His Name will be…PRINCE OF PEACE
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Stories of Pain…taken from Max Lucado
SHE HAS every reason to be bitter.
Though talented, she went unrecognized for years. Prestigious opera circles
closed their ranks when she tried to enter.
American critics ignored her compelling voice. She was repeatedly rejected for
parts for which she easily qualified. It was only after she went to Europe and won the hearts of tough-to-please European audiences that stateside opinion leaders
acknowledged her talent.
Not only has her professional life been a battle, her personal life has been marked by challenge. She is the mother of two handicapped children, one of whom is severely retarded. Years ago, in order to escape the pace of New York City, she purchased a home on Martha’s Vineyard. It burned to the ground two days before she was to move in.
Professional rejection. Personal setbacks. Perfect soil for the seeds of bitterness. A receptive field for the roots of resentment. But in this case, anger found no home.
Her friends don’t call her bitter; they call her "Bubbles."
Beverly Sills. Internationally acclaimed opera singer. Retired director of the New
York City Opera.
How can a person handle such professional rejection and personal trauma and still be known as Bubbles? "I choose to be cheerful," she says. "Years ago I knew I had little or no choice about success, circumstances or even happiness; but I knew I could choose to be cheerful."
"I have everything I need for joy!" Robert Reed said. "Amazing!" I thought.
His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He can’t bathe himself. He can’t
feed himself. He can’t brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. His shirts are held together by strips of Velcro®. His speech drags like a worn-out audio cassette.
Robert has cerebral palsy.
The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But
it didn’t keep him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian
University, from which he graduated with a degree in Latin. Having cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from teaching at a St. Louis junior college or from venturing overseas on five
And Robert’s disease didn’t prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.
He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. There he rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language.
Then he stationed himself daily in a park, where he distributed brochures about
Christ. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.
Robert could have asked for sympathy or pity, but he did just the opposite. He held his bent hand up in the air and boasted, "I have everything I need for joy."
His shirts are held together by Velcro®, but his life is held together by joy.
Start of regular sermon….
She was just a young woman when God called on her to bear a special child. The child would be of miraculous birth, she had never been with a man before. The child would be the Son of God who would save the world from its sins. But along with the task came some unwanted costs…
- A fiancée that initially didn’t understand any of it and thought she had lied and cheated on him.
- A community that ostracized and shunned her for an unplanned pregnancy before marriage. And then when the “story” of angels came out they thought she was delusional.
- A long and difficult journey to another city on the verge of the due date after months of seclusion in her home.
- Having the baby in a smelly stable because there was no room and no mercy in Bethlehem.
- An egotistical king that sent killers after the baby to destroy him.
Why didn’t she become bitter? Why not lash out at God and abandon the plan and the faith?
Why didn’t she become bitter? Why not lash out at God and abandon the plan and the faith?
Because they had met the Prince of Peace!
Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
We have been studying the names of Jesus from this passage:
Wonderful Counselor…That Jesus is amazing and surpasses all of our expectations of a Savior! He is amazing and is the real deal.
Not only that but His ways, His actions, His counsel is so deep, so vast and so high that it is never wrong. His knowledge and wisdom is so infinite that we can’t even begin to see all that He sees in leading us.
He is exactly what one would expect from the Son of God and more!
Mighty God…Jesus is the mighty God. He is ruler, He is unlimited, He never plays by our rules and He has overcome everything including Satan and Death. He has revealed to us the unstoppable power of God….and I like that!
But His mighty power doesn’t always show up in stunning miracles.
These testimonies I read today point to Jesus Christ as limitless! NO, He didn’t perform the stunning miracle but nothing can tie His hands from working, nothing! Not broken bodies, bad childhoods, chaotic marriages, loneliness, not even death.
Today we look on this term Prince of Peace. What does this name mean to us?
Let’s begin by defining the terms, Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.
The word Prince, especially taken in context of verse 6, implies that Jesus is THE supreme ruler, that he is royalty.
He rules from a throne and from that throne vast power is at his command.
- The government is on his shoulders, there is no higher government than Him.
- His word is above every word, his law above every law. Everything bows down to Him.
- He has a Kingdom, a kingdom of unlimited wealth, power and glory.
- He is sovereign. There is no match to His power, there is no real competition. He is in complete control.
- As King he invites His subjects to gather under His wings so that he may take care of them.
