Saturday, December 25, 2010

The “Peace” of the Christmas Season, often misunderstood for the “Peace” that Christ came to bring

The Christmas holiday season is usually associated
with the often misunderstood Biblical phrase:
"Peace on earth and good will to men." It is only
on those who have been graced by God, that His
peace will truly exist.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” Isaiah 55:1-2

It is often the ploy of the unbelieving soul to call attention to the background and credibility of the Christian messenger, rather than having to deal with the message.  Such personal assassination tactics are as old as time began.  Even the Hebrew Old Testament prophet Isaiah, was well aware of this flimsy ploy when (under direct inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit), he penned the timeless words of Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53:1f -- “Who has believed our report…….”

Jesus Christ, the long awaited fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy also encountered his own generation’s unbelieving skeptics, who made the fatal mistake of discounting His message and damning his reputation by making personal attacks about his family, upbringing and learned background. Had they made a thorough check of the Scriptures, they would not have erroneously regarded, and slanderously referred to Christ, as a bastard. John 8:41 ; Isaiah 7:14

Times haven’t changed since the days of Christ, here on earth. Unbelievers and skeptics alike will not change their sinful ways. They seem to relish among themselves, the ridiculing and debunking of God’s messengers who continue to preach and present the revelation truth of the Holy Scriptures. Rather than hearing the message, they persist to cast aspersions upon the messengers. And to them, Scripture itself has, the final damning word directed towards these unbelieving skeptics -- 2 Peter 2:1f and Jude 1:1f 

The “peace” that Christ came to bring is not the same “people ‘peace’” that most people envision at Christmas

This calendar year’s wintry season is upon us again to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season.  The music, the gifts, the decorations, the parties and the good will of people as the old year comes to an end, are all nice and proper things to do.

It is, at this time of year that peoples' emotions are most sensitive – which is a good thing.  In spite of the physical trappings of the holiday season, many people are being reminded of the spiritual nature of this time of year.  Even those who are not Christian believers , are impressed with the one resounding message that is always prevalent at Christmas time – “peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Those, words, “peace on earth” originated from the angelic announcement [Gospel of Luke 2:14] to simple shepherds who were privileged to visit Christ, the God / Man, born, into human flesh. Luke 2:1-20

The Christmas Season always brings this message, of “Peace on earth and good will toward men.”  But how does this angelic message, repeated throughout history, by humans, square with The “Prince of Peace,” [Isaiah 9:6-7] who was prophesied hundreds of years before his Bethlehem birth? [Micah 5:2] What did, Christ, who is the “Prince of Peace,” intend, when He said that He did not come to bring “peace,” but a “sword?” [Matthew 10:32-42] A clear understanding of what Christ intended, can go a long way in clearing up the confusion that comes with the worldly celebration and understanding of the Christmas Season.

The "peace" that Christ came to bring is that
"peace through the blood of his Cross." [Colossians
1:20. The Bible also says: "For the preaching of the
[Christ's] cross, is to them that perish, foolishness
but, unto us which are saved; it is the power of
God." - Colossians 1:20 
Refusal to believe the totality of God’s revelation record, brings confusion – especially “Christmas confusion”

People choose to hear what they desire to hear.  The Christ of Christmas is often overlooked for the glitz and glitter of the festive holiday season.  The words of Scripture of “peace on earth and good will to man” are secularized and taken out of Biblical context.

What is often forgotten, is the totality of Scripture’s words, and, especially Christ’s Words which He related to His disciples that they would continue to be subject to persecutions [John 15:18-27] and that the days of human history would be fraught with “wars and rumors of wars.” Matthew 24:4-14

But you may say:  “I thought that the Jesus babe born in Bethlehem and whose birthday is celebrated at Christmas time, came to symbolize peace for the world.  After all, isn't that, what Christmas is all about?”  Not so, my friend.

The angelic announcement of “Peace on earth and good will toward men” starts with a relationship with Creator God

Remember when Christ stated the summary of God’s Ten Commandments? Christ summed up the Commandments by His command to love God and to love one’s fellowman. [Matthew 22:35-40] When a person truly loves God, then there will naturally follow and flow a love for one’s fellowman. What was the last part of 1st Christmas angelic announcement?  “Peace on earth and good will toward men.” Luke 2:8-17

When Christ stated that He comes with a “sword” to divide even families, [Matthew 10:32-42] He was proclaiming that it was far more (spiritually and eternally) important that a person would have His “peace” that “passes all understanding,” [John 14:1-27 ;  Philippians 4:7] –- providing, He, Christ, takes first place and priority in a person’s life.  Apart from Creator, Savior, Lord Christ, all else, consequently takes, the back seat. The “peace” that Christ brings is that peace that knows no other allegiance and worship than to Him –- [above all else]. Matthew 12:46-50

The “peace of God,” is that peace which Christ spoke about to his disciples -- [John 14:1-27]. Christ’s peace emanating from Him, the “Prince of Peace” is totally different than the world’s conception of peace.

What about you, my friend – do you have “Peace?”

Friend – make it a point during this Christmas season (and the following seasons) to familiarize yourself with this "'peace' of Christ."  This Prince of Peace came to deliver you of your personal sins which offend a just and holy Triune God; who according to his Word and holiness must punish human sin – else He would not be holy and there would be no (holy) heaven.

Do not take lightly God’s gracious offer of genuine and eternal peace, wrapped up in the person of Christ who came as God, born in human flesh to deliver you from the present and eternal [hell] ravages and destruction of sin.  Forget for a moment about others.  God is a loving God and He desires your personal soul. 1 Timothy 2:4

I don’t have a 4 or 5 point prescription and prayer for you to follow.  I’ve never felt comfortable with that approach as I believe it is not only unscriptural, but that the best way for your soul to reach out to God for His help, guidance and deliverance, is to expose oneself to the Scriptural revelation [Bible] and listen to the messengers that He has sent in your life. It is in the divine revelation of the Holy Scriptures where genuine faith can be found to believe in the true and Triune God who forgives sins and who can rescue your soul from eternal damnation . [Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17  ; Hebrews 11:6 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Acts 8:26-39 ; 1 Peter 1:23] If what the messengers say and preach to you agree with the Scriptures, and you believe, -- then you will have  been truly blessed.  Come humbly to the Lord, believing and confessing your sins.  Truly believe that same message which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds, that First Christmas:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 

Amen.

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:
Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures:

Isaiah 53:1f – The prophecy of Christ, in descriptive detail, hundreds of years before his birth

Isaiah 9:6-7 – The “Prince of Peace” prophesied hundreds of years before his birth

Micah 5:2 – The birthplace of Christ prophesied hundreds of years before His birth

New Testament Christian Scriptures:

Matthew 10:32-42 – Christ’s own words, describe the allegiance (love) to Him what He expects

John 14:1-27 – Christ’s offer of His “peace”

Please also note other Christmas messages

 The Eternal Significance of the Holiday Christmas Season --  "Why God, Became a Man" (12/6/09)

The True Christmas Message is Not the Cradle, but the Cross

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Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
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Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith:  Parts 1-3

Note:  The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel 

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