Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Brings Peace

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14

Yesterday in Church we lit the peace candle on the Advent wreath. One of the best gifts Christmas gives us is the gift of peace. This is one of the key themes, isn’t it? “Peace on earth, good will toward all.”

Christ is the Prince of Peace.  He comes to visit and redeem His people...and to guide our feet into the way of peace...That’s the way the Bible puts it. That’s the way it works. Christmas is the dramatic reminder that Christ came into this world to redeem us and to bring peace to our troubled souls. If in faith we will accept it, Christmas has a great gift for us — the Gift of Peace.

Christmas Brings Us Peace with God
Jesus is the starting place because that is indeed what Christmas is all about. Jesus Christ came into this world to set us right with God. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us and to bring us back to God. What is it that brings us Peace with God?  FORGIVENESS!  This is the only way we can have the peace of Christmas. The only way is to let the Christ of Christmas bring us back to the Father who loves us and set us right with the One who made us. The first step toward the peace of Christmas is to receive the forgiveness of God.

Christmas Brings Us Peace with Ourselves
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.  (John 14:27)

More and more psychologists are telling us that we can’t feel good about life and other people until we feel good about ourselves. They call it a healthy self-esteem… which is simply another way of saying that we need to be right with our “selves.”

Have you heard about the man who wrote a letter to the Internal Revenue Service? It read: “Dear Sirs: I underpaid my tax bill for last year. I can’t sleep at night and my conscience is bothering me. Enclosed please find $600.” He then added the P.S.: “If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send the rest.”
What will bring you peace with yourself?  FORGIVENESS!

A Picture Of Forgiveness. 
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Psalms 32:1-5 

Let’s break this passage down to see the process of forgiveness God offers.

·      The totality of sin:  "transgression” – “sin” – “iniquity" – Sin is what condemns a man to Hell and destroys life and relationships.

·      The completeness of forgiveness: "forgiven” - “covered” – "justified“ -  II Cor. 5:21 says God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

·      The fullness of happiness: "Blessed"  no guile, no deceit” –
                    There it is!  PEACE = wholeness, oneness, not fragmented.

·      The condition of guilt  v.3-4  Guilt = anxiety, pressure, weakness - Guilt is the realization that something that I have done or am doing is separating me from another or hurting another or myself and must be removed for the relationship to be healed.

“When I kept silent” – We fail to confess by rationalizing, waiting for change without confession, compensating, comparing.  What is the effect of dealing with sin without forgiveness?

            “my body wasted away” – stress and anxiety
            “roaring, groaning, day and night” – inner pressure, awake in the night
            “Thy hand was heavy upon me” – God’s hand is strong – in support or presence
            “vitality was drained” – no spiritual strength – dried up

·      The removal of guilt - v.5  “I acknowledged my sin” - Confession by man brings about God’s response only when it is proper confession – mixed with sorrow & repentance. 
“and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin” - Cleansing by God.  God is faithful to forgive consistent with His character.

Do you know the meaning of integrity and honesty and ethics and virtue and morality? Do you feel good about your life right now...About who you are?  The only way we can be at peace with ourselves is to welcome the Prince of Peace into our hearts and lives and receive the forgiveness that He offers. The only way we can be right with ourselves is to be made right by Him.

Scripture to Claim:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

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