Let us pray: Dear Savior, tonight as we celebrate Your birth world events remind us just how much You and Your message of eternal peace are needed. We’re reminded of how You, a Baby, humbled the proud, conquered the mighty, and destroyed the forces of darkness with the marvelous light of Your love and forgiveness. Tonight, once again, comfort us with the message that although this world is as mortal as we are and although it breeds hatred and rage, You have come to usher us into an eternal world of never-ending peace and love. May we never, ever, take that for granted blessed Savior. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE BLESSED PRINCE OF PEACE!
TEXT: Isaiah 9: 2-7
Fellow Redeemed Seekers Of Real Peace:
Tonight throughout our land countless people will sing: “Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the new-born King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” My question is: how many will hear those glorious words, think back on September 11th and all the subsequent events and conclude: “Peace on earth, what a pipe-dream?” And yet for the believer those words have even more meaning than they did just one year ago, don’t they? Human peace is transitory. It is here today and gone tomorrow. That’s because human peace is based on sin-tainted human emotions, human dreams, and human expediency-all of which change like the wind. Human peace is only as strong as the weakest human being who lives under it. Corrupt just one person and such peace crumbles like those twin towers.
Ah, but God’s peace isn’t based on us at all. It is based on the love He has for us in the Baby Jesus and on the priceless, eternal blood that Christ, God’s Son, shed for us on the cross. Since His peace with human souls is based on Christ, Who is God Almighty, “For in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” it will never crumble or be destroyed. It is eternal. And that, my friends, is why we have come to celebrate the birth of our Savior this evening.
God has never, ever, left His beloved people without hope and comfort amid the rage and bloodshed of this sin-drenched world. And our text is one more example of how God uplifts hurting and confused souls and fills them with joy and confidence about life, death, and everything in between. So, tonight let’s briefly look at these glorious words from Isaiah and:
HAIL THE HEAV’NLY PRINCE OF PEACE!
It is said that history always repeats itself. Well that is certainly true when it comes to human history. And the reason why is that we humans are infected with the sickness, the cancer of sin, which continuously gives birth to pride, arrogance, hatred, envy, and all the other seeds of war and bloodshed. Our pride thought we were immune from the evil of terrorism. The idealism of our culture told us that war was passe, that people who don’t like us will respond to reason and logic, and that just as two years ago we were told that we’re in a “new economy” so modern man now sits safely in a “new world order.” Modern culture has told us that man is good and all issues can be reasoned out. But then, on September 11th, evil touched our nation and our lives. Evil reared its ugly head. War resulted. And now the comfort zone of countless Americans has been turned upside down.
To us Christians none of this comes as a great surprise. For we know that every generation which seeks peace apart from Christ finds the opposite. Any generation that hopes to find comfort in human promises finds only broken dreams. So it was in Isaiah’s time. Kingdoms rise and fall. Nations become mighty and then go downhill. The evil of war is the constant companion of human beings because it comes from hearts which seek human glorification instead of God’s glorification. So, what’s the answer?
Listen to Isaiah’s words written over 2800 years ago and find true solace. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Of course, He’s talking about Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. He’s talking about the coming prince of peace. Isaiah speaks directly about Christ’s work in the next section. “You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; (the nation being the Holy Christian Church, the invisible army of saints who embrace the Babe in hope and joy); “they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.” Yes, in Christ God gives us priceless treasures-the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the knowledge that the lasting peace of heaven awaits. “For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.” Midian was Israel’s greatest thorn in the flesh. They constantly made war on the people of Isaiah’s time. They are an external reminder of the greater battle we all face-the war inside us against our sinful flesh. The yoke, bar, and rod of the oppressor are our prideful attempts at trying to be perfect and win peace with God on our own. It is the silly belief in human perfectability, of trying to make God accept us because we’ve been so good, or at least we’ve tried to be. But our personal attempts at holiness cause either arrogance or guilt and thus pull us even further away from Him. “Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.” Ah, such is the result of human attempts to create heaven on earth-apart from Christ we can do nothing but crash and burn.
But then comes the glorious promise of true salvation. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” God’s Son will be born-for us! He will be given-to us! And He will usher in a genuine new world order-peace for hurting souls. Yes, governing wayward sinners will be a daunting task, but since He’s God, He’s up to it-even as a child.
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase 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.”
2100 years ago that prophecy was fulfilled for all eternity. And once more tonight it is fulfilled in your hearing. Christ has come! God’s Son has been born! Our Savior has come down from heaven to give us His love, His forgiveness, and His peace. And remember: since only “Good and perfect gifts” come God’s hand, human hatred and the evils of war cannot stand against Him-they cannot harm us eternally!
Human war leads to death. It leads to the finality of life here in time and space. But Christ’s manger, Christ’s cross, and Christ’s empty tomb lead to uplifted souls, forgiven hearts, joyful inner confidence, and finally heaven. So, tonight we Hail The Heav’nly Prince of Peace! We worship the King of our hearts! And we join with the angels in heaven in shouting: “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Yes, all this is God’s gift to you-grab hold of that gift and trust in His love! Amen