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.”
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.