On this Christmas Eve, we finish our three-day study from Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren where he offers us three major purposes for Christmas. We discover those purposes in the announcement the angel made in Luke 2:10-14 at the birth of Jesus Christ.
The first purpose of Christmas is celebration: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Thursday 12/20 show)
The second purpose of Christmas is salvation: “for unto you is born this day a savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Friday 12/21 show)
The third purpose of Christmas is found in Luke 2:14: “glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace; goodwill toward men. So the third purpose of Christmas is reconciliation.
What is reconciliation?
Reconciliation is when a broken relationship is restored; reconciliation IS peace on Earth, goodwill toward men. As Pastor Warren shares, “there will never be peace in the world until there is peace in nations. There will never be peace in nations until there is peace in communities. There will never be peace in communities until there is peace in families. There will never be peace in families until there is peace in individuals. And there will never be peace in individuals until we invite the Prince of Peace to reign in our hearts.”
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 reminds us of this fact: “for unto us a child is born, to us a son is given and he will be called Prince of Peace.”
There are three kinds of Peace – A peace with God is a spiritual peace; the peace of God is emotional peace; and peace with others is relational peace.
Peace with God: If you’re trying to live your life without God, then you’re at war with God…and you need a peace treaty! How do you make peace with God? Well, you don’t do it by promising to be good. You don’t do it by being perfect. You can’t. You don’t do it by never sinning. You will. You make peace, the Bible says, by faith, faith in God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8 says “for by Grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
The Peace of God: it happens in your heart when you’ve made peace with God. You’ve got two choices in life. In every circumstance you can pray or panic. You can worship or worry.
Here’s a thought: if you (we) prayed as much as you (we) worried, you’d (we’d) have a whole lot less to worry about. Philippians 4: 6-7 says, “pray about everything…Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Finally, Peace with Others: a relational peace. 2nd Corinthians 5:18-20 says, “God reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.”
In other words, God has given us both a ministry and a message and it is reconciliation – helping people find peace with God and peace with each other.
In the beatitudes in Matthew 5:9, Jesus says “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” The greatest need in our nation and in our world is reconciliation. It’s the message of Christmas: peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.
Who do you need to rebuild a broken relationship with this Christmas? Who do you need to reconcile with? You need to let Jesus fill you with his love, so you can love other people the way he does. And then, you’ll have to let him fill you with his forgiveness. Until you feel truly forgiven, you don’t have the ability to forgive others.
Remember, Jesus came to erase the misconceptions about God – he was sent to show us what God is really like! Christmas tells us that we matter to God.
We are thankful for you! A blessed Christmas to you and your family.
– Joe and the Afternoon Drive team (Lilly, Hannah, Todd and Malisa)