Peace | Isaiah 9, Ephesians 2
Topic: Gospel Passage: Isaiah 9, Ephesians 2
Introduction | What is Peace and why don’t we have it?
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work,Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are in a brief series during Advent (Arrival) where we are looking at good words that point to a greater God. The words area Peace, Hope, Joy, Love. These are individual words but they are come together to help describe and bring meaning to what was/is/is being accomplished by the Arrival of Jesus into Human history. This week we are beginning with Peace. Words have meaning. So we need to know what this word means if we’re going to understand it’s implications.
Peace (Shalom/Eirene) More than absence of conflict. It is completeness, wholeness. A state in which there is more than nothing clearly wrong but everything being completely right. No imperfections but also perfect.
We instinctively know the difference, even if naively we like to hope when there is no conflict there is peace. Every been in home, marriage, relationship where the “conflict” is quiet but there isn’t joy. Maybe you’ve been on the road trip from hell where you’re in the car together and you’re not saying anything. That is not peace. It’s missing the joyful complexity of a full complete relationship. This presence of conflict and lack of peace is not how things have always been or how God has intended us to be. God created everything and He created it “Good”. The gospel (good news) begins with God making man and women in His image joins them together in marriage, places them in a peaceful Garden. Gives them purpose to cultivate a flourishing world while they enjoy multiplying. God dwells with them. There is wholeness, the is not conflict. This seems like the perfect conditions for lasting peace. Yet a conflict was instigated. An Enemy of God (and Man’s flourishing) came into the garden sowing seeds of doubt about God’s goodness and the consequence of rejecting God. Humanity willingly exchanged the presence of peace for a war of independence rejecting God’s rule, but also the connection to the source of life and wholeness. This is sin.
Sin separates. Sin takes peace and brings conflict. It takes out the right relationship between God and His People. Why is peace something so difficult? Sin, evil, brokenness, unnecessary division, lack of joy and wholeness all spring from this conflict. Sin is what robbed us of Shalom and introduced conflict. God comes and engages with this conflict bring both justice, holiness, as well as mercy and grace. He makes a promise.
Gen 3:15 |I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Complex Conflicts created.God and Man (Man rejected God who is holy, perfect, just, so to be clear we are not on the good team. But we are not in alignment with everyone or everything opposed to God so we’re not part of some unified resistance. There is a real enemy Satan that is opposed to God and who does not desire peace(wholeness for people). Jesus says the enemy comes to devour and destroy. This verse we just read says there is enmity (not unity) between Satan/Serpent and humanity.Conflict between a real enemy. So humanity is no longer is peaceful relationship with the Creator God. We are in conflict with satan who seeks our harm. But at least we’re all together as one human race right? Wrong. The sin that separates us from God also caused conflict between husband and wife. Later brother against brother and then as people multiply so does the conflict so tribes, cities, nations, all in conflict. Genders in rivalry where men and women use and abuse one another physically, emotionally, or sexually. Different races not in harmony but in suspicion, segregation, and at times subjugation. People not treated with dignity but torn down in denigration. Ok I see these lines “out there” outside of me so surely if I only focus on myself I can find peace (wholeness) from within seek my own well-being then. But there are individual consequences for sin. Besides the fact you’re in conflict with God (don’t forget that one) you experience shame, doubt, worry, insecurity, (no not me!) pride, self-delusion, and lack of growth from not knowing even yourself so you’re not able to know others fully. The point is the layers of conflict is intense, the depth of brokenness is sever. It means we are not getting to experience the wholeness of life with God we were made to experience, the joy that being in harmony with others brings, and the settled-ness of both fully knowing and fully accepting ourselves.With this lack of Peace because of sin it means a lack of alignment and the very fabric of every part of our being as individuals and as a community of relational beings is torn asunder. A lack of peace means if the conflicts are going to be settled and wholeness is going to be experienced then there has to be victory over sin and evil and has to be complete restoration of life giving relationships. The first hint that the conflict will be resolved is given at the moment the conflict is outlined “the serpent will strike the heal (wound) of a promised savior from the women, but that savoir will crush the head (win) of the serpent/satan/enemy. There is a victory promised, a sliver of hope is given and that promise is both renewed, refined to so people will know where peace will come from. One of women (all people) He it will be a man, all the nations (people) will be blessed from the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, (family, nation). If we’re not careful we can think that there is going to be a simple human being who is going to come and fix everything, or worse (a collection of people) who if we pull together can fix all our problems, end all our conflicts, restore what is missing and we can experience peace. That is a huge task to put on mere man, or utopian community. Humanity, We are the source of the conflict so we cannot be the sole source of the resolution.We have to look to the God who made peace in the first place to fix what we’ve broken.
