Summary: Enjoying Christ as Prince of Peace in our lives by following the example of Joseph and Mary that first Christmas.
We’re in the series, "What Christ Came to Give."
In the first message of the series we talked about how Christ came to give us HOPE, and last week we saw that Christ came to bring us THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
Today we’re going to talk about how Christ came to give us PEACE and we’re going to see how His coming helps us overcome the difficulties that attempt to disturb our peace.
Let’s look again at the Scripture upon which our series is based.
"For a child is born to us, a son is GIVEN TO US. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)
This verse mentions a few of the things "given" to us through Christ, including the fact that He is the Prince of Peace. A Prince is a ruler. When Christ rules in a person’s life there is peace. Peace is one of the gifts Christ came to give.
Jesus Himself proclaimed peace as a gift He wants to give us.
"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." John 14:27 (NLT)
This is a fantastic promise! Peace of mind and heart is given through Christ. You can’t find the peace He gives anywhere else! It’s a peace that helps you effectively deal with your troubles and fears!
Nowhere is this gift of peace more evident than in the Christmas story.
"Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth." Luke 2:1-6 (NASB)
There were several circumstances that could have disturbed the peace that first Christmas. And we’re going to see how those difficulties we’re handled by Joseph and Mary so that we can apply those same principles to the things that try to disturb our peace today. We’re going to see how we can live in the peace Christ came to give.
Where is your peace taking a beating? At work, at school, at home? In a relationship, your finances, your health, worries about the future? God’s Word has great news for you! Christ came to give you peace. And the peace that Christ brings is a peace that is not disturbed by circumstances.
Here are three things that can disturb your peace coupled with three things you can do to appropriate Christ’s peace in your life.
PEACE DISTURBER #1: CHANGE
HOW I NEED TO RESPOND: If I’m going to have Christ’s peace in the midst of change, I’m going to have to resolve to let God "use" me.
Let’s see how this happens.
That first verse in Luke’s Good News account speaks of drastic CHANGE in Joseph and Mary’s life.
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." Luke 2:1 (KJV)
What a challenge! A pregnant woman and her fiancée are compelled to make a strenuous journey to be enrolled in the Roman tax system.
Joseph and Mary had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. It was only sixty miles as the crow flies but the roads meandered around mountains and valleys making it closer to a hundred miles on foot.
Transportation in those days wasn’t as easy as it is today. Even though the Romans were noted for their road building, good roads didn’t exist everywhere, especially to small villages like Bethlehem. No cars, no busses, no planes or trains either. Most people traveled on foot, or maybe a camel or donkey if they were lucky.
Traveling wasn’t always safe. Robbers lurked in many places. Provisions were not as readily available as they are today. There weren’t any service stations with snacks and clean restrooms along the way.
And the reason for the journey was to sign up to pay taxes! I don’t mind taking a trip to see family or friends but taking a trip to sign up to pay taxes? That couldn’t have been fun!
To top it all off Joseph and Mary were going through a lot of CHANGE in their personal lives. They were engaged to be married AND expecting the birth of a child. Getting married and having a baby are two of life’s biggest CHANGES.