The Christmas story is full of promise, God revealed to us, the hope of heaven, victory over the enemy….and so much more but there is one part of the story, one part of the promise that I want us to focus on today as we launch into this new year
For many, confusion and chaos are overwhelming. The battles intense. The future dim. But in the Christmas message a promise is kind of hidden but today I want to bring it to light.
Let’s take a look Luke 2:8-15
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
This peace is what I want to talk with you about today….
When the angels made that proclamation through song the world was at a worldly peace. Pax Romana (the peace of Rome) had brought a civility to most to the middle east at this time. That peace was the best peace the world could offer….the angels proclamation goes far beyond that.
I need to make something very clear, the angels peace proclamation was announced prophetically for all believers “To those with whom God is pleased”
God is not pleased with everyone. The book of revelation makes that clear and Jesus made that clear as he wrestled with the religious leaders who did not believe in him (some of the pharisees did believe)
This peace the angels proclaimed is for you and I and is not dependent on our circumstances, situations, finances, jobs, number of years we have been following the Lord it is a promise from God for all who believe, that is what makes us the ones with whom God is pleased.
This peace is that because of Jesus’ birth, we can have reconciliation with God
John 3:16, 17
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
God is pleased with those who believe in his son, who believe, their belief in him is proven by the way the live, following Him in word and deed
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son….. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
We need to be clear those who simply say they believe or claim to be Christian because of their religious upbringing or denomination will never be granted the peace of God. The good news those angels proclaimed for all of us who choose to follow Him in word and deed.
Although this good news which was delivered by the angels is open to ALL who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ – nowhere in Scripture is it taught that peace on earth will be with all men it is available for all, but not everyone will choose to believe.. Peace with God and the favor of God comes by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
When they made this proclamation what did they mean?
Isaiah prophesied (9:6,7) that Jesus would be the prince of peace for all who believed.
This promised peace by the angels is not a cheap quick peace but an all-encompassing one.
The word “peace” was equivalent to the Hebrew word “shalom” meaning a wholeness in every way.
The angels promise to all of us who believe was
It is a promise of right relationship with God
1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
God’s promised peace makes you whole in every way and keeps you free of guilt and blame. You can stand with him knowing His great love for you and all He has done for you and when the enemy or your own flesh make you feel as if you have fallen short of that relationship His peace calls you faithful and reminds you, you are His child. This verse is also saying heaven is ours we are made pure and clean so as to reap an eternal reward of life with Jesus in heaven so we can be at peace that all the stuff life throws at us is only temporary
His peace gives us focus beyond what we see and experience….Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The whole world can be freaking out as I’m sure it was when everyone had to travel to be registered but you will feel peace because of God and not only will you feel it but God will place a guard around your heart and mind to make sure that peace remains….can you imagine as we all begin to walk out the angels trusted peace for us showing the world that we are never shaken, messed up, in chaos because God is guarding out hearts because of his promise!
This is God’s plan but we too play a role in keeping God’s peace as a focus of our lives
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
God’s peace is his plan and promise for us a gift that we have been given but like all gifts we must choose to accept it. His promise of peace is for us for every day and every situation but we must choose to trust him when the challenges to our peace arise (and they will) we have to choose to believe God’s promised “shalom” of total peace not based on us but on His promise!
Is he pleased with you? The answer is yes, you are the one he loves the most. It is not that he is pleased with all we do but he looks at our hearts, sees the struggles and reminds us to draw nearer to him to deal with our sin and regain our peace because he loves us so much….kind of leads me to my next point.
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Let’s draw closer to Him during times where our peace is attacked, he is the one who believes in us and loves us the most and always wants to remind us that when we blow it, he is there for us when we repent and we can come right into His presence and he give us peace because of His love for us.
While it may not seem like it His peace is rooted in our understanding how much He loves us.
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Think about it for a second, love is the thing that makes you feel secure, at rest, knowing that there is someone in this world that sees you. Today, that angels proclamation to the shepherds was simply oozing in love. God looked through the expanse of time and saw each of us and said, “I love them so much, im going to send them my son so they can see me, touch me, understand me. My son is choosing to sacrifice his life because of His great love for people, the Holy Spirit is choosing to live in and among mankind because of his great love to instill that proclaimed peace to all of the family of God.
When the angels proclaimed that peace to all with whom God is pleased he was making a promise to you and me of His great love for us and that despite the storms in life if we choose to trust him, he will calm them not the way the world does but in a much better way, by pouring out His great love on us, if we are willing to receive it.
“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.
Needing that peace today? We are here for you!