Summary: Introductory Comments 1.
1. As we have seen the last two weeks, we are all called to present Christ to the world. The best way we do that is by living lives that clearly show that Christ is in us.
2. We have seen how we do this by clothing ourselves with Christ’s righteousness and by forgiving one another.
3. Today we see how we present Christ by letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.
READ SCRIPTURE PASSAGE
4. It was Christmas eve, 1914. All was quiet on France's western front, from the English Channel to the Swiss Alps. Trenches came within 50 miles of Paris. The war was only 5 months old then, but already 800,000 men and women had died or been wounded. Every soldier wondered whether or not Christmas day would bring a new round of fighting and killing.
But something happened. British soldiers raised "Merry Christmas" signs above their trenches, and it wasn't long before carols began to float across the no-man's-land of barbed wire and mines. The songs came from German and British trenches alike. Christmas day dawned to find unarmed soldiers leaving their trenches, though officers on both sides tried to stop it. The men picked their way across the distance that separated them to exchange songs and conversation. Small gifts were exchanged. Christmas day passed peacefully along miles of the front. At one spot, reportedly, the British played soccer with the Germans. The Germans won 3-2.
In some places the spontaneous truce continued into the next day as neither side was willing to fire the first shot. Finally, however, the war resumed as fresh troops arrived and the high command of both sides ordered that further "informal understandings" with the enemy would be considered high treason.
5. It seems appropriate that on Christmas peace be observed. Many wars have had either agreed-upon or unspoken truces on the day of our Lord’s birth.
1. As the angels announced to the shepherds the birth of Christ, they made it clear why Jesus was born.
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
2. Jesus came to bring glory to His Father and to bring peace to mankind. But the peace Jesus came to bring was not primarily the peace that is the absence of war. It was not mainly to stop conflicts such as in Iraq.
Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
He came to bring peace between us and God. He came to us while we were enemies of God through our rebellion, through our sin. He came so that we would not need to die to sin, to face eternal punishment. That is why to angel said that this peace is to those with whom God is pleased.
3. This peace can only come when we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Jesus makes it clear that there will still be trouble in the world, there will still be wars. But we can have peace with God. This is the peace of Christ. Praise be to Jesus!
4. This peace is a peace that we have despite what is going on around us.
a. It is a peace that comes with the hope of a world far better than this one.
b. It is a confidence that one's relationship is right with His Maker.
c. It is the promise of providence, that is, God "working all things together for good" in the life of a true believer.
d. It is the companionship of people who do understand peace and are constantly working to rid their lives of the attitudes that destroy peace.
e. It is the confidence that whomever the message of peace touches can become a agent of peace himself or herself and contribute to real and lasting peace with God.
5. But even though we are believers we still struggle with the lack of peace. We worry about our children, we carry anger toward others, we fear the future, we struggle with sins and many other things. Our lives fail to show forth the peace we have in Christ
6. How do we deal with this lack of peace? Paul says let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. We have so many thoughts and feelings going on inside us. But we also have the peace of Christ in us. We must let that peace rule us.
7. The Greek word for rule used here is found only in this passage in the NT. Rather than to rule as we usually think of it, it refers to an arbiter or umpire. Let the peace of Christ be the umpire or referee in you.