December 23, 2012 – Pastor Tim – “More Than A Story…He is Our Peace” – Click to download
This time of year it’s a tradition with many families to read the Christmas story—the story of Jesus’ birth. People get sentimental and begin to reminisce about mom or dad or somebody else—maybe a grandparent—reading this story. The problem is that for too many people, it is just a story. But there is significance in the Christ child—the baby lying in the manger.
Through that baby, God identified with us. Jesus, His son, became flesh and came to dwell on earth. John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus identified with our limitations and frailties by becoming a man—just like us. Because of that, Jesus understands what we deal with and go through in life. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus passed the test! That’s why He could become the Lamb of God that was slain for us.
You see, God can take insignificant things—the things that man overlooks—and makes them significant. Who would have thought that the baby in the manger would become a man who preached the Good News to the poor, healed the sick, and proclaimed freedom to the prisoners? Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus may have started out as a baby in Bethlehem, but He died on the cross as the Son of God. He arose from the dead as King of kings and Lord of lords. He became our substitute! He paid for all of us—He paid the price we could not pay.
That’s why Jesus left the glories of Heaven and came to earth as a baby in the manger. Jesus didn’t come for His own gratification or to set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus came to die so that all mankind could live. Jesus came to save us from being lost and to destroy the works of the devil!
That baby lying in the manger is more than just a story. He is a picture of God and man reunited. He is Emmanuel—God with us—our salvation—our peace!
In our world there is turmoil everywhere we turn. There are wars, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and every other type of calamity around us. Violent crimes seem to be everyday occurrences. We are living in an age when man has made more discoveries than ever before. We have more conveniences and luxuries than previous generations. Yet, may are experiencing a life of turmoil instead of peace.
John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” These words which Jesus spoke to His disciples to prepare them for His departure from this earth still apply to us today.
We do not have to live in turmoil. We can experience the peace of God in our lives each day. Of course, there is no peace without knowing the Prince of Peace. In order to experience peace in our lives, we must first accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We would have no peace had Jesus not made the supreme sacrifice for our peace. This was the price to be paid for peace. Jesus bore our sin and He offers us His righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “ For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
God loved us so much that He was willing to send His only Son to redeem us. We may have accepted Christ as our Savior, but are we relying on Him to give us peace in life? Many people consistently rely on anti-depressants to give them peace. Anti-depressants may give us temporary peace—but God is able to give us continual peace.
How can you receive peace? Isaiah 26:3-4 in the Amplified Bible says, “ You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. 4 So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary gives one definition of peace as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” Hebrew word shalom is translated “peace” in Isaiah 26:3-4. Shalom includes the ideas of soundness and health—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. God has offered us this kind of peace if we will keep our minds stayed on Him.
We need to surrender ourselves continually with the Word of God. Serving God should be a way of life for us—not just a Sunday experience or a Christmas story.
Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”