Part of the Christmas story are angels appearing to shepherds proclaiming, “Peace on earth”! Where is that peace in the midst of warfare, famine and community violence? The answer is found in a letter Paul wrote to a local church.
Part of the Christmas story is the angels appearing to shepherds in the field. As they announce the birth of creation’s Messiah, they proclaim (Luke 2:14):
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
This connection of peace with Christmas has been inseparable ever since. And rightly so. However, there are some misunderstandings. The foremost being there can be no peace on earth or good will toward men until glory is given to the highest God.
The Advent Season building up to Christmas reminds us that there must be a Second Coming of Jesus to earth. It is at his return that heaven’s government will be brought down to earth. Until that time, wars and rumours of wars will persist. Christmas is the first Advent. There can be no second Advent without a first. Therefore, Christmas is rightly the time to celebrate the coming peace to earth.
Still, peace has come down to earth with the first Coming of our Lord. Because of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, peace can be found within the heart of every believer. The same Gospel writer who gave us the angelic proclamation to the shepherds also recorded these words:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20-22
When demanded for the time heaven’s government will descend to earth, Jesus responded God’s kingdom is already here – it is inside of your heart; it is within you.
The key to finding peace on earth is stop looking for it from others.
The government will not be able to supply lasting peace. No project or program, no matter how much it is funded, will be bring lasting peace. No promotion or career will bring you lasting peace. No education achievement will bring you lasting peace. No person will bring you lasting peace outside of Jesus Christ himself.
Stop looking outside of yourself for the answers. The answer lies within yourself. Jesus, in your heart, is the source of all eternal peace.
How does one find that peace while living on earth? How can one enjoy the contentment of peace in the midst of despair and negative news? How can one remain at peace during heart-breaking relationships? In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he gives three answers to our question in 3:12-17.
- You find peace on earth when you forgive one another as Christ forgave us.
- You find peace on earth when you withhold speaking evil of others and God.
- You find peace on earth when you determine to be thankful in all things.
PRACTICAL CHALLENGE – NEW YEAR RESOLUTION
The Psalms is a particularly helpful resource for cultivating the inner attitude for peace on earth. Why not resolve that in 2019, you will read 1 chapter from each of the book’s 150? You can take 22 days to read chapter 119 if you like. Meditate daily on each psalm and discover peace on earth before the end of June 2019!
Full Sermon Audio available under Videos.