Review: Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
CONTEXT of Isaiah’s time: Impending Assyrians invasion, political unrest, people longing for peace.
The Prince – the ruler, captain, the chief – was not to be a political ruler.
Peace (shalom) calm, wellness, wholeness, tranquility and to make good.
Jesus is peace, He is the captain of peace – true peace flows from Him.
Peace is the most desired and yet may be the most elusive attribute.
There is a difference between how the world defines peace and the peace from Jesus.
• True peace, Jesus’ peace only comes by way of the Cross.
Romans 5:1(ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Justified – declared righteous, acquitted, made innocent
• We are moved from a state of sin and guilt to being justified and declared in right standing with God by our faith in Christ Jesus.
• Justification doesn’t excuse or ignore our sin. Rather, Jesus took our sin and paid the price for us! We are Justified by a JUST GOD!
Romans 5:8(ESV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
• We can’t justify ourselves. Only a sinless Jesus can do it.
THE PEACE JESUS GIVES IS NOT CIRCUMSTANTIAL.
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.
The world offers circumstantial peace – Conditions of peace:
Jesus wants us to have peace but it’s important to understand the type of peace He is talking about.
• Don’t confuse the absence of trials and conflict with true peace. That is not what God promised.
• He offers peace through faith in Him.
• Remember lasting peace is only found in the person of Christ, not in our circumstances.
Daniel 3:18(NIV) But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Peace / tranquility is the opposite of anxiety or chaos. Sometimes we don’t see our need for peace until we are overwhelmed with anxiety or chaos.
WILL PEACE RULE YOUR HEART THIS CHRISTMAS?
Obstacles to peace: Control, fear/pride, wrong expectations, thinking life should be fair and easy.
John 16:33 (ESV) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Colossians 3:15 (NIV) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Paul says to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts
Peace = quietness, tranquility, wholeness, rest – a deep trust in God. When we allow His Spirit to rule our lives, we experience His peace.
Rule = act as an umpire, to arbitrate
How will you find peace in a world that sometimes seems crazy?
Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV) Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
• There is peace beyond our understanding that is as supernatural as our God.
• God’s peace comes from WHO I know (His love, promises), not from what I feel (afraid, worried). Peace transcends = be or go beyond the range or limits – when we reach our limits is where His peace starts!
• Peace in a Christian sense, never starts with emotion or feeling. The feelings of peace eventually come; but for us, HIS peace starts with recognizing HIS presence in our lives, in our circumstances.
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS:
• Where will you look to for your source of peace this Christmas? Can it provide lasting peace?
• How can you ‘let’ the peace of Christ rule in your hearts now?
• What will you focus on that is good, true, honorable and excellent this Christmas?
LIFE GROUP QUESTIONS
Scriptures to consider
• Isaiah 9:6
• Luke 2:8-14
• Matthew 5:9
• Psalm 29:11
1. What’s the difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper?
2. What season of your life has been the most peaceful? What season has been the least peaceful?
3. Read together Psalm 34:14. How do you seek peace?
4. Share about a time when you’ve experienced peace in the midst of hard circumstances.
5. Have you ever experienced peace that surpasses understanding? What was that like?