Summary: Are you looking for peace? Look to the One who when He was born, the angels proclaimed a promise to the whole world—Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Several decades ago, a diplomat got off a plane and spoke to the crowd that was gathered there. He waved a piece of paper to the crowd and they broke out in a series of loud cheers. Why were they so excited over a piece of paper? Because that paper was going to end the possibility of war. That paper promised peace to the people. Here is part of what was said that day: “We regard the agreement signed last night… as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.” Later that same day, the same man stood outside his government’s main headquarters and said this, “My good friends… there has come back… peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time…. Now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.” What a promise! Peace in our day! The promise of rest. The promise of peace. So what happened? Well, let me give you the details. This event happened on September 30, 1938 and the man who was speaking was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. He had just returned from Germany where he had signed an agreement with Adolph Hitler. That agreement basically gave parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in exchange for his promise of peace. It was the ultimate example of appeasement. Chamberlain signed a treaty and made a promise of peace. Of course we know it was a promise of peace that he couldn’t keep. Because within a year, all of Europe was engaged in World War II, the most destructive war in history. People are always looking for peace. They look for peace, and invariably, someone will stand up and promise it. It happened with the promises of peace in Europe after Napoleon. That failed and grew into the League of Nations. That failed miserably and grew into the UN. There is a statue in front of the UN Headquarters building that has a Bible verse on it. The passage is from the second part of Isaiah 2:4 and says, “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Of course they leave off the first part that says that God will judge among the nations and will rebuke many people. But that is the promise of peace that the UN brings. Have they delivered on their promise? Not considering the fact that since they were established, nearly 90 million people have died in wars and conflicts. Here is the sad fact of the matter. The UN can’t bring peace. The League of Nations can’t deliver peace. Camp David accords can’t deliver peace. Whatever treaty or alliance they come up with next can’t deliver peace. Why? Because Jesus promised that, until the end, there will be wars and rumors of wars. They are inevitable. When man in his sinful nature tries to restrain the sinful nature of other men, wars and strife will always result. The sad fact is that man is not capable of bringing world peace. But world peace isn’t what’s on our mind most of the time, is it? Unless you have a friend or family member who is currently involved in the war, most of the time it doesn’t even cross your mind, does it? Because world peace isn’t the kind of peace you’re most looking for. World peace isn’t the kind of peace you’re most looking for, because your own life is so chaotic and lacking in peace. That’s the way many people are today. Many people today have no peace in their lives. So what do they do? They look for the next great thing to bring them peace. They look to the next relationship. They look to the next job. They look to the next car or house or electronic gadget or toy. They look to the next doctor. They look to the next medication. They look to the next counselor or therapy. And where is the peace? It’s as if each one of those things was standing on that tarmac in England with Chamberlain. Each one is waving a worthless piece of paper and promising, “Peace for our time.” But the peace doesn’t come. No matter what you try, the peace doesn’t come. Why? Because you’re looking in the wrong places. You’re looking for something you can do. You’re looking for something you can control. You’re looking for some way to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. You’re looking for some magic elixir you can take and make it all go away. But no matter how many times you keep looking in those same old places, you still won’t find any peace there. Because it isn’t there. The only thing there is bondage. The only thing there is more chaos. The only thing there is more hurt and disappointment. Do you want to find peace this morning? If you want to find true peace this morning, then you need to look in the place where promises are made that are never broken. You need to look to the One person who will never hurt you or disappoint you. You need to look to the One who when He was born, the angels proclaimed a promise to the whole world. When Jesus was born, they proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Was that a promise of world peace? Eventually, but not now. So what kind of peace were those angels promising that Jesus would bring? They were promising that Jesus would bring the kind of peace that Peter is talking about in our passage this morning. The promise of peace that was given on that very first Christmas morning is laid out here in four parts. First, the peace of Christmas claims a promise. Look back to verses 12-13: