Mitchelton Presbyterian Church logo

Peace for Real

Published: 5 months ago- 17 December 2023
00:00
Sorry, no results.
Please try another keyword

SERMON MANUSCRIPT

Big Idea: Luke recounts the advanced announcement of the virgin conception and birth of Jesus.

When you walk through shopping centres at this time of year, not sure if you’ve noticed, but there will invariably be the words HOPE, PEACE and JOY. Suspended above the walkways, hanging in the windows, decorating Christmas trees, adorning shelves. These three words are recognised in our culture as Christmas words. Western secular theology … HOPE – I hope we get good presents this year. JOY – the joy of getting good presents this year. And PEACE – fat chance of getting any peace this time of year. Seriously, how did PEACE become a Christmas word?

Christmas must be Greek for LIFE INTERRUPTED, which to me is the opposite of peace. Mary’s announcement to Joseph in our video certainly got his attention … finally Could any of you women relate to Mary’s frustration? Joseph is busy attending to his plans for the future, too busy to slow down, too busy to listen, even to the one he loves, too busy to stop what he is doing. Bit of a statement on the way of life these days.

Then BOOM! Big interruption. Now I love Christmas, I really do. But never-the-less, there is no getting around it … Christmas does not feel like a time of PEACE but a time of life interrupted. If you have small excitable kids … sleep will be interrupted. If you have a diet and exercise regime … they will be interrupted. Maybe you have a savings plan … guaranteed interruption in the lead up to Christmas, or February when you get the credit card statement.

If you are hosting Christmas at your house, the invasion of the outlaws and extended family … it’s just life interrupted coming at you from every angle. If you are a teenager and your Grandparents are coming you probably have to give up your bedroom … interrupted.

All because of Christmas. Christmas is a time where life is interrupted. That’s the way it started, and That’s the way it has continued, and what we’ll see is That’s exactly how God has planned it. God wants to interrupt our lives, with the offer of PEACE. And that PEACE, peace with God, comes only through a saving faith in King Jesus. That’s what we see in our passage.

Read v26

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

Again, at a certain time in history, when the time was just right, not for Mary and Joseph but according to God’s plans (Gal 4:4), God sent his Son. God sends an angel from Heaven to Joseph’s fiancée Mary in Nazareth, Galilee, Earth with a massive interruption.

Read v31

You will conceive and give birth to a son, …

Cast your eye over v27 and notice that twice Luke has pointed out that Mary is a virgin, she hasn’t engaged in baby-making activities. And in v34 it’s Mary’s turn to point out that it is biologically impossible for her to have a baby.

Read v34

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

Gabriel says, God will do it.

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy-the Son of God.

Here are echoes of the Spirit of God hovering over the dark waters before the creation account as God prepared to bring life from nothing. Here are echoes from the Exodus account as God promises to overshadow his people, and protect his people as he rescues them from slavery. Here is God at work, bringing life and salvation through the power of his Holy Spirit for the salvation of his people. Here’s one I prepared earlier.

36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.

Humanly speaking it is impossible. Scientifically speaking it is impossible.

But Gabriel says, with God that’s not a problem.

37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Faith in God is not a leap in the dark. It is based on his continual and powerful work among his people seen most fully and finally in Jesus. In an obscure way here is the message of Christmas.

For nothing will be impossible with God.

Old barren women like Elizabeth, And virgin teenagers like Mary can’t have babies. The sin and darkness of this broken world cannot be addressed humanly or scientifically. But rescue from our sin and brokenness will be achieved through God sending His Son. This announcement may have been a big interruption for Mary and Joseph. But it is the unfolding of God’s eternal plan of salvation for his people.

I don’t know if Joseph and Mary’s interaction was just like the video represented. But fair to say that Joseph had plans to build a life for he and Mary and their future family. But God’s plans were bigger. God had a plan to bring eternal life to his people. It’s not an interruption, it is an intervention. This is the supernatural breaking into the natural, on purpose, with purpose. His purpose is to interrupt your life to bring you peace.

Read v31.

you are to call him Jesus.

The name Jesus means ‘the Lord is salvation.’ The rescuer is here.

