides our future. Worry is natural; trust is not. Frankly, worrying is about the easiest thing there is for me to do. I am amazed that after his resurrection Jesus continually told his disciples, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19, 20, 26). I think Jesus was in effect saying, "You can relax about your future. If my father can send me and guide my life, I can send you and guide your life. Do not worry; all is well."
Consider this question. Is it possible that Jesus is asking you to do more than trust him for forgiveness? Right here, right now Jesus wants you to let him guide of your future. Will you let him? If you do, the Prince of Peace will be your constant friend. He will never leave you or forsake you. All will be well.
Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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Another of the great Christmas themes is JOY.
One more of the Christmas themes is GIVING.
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