Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Gift of Peace

What a joyous season we are in! In a few short days we will be celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. I am re-reading the Christmas story in Luke and thought we could use the following passage as our study scripture. Right after Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks.  Then, a host of the angels lifted praises to God and bestowed “peace” onto mankind.  Peace can come in many forms.  There at least three senses of peace we will look more closely at:  Peace with God, Peace within Ourselves, Peace with Others. 

Luke 2:14
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Things to think about:
  • Peace with God
    • Just like when two nations are vying for control of the same territory, when we fight God for control of our lives, there is no peace.
    • Romans 5:10 says we “were God’s enemies”. Thankfully it goes on to say we can rejoice because we have now received reconciliation!
    • Jesus came to be the peace offering. In the Old Testament, part of the sacrificial law was the making of a peace offering. This no longer needs to happen because it has been made once and for all.
    • Do you remember what it was like when you resisted God and His earlier offers of peace?
    • When and why did you finally declare a ceasefire?
  • Peace within Ourselves
    • We are now free from guilt, condemnation, and worry. Our enemy is an accuser and a liar whose aim it is to make us doubt God’s goodness. When we doubt, we are robbed of our peace.
    • John 14:27 - Jesus says,  "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."
    • Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    • How does the peace that Jesus offers you keep your heart from being troubled and/or allay your fears?
  • Peace with Others
    • Sometimes the hardest people to be at peace with are those closest to us
      • that could include family or fellow believers
    • John 17, beginning in verse 20, is Jesus’ prayer for all future believers (that would be us). It is a prayer of harmony and unity with one another so that the world might believe in Jesus.
      • when we are not at peace with one another, we belie the claims of Christ
    • Do you need to be reconciled (at peace) with someone now?
      • Might this be the Christmas present you need to give this year?

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