Promised Peace Charlie Boyd - 12/6/2020 Selected Scriptures Audio Sermon Notes (PDF) Ask a Question “Peace on earth” is a phrase you see everywhere around Christmas time. It’s plastered on Christmas cards, and we sing it in carols. But sometimes, you have to wonder, “Where is the peace that Christmas promises us? Whether we're trying to find peace in the chaos of our own lives or trying to wrap our heads around hope for political peace, “peace on earth” sure seems elusive. A quick glance around will remind us that we live in a far from perfect world. In our own lives, we struggle to find peace within ourselves. We regret past mistakes, struggle with our present weaknesses, and worry about the future. We try to find peace in different ways and search for our purpose in life through relationships, work, leisure, and travel. We seek and long for peace in our relationships with others. Some search for the perfect person to date. In our present relationships, sometimes we avoid conflict and run the other way in fear of doing something we’ll regret. Other times we take for granted those closest to us and experience the not-so-nice daily realities of living in close proximity with them. We become frustrated and angry over the mistakes of others. We also struggle with the uncertainty of the future and the turmoil going on in the world around us. World news brings few positive reports... if any. It makes you wonder if “peace on earth” is even a possibility. But peace is what the Bible—what Christmas—promises us. So, where is this peace? What is it? Why don’t we experience it?First, peace is elusive b/c we live in a broken, fallen world. God created a “very good” world where we could live in relationship with him and each other in peace. But God gave people a choice, and the first of us turned away from God, and as a result, sin and death entered the world. Ever since Genesis 3, this world is not the “good” world God created, but the broken world we created when we turned our backs on God. Things are not the way they were supposed to be.READ Isaiah 9:1-7 — Isaiah rebukes the Jewish people b/c they have gone the way of their first parents. They have turned from God, seeking to save themselves through self-effort and alliances with godless nations. God’s judgment fell on Israel as the Assyrian army conquered the nation and carted off the people as slaves. The point is—We will not experience peace when we try to find peace apart from God. But in the midst of this darkness, Isaiah holds out the hope for future peace. Read Isaiah 9:6-7. He promises that one day, a Prince of Peace will come, and he will establish his government of righteousness, justice, and peace. He will restore this world to what God wanted in the beginning. So, one day, God will re-establish peace and fullness of life in this world. He will have what he’s always wanted.For 700 years, the people waited for God’s Messiah to come and bring the promised peace to Israel. Most people gave up on God, but there was a remnant of faithful Jews who never gave up hope—people like Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, and Anna (Luke 1-2). God’s faithful people experienced personal peace by trusting in God’s promise of future peace. And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he was the fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1-7. He brought peace on earth. But the peace of God comes into our world in two stages. Stage 1—When Jesus came the first time, he came to give us peace. First of all, Jesus came to make peace between God and people possible again. This peace would come through his death on the cross (Isa 53:5-6; Rom 5:1). Second, when Jesus came the first time, he made peace between possible again (Eph 2:14-18; Col 1:20). Third, when Jesus came the first time, he made a peace that transcends understanding possible (John 14:27). Stage 2—When Jesus comes the second time, he will establish his government of peace over all the earth. There will be peace on earth, just as was promised by the prophets, the angels, and by Jesus himself. [see The Story of the Bible Graphic]So yes, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. At his first coming, Jesus did bring peace on earth—he made peace with God possible again—he made peace between people possible again—he made peace of mind and heart and soul possible again And, this peace is available now for all those who trust in Jesus as their Prince of Peace. And one day, he will return to establish his government of peace over all the earth. But for now, we live in the “in-between” time. The promised peace is “now-but-not-yet-fully-realized.” Read John 16:33. Jesus says, “In this world, you will have trouble (no lasting peace), but take courage, you can experience my peace because I have overcome the world.” He’s saying, “In the worst trouble, it’s possible to experience my peace.” You experience Jesus’ peace by, first, putting your trust in him as your Prince of Peace. Trusting the Prince of Peace is the way to peace with God. Then, as you follow the Prince of Peace, the more you learn to trust him to rule over your life, the more peace you experience. Read Col 3:15. If one day, Jesus is going to come back and set up his kingdom and rule over every aspect of life in this world—doesn’t it only make sense—that those who believe that promise and who want to be a part of God’s world made new—doesn’t it make sense that WE would want him to govern and rule over the affairs of our lives now? It’s only as we submit to his rule over our lives now—as we submit to his will and his wisdom now—only then will his peace rule in your heart and in your relationships. Read Phil 4:6-7. Peace that passes understanding is possible now because the One who will one day rule over this world in peace rules over your life now.*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.