4755 Kimball Bridge Rd. Alpharetta, GA 30005
678.942.1100
hello@radiantchurchga.com

Peace

Peace

Sermon Series: Peace, Love, and Joy

Radiant Church’s lead pastor, Keith Welton, has a special Christmas series for the month of December. This week, he encourages us with the sermon titled “Peace.” Below, you can watch our whole service and access the written transcript.

Missed last week’s sermon from our series on Hebrews entitled “Enduring as a Child of God”? You can listen to the audio or watch the whole service here.

Luke 2:8-20

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Service Transcript:

Peace

Luke 2:8-20

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:8-20 ESV)

Series Intro

We are pausing our series on the book of Hebrews to do a three week series on Christmas. I want us to remember what this season is about. This year I wanted to do something to hit some themes of Christmas. I was having trouble coming up with what themes to do and what not to do. I saw a Christmas ornament, and thought that’s it! We are doing three weeks on peace, love and joy. Today we are going to look at peace

Peace. People talk about it. We desire to have peace. It sounds like a good thing. But something about it seems so elusive and ephemeral. Like grasping for the wind. As soon as you have it is gone again. People talk more about absence of peace, like  anxiety, stress, fear. Stress is elusive, but there is also something about it that is so important!

Let me explain. What do you want for Christmas? What is the best gift you could ever get for Christmas? Bugatti–car. Filthy rich. Time with a friend. Eternal life–there is a great gift.  

But what if you could only get one gift, and you had to choose either that gift or peace. Which would you choose? A car is great, but if we don’t have peace it is hard to enjoy. Even eternal life. What does it mean to live forever but not be at peace? Peace gets at a quality of life that everyone desires.

Now, I know you may flip that and say, “well how can I have peace if I know I am going to die?” True! That is why these really go hand in hand, and it is impossible to separate them. But it is helpful to bring this up so you can see how important peace is. 


People long for peace. Peace is a state of tranquility and serenity. It is the absence of turmoil, strife and anxiety. It’s the difference between an ocean raging with the hurricane coming in and the placid mountain lake, shielded by winds and carefully preserved. 

We live in a restless world. Always someone fighting and threatening another. How can you find peace when nations start wars with other nations? When the gas price is increasing and inflation is shrinking your bank account? How can you find peace? Is it even attainable? 

Jesus was born in just such a time. His parents were traveling because the emperor declared a census and everyone had to register in their hometown. Foreign emperor making you register to pay his tax. Couldn’t get an email on your phone or register through the app. Couldn’t Zoom-call in, or mail the form, and couldn’t even get in your car and make an afternoon trip home and back. Had to travel on foot. 80 miles and would take four days, just to get there. Thank you Mr. emperor. No exemptions, even for a lady about to give birth. 

Once to their city of birth everyone was clamoring for a place to stay. Hotels were price gouging to make the most of the opportunity. The poor, young, and unmarried couple had to find the leftovers just to survive. No one had any pity. Not for money, not for friendship. It’s the town they are from. Surely someone to sleep with. But no one returned their text. They had to sleep with the animals, and once the baby was born, use a feeding trough for a bassinet. Not the peaceful life we would hope for. 

Is it even possible to find peace today? Consider Christmas. We sing about peace. It’s on ornaments. But you have all the stuff you normally have to do: parenting, work, shuttling kids. You have more parties to go to. You have to buy presents for everyone, and consider that if you don’t get it just right then that kid will be mad at you. Your family is coming in, and your brother is mad at your sister, and your sister is mad at your mom, and they are all mad at you because you tried to help. How can you find peace? What hope is there to find lasting peace? 

You may feel as anxious as George Bailey and that the best thing that could happen is if you just died. End it all. If you wonder if you can truly find peace, then remember what this passage says, 

[10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people

[13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 

Fears can be dispelled. Anxiety wiped away. Joy, peace, delight and flourishing can be had. With the birth of this child comes an announcement to the world that peace has come. Long awaited. Hotly pursued. Desperately longed for. 