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

In 1:15 John will be great before the Lord. 1:32 Jesus will be great; because he is the Lord. Jesus is God the Son, the divine became a person, God became man, the incarnation – God with meat.

Makes sense that he entered the world in a miraculous way. In fact this is the only way he could enter the world if he was going to achieve the salvation God had planned from before the foundation of the world. Fully God, with no stain of sin, and qualified to make amends for the debt of our sin. Fully man, so that he could dwell among us, communicate God to us, sympathise with our temptations and take our place of punishment. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, Jesus will be God’s promised forever King Promises made many centuries before this angelic visit to Mary are now being fulfilled.

33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Jesus, God become man, will rule over God’s people. His kingdom will never end, his people will have eternal life. Big Life Interruptions by God on purpose, with purpose. And what you need to know is that God was doing this with you in mind. God wants to interrupt your life.

I realise that can be a bit confronting. Certainly was for Mary wasn’t it? But Life Interruptions are not always bad. As I said before, I love Christmas; and we have established that’s just one big interruption, but it’s a good one.

Interruptions are not always bad. Talk to one of the young families who have welcomed a new little baby. Life interrupted to the max. But not one of them would change.

On that first Christmas God the Son broke into our world as a miraculous baby to interrupt your life for your good, for your blessing. That’s what we sing about in the carols. Carols are not songs expressing displeasure with God for the interruption of Christmas. They are songs of praise and thanksgiving; songs of JOY and HOPE and of PEACE with God. Because of who this baby is, and what he has come to do. Jesus came to interrupt your life, to bring you peace.

Left to our own devices, left to our own reckoning, our own choosing we always go down the wrong way. One of the OT prophets called us dopey sheep with a bad sense of direction. We all like sheep have gone astray. Bah, bah do bah bah. (Isa 53:6) Instead of walking God’s way, following the Good Shepherd to good pasture and quiet waters we are running toward the lion’s den; bolting toward the wolf pack; we are meals on hooves. Not a happy ending for us. Anytime we try to do life apart from God, apart from the instruction of his word and apart from a personal relationship with him we are going astray. The terminology for that bad sense of direction is SIN.

Left to our own devises we choose the way of sin. The way of sin leads to death; separation from the eternal life that God offers. The wages of sin is DEATH. Not very Christmassy sounding concept. Where is the JOY and HOPE and PEACE? Glad you asked. God could’ve left us to it. But thankfully “Go Your Own Way” (Fleetwood Mac) is not a Christmas Carol; neither is “Highway to Hell” (AC/DC) come to think of it; catchy tune, terrible life anthem/choice. God chose to do something about it. He sent Jesus to rescue us and to lead us so that we could know the way to life, eternal life.

PEACE with God. The Jesus in the manger is the same Jesus who healed the sick and cast out demons, who calmed raging storms and raised the dead. He was not just a cute little baby in a strange cot. He is the one with the power to overcome our troubles and brokenness. The Jesus in the manger is the same Jesus that hung on a cross as a sacrifice. A payment for our bad decisions, our sin. So that we might be credited with a clean slate, gain right standing with God and inherit eternal life.

The Jesus in the manger is the same Jesus who rose from the dead. Showing that he was who he claimed to be and that he had achieved all that he claimed to have come to do. Jesus in the manager is the same one who before returning to the Father’s side for a time called on his people to INTERRUPT the nations with the GOOD NEWS of CHRISTMAS – God among us for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. My grandparents use to tell us Christmas horror stories of having to listen to the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day, before presents!!! Even worse, in Australia the speech was televised in the late afternoon!!! Too much of an interruption.

This Christmas it will be the King’s Speech. I wonder if you will listen to the King’s speech this Christmas. Imagine shaping your Christmas Day around the King? God wants to interrupt our lives with the offer of PEACE. This Christmas hear the message of the one true King. Embrace the interruption. Peace with God through faith in Jesus. Has that truth interrupted your life? Does that truth interrupt your life on an ongoing basis? What will that interruption look like for you personally in 2024? Lord willing, MPC Mission will continue on in 2024. Our Mission … To interrupt Mitchelton, North Brisbane, the world with the message of Jesus. So, as your life is interrupted this Christmas remember God’s love for you and his offer of peace to you and our mission of interrupting the world for Jesus.