Psalms 57:1 (NIV)
1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
He always arrives and comes as royalty and ruler. He is never 2nd banana, or the other option. He is the King and Lord.
AND YET…he suffered with His creation and was crucified by His creation.
This clearly says that as a Prince, as the ruling entity, he brings PEACE. Peace would be important to the people of that day who had a powerful enemy living on their border.
WHAT IS PEACE?
When we think peace we usually think that there is just an absence of conflict. We think of the 2 sides in a fight retreating to their corner and then speaking civilly to each other….for a time! OR
Peace is a week at the mountains or beach where we escape…
But that I not the Bible definition of peace. In the Bible peace is way more than that, it is:
- Completeness – this means restoring something to its original state, to its purpose, to harmony and oneness. When this happens there is contentment. Jesus is the prince of peace! “HE RESTORES MY SOUL”
- When you are in a state of ease and safety, when you are not fearing for your life or welfare. Jesus is the prince of peace! “THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW…AND…MAT. 6:25 DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT THE PAGANS WORRY ABOUT”
- When you are free from imminent harm and hurt and you are blessed instead. “HE PREPARES A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES”
So when the Bible says that Jesus is the POP it means that Jesus will be known to you as the King who uses His divine authority to make you whole and complete, where you will not fear what tomorrow may bring, and you will feel secure and at rest in your life.
It means that he will settle the issues that vex your life and bring to a state of harmony with your circumstances and with God Himself. That is called contentment, rest and confidence. You are content. “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD AND I SHALL NOT WANT”
Listen to this amazing verse…
John 14:27 (NLT)
"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
The peace of the world depends on everything but God! It depends on how my job is going, my kids are doing, the marriage, health, money – if all those things line up I have peace!
BUT…Jesus says, “I’m giving you another kind of peace, a peace that you get when you know and are in relationship with the POP!” It is the kind of peace you have when you know you have an unbeatable hand and you can’t lose, the game has been fixed in your favor!
PEACE is that everyday I walk out my door I know that whatever comes into my life that day God already knows about and has equipped me for and He is on the job to handle it.
In the NT they ran to be in the presence of the POP. Thieves, prostitutes, laborers, cast outs, the sick, the desperate they all wanted to be near Jesus because in His presence there was peace, safety – they somehow knew that everything would be alright and that things would be made right in their life.
The POP reconciles us completely with God, with ourselves, with others, and with our circumstances. Where He rules people love God, love their neighbors and love themselves.
…..what I am saying is that you can have peace. You can leave your turmoil behind. Leave the anger, the questions, and the worry behind….He will give you peace.
HE is the POP.
Let’s look at 3 specific areas that peace comes into our lives because of the rule of the POP.
1. JESUS BRINGS PEACE BETWEEN MYSELF AND GOD
The first and most important act of peace that Jesus brings is peace between me and God.
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned and ran and hid from God, we have been doing the same.
- we fight against God
- We doubt God
- We think that He is secretly against us
- We don’t want to obey or submit to Him freely
- We try to ignore Him when it is convenient
- We willfully sin
- And then we play religion and act like everything is ok!! (“Lord, Lord…”)
Almighty, all loving and all good God is not happy with this! He is so unhappy about our open defiance against Him that Romans 1 says that His holy anger, wrath will be leveled against those who knew the truth and knowingly, willingly and defiantly ignore Him and His gifts to us.
In John 3:18-19 Jesus says that all those who are not in relationship with Him, ON HIS TERMS, are condemned. Otherwise, you have made God your enemy; you have shut yourself out of His Kingdom blessings and His salvation. You are actually at war with God and with His purposes for you, and for this world.
All of us have found ourselves in this state before God…”all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
BUT…Jesus comes as the POP! Listen to this…
Romans 5:1-2 (MSG)
1 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us— set us right with him, make us fit for him— we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. 2 And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand— out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Our faith in Jesus has JUSTIFIED us. Jesus made the peace and had given us a whole new standing before God, not depending upon me, but depending upon what Jesus did! I now have a whole new relationship with God! He is no longer an enemy to me, no longer is it a standoff between us, BUT I AM ADOPTED INTO HIS FAMILY! I HAVE BEEN SHOWERED WITH HIS LOVE, HE IS MY FATHER!
- I have moved into His mansion
- I am under his protection
- I am under his power
- I am under his promises
My/our broken relationship with Him I completely restored, just like I had never sinned! That is how he treats me!
And we have access to His grace, all of his provision, anything that is needed. Rom. 8 says that he will hold nothing back from us.
Have you made “peace with God?” I don’t mean a death bed confession, but have you moved into a new relationship whereby God’s grace is yours, where you are no longing running from Him and you are completely restored?
…where you can say, “The Lord is my shepherd!”
The POP has come to not simply forgive your past and give you a new start but watch out if you mess up!
He has come to undo the total work that sin has done in your life, all of its damage and all of its darkness.
- God now calls you His son or daughter – Accept it!
- He lavished his love on you…” “
- He is showing you off in his wallet….”””””
- He staunchly defends you and claims you as His own…”””””
- And he’ll take you to heaven when it’s all over….”””””
He is the POP – no half way salvation, no half way religion…he gives you the whole works, the whole thing. Full salivation, I am completely forgiven and I am completely accepted.
2. JESUS, THE POP, BRINGS PEACE TO ME.
We live a culture that teaches us to hate ourselves. We look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. We look at our age and wish we were something else. We look at our stuff and think other stuff should make us happy.
We have a real bad habit of measuring ourselves against something that we can never achieve.
On top of that we have a personal enemy called Satan who just accuses us 24/7.
It makes for a pretty unhappy existence.
The POP comes and says, “You have it all wrong.”
- there is no condemnation for those in Christ
- He planned you for a special purpose and put you together the way that you are
- He decided what days that you would live, and where!
- He planned this all before you were born!
It is about time we end this battle with ourselves and accept the acceptance of Christ! He put us together and did a great job! He saved us...accept it!
My acceptance of Christ should also be my acceptance of myself. We need to be at peace with who we are.
3. JESUS, THE POP, BRINGS PEACE TO MY CIRCUMSTANCES
Let’s go to Phil 4. We are going to see that Jesus is active in the life of Paul as the POP. Now Paul was in jail at this time, he was accuses of things he didn’t do, he was in a prison that he shouldn’t have been in and he was facing a possible execution.
But Jesus was giving him a gift in the middle of all this. Right in the middle of that horrible, moldy, rotten smelling jail facing what he was facing, Jesus gave Paul peace. He was safe. He was content.
Maybe you are facing similar things…..
You see, Jesus’ peace does not depend on your circumstances being OK; it depends on Jesus being in control.
Remember that old bumper sticker…NO GOD< NO PEACE / KNOW GOD – KNOW PEACE!
Listen to this scripture describe how you can have peace no matter what you may be facing….THIS IS WHAT PEACE FEELS LIKE…
A) PEACE FEELS LIKE SECURITY THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING.
Phil 4:6-7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This simply means when you shouldn’t be feeling any peace, you do anyways! You look around and see the worries and the waves, and they don’t bother you!
It is peace that passes understanding because it comes from the one who understands all! It is the “peace of God” not the “peace of brain!”
B) PEACE FEELS LIKE CONTENTEDNESS IN LIFE
I Phil 4:11 (NIV)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
This is what peace feels like!
C) PEACE FEELS LIKE CONFIDENCE FOR THE FUTURE
Phil 4:13 (NIV)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
D) GOD’S PEACE RESTS ON GOD’S SUPPLY AND POWER
Phil 4:19 (NIV)
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
6 The nations are in an uproar, and kingdoms crumble! God thunders, and the earth melts!
7 The LORD Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
10 "Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world."
11 The LORD Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
Psalms 46:1-11 (NLT)
4. JESUS, AS THE POP, HAS A CHURCH OF PEACE
The peace of Jesus extends from his people to His church. When you enter the front doors of the church that is where…
- -prejudice ends
- Judging ends
- Naming calling ends
- Social class or status ends
- Skin color ends
- Popularity ends
- Evaluating people based on income ends
- Evaluating people based on talent ends
- Evaluating people based on looks ends
- Evaluating people based on height or weight ends
One of the great attractions of the church, according to Jesus anyways, is that this is the one place on the planet where we are all loved and valued based on Jesus’ love for us and not on anything else.
Is. 9:6 says that Jesus is the POP. Do you know Him as your prince of peace?
It is time to leave the turmoil, the anxiety, the worry, the stress on HIS doorstep.
Let Him touch you, and touch your issues.
Just as sure as he commanded winds and waves to stop, he will do it again. Just as he was a shelter and a stronghold for His people in the Bible, he will be that again today.