Biblical Peace is: absence of (anxiety, conflict, war, dissension); those are negative things that it is not. But there are also positive things such as harmony, agreement, prosperity, welfare, soundness. Christian Philosopher Alvin Plantiga, in his book Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be said biblical peace is: universal flourishing, wholeness, delight. It is the way things are supposed to be.” p10. 

Universal–everywhere. Flourishing, not shrinking in fear and worry. Wholeness, who you are supposed to be. Delight–pleasant loving. This is what peace is and what God intends. 

We live in a world that is fallen, that robs us of peace. But there is hope for true peace flourishing, wholeness, and delight to be had. Learn several things about peace in this passage.

  1. Peace Comes from Heaven. 

We live in a world where peace is short lived. For us to have peace on earth, it must come from somewhere else, and it must change our world. And that is what happens. God sends his Son into the world to bring peace. This pronouncement of peace comes in spite of our circumstances. 

Phillipians 4 talks about peace

[“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 4:7 ESV)

Surpass means: strictly hold above; hence (1) of value surpass, be better than, excel ( PH 4.7); (2) of power be in authority (over), be in control. 

For us to have peace we need the one in authority over our circumstances to declare a change.**Peaceful places are protected places.** Shielded by dangers. Peaceful Island lagoon. Absence of raging waves because it’s protected. 

Cabo San Lucas and Amanda putting feet in water. On the other side of this island was crystal clear water. That crystal clear water was protected and buffeted by the island. Peace is often provided because of the shelter and protection of something else. What are you trusting in for peace? That ensures us the things in life will not overcome and destroy us. 

A transcendent peace is exactly what is going on here. It is being announced from heaven that God is doing work that is bringing peace to a restless world. The angels appear to declare what God has done. 

God has seen the peaceless plight of his people. God has made a plan. God has executed a plan. 

God sends his son to bring peace. Imagine sending you son to a war-torn area. Would show you are committed to the cause. Putin’s to Ukraine.

God’s work frames how to see life. If God has done this then there are things that cannot be done to us. If God is providing peace nothing can take it away. This frames the world. It means flourishing, delight, will be experienced. I don’t need to be anxious or worried about it coming. Presents ordered.

Can I tell you something that does not bring peace? That you and your life are nothing more than the result of a cosmic accident and some random purposeless adaptations. Life is here only for the fittest. Dog eat dog world. Means we were created out of nothing and destined for nothing.  If that is your worldview, the undergirding structure of the world then kiss peace goodbye! It’s no wonder anxiety, depression are skyrocketing and people become meaner and meaner to get their way. 

Christmas reminds us that God saw our turmoil and entered into it to solve the problem. He is bringing peace down to us. 

  1. Peace on Earth. 

True Peace should transform present circumstances. Peace Promises. God enters into the world and acts. When he acts it changes circumstances. 

The saying that some people are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly good. We have heavenly peace but will it change our circumstances? 

We live in a time where we see hurt, loss, suffering, persecution, hate, envy, death and so much more. The only way you can find peace is if you find a way for these to end. And it can be wishful thinking. I believe we go to a better place. I believe it will be better. Why do you believe the foundational structures of the behavior of the world and universe are just going to change? It is hard to change the foundation of buildings. This is part and parcel to the way the world works. How can it just change? If it is going to change then why haven’t they already? If they have not perhaps they could not. It would seem the only one who could change the world is the one who made the world. 

Christmas we celebrate that God says he is doing something about it. He is sending his Son into the world to save the world. A Savior is born. A deliverer. 

A Savior is born. We need someone to deliver us from the mess. This child will be that deliverer. 

[11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

I can be in terrible situations, but if I know I can get out I’m not scared. Death. Addictions. I messed up. It’s OK. 

Isaiah spoke about this Savior and said he would be: 

[ For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.  (Isa 9:6-7 ESV)

Said of the extent and time of his rule there would be no end. No end to his kingdom–space. No end to the duration–time. 

He is going to bring an everlasting kingdom of peace to the world. And you want to talk about the new car you got for Christmas. The vacation to the Caribbean. Those are great. I’ll take it. But how much more what he has done? What a loss if we miss it. 

We need saving from the peaceless world. *If we are not delivered from it we are destined to perish with it.*

Alcohol is the Dramamine of life. On a cruise ship and everything is swaying. Can say oh it’s not that bad. Much of the problems people have anxiety for they ought to be afraid of something much worse. Dramamine doesn’t fix the problem, you are still on a boat that is moving with the tide. 

Generally means your greatest fears will not come true. 

Anxiety. A feeling of apprehension or distress in view of possible danger or misfortune – ‘anxiety, worry, anxious concern.’ ἡ μέριμνα πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν ‘anxious concern for all the churches’ 

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Pro 12:25 ESV). Fearfulness. Fear, sorrow, heaviness. 

I want you to be free from anxieties. (1Co 7:32 ESV)

We can have peace on earth. Even now. This peace has come, it’s growing and one day will be complete. When this Savior returns to make all things right. 

Heaven will be on earth. God’s peace will fill the world. Life as it ought to be, under the rule of king Jesus, the prince of peace. 

  1. Peace is Proclaimed

It is the angel’s joy to proclaim what has been done. The glory of God is revealed. It fills our hearts with joy. It fills our lives with hope. The angels were entrusted with good news to share. We sing good news at Christmas.

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after rising from the dead he said, “Peace be with you.” (Luke 24:36 NIV)

Peace was to fill their hearts. 

Pregnant. Telling others good news. Their news to share. What a joy to tell others. God invites us into his joy. We can announce there is peace. 

If we have a Savior who promises to deliver us from all our fears and make all our circumstances right, then we ought to dwell on this news. 

If peace comes through him, if God could bring peace in no other way, then we find that peace by looking to him. We don’t find it in any other way. When we look away from him, or fail to look to this, we fail to find the peace that God offers. We are given an offer that goes unused. 

Peace comes with this child. Without this child there is no peace. 

To reject his peace is to be bound to constant anxiety and uncertainty. 

Remind yourself. Those times you begin to think about everything wrong and feel like you are completely ruined. You begin thinking about all the things wrong at work, and when your kid asks you to throw the football and stress of work bubbles over. “No, I can’t do that when I have all these investors to please.” Maybe you are feeling that you can’t get school done and will be a failure, so when your parents ask you about work you blow up. You feel like you don’t belong and have been dwelling on that all day and your heart is raging. 

*Sin makes us feel displaced.* Sin makes us feel endangered. Sin makes us feel lost. We have to reflect on what we have with Jesus. In Christ you have peace.

*Jesus makes us feel rooted. Safe. Secure. known.*

Proclaim to yourself. Proclaim it to your kids. Don’t do it only once a year. Tell your fears to go away. Make a hedge between you and the storms. Give peace to others. Kids, those under you. When anxiety is at the top, it runs downhill.

The things that threaten you now. Tell them to be quiet. Tell them to sit down and shut up. 

True Peace Must be Received. To receive this peace you have to push aside all the fake alternatives. Will never find it in money, possessions, or people. Those can’t save you from death. Can’t join you to God. Only Jesus does that. And as long as you hold on to those you push aside the true peace that God has for you. 

Kids who are hurt. Console them. Scared and fearful and sometimes just stubborn. 

Many reject Jesus. Will find peace in their family. Their kids. Their work. Money. Own ability. Works for a time. But death awaits. Only Jesus can give everlasting peace. 

We are united to Christ through faith. In him we have peace with God. We have a spiritual union that connects us to Christ and what he has done for us. One day it will be a physical union. We will be in his presence just as you will be in the presence of your inlaws for Christmas dinner. So for now we must shelter ourselves from the waves and winds of the world and find time to experience peace. 

  1. Daily devotion. Quiet the world and listen to God.  
  2. Take a day off. Don’t look at your phone in those times. 
  3. Talk with others about their hope in Christ. 

Christmas reminds us that we live in a crazy world where kings make harsh demands, little people get marginalized and left to leave babies in feeding troughs, but also that in a moment’s notice God can shake the heavens and fill the skies with angels proclaiming his glory. And it tells us that our inner longing for peace and safety and well being, that are given to us by him, are also fulfilled, not in presents and stuff of this world, but in him and his provision of a Savior.

Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: