Summary: Advent sermon on Peace
Scripture reading: Isaiah 9:1-7
Passage John 14:27
The Great Chicago Fire occurred in 1871. Over 300 people died & another 100,000 were left homeless. Tragedies like this one, always bring out hero is some people. One of the heroes of the Great Chicago Fire was Horatio Gates Spafford. Spafford was an attorney, who lost a lot of real-estate in the fire. To make matters even worse, his son died about the same time.
In spite of his great personal loss Spafford unselfishly helped others who were homeless, and grief-stricken because of the fire. Because of his generosity and service he was well known throughout Chicago as a sincere, devout Christian.
About two years later, in November 1873, Spafford and his family decided to take a vacation. Spafford was a good friend of D. L. Moody, and his family decided to meet Moody on one of his evangelistic campaigns in England, and then from there the family would travel on to Europe. However, just before they were to leave Horatio was unexpectedly detained by urgent business concerns in Chicago. The decision was made that his wife Anna and their daughters would go ahead to England and he would catch up with them as soon as possible. Tragedy was to strike on that trip. Just off Newfoundland, the ship collided with an English sailing vessel and sunk within 20 minutes. Anna Spafford was one of the 47 passengers who survived. Tragically all four of their daughters were part of the 226 who died.
Anna Spafford’s heartbreaking telegram to her husband simply read: "Saved alone." The grieving father immediately set sail for England to join his grief-stricken wife. As the ship that he was traveling on passed the approximate location where his daughters had drowned, Horatio Spafford penned the words that we sang a few minutes ago.
#1 "When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea-billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know; "It is well, it is well with my soul."
#2 Tho’ Satan Should buffet, tho’ trials should come, Let his blessed assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul. It is well, with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul."
The peace that Horatio experienced through it all is not a peace that comes from this world, it is a peace that can only come from and through Jesus Christ. This Peace Jesus talked about in John 14:10: 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. Peace that can only come from God! I want to look at four truths from this little verse this morning.
I. The world’s peace
The first truth is that the world’s peace fall’s short of Christ peace. “I do not give [peace] as the world gives [peace]. The peace that Horatio experienced through it all is not a peace that comes from this world; it is a peace that can only come from and through Jesus Christ. When we look around at our World today we do not see a lot of peace. There is unrest in many nations like Egypt, Libya and Tunisia where the people are mad at the governments and are fed up with dictatorships. There are wars between nations like the U.S. and Afghanistan. There are also constant threats of wars like between countries and areas like North and South Korea and Israel and Palestine. There are the drug wars in Mexico that often cripple that nation.
We see unrest in cities around North America and even Winnipeg with protesting different events and more recently the new movement called ”Occupy”. There is unrest in our schools amongst students with bullying and now cyber-bullying where kids use the internet to attack other kids in their schools and ostracize them. And there is unrest in families around the world, whether it is between extended family or between brothers and sisters and husbands and wives. Everywhere we look we see evidence of devastating lack of peace.
Throughout history there are those touting the words give peace a chance. Government leaders have tried their best to author peace between nations, but through it all our world is still not a peaceful world. We hear about those you promote peace when there is no peace in Ezekiel 13:10-12: Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash. 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” Almost every President of the United states has tried to broker peace deals between Israel and Palestine, but the issue is still there. Peace, Peace, when there is no peace.