Summary: A Christmas themed message about living in peace during a season that can be very hectic if we allow it.
Dakota Community Church
December 17, 2006
Peace on Earth
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth; peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Well we all know that this is the announcement that kicked it all off – peace to men.
How would you say that is playing out in your life this holiday season?
If I asked you to describe Christmas with one word, how far down the list would peace be?
This morning I am here to tell you that there is a place of peace for the people of God at Christmas time and all year long.
There is a life for you and I in which we have time for the things that really matter.
- A life that is not pressing in on you from every side.
- A life where you are not a slave to the mall.
- A life where you are not torn over the money.
- A life where you don’t have to check your e-mail, cell phone, or blackberry every 5 min.
This insanely paced life is not what Jesus came to give us.
How do I know?
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
1. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy.
Luke 17: 20-21
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ’Here it is,’ or ’There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you."
The “Kingdom of God” does not come from careful following of the rules, it is not out there somewhere in some other time.
The Kingdom of God is within you. You decide whether you live in step with it or not.
Read Matthew 13:1-23
Notice how Jesus spoke to the masses. He gave them a riddle and said figure it out.
He wants us to want it. We have to go after it.
We live in a shallow culture; we expect things to be laid out and easy for us.
God isn’t playing that game!
Focus on the seed that choked. – We fall into this category more than any other I think, especially during the Christmas rush.
The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
Jesus has told us that He is talking about the Kingdom of God and its secrets, that is what the seed represents. The sower sows the good news of the Kingdom, but some who receive it are choked before they can enjoy fruitfulness.
They hear of it, this place of peace, but they don’t get to enter because of two main problems:
2. Worrying hinders Kingdom fruitfulness.
The Greek word translated worries here comes from the root word (3532) merizo which means divided.
In other words we get choked out of the peace of the Kingdom when we are divided or worried.
I am here with you right now, but I am also at the bank, wondering if the check will bounce.
I am with the family opening presents but I am also at the office closing the big deal.
I am lying in my bed trying to fall asleep but I am also at the hospital hoping the surgery goes well.
Worrying is when I am not fully here. The Kingdom of God is here!
What can we do about it; many of us are consumed with worries of this life. It can seem like a full time job to not worry.
a.) Get it all out of your head by putting it on paper.
Matthew 6:25, 27, 31-34
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
So do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Do today what you can do today; leave the rest in God’s hands. How often are we in knots over things we have no control over whatsoever.