Green Valley Sermons

Peace of Christmas

Sunday, December 24, 2017         

Isaiah 48:17-18


An acrostic for PEACE: Problems must be recognized; Eliminate past regrets; Appreciate what we already have; Change the focus of our hearts; Entrust our future to God.


Isaiah 48:17-18 “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”


Problems must be recognized.


What is the main problem you have? Take a minute, think about what you really believe the main problem in your life is? Finish this sentence: My life would be so much more peaceful if…


What is wrong with our lives today? What is wrong with the world? Why is there so much turmoil, so much violence, so much cruelty? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where is peace in the world today?


A preacher to Israel summarized the problem with the world, with your life, years before the Prince of Peace was born in a stable 2000 years ago.


Whatever robs you of peace today can be brought back to one thing.


God says, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”


If only I would pay attention to God, and follow where He leads, I would know peace. Life would be better than it is if I would walk in step with the Spirit, if I would listen to and obey the God who created me, the God who loves me.


Whatever I see as the problem in my life has its roots in this issue. If you think you do not have this problem, then you do not understand the problem yet.


God calls this problem sin. In all its forms, sin comes back to this: it is a failure to listen to God and walk in the way that He directs.


God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to be part of your life. He gave us the Bible to help us know these great truths. He sent His Spirit to live in us and guide us. He sent His Son to show us His great love for us. Christmas is about God becoming a human being so that He could pay the debt we owe for failing to listen to and follow Him, for failing to walk in a relationship with Him.


Whatever leads you away from the relationship that God wants to have with you is sin. Our human nature, leads us to try to be our own boss and live life the way we want to live it. This sin nature may express itself in many different ways. But it all comes down to a failure to listen to and follow God.


God promises peace and well-being if we will listen to Him and walk in obedience to Him.


P – Problems must be recognized. THE PROBLEM must be recognized if we are going to have the Peace of God.


E – Eliminate Past Regrets. How do you eliminate past regrets?


Once we have recognized the problems and see that we have failed to listen to and obey God at some point, we need to admit this to God and to anyone who has been hurt by our failure. John, one of Our Lord’s closest associates when He was walking among us, tells us to confess our sin, that is, to agree with God that we have failed Him in some way. We need to admit that we did not listen to and follow His leading, His Lordship.


Sin is about broken relationships. Another author of