PART II | How has God promised peace? | Isaiah 9:2-7
Isaiah 9:2-7 | 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
The situation is dire and God’s promises seem distant, the world is in darkness of evil and ignorance. But their hope as there is a promised time where light will dawn over this dark place.Where people who have been in darkness will have peace shine upon them. This light comes, dawns, from outside the darkness to penetrate where darkness is. This light will lead to joy as more and more people join this family and nation of light. The anticipation of a great harvest of peace brings happiness as we realize the light coming gives us peaceful life we experience and enjoy. The reason the light brings peace is in what is accomplishes for the people who it shines on. The yoke of burden, the staff we carry on our weary “peace- less” journey, and the rod that wickedly oppresses us, they cannot do that anymore, because they’re broken. The boots of battle and the garments stained from intense conflict are no longer needed and will be discarded, because of the victory over Satan, sin, and death bringing lasting peace. Who does this?
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
The promise of one from women (a man), is repeated, “a child is born, a son given” as a gift to people. But the identity of this man is unique, distinct, and unlike any other. Why? It’s both simple and complex. The Son born is God, Wonderful Councelor, (Wise), Everlasting Father (eternal), Mighty God (Powerful), and what is the official title? Prince of Peace (Shalom) who will have a kingdom that will ever increase, a kingdom that is defined by unending peace. This God the Son will be born from “King David’s” line and He will rule this peaceful kingdom with both justice and righteousness forever. It’s is out of God’s character and nature that He would answer this cosmic conflict as the God of Angel Armies (Lord of Hosts) with victory to bring peace. This victory means the conflict is over but also the work and life together can begin. This is what was promised to God’s people nearly 2,700 years ago. So they waited… in darkness until the prince arrived.
PART III | Jesus is the Promised Peace | Luke 2:10-14, John 14:27
Luke 2:10-14 | 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Generations come and go in conflict, lacking wholeness, hope fades as it appears the darkness is winning, both in our world and in our souls. A Son comes from a women in the nation the savior was promised to/from (Israel) from the family of that the king was to be given (line of David). Born of a virgin (full God, fully man) The Christ (Savior King of God’s people) is born, is given. And just in case everyone missed the significance or slept during their OT bible study, the God of Angel Armies announces the arrival of the prince of peace with an Angel Army shining light into a dark night, with Good news for people from every family and nation can experience joy with faith in Jesus. And they sing this song brining glory to God. That God in His glory in Heaven, is bringing Peace (Eirene) to earth and good will as God will again be with His people in Jesus. Jesus is the promised prince of peace. The purpose of Jesus mission is to bring peace.
John 14:27 | Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Jesus’ peace settles our internal conflict. We’re not guessing at what Jesus intends. Jesus says he’s the one who brings peace, he is the one who gives peace, and that peace is in contrast to the incomplete peace (which is no peace at all) that comes for our experience in world that does not know God. He gives us a peace that is not of this world for the purpose of us to know longer fear to have the raging conflict in our hearts settled down, so we can exhale from the anxiousness our troubled thoughts. Jesus brings peace with who he is and what he’s done.
