The Prince of Peace, Sermon 12/24/2018

Is. 9:2-7;  Luke 2:1-20

The Scripture says, “When an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, saying, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  And suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

At Christmas millions of greeting cards are sent with lovely messages of good wishes.  Did you get one from God through an angel?  The angel came to shepherds with a greeting which was a message of good news to them, saying, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

One of the Christmas songs that I like is entitled, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”- HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING, GLORY TO THE NEW BORN KING; PEACE ON EARTH, AND MERCY MILD, GOD AND SINNERS RECONCILED”!

Jesus came to earth to save us because we cannot save ourselves from our sins.  No matter how good we are, we cannot eliminate the sinful nature present in all of us.  Only Jesus can do that.  The Puritan Thomas Watson said, “God the Son is called the Prince of Peace.  He came into the world with a song of peace: “On earth peace…”

Jesus went out of the world with a legacy of peace, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”  Jesus’ earnest prayer was for peace; He prayed that his people might be one.  Christ not only prayed for peace, but bled for peace; having made peace through the blood of his cross.  He died not only to make peace between God and man, but between all people.  Christ suffered on the cross, that he might cement Christians together with his blood; as he prayed for peace, so he paid for peace.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we now have peace with God. Peace with God means that we have been reconciled with him.

Don’t you think that Jesus wants us to have peace with one another through reconciliation?  As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Prince of Peace, Jesus came not only to reconcile God and ourselves but also he will ask us to reconcile with others.  God offers us the grace that not only covers our sins, but also enables us to forgive the sins of people who do wrong things to us.  The Scripture says, “For a child has been born for us a Son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The forgiving mercy of the Lord is almost beyond our comprehension.  We did nothing to earn it.  Forgiveness is freely given, but it is not forced upon us.  We must accept it.

A story is told about a little boy who visited the Washington Monument and notice a guard standing beside it.  He said to the guard, “I want to buy it.”  The guard stooped down and said, “How much money do you have?” The boy reached in his pocket and pulled out a quarter.  The guard said, “That’s not enough.” The boy replied, “l thought you would say that.”  So he pulled out nine cents more. The guard looked down at the boy and said, “You need to understand three things.  First, thirty-four cents is not enough. In fact, thirty-four million dollars is not enough to buy the Washington Monument.  Second, the monument is not for sale.  Third, if you are an American citizen, the Washington Monument already belongs to you. Accept it.”

Dear friends, God does not force his forgiveness upon us. It is freely given in love, but it must be accepted.

Forgiving is a natural response for those who have received and accepted the unmerited, forgiving love of God. We forgive because we have been forgiven. Like the runner on a relay team, we pass on the baton we have received from another.  Forgiving is not something we decide to do; it is a loving response.

Like apostle Peter, many want to know how often we are to forgive.  The expectation was three times, so Peter asked the Lord if seven times would be all right. Jesus said, “l do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22).  The New Revised Standard Version says, “seventy-seven times.” The number doesn’t matter; Jesus was saying that we are to forgive over and over again.

Forgiveness is a continuing response to God’s forgiving love, which is essential if the mercy of God is to remain alive and active in our lives. Forgiveness changes our lives. When we accept forgiveness and when we forgive others, wonderful things begin to happen.  In our hymnal there is a song, entitled; “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me; let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.  With God our creator, children all are we.  Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.  Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow: To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.  Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Dear friends! Whoever you are, whatever you do, you can have Jesus, the Prince of Peace in your life.

The Scripture says, “Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”

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