Summary: Sermon Series for Advent number 3 0f 9 on the fruits of the spirit
Second Sunday in Advent
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Be Prepared for Christ’s Coming With Peace
1. Peace to be believed.
2. Peace to be shared.
Fellow Christians preparing for the celebration of our Savior’s birth:
Not far from Pittsburg Landing in southern Tennessee was a small rural church building. It was called Shiloh Church. On Sunday, April 6, 1862 it was impossible to conduct worship services in this church. A bloody Civil War battle raged for days in and around the area of this church. The name given to this encounter between the North and the South was the Battle of Shiloh. Since the word "Shiloh" means peace, this was the Battle of Peace. Sounds rather strange, doesn’t it? Peace and war are opposites.
Just as strange is the fact that even though Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, many children will receive gifts of toy guns and tanks and GI Joe characters for playing war. Stranger yet is the fact that many gather to celebrate Christmas when they are at war with family members, fellow-workers, neighbors, or others.
Peace and war are not compatible. With this thought in mind, let’s now examine PEACE as a fruit of the spirit, so that with the Lord’s blessing we will be able to celebrate Christmas at peace with God and others. We now are reminded to BE PREPARED FOR CHRIST’S COMING WITH PEACE.
1. Peace to be believed.
First, we need to understand what the angel meant when he announced to the shepherds that, due to Jesus’ birth, there would be "peace on earth.” Since there have been wars after wars from the time that Jesus was born until the present, obviously the peace of Christmas isn’t dealing with outward matters. In fact, referring to outward peace, Jesus said "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division” (Luke 12:51). At first glance this sounds like a contradiction to the angel’s message to the shepherds. If peace and war aren’t compatible, how can Jesus, the Prince of Peace, cause division?
It is true that Christ came to bring peace—peace between the believer and God, and peace among people. Yet the inevitable result of Christ’s coming is conflict—conflict between Christ’s followers and the devil’s followers. This spiritual conflict becomes more evident with each passing Christmas as unbelievers seek to take Christ out of Christmas as much as possible.
Similar conflicts can erupt between members of the same family. Some see the importance of spending time in God’s house during the holidays. Others will only reluctantly be dragged into church on Christmas Eve or simply refuse to pay tribute of any kind to the birth of the Savior. Some will even ridicule their fellow family members who profess their faith in Christ.
The true peace of Christmas, by its very nature, is limited to Christians only. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). People of the world dream and scheme for peace. But the only real peace is in the heart of the Christian, and this is provided by the presence of the Prince of Peace, the Savior born at Bethlehem. As the apostle Paul said, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). All who have been led to accept Jesus as Savior have peace for their souls—peace with God through the forgiveness of sins which Christ won for the world at his cross.
This peace is yours through faith. When we believe in Jesus, we have true peace. The world’s definition of peace is “when I have no conflicts in my life and all is going as I want it to.” This is not true peace; this is not the peace of Christ. His peace comes only through a proper relationship with God which then carries over into a proper relationship with our neighbors.
2. Peace to be shared.
The other day I saw a poster that said, “Peace is not a season. It is a way of life.” Christians aren’t at peace only during the time of Christmas. Christians aren’t at peace only when everything is going well. Christians are at peace always. Why then do we so often feel as though we are at war? The reason is simple. We have lost our focus during those times. We are to “seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to us as well” (Matthew 6:33). God’s promises are clear. Make him your first priority, and he will bless you with a life of peace.