SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20111127: "Making Peace at Christmas:

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Making Peace at Christmas
         Peace sometimes invades the routine of our lives. When it does, it astounds us with its purity and simplicity. The world longs, no, groans for external peace, but there is none. The kind of peace I'm considering today is the kind of peace that suddenly breaks through the uncertain ordinariness of our lives and fills us with joy.
         Peace, like happiness, is an illusive quality that escapes us when we actively pursue it. Peace does, however, occasionally occur from setting Godly objectives in our lives and actively pursuing them.
         Two parts of the story of Jesus' birth contribute to my concept of the suddenness of peace in the commonness of our lives. The Appearing of Angels to lowly sheep-tending Shepherds and the Angel Gabriel's appearance to a young Galilean girl performing her daily tasks illustrate an important part of the process of finding and making peace at Christmas. That's what my advent sermon today is all about: Making Peace at Christmas.


Making Peace at Christmas

Luke 1:26-35 (NKJV)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.





November 27, 2011 - SHEEPFOLD MINISTRIES
Pastor Phil Roland

Making Peace at Christmas
Luke 1:26-35 - Matthew 5:9

"The greatest evidence that God is at work in our lives is the breakthrough of peace in our troubled hearts. We can take His lead and initiate peace at Christmas. Peace is a marker that Jesus is alive in our midst."    Pastor Phil 

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”                                                                                              Matthew 5:9

            A. Peace Breakers - Proverbs 6:16-19
            "These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
            17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,
            18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,
            19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among                             brethren."

                    1. A Proud Look
                    2. A Lying Tongue
                    3. Hands that Shed Innocent Blood
                    4. A Heart that Devises Wicked Schemes
                    5. Feet that Rush into Evil
                    6. A False Witness that Speaks Lies
                    7. A Man who Stirs up Dissension Among Brothers
          B. Peace Fakers - 2 Timothy 3:1-5
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will    be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,                         disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving,                              slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors,                 headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having     a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn                  away!"
                    1. Mask / Facade of Righteousness / Hate Transparency
                    2. "Peace at any Price" Enablers who stuff issues
                    3. Happy face people who hate any type of Confrontation
                    4. Settle for a "Peace at any Price" Counterfeit Peace
                    5. Paul admonishes us to Speak the Truth in Love - Eph. 4:15a
                    6. Cannot find God's Peace through Compromise
                    7. Cannot Equip the Saints w/o speaking the truth
                    8. Paul admonishes Peace Fakers in Eph. 4:25
"Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth
                         with his neighbor," for we are members of one another."
                    9. Someone has to say out loud, The King Has No Clothes!


"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

A. PEACE WITH GOD - 2 Corinthians 5:20
            "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading
             through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God."
1. Admit you have an overwhelming problem
                              a. You cannot be found until you admit you are lost
                              b. If you don't think your broken, neither God nor man                                       can "fix" you
                    2. Look Up at Jesus' Cross and Realize what He's done for you
                    3. Release your Cares, Loneliness, Failures to Him
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that                                He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for                               He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)
          B. PEACE WITH OURSELVES - Matthew 11:28-30
            "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
             rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly
             in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My
             burden is light."
                    1. Need Peace with the Dual Nature of our own Human Hearts
                    2. Jesus has ended the Hostile War between Flesh and Spirit
                    3. His Cross made an end to the Reasons for the War
          C. PEACE WITH OTHERS - "The Christmas Pledge"
                    1. Commit yourself to those who truly need your gifts
                    2. Express your love for family / friends in more direct ways                              than presents
                    3. Rededicate yourself to the spiritual growth of your family
                    4. Examine your holiday activities in light of the true spirit of                             Christmas
                    5. Initiate one act of peacemaking w/in your circle of family and                         friends    
                              a. Humble yourself by saying you're sorry
                              b. Confront falsehood with truth
                              c. Go out of your way to see the offender/offended
                              d. Risk of rejection
                              e. Risk of being misunderstood or misrepresented
                              f. Risk of appearing wrong or foolish

                              g. Peace-breakers; Peace-fakers; and Peace-makers
                              h. Which one are you?

Making Peace at Christmas

         In New York's Hayden Planetarium a special Christmas holiday show was enhanced by an added feature. A giant lollipop tree was projected onto the planetarium dome, surrounded by a horizon filled with brilliantly colored toys which came to life and cavorted to the tune of "Jingle Bells."
         At the climax a huge figure of Santa Claus faded out in a snow storm, and the star of Bethlehem broke through into a sky that produced exactly the Palestine sky on the night of the nativity. The designer of this show may not realize that he dramatically staged the supreme Christmas message our world needs to understand: The recovery of the lost meaning of Christmas.
         This is not said in any criticism of Santa Claus; the effect must have delighted the hearts of all the children who saw it, without doing violence to their love of Bethlehem. But for adults it is a tragic loss to substitute "Jingle Bells" for "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," and a lollipop tree for the manger of Bethlehem. The instinct is right to fade out these things in the light of the Christmas star. It is about God's incarnation that the angels sing--God with us.

Robert E. Luccock in James W. Cox, The Minister's Manual: 1994, San Fransico: Harper Collins, 1993, p. 218.




Some gifts you can give this Christmas are beyond monetary value: Mend a quarrel, dismiss suspicion, tell someone, "I love you." Give something away--anonymously. Forgive someone who has treated you wrong. Turn away wrath with a soft answer. Visit someone in a nursing home. Apologize if you were wrong. Be especially kind to someone with whom you work. Give as God gave to you in Christ, without obligation, or announcement, or reservation, or hypocrisy.
Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong, pp. 400-1.