Sermon Reflections from Embracing Peace | Alex Hardt | December 10, 2023
I love the Advent season and marvel each year at the symbolism in the candles on the simple Advent Wreath. This Sunday’s candle is the Bethlehem Candle and is known as the candle representing the peace that is to be found through the coming Christ child. Pastor Alex points us to Isaiah 40:1-5. The peace that Christ brings into the world is promised to us in the Old Testament. We are promised in verse 5 “And the glory of the Lord will be revealed.” Christ came and brought peace, love, restoration, forgiveness and hope. The questions are: Are you prepared to access this peace and if you find it what will you do with it?
How can you access the peace of God? Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Here specifically we are told that the source of peace is Jesus. He generates the peace we feel in our lives. No Jesus=No peace. Paul adds to this in Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Philippians 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” The peace we receive in Jesus is available through faith in Jesus because of what Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus told us in John 14:27 that His peace is a gift to us for our peace of mind and heart! “I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. What a wonderful gift. The peace Jesus give though faith is limitless. It can be accessed at any time and in in any place. Since He is always with you, you can tap into this peace whenever you need it. Are you to busy or preoccupied with life to worry about His peace? Do you then let the stresses and worries of your daily life and interactions get the best of you and overwhelm you? Remember you can access God’s peace anyplace or time. Don’t let the world overcome you and drag you down. Take heart in Jesus’ peace and ask Him for it.
What will you do with God’s peace given as a gift through faith? Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:7 above that . His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” We are to use His peace to keep our minds and hearts guarded from the world’s pressures so we can live for Jesus. Jesus added in John 14:27 “So don’t be troubled or afraid.” His peace is to keep our fears and worries away from our lives so we can focus on Him and be about doing His work in the world. Paul says in Romans 12:18 “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” God’s peace should be used to help us live rightly with others reflecting God in our lives. Hebrews 12:14 puts it this way “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” Being a Christian involves living at peace within ourselves and in community with others. His peace can be accessed 24/7 so it can and does help us live, cope, rejoice and flourish in the world in which we live. No Peace=worry, frustration, hopelessness, restlessness, just plain unhappiness. Peace with Jesus = hope, ability to cope with frustration, worries, restlessness, and unhappiness Jesus is the answer as in Him alone can Peace be found. Claim it in your life through faith in Jesus and then use it liberally throughout the day!
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