When my wife and I left Emily’s room at The James Cancer Center, things didn’t look very good. Her breathing was difficult and she had trouble communicating. As we sat in the room, it was hard to know what to say. It was finally time to go, so we took the elevator down to the ground floor. As we walked past the Bistro, we heard some beautiful Christmas music playing. I told my wife that the speakers in the ceiling made it sound as if it was live music. Then we turned the corner and saw that there were two violins and a cello playing before a small crowd.
The song played by the trio was from Handel’s Messiah. The song was “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” which talks about the birth of Jesus. The words of the song are taken from the Book of Isaiah in the Bible. Isaiah 9:6 speaks of a Child that would be born who among other things would be called The Prince of Peace. How fitting it was to hear a song about peace at such a difficult time.
With that in mind, I would like to talk to you about the peace that God offers to all of us.
- Peace for men
During Christmas, we read about the shepherds who were out in the fields quietly watching over their sheep. Then all of a sudden, an angel appeared to them. The shepherds could hardly look at him because they were so afraid. So the angel calmed them down and told them about the Savior, Christ the Lord, who had been born in Bethlehem and who could be found lying in a manger.
At the end of his announcement a multitude of angels appeared and praised God, saying:
Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Did you catch that? The angels were praising God because Jesus’ birth would bring peace to men. Peace. It’s something that we all long for. It’s something that we reach out for and desire, but few ever find it.
I remember reading an article in the Sunday edition of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper many years ago. It was an article written by someone who had interviewed the actor Harrison Ford. The interviewer noted that the actor had made a lot of money and was known all over the world and then asked him a question. “What, if anything, are you still missing?” Harrison Ford answered with one word, “Peace.”
Where can we find that elusive peace?
- Peace with God
One of the problems most people have is a misunderstanding of where peace comes from. Several presidents have sought to broker peace deals with foreign leaders but these rarely last. Some people have tried to purchase peace by donating money to a charity or doing something nice for the needy. But no matter what you do, peace will always elude you if you seek to find it by your own efforts. Here is why.
Before we can have peace in our hearts, we have to make peace with God.
Listen to what the Bible says:
Isaiah 48:22 – “There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked.”
The main reason why we don’t have peace is that we have all sinned against God and are at odds with Him. God designed us to need and enjoy Him. And He wants to have a relationship with us, but our sin against Him is in the way. How can we have peace with God? That’s where Jesus comes in.
Ephesians 2:14 – “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.”
What this means is that our sinfulness was like a wall between us and God. When Jesus became a man, he eventually went to the cross where He bled and died. It was there that He paid the penalty for our sin and broke down what separated us from God. Now instead of being at odds with God, we are able to have peace with Him. But that peace is only available through Jesus. How can you have this peace with God? You must turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus. He died your sins and rose again so that you could be at peace with God.
• It isn’t available for money.
• It isn’t available in exchange for good deeds.
• It isn’t available through a religious ceremony.
It is only available through faith in Jesus. That’s the way God wanted it to work. If you have put your faith in Jesus, you have peace with God. But there is one more type of peace.
- Peace in your heart
There are times when Christians go through hard times and long for peace in their hearts. Whether like today it is the death of a loved one, or some other situation, we long for peace to calm our hearts.
Do you know that the Lord offers peace during your troubles?
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Let me ask you this: If God loved you enough to send Jesus to die for your sins, do you think He still cares about you? Yes! And he wants you to come to Him in prayer telling Him your hearts deepest needs. And when you do this, Christian brother and sister, He promises to give you a peace that is beyond your understanding, and it will comfort and help you during your troubles.
Many years ago, a preacher named Luther Bridges was faced with a great tragedy. While he was away from home, his house caught fire and his wife and children didn’t make it out. The grief was very difficult for him to handle. Later, as he was reading his Bible, the Lord encouraged him to keep trusting him. Though the tragedy was still on his mind, the Lord gave Bridges peace in his heart. He later wrote out his thoughts in the words of a song.
There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low
Fear not, I am with you, peace, be still
In all of life’s ebb and flow
All my life was wrecked by sin and strife
Discord filled my heart with pain
Jesus swept across the broken strings
Stirred the slumbering chords again
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep
Trials fall across the way
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep
See His footprints all the way
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest name I know
Fills my every longing
Keeps me singing as I go
As we conclude our service, I want to ask you a question:
Do you have this peace of God in your life today?
The peace promised by the angels, the peace made between sinful man and God, and the peace that passes all understanding can be yours today if you will simply trust in the Lord. Will you trust Him today?