Colossians 1:19-20| 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Jesus’ Peace fills what has been lacking in our lives without him.If missing peace is missing fullness and fullness can only come from God, and we read “In Jesus” the is the fullness of God then we can only find and experience the fullness of God in the Jesus alone! Restoring what is lost, reconciling what has been broken. How? Jesus Peace is accomplished by His victory on the cross. He brings peace by His work on the cross, in our place. The conflict with God is over for those who have trusted the work of Jesus in their place. The defeat they deserve was taken by Jesus so we can experience the victory we don’t deserve. We see this conflict in the décor of Christmas.Lights of Christmas come from understanding what darkness is and battle being waged against it as light shines through. The red of Christmas is Jesus on the cross. The “Christmas spirit” is gifts are given so we remember the Gift of God given in Jesus as a sacrifice for sin.
PART IV | How do we now live because Jesus has given us His Peace? | Ephesians 2:12-21
Ephesians 2:12-22 | 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
The results of the peace promised and given by Jesus has real implications in our lives that last beyond a season. There is individual sin paid for by the blood of Jesus on the cross. You and me as individuals having our war against God end not on our death, destruction, wrath, but with new life, mercy, and grace. With out Jesus we don’t have this peace, only certain defeat. The separation, the alienation is not peace, being outside the family is not peace. Not having hope and being separated from God is not peace.You go from separated stranger to one who is near and dear to God. Jesus is our peace because we have the Holy Spirit that gives us not alienation to access to God. With the conflict with God resolved there are other fronts, other layers the Peace of the Gospel of Jesus begins to address in us and through us.
Because Jesus is our wholeness, Jesus is the one who holds us all together, we become part of a body that spans time, race, languages, cultures. He has brought this peace because the racial wall of hostility has been broken down. Kills/neutralizes the hostility, because we see and realize there are people from every tribe, tongue, and nation that have their faith in Jesus. So there can be no hostility.
Because Jesus preaches peace to those who are a far from God (and those near) we can preach peace in Jesus to those who seem like they would NEVER respond to His peace AND to those who have perhaps presumed upon God’s peace because they are near people who know Jesus.
Because Jesus is our peace we are held together by Him and grow together through him. He has brought together for the purpose of our individual and corporate maturity. This growth is wide (there are more missing pieces to this Body that need to be part of what God is doing for His people) The growth is deep as we are becoming a place define by God dwelling with us in us through His Holy Spirit. Jesus has given himself to us so that we can have Him, has peace and so we can be bearers of peace to each other and the world? If you have received the peace of Christ where do you need His Peace applied to you today?
Self - Do you have shame or pride you need removed and restored with dignity and humility?
Others – Do you have broken relationships that have robbed you of peace that you need to pursue reconciliation to have conflict end and to have wholeness restored.
Church – Have you wrongly functionally believed that the gospel only brings you peace with God but doesn’t also bring you into relationship with His people through the church? How is our church lacking Shalom(Completeness) because you have not engage in gathering, giving, etc?
World – How are you who have received peace from Jesus called to preach this message of peace to those close to the church and those far away from knowing and experiencing God? Tell people about the light of Jesus and know that Jesus can in the Holy Spirit shine light anywhere.
Race/Gender, Other dividing lines – Are you still harboring hostility and/or simply not seeing or delighting in the wholeness of people from other races, genders, cultures, as full image bearers and need to realize the family of God you’re apart of is more diverse than a hallmark Christmas movie?
God – Maybe you came into today either ignorant, indifferent, or insolently opposed to God and find yourself in the midst of conflict with the Creator who made you for wholeness. Repent of your sin of independence from, or rebellion against, the God who made you. Know that there is true peace with God not by you overcoming yourself or overthrowing Him but that your victory will only be experienced with you waving the white flag of surrender. Confessing you are in conflict with God because of your sin. Finding peace not within yourself but by placing your faith in Jesus as your savior and following Him as your Lord. Repent, turn from sin that kills peace and turn to the God who was killed in your place for your sin, rose again and is alive so you can have new forever, peaceful life with God now and forever. Stop being a stranger and become family. Be baptized signifying your battle with God is over and your life working with Him as your king begins.
Whatever tension you experience, be unsettled, let the sense of unsettledness lead you to a place of desire be satisfied with true peace and with wholeness that can only come when you Trust Jesus.