This week, Chris finished our Christmas Peace series teaching about relational peace. The peace of God reaches from the depths of heart and emotions all the way to our relationships with others. The full experience of God’s peace hinges on being in right relationship with the Lord.

1. Spiritual Peace ~ Peace with God

Ephesians 2:12 (ESV)
12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Romans 3:23 (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23 (ESV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9 (ESV)
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

2. Emotional Peace ~ Peace of God

Ephesians 2:13-14a (ESV)
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace…

• Peace ~ To join together that which was separated.

3. Relational Peace ~ Peace with Others

Ephesians 2:14–19 (ESV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

“How can we represent our experiences and perspectives while learning from each other’s, and work together to come up with a solution we can all stand behind? For that, we need the Third Option: unity through mutual honor.” Miles McPherson in The Third Option

Galatians 5:22–23 (MSG)
22 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, 23 not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

The Enemy of Christmas Peace

  1. Mary faced the fear of being excluded, isolated, and an inadequate mother to the Messiah.

Luke 1:29–34 (ESV)
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

  1. Joseph faced the fear of being betrayed by his wife and other people’s opinion.

Matthew 1:18–20 (NLT)
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

  1. Shepherds faced their fear of sudden change.

Luke 2:8–10 (NLT)
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!”

  1. Zechariah faced the fear of God not coming through and being disappointed.

Luke 1:11–13 (NLT)
11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.

John 3:16 (ESV)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Through Jesus we are brought close to God (Eph. 2:13-14). Do you remember what it was like to be far from the Lord before you were saved? Take time to share with your group.
  2. Are there any ways you still may be far off? Are there any areas of your life you keep far from God?
  3. As we move closer to God, we can move closer to others. Have your ever experienced this in your own life? Have you experienced the opposite and seen how as you move further from God you also move further from others?
  4. The fear of disappointment can rob us of peace and cause us to disobey the Lord. Is there anyway disappointment has taken your peace and you need the Lord give you fresh hope?

Application Question:

  1. This week, sit with the Lord to examine if there are relationships in your life that are in disarray. Is there a rift in your relationship with the Lord that may be affecting our relationship with others? Is any bitterness you need to repent of?

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