Sunday, December 27, 2020

Jesus, Prince of Peace

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Jesus, Prince of Peace

 

2020 has brought us fear, isolation, and chaos.  The good news is that Jesus came to give us peace.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled, "Jesus, Prince of Peace."  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Jesus, Prince of Peace

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this. - Isaiah 9:6-7

Peace:  Everyone is looking for it.  Many are praying for it.  Some have given up on it.  Few truly experience it.

In the passage above (Isaiah 9:6-7), the Jewish people are longing for peace in the middle of depressing times.  Isaiah 9:6-7 is a prophecy to the Jewish people.  The time was around 2700BC.  The nation of Judah, the city of Jerusalem, were desperate for peace.  Assyria had invaded them and taken over.  Later on, Babylon would do the same.  The people knew no peace.

But God! (That 's a popular phrase now.)  But God spoke of a Messiah who would come and be called Prince of Peace.  A ruler was coming who would bring peace.

The Jewish word for peace is Shalom.  The word is both a greeting and a goodbye.  Shalom means "wholeness, tranquility, fullness, serenity, harmony, and unity."

The completeness would not come until about 700 years later when and angel announced the coming peace ruler to a humble girl in a small village. 

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” - Luke 1:30-33

Jesus was finally here.  He was born in Bethlehem.  He didn't enter a peaceful world and three decades later.  The Roman Empire and others would brutally kill the Prince of Peace.

What did this mean?  Was this promise gone? No, God's promise was not gone.

Every generation deals with the reality of pain and confusion.  Sound familiar?  But God!  But the Prince of Peace can still be found in every generation.  We must have eyes of faith to see Him. 

There was a man who lived about 157 years ago.  He was a man who knew no peace.  He had only known sorrow and confusion.  He had been successful at one time, but then his world changed.  The bottom fell out of his life.  In the year 1963, on Christmas Day, this man sat down to write in his journal, but he had nothing in his heart to write.  He had fallen into the deepest pit.  Writing poetry had always helped him during his hard time so he sat down to write but words wouldn't come.  Then, he began to hear bells in the distance.  He began to hear church bells.  The church bells inspired him to write so he began to write a poem:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day.

Their old familiar carols play.

And mild and sweet their songs repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

This man was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  As he began to write, he continued to struggle:

And in despair, I bowed my head.

There is no peace on earth, I said.

For hate is strong and mocks the song 

Of peace on earth, good will to men."


Longfellow was finally able to end the poem on a hopeful note.  The poem became as song titled "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."

Let's give it a listen. Here is the version from Casting Crowns.

2700 years ago, people were longing for peace.  157 years ago, people were longing for peace.  Today, people are longing for peace.  

Through Christ Jesus, we can have peace.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 5:1

In our original state, we are rebellious sinners but we are reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! - Romans 5:10

The Prince of Peace was born on Christmas morning to provide a way for us all to experience real peace with God.

But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. - Ephesians 2:13-14

Through Christ Jesus, we can have peace with Him.  

Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful. - John 14:27
Jesus, Prince of Peace
This artwork is available here.

 

Christ is in us.  We have His peace in every circumstance.  Peace is not the absence of problems.  Peace is in the presence of Jesus.

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. - Isaiah 26:3

Only through Jesus will there be peace on Earth.  Consider the last verse in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Christmas Day poem:

Then rang the bells more loud and deep.

God is not dead nor does He sleep.

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on Earth, good will toward men. 

Isaiah's prophesy was from God and God always keeps His promises.

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” - Revelation 21:5

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. - Revelation 21:22-27

And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever. - Revelation 22:1-5

We believe there will be an arrival of peace.

We are ambassadors of peace.

We announce Christ's peace in communion. 

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Jesus, Prince of Peace


Prayer (Ephesians Series)

Prayer - Ephesians Series
Prayer - Ephesians 6:18-20
 

2020 . . . what a year.  For my family, God has been ever present during the roller coaster ride of 2020.  He has provided for our needs.  He has comforted us through losses.  He has shown us glimpses of what He is working on for 2021.  A new  year is almost here.  Are you praying for God to use you in the year 2021.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon on the topic of prayer.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here. 


 Prayer

With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, 19 and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. - Ephesians 6:18-20

We take the battle to the enemy when we pray.

In verse 18 above, we see many "alls."  Pray at ALL times.  Be alert with ALL  perseverance and every request for ALL the saints.

1.  Pray at all times.

Do you feel awkward when you pray?  Do you struggle for words?  

Prayer is more about a condition of the heart than an articulation of words.  Be aware of all things going on around you.  Commit to praying for the needs of others.

2.  Pray with all the power in the Spirit.

Pray in the name of Jesus.  Pray like a prayer warrior.

3.  Pray for all needs.  

Pray and make pleas on behalf of others.

Prayer Figurine
This item is available here.

 

4.  Pray with all endurance.  

Keep alert.  Continue to make requests to the Lord, rather than praying for someone once and then forgetting about them.  On social media, we are quick to tell someone we will pray over something they have posted, but do we really pray over that situation?  How often do we type in the reply thread, "Praying" or "Prayers" or a prayer emoji or something similar but then keep scrolling?  If we tell someone we will pray for them, then we need to be sure that we actually pray for them.  I have stopped commenting that I will pray over a situation unless I can stop and pray over the situation immediately.  Then, I'll let them know I have just prayed for them.  That is just one way to solve this problem. 

5.  Pray for all the saints.

Pray for one another.  Do life together.  Worship together.  Isolation is dangerous.  

6.  Pray now.

When something comes up, pray.  Stop right then and pray.

You can't be a prayer warrior without a relationship with Jesus.  Learn more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus here.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus?  Are you ready to be a  prayer warrior?

Prayer causes change in the heart, in the community, and in the world.

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Prayer - Ephesians Series
Prayer - Ephesians 6:18-20

 

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