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Summary: The peace we want cannot be bought, made, or negotiated. It will only be found in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Luke 2:8-14; Ph. 4:6-9

iWant to Experience Peace

Woodlawn Baptist Church

December 9, 2007

Read Luke 2:8-14.

The angel said, “peace on earth, good will toward men.” Some of your Bibles have verse 14 translated, “peace on earth toward men of good will,” or “peace on earth toward those with whom God is pleased.” You know the story. It’s told and retold every year at this time, how the shepherds were tending their flocks one night in the hills outside Bethlehem and Jerusalem. At night they would have gathered all the sheep together, then as they watched over those sheep, maybe lying in the grass or in a tent, the angel appeared and gave this great news that concludes with the saying we’re so familiar with.

Peace. What is it anyway? Peace has been defined as a state of harmony or the absence of hostility. It might mean the opposite of war, or more generally, the presence of calm, serenity, and silence, or a state of tranquility. What you may not know is that the word basically means to make one and that the opposite of peace is to be fragmented, for the various parts of a whole to be out of harmony with one another. So if we’re talking about warring nations having peace, those nations would experience oneness. If we’re talking about a church or a family having peace, then there’s going to be unity or oneness of spirit among that unit. If we’re talking about you or me having peace, it means that our body, soul and spirit, our will and intellect and our spirit are all going to be operating in oneness.

Just like last week, I asked some folk this week why they believed people want to experience peace. Here are some of the answers…

• Because they are sick and tired of all the war, famine, crime, injustice, and so forth.

• Because there is so much craziness in the world that we want peace whenever we can get it. I know that I try to get it whenever I can but with an 18 month old running around unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

• Because it provides hope that things will be okay again.

• I don’t like getting upset or feeling out of control. There’s nothing like the feeling that your mind, body & soul are in sync.

• Because we need peace to keep our sanity in this crazy place!

• Peace means to me....calm...no fighting...just a calmness....I like peace.

• Because it is our soul’s natural state. We are looking to get back to the core.

• Because in our world things happen that are troubling; car accidents, terminal illness, shootings at malls, war. . . we need inner peace. If we are in a panic – scared out of our minds – without peace; we can’t focus and mentally shut down. Worse yet, if we do not have peace - we lose hope. We need peace to have hope.

I want you to watch this video with me as we think about peace.

(http://www.eleven72.com/media/sermon_peace.html)

Just like that desire to believe in something bigger than us, all of us want peace. We want national peace, and we’re willing to go to great extremes to have it. We want financial peace and marital peace, and most importantly we want inner peace. We want to be able to lay our heads down at night and know things are going to be okay. We want to be able to relax, to enjoy the days we’re given with hope and assurance that in the midst of the crazy, troubled, stressful world we live in there is life to be lived and enjoyed. We want to be able to believe that real relationships can be formed and that marriages can last and that kids don’t have to experience so much heartache. We want to find fulfillment in our jobs instead of just a paycheck, and we want to know that not only are we making some sense of it all, but that our lives are making a difference to those around us.

In reality, though it may look and feel and sound a little differently to each of us, what we really want is paradise. Paradise like Adam enjoyed. He was in perfect harmony with Creation, wasn’t disturbed with worry or stress or fast paced living, wasn’t burdened with a job he hated, was at one with God and with himself. But of course sin messed that up, bringing dysfunction into Adam’s marriage, into His relationship with God and into his own life. Sometimes it seems that the farther removed we get from Paradise the more dysfunctional life gets, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. The things that rob us of peace may be faster paced and more violent, but the bottom line is always the same – we’re a world looking for peace.

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