December 4, 2011

Prince of Peace

Peace implies a harmony of affairs and a harmony of interests; we cannot have harmony if we're in conflict with God.

Scripture: Luke 1-2; Ephesians 2:14-17

Sermon Notes:

  1. The world needs God's peace which changes people's hearts and minds.
  2. God announces this peace through Christ, in whom all peoples, Jew and Gentile, are introduced to the Prince of Peace.
  3. The peace of Christ was confirmed by both prophecy and signs (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2).
  4. True peace is not tranquility or privacy, nor is it a right to be made secure by the state.
  5. What modern states promise most, peace and security, is the very thing they're least able to deliver.
  6. Modern humanism claims the right not to be offended by the Prince of Peace, whilst declaring its peace a right. At the same time the cultural elite teaches that all of life, economic, social and biological is defined by conflict of interest. The state consequently claims it is necessary for them to enforce the peace – making them disturbers of the peace.
  7. All people inescapably seek salvation. False ideas of peace are propagated and believed, even after they fail repeatedly.
  8. The heart of the issue is a moral problem, not a technological, economical, or political problem to be solved by experts.
  9. Human happiness cannot be achieved by positive thinking; it is a byproduct of right relationships with God and with others.
  10. Peace is something that is proclaimed to us by God's Word. Why does the church still have preaching? It's because Christ has declared His way of peace through His church over the centuries.
  11. A preacher is one who represents Christ and His Word, not his own opinions.
  12. The message is that Christ Himself is our peace, reconciling us to God (Ephesians 2:14).
  13. Peace implies a harmony of affairs and a harmony of interests; we cannot have harmony if we're in conflict with God.
  14. We have peace with God through Christ (Romans 5:1).
  15. Moral hostility to God puts us at war with God. Christ makes peace between us and God by paying our sin-debt.
  16. Sin is like debt – the more you ignore it, the worse it gets.
  17. To be debt-free gives us freedom; in Christ our debt to God is paid and we're set free from the penalty of sin.
  18. The byproduct of peace with God is peace with others and peace about the future.
  19. When we're not longer at war with God and with our consciences, then we no longer need to insist on our own interests.
  20. Peace doesn't come through UN treaties. Peace comes through the invasion, transformation and restoring of our hearts by God.
  21. Christ is a peace-maker and it cost Him His life at the cross.
  22. The mystery of Christ is that all peoples now can be grafted into the people and promises of God (Matthew 8:11).
  23. This peace of God can be applied to every aspect of life.
  24. In Christ we have a new kinship in the family of God.

Application Questions:

  1. How is it possible for a first century Jewish infant be the source of peace for 21st century Gentiles?
  2. What is the biblical definition of peace? Contrast humanism's goals for “peace” apart from Christ.
  3. What is the root cause of all human conflict?
  4. How does the removal of personal guilt (through Christ's atonement) translate into peace in human society?
  5. What is the result when we make tranquility the goal of our lives?
  6. How can we apply God's peace this Christmas in the face of family and relational conflicts?
  7. In what areas of life and thought is God calling me to apply His gospel-peace this week?
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