HOPE CHAPEL - Sunday, December 12, 2021
Teaching Series - “Our Family Tree–Through the Bible in 2021"
Weekly Topic - “The Work of the Messiah”
Texts – Isaiah 11:6-9, Philippians 4:4-9, James 3:13-18, Revelation 21:1-7
Did Jesus come to bring peace to the earth or didn’t He? [responses]
When the angels announced the Messiah’s birth to the shepherds they declared, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
However, Jesus Himself challenged His audience, “34 Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!” (Matthew 10:34-36)
So which is it? Both! For the one who chooses to believe in the work of the Messiah, He has promised peace with God, but the exact opposite is true of those who do not; their resistance to God’s truth robs them of the possibility of peace because they refuse to accept that obedience to God is the one and only choice that will result in a life well-lived.
When the ancient Israelites thought of the Messiah, they fully expected that He would come to rescue them from all earthly conflict. Isaiah paints a picture of an idyllic world.
Isaiah 11:6-9 – “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
7 The cow will graze near the bear.
The cub and the calf will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
8 The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.
Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
9 Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for as the waters fill the sea,
so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.”
The Messiah has come, but none of us has ever experienced Isaiah’s picture of peace. What words would you use to describe our world today when it comes to peace? [destruction, anxiety, darkness, evil, greed, want]
The enemy of our souls, Satan and his demonic forces, did not surrender when Jesus defeated them through His death and resurrection…it simply revealed God’s great plan and set them into overdrive, determined to hit God where it hurt most—through the continued destruction of God’s creation and humankind. The devil’s work to destroy is rooted in conflict—people against God and one another. He uses our own resistance to God’s plan, our pride and our selfishness, to do his dirty work for him.
Peace is available to us, but it is not automatically given to all. We must choose to look beyond what we see in our world today, so full of sin and corruption. Some people think of peace as the absence of difficulties, but that is an impossibility this side of the grave. So, what is the peace that Jesus has promised to be based on?
Philippians 4:4-9 – “4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Peace is only possible as we live in obedience and relationship to God because He is the source of peace…anyway we might try to manufacture peace on our own can only produce cheap replicas and cannot last.
James 3:13-18 tells us, “13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
To have peace, we must truly want it, promote it and stay connected with the source of peace. True Christ followers must accept their role as peacemakers—living at peace with others and telling others of the peace they can have with God through Jesus. Jealousy—being envious of others—and selfishness—putting ourselves ahead of everyone else—work against peace; in fact, James tells us that if you suffer from jealousy and selfishness you are not filled with God’s wisdom, but rather are unduly influenced by things that are ‘earthly, unspiritual and demonic.’
What are some tangible ways that you cannot promote peace? [responses]
The fact that we can experience peace at all during our earthly lives is nothing short of a miracle, but in many ways, it will never compare to what is to come.
Revelation 21:1-7 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”
Life in heaven will be one of complete and everlasting peace, but, remember, as elusive as it can be during our experience of life on planet earth, God’s peace is available to us in the here and now as well. Prior to dying on the cross, Jesus told His disciples what to expect (even though they didn’t get it) …that He was going to die and rise again, return to heaven to make preparations for us to join Him and He would send the Holy Spirit. He promised His followers, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). As believers in Christ, we have available to us something the world cannot possess…that makes no sense to the natural mind in the midst of ongoing troubles…PEACE!
Follow-up - This week, think of one area of your life in which you are experiencing a lack of peace. Use Philippians 4:5-6 as a prayer guide to talk to God about it.
So, on this third Advent Sunday of peace, what are our takeaways?
· Jesus’ great work as the Messiah made it possible for us to experience peace with God… we no longer have to remain His enemies. He has provided us with a choice
· Christ-followers can experience peace even while surrounded by uncertainty and danger because the source of our peace is Him—not bank accounts, health, job security, promotions, a good reputation or even personal safety…all things that can be taken from us in a blink of an eye
· Satan works to rob Jesus’ followers of peace…he may have lost our souls, but that does not mean he’s content to let us go without a fight; he continues to attempt to discourage us so that we will not share the possibility of true and lasting peace with others. His handiwork takes the form of persecution and he is a master at sowing seeds of doubt
· We can experience a ‘peace that passes understanding,’ a peace that makes no sense given the world in which we live, when we strive to fill the role of peacemaker as Jesus called us to do—living at peace with others as far as it is possible from our efforts and spreading God’s wonderful message that we can now live in relationship with Him as He intended at the very beginning
· We have an amazing hope for the future…a peace that will be based on the absence of evil in a heavenly kingdom that will never be infected by sin’s destructive influence
For further study…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrzq_X1NNaA (The Bible Project – The Gospel)
Sunday, December 19, 2021- “The Return of the Messiah” 4th Sunday of Advent – Angel’s Joy - In-person and Online
Pastor Jane Peck, Hope Chapel
(Collingwood EMCC Church)
"Learning and Living the Way of Jesus!"
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!