The Christmas service last week was an amazing time! We fittingly finished off the series, He Shall Be Called with Prince of Peace.
700 years before Christ was born, Isaiah foretold that Jesus came to bring peace. He looked across centuries of failed rulers to a time when God would rule on earth through His Son and bring peace.
It’s great to have that type of hope when things are good, but its hard when there’s no direction, no identity, and no strength.
Isaiah 9:6 “'For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'”
Then when Jesus was born the angels went to the shepherds that were nearby and said to them:
'“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”' Luke 2:14
When Jesus was born, he based his whole ministry about bringing peace to this earth and before he goes back to heaven, right after his resurrection, He says:
'“I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give…' John 14:27
Nobody else can give you the kind of peace that Jesus offers: Not the bottle, not the pills, not sex, not money, nor fame.
There are over 700 verses in the bible with the word peace that fall into different categories.
First, there is SPIRITUAL PEACE. Peace with God. Many people cannot get emotional and relational peace, because they haven’t figured out yet that peace is not where you are at, or how quiet your surroundings are. Peace is who you are in a relationship with.
Have you ever consoled your children when they are disturbed or scared? In a moment where they lose their peace, they aren’t looking for a quiet place or a Zen moment but they are looking for mom and/or dad! Relationship with mom and dad is what they are looking for when they are terrified.
Peace is not about restfulness, peace is about relationship!
Whenever you are not close to God, your life will go out of whack. Why?
Anytime we choose to go on our own way, we create chaos in our lives. Our lives literally go out of whack.
When we rebel, we start feeling disconnected from God, and unprotected from all the darts of the enemy.
God doesn’t want you to live disconnected from Him. He wants you to run to him whenever things get out of whack in your life.
He made you to be connected to Him, without that connection there is no peace.
‘Since we are made right with God by faith in Christ, we have peace with God because of what Jesus has done for us.” ' Romans 5:1
Peace of God is a direct result from what Jesus did for us. Just accept and receive His peace. If you know Jesus, you will know peace.
The second is, EMOTIONAL PEACE. Peace within. When I have God’s peace, then I have the peace of God inside of me.
Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of God rule in your heart…”
God has peace for every one of your problems. Have a Broken heart? He gives you comforting peace.
Have a Confused heart? He gives us guiding peace.
Have an Ashamed heart? He gives us forgiving peace.
Have a Worry heart? He gives us confident peace.
Have a Bitter heart? He gives us forgiveness peace.
His Word is the provider of all the peace you are looking for. Remember that Jesus came to be your wonderful counselor and He wants to guide you so you can have emotional peace.
Are you letting God into your emotional space? Or are you letting your emotions rule over the truth of God?
The third is, RELATIONAL PEACE. Outward peace. You cannot have this peace without God and emotional peace.
The further away we get from God, the more it messes up our relationships with everyone else.
You want to strengthen your marriage? Get close to God.
You want to strengthen your relationship with your kids, your boss, your neighbor or even your mother in law? Get close to God!
The more rebellious you are with God the more messed up you will be with other people.
The world is not getting more peaceful regardless of what people say or do. It is actually getting more conflicted.
How can we have unity?
“Christ brought us all together through His death on the cross. The cross gets us to embrace each other, and end the hostility between different groups.” Ephesians 2:16
When we have the prince of peace in our lives, then we are going to have peace with each other. Christ is the great equalizer! He brings commonality!
“In Christ’s family there’s no division between Jew and Gentile, slave or free, or even male and female. In Christ we are all equal and the same. We are all in a common relationship with Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
HOW TO HAVE PEACE?
Peace is achieved through HUMILITY. Pride is the pathway to conflict.
God is not moved by my complaining or whining, but he is moved by my humility.
3 Things we need to Admit in Humility:
1. God is God and I am not. (rebellious Against God)
2. God is in control and I am not. (Distrust of God) (The easiest way to lose control is to take control)
3. God knows what we need and I don’t. (Unreliable God)
“Lord, grant us peace, for all we have, and all we are, has come from you.” Isaiah 26:12
This is a prayer of humility. I am nothing without you! I have nothing without your graces! Let’s invite the prince of peace to rule over our hearts today. Join us this Sunday as we start a new series, The Dreamer!!
Last week we determined that everyone is looking for meaning in life. There are many music artists that change their name to give them identity in the genre they are in.
For example, Drake, the rapper, likely changed his name to effect his marketability and so he’d be taken seriously as a hip-hop artist. Names do matter.
We are all looking to be taken seriously. We are all looking for meaning in life!
Jesus coming to this earth is a powerful display of meaning for all humanity. There is no one name that can fit all of what Jesus represents to us.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Because he is your wonderful counselor, you don’t have to walk this earth aimlessly. You can have direction. When you walk with Jesus, he will show you the way.
God is also MIGHTY GOD.
The original word “Mighty’ in Hebrew is ‘gibor’ which means Vigorous, Hero, or champion.
God sent us a hero because no one can rescue us from the sting of sin and death, but Jesus.
Jesus is the mighty God who has shown up in vigorous strength, to help us overcome as a champion!
If God is for us, who can be against us?! (Romans 8:31)
The Bible says, “We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.” (Roman 8:37)
Our conquering and overcoming is predicated in who we trust in.
People are always looking for strength in the wrong places, heroes in the wrong people, and to overcome in their own strength.
God came on a rescue mission and that’s why he is mighty, he IS the Hero, he IS Mighty God!
No hero in the past, present and future, fictitious or otherwise, has his superpowers.
• Omniscience = All knowing.
• Omnipresent = Everywhere.
• Omnipotent = All powerful.
When no one understands, He does. When you feel alone, He is there. And when you are weak, He is your strength!
Jesus’ name is a powerful name and brings purpose that surpasses every expectation.
JESUS’ POWER IS AT WORK IN YOU, FOR YOU, AND THROUGH YOU!
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13
It takes work to do what pleases God. Practice and intentionality will lead to a passion for pleasing Him. Passion is doing it even when it’s hard, simply because you are committed to it.
We need to let God work inside of us through His Word and guide us. However, we can’t use grace as an excuse to keep us from God or working to do what pleases him.
‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. ' Romans 6:1-2,6-7
Jesus wants to be our hero and our champion, but He cannot be what we need if we brush him off. He cannot be our champion if we aren’t willing to play on His team.
His power is at work in us through the Holy Spirit so we need to let the Holy Spirit lead and convict us.
JESUS’ POWER IS AT WORK FOR YOU. Sometimes people think that adversity means that God doesn’t care. We completely forget that Jesus was born in the midst of adversity. First, Mary was a virgin conceiving a child that didn’t come from her fiancé. Second, Herod killed all the infants that were born in his vicinity because he didn’t want competition. He didn’t want the newborn king to take over his throne. Third, there was no place in the inn so Jesus had to be born in a manger.
All these things were a struggle!
However, He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. His grace is sufficient.
Check out Isaiah 40:29-31 & 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
KEY THOUGHT: God works for you if you surrender to Him.
JESUS’ POWER IS AT WORK THROUGH YOU.
In Acts 1:8 it says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
2 Corinthians 2:4-5 also describes the need to rest in God’s power.
KEY THOUGHT: God’s power is as strong as we are reliant on Him.
Let’s rely on Him so He can work in our lives. We cannot do life on our own and why would we want to when we have a mighty God! Join us tomorrow for the next chapter of And He Shall Be Called...
Merry Christmas UPChurch! We kicked off the season with a new series “He shall be called..”. Our God is so great that just one name doesn’t fit all that He is!
Have you ever heard of a celebrity using a completely different name than that which they were born with? Or someone changing their name to fit who they think they are? This shows that we are all looking for meaning, purpose, and to be known. And we all carry certain insecurities with who we truly are.
We are all looking for meaning in life. And this is the reason why Jesus cannot just have one name attached to him. He is truly all we will ever need and becomes the solution.
Are you are looking for guidance/direction? Strength and empowerment? Are you looking for meaning or peace? God has got you!!
Isaiah 9:6 says,
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah wrote this prophecy at least a hundred years before Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity. That’s nearly 600 years before the birth of the Savior! Looking at the history of failed rulers, and sitting in the rubble of Israel’s kingdom, Isaiah looked across the centuries to a time when God would rule on earth through His Son.
We can sit just like Isaiah, in the list of failed politics, failed legislation, failed policies, the rubble of a great nation and look across to the future promise that Jesus will come again!! But he won’t come as baby in a manger, but as a king on His throne! And he will make all things new!
Christmas is the promise that there is more to this world that we can see or touch. There is more to the name of Jesus!
HE is our WONDERFUL COUNSELOR!
Wonderful means Supernatural or Beyond comprehension and a Counselor is an Advisor (a person who helps layout and execute a strategy or a plan)
A wonderful counselor is a supernatural heart changer!
You can’t change your life until you change the matters of your heart. And you can’t do that unless Jesus is your wonderful counselor.
Harvard professor, Harold J. Berman said:
“Our whole society seems to be facing the possibility of a nervous breakdown.”
We are a frustrated society. We want to find direction, strength, meaning, and peace in the wrong places. And it shows!
Where do you turn for your strategy, your advice? Who is your counselor when things are going upside down in your life?
WHERE DO YOU TURN TO?
There are two places where people usually turn to for Counsel.
The first is Ungodly Friends. We need to pay attention to the people we talk to. We often go to them because they are assessable and they will agree with us but real friends only agree when there’s something to agree about. A real friend will tell you that your bad decision is going to hurt you and those around you.
Here’s the bibles advise on where not to receive advise: Psalms 1:1-3 “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. 2 But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely.”
Direction comes from Jesus and walking with Him closely. Get close to people who are close to God. Look at the fruit in the lives of the people around you and aim for godliness.
Another place we turn to is Social Media.
Social media gives a false perception of life and bad advice.
Proverbs 14:7-9 (MSG) says, “7 Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.
We need to stop getting our advice from people on facebook, and start putting our face in God’s Book.
The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing. How much are we spending praying, reading scripture, or even going to LG or church? We don’t need more time, we need better time management.
Here’s the bottom line… As a society we are hurting, and we need a counselog. We need someone that cares enough to tell us what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear.
We can BE BRUTALLY HONEST WITH THE COUNSELOR.
Do you realize that you cannot hide anything from God?
See Psalms 55:22
We need to LISTEN TO THE COUNSELOR’S VOICE.
Jesus took his 3 closest friends to a high mountain to be alone where God Himself spoke and said, “This is my Son, Listen to Him.”
John 10:17 says, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
And Third, we need to DO WHAT THE COUNSELOR TELLS US TO DO.
In the story of the RICH YOUNG RULER, he asks, “teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?
And Jesus listed the commandments in Mark 10 which the ruler had kept.
Then Jesus says,
“… go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” Mark 10:21
The bible says that the young ruler’s face fell, and he went away sad…
Jesus was testing his love and commitment to God. And money won!
Some people sit with the counselor and they want change without being honest to the counselor, listening to the counselor and doing what the counselor tells them to do.
We need to start letting Jesus into our lives to guide, and layout a strategy for life.
Don’t walk aimless when you have a wonderful counselor.
Not just a counselor, but a supernatural, heart changing counselor!!
Join us tomorrow for the next chapter in “He shall be called...” and bring a friend!!
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