Peace Is A Person

Advent proclaims the arrival of the incarnation of the ‘Self-Existent Creator of ALL.’ As in: THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST! Advent literally means ‘The Arrival’…The arrival of salvation in the person of Christ. The arrival of forgiveness, redemption, atonement, justification and grace.

Durning the next 4 weeks we will celebrate the themes of Peace, Hope, Joy & Love as they relate to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we begin with Peace.

What is peace to you? Peace between countries? Between ethnic groups? There is no peace more important than peace with your Creator. The God of Scripture / Jesus Christ. There is no lasting peace except peace with your Creator, no one but God / Jesus Christ has the power to permanently maintain total peace. All other peace is fleeting because of sin… your sin, my sin, the sin of leaders.

At the heart of the Gospel message of the scriptures is the reality of peace with God. Permanent, everlasting peace because God originates it and God sustains it! There is a reason the whole world changed 2020 years ago. So this morning I bring you The Message of Peace! The Incarnation of Peace: Jesus Christ…

Peace Announced: Luke 2:13 & 14 NIV

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”

  • The angels make two things clear about the arrival of the Messiah
  • #1. It will glorify God
  • #2. It will provide peace to people who on whom God’s favor rests!

Ephesians 2:11-22 NIV

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

  • Paul is addressing the spiritual condition of Jews and gentiles alike: US
  • All of us start out apart from Peace (Christ)
  • No place amongst God’s people / Aliens
  • Unfamiliar with God’s promises
  • Separated from any Hope…zero chance of redemption
  • Estranged from The Creator (No Relationship)

All of this amounts to a place of enmity and disconnection from The Creator. It is not how it was meant to be…’Shalom’. We were at peace with God, sin wrecked that.

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, Who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

  • We can all now be ‘In Christ’ / end of separation because of HIS sacrifice
  • ‘Far Away’ signifies a lack of any relationship (gentiles)
  • The God-man Jesus Christ is OUR peace W/ God, the only peace that matters!
  • Christ’s Sacrifice breaks down the walls between peoples
  • He is addressing the enmity that existed between Jews and non-Jews

15 by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.

  • Christ’s redemption is for all mankind, uniting us in Him
  • A New Humanity… one that is at Peace with their creator
  • The two are Jew & Gentile, this means everyone
  • God ended the hostility, on the cross!

17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offer of Peace to Jew & Gentile
  • It is the same deal for both groups
  • And it is the same Spirit that by living in us makes us one with the Father
  • Christ’s death pays the price of our sin so we can be united with God

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

  • Because OUR Peace (Jesus The Christ) has come the estrangement is over!
  • We are not ‘Aliens’ but now become citizens
  • We are part of a ‘Spiritual Fellowship’
  • We are part of a structure God built on others and is building in you and I
  • The Peace holding it all together and what everything else rests upon is Christ!
  • This is what we are so excited to celebrate, all of this gives us True Peace!

21 In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

  • In Him (OUR PEACE) we join together to become a structure of worship (Body)
  • It is by HIS grace and power that He ‘peaces’ it all together
  • He makes us a dwelling place for His Spirit / Shalom

The Peace Beyond Understanding… that comes from the Indwelling Spirit of God. I started with the angels announcing Christ’s birth, I also want to share with you something Jesus said. The Holy Spirit via Paul wrote this passage in part because Jesus The Christ said this:

When Jesus was preparing His disciples for life without Him…

John 14:27 ESV

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Application Questions:

Can you recognize a lack of Peace in your life? Can you ask Jesus Christ to be your Peace?

Do you believe true Peace can only come from being indwelt with God’s Holy Spirit?

What ideas, practices, habits or lifestyles disrupt your Peace In Christ?

How are you going to make the most of this Advent Season?

Colossians 1:19-20 NLT

For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

The Harvest
John 4:27-38

27 Just then His disciples returned and were surprised to find Him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward Him.

31 Meanwhile His disciples urged Him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then His disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought Him food?”

My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

Everyone is a servant and leaders aspire to be slaves in Christ’s Body!

This has been an challenging book to study. There are some clear directives and controversial ideas (Marriage / Authority). Overall it is crucial instruction in how we build biblical culture here at Midtown.

At the conclusion of his letter to the ‘Saints’ Peter does the following things:

1st He calls out leadership in Christ’s church to follow Christ’s ways.

2nd He addresses the body in regards to operating under the authority God has put in place.

3rd He sets humility as the relational standard for the the Body of Christ.

4th He advises everyone about the spiritual battle that is a constant for Christians.

5th He encourages us to stand firm through the struggles and suffering that we all share in Christ’s Body and he reminds us that eternity with God awaits us because of what Christ did.

Last Weeks passage ends: 4:19: Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Ch 5 NLT

1 And now, a word to you who are Elders in the churches. I, too, am an Elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in His glory when He is revealed to the whole world.

  • This is addressed to those who have been ordained by God to lead His people
  • Peter has been in this role for a number of years by the time this was written
  • He knows what Christ went through for US so we can share in His glory

As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.

  • He is speaking peer to peer… I know the challenges you face
  • Care for the people God has entrusted to you. Focus on the ‘Saints’ God gives
  • Treat this responsibility as a privilege, not a burden
  • Don’t do it for selfish reasons but because you have been called to it

3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

  • Don’t think of yourself as better than the rest of the body (domineering)
  • Hold yourself accountable to the same standards as everyone else (scripture)
  • ‘The Great Shepherd’ told HIS people how leadership in HIS church will work

You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.” ~ Jesus @ Mark 10:42-44

5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the Elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”[Prov 3:34]

  • This is a brief aside from the comments directed to Elders
  • ‘In the same way’ = what will bring you honor because of your obedience
  • God is a deity of authority, structure and order
  • Better translation for ‘younger’ here would be: recent, new or fresh
  • Immature believers are commanded to accept authority because mature believer already do (it is a sign of maturity)
  • Then there is a general exportation to ‘wrap your relationships in humility’
  • God favor for doing it HIS way VS God’s opposition for doing it Your way

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

  • In humility, trust God and place yourself willingly under HIS control (you are)
  • God knows the right timing for when you will be honored (sheep may not do it)
  • Because you know you are under HIS care, prayerfully put everything on HIM
  • You have to lead God’s people HIS way & in HIS power ‘cuz they are HIS!

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

  • Elders: Responsible for the spiritual condition of their flock (stay focused)
  • We are to ‘look out’ for the activity of the enemy (Elders and everyone else)
  • The devil is persistent like hunting lions, always hungry
  • The devil uses tactics of isolation, just like lions do
  • As your Pastor I know how important is for you to be here amongst the body
  • Pastors & Elders are changed to confront the activity of Satan when we see it
  • I’ve suffered for confronting Satan in this body (not popular, not seen as kind)
  • But I do it because God wants it done, not because everyone will understand

10 In his kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

  • Those who God has chosen all share in God’s glory (eternity) through Christ
  • For those who have surrendered their life to Christ, suffering will end one day
  • There will be restoration and new strength founded on HIM (Christ)
  • A quick declaration of Christ’s Omnipotence! (breaking into worship)

12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.

  • Peter is expressing partnership in leadership, affirming Silas’ servanthood
  • The hope is that we would all be encouraged in our suffering knowing the end
  • That we would be encouraged because we trust God is forming us by grace
  • Standing firm in this grace means we are unwavering in our belief in God’s love

13 Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.

  • He refers to Rome as ‘Babylon’ because of the rampant evil
  • Mark is believed to have written his Gospel with oversight from Peter
  • It is believed mark was in Rome with Paul during His imprisonment there
  • A kiss of ‘agape’… This is about fellowship / non sexual love
  • Those who are ‘In Christ’ live in the reality of being at peace with their creator


For Elders and those called to be Elders in the future:

What is your motivation to lead God’s people? Are you good with being a servant and ultimately a slave to Christ’s Body?

As a member of this Body are you totally accepting of the authority of Greg, Wood and Todd? If not, what needs to change?

How does your complete trust in God specifically express itself in humility?

What are some life habits that enable you to be alert regarding Satan’s actively and oppose him?

After reading this book, what is your attitude toward suffering in your life?

Say Yes to God & No to Self

As Christ followers we are meant to be on a regular program of growth and refinement. Having surrendered our lives to Christ we now are committed to learn how to think, feel and act like Jesus as revealed in Scripture. This involves discomfort, inconvenience, insults…suffering!

Here is the deal: we live in a fallen world and the sin of other people as well as our own sin causes suffering. But in this fallen world we get to share in what our Lord experienced: suffering The most worthy thing I can do as your shepherd is to encourage you to entrust your entire life to the will of God…live for HIM , not your comfort.

Ch 4:1-19 ESV

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,[a] 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

  • Christ is our example, He is our Lord, so we desire to think like he does
  • WDA Discipleship Vision: ‘To think, act and feel like Jesus’
  • V. 1b: We must realize that to be dead to sin inevitably means pain
  • It is not pleasurable to our flesh to live for the will of God
  • When we surrender our lives to Christ, we begin to no longer live for our ‘wants’
  • Our wants / passions are replaced by passion for the will of God!
  • I encourage you: be anxious to do the will of God, not the will of _______!

3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;

  • You have had enough of living for your self…time life is over
  • The time referred to is pre-salvation…That is when you lived apart from God
  • Without Christ as Lord of your life you live for… YOUR PHYSICAL PLEASURE
  • Sex, lust, intoxication, unbridled consumption, alcohol focus, worshiping things
  • The ‘world’ cant understand why you would not want to live like they do
  • Our culture will reject and despise you when you don’t join their sin games

5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

  • They don’t acknowledge it but they will have to account to God for their lives
  • .All humans start off spiritually dead, the Gospel is the means to change that
  • All who surrender to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not be judged for sin
  • They will be awarded eternal life in the Spirit, as God is eternal / pre-existent

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

  • The end will come ‘like a thief in the night’
  • We are to live in light of eternity so we stay spiritually connected to God
  • We are to honor God with our thoughts, and actions so we pray properly
  • Even more important is to love our brothers & sisters in the Body of Christ
  • Living out love for each other is all we can do to offset our inbred siN
  • Caring for each others basic needs = showing hospitality
  • Do it with a joyous attitude

10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  • We have gifts that God gave us to serve in unique ways
  • What does it mean to be a good steward of specific grace God has given you?
  • (In this Body) Is your role speaking? Do so based on God’s Word
  • (In this Body) Is your role service? Do it with God supplied resources
  • The whole point…The ONLY point is to glorify God by serving Christ’s Body!
  • Because He owns and deserves all credit, worth, control and service! Always!
  • This is a life of meaning & purpose: glorifying God by serving based on His will

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.[b]

  • We are to be expectant of tests and trials that come in this life
  • As one who ‘Belongs to Christ’ we find joy in sharing everything with Christ
  • We experience the bad in this life but also the good for eternity
  • If the ‘World’ insults us for bearing Christ’s name it proves God’s Spirit is in us!
  • Variant rendering: ‘The glorious Spirit of God rest upon you.’

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

  • In Christ’s body we don’t view suffering for bad the same as suffering for Christ
  • If our living for Christ brings suffering we enjoy being called on of HIS
  • We glorify God by holding to our association with Christ no matter what

The Scripture is telling us we are to discern what is proper conduct for a member of Christ’s Body… we are to use proper judgement… because it matters

17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” [c]

  • This judgement is not regarding eternal life, this letter is to ‘Saints’
  • In eternity with Christ we to answer for what we did with this life post salvation

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. ~ 2 Cor. 5:10

  • God holds us to account… We will have to answer at ‘The Bema Seat’
  • Are you living for Christ regardless of the consequences?

[c] Proverbs 11:31: If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

  • This is our charge as Jesus Christ’s Body: Live for God’s will & trust HIM
  • We do what God in the Holy Scriptures has called us to do…
  • And let the chips fall where they may!
  • If you have entrusted your soul to Christ, will you not entrust this life, this body?

If you don’t want to trust Christ with this life and your well being, maybe you have not entrusted Him with your soul…

We are called to honor God, live this life for Christ and trust HIM to care for us

We grow in this as ‘Disciples’ of Christ… it is a process that requires intentionality


What are things you want to do, things you used to do, but don’t do anymore because they lead to sin?

In the past year, what have you chosen to do or not to do anymore that has caused you discomfort / suffering?

Which are you better at: being self controlled & sober minded OR being hospital & earnestly loving?

What parts of your life do you have difficulty entrusting to Christ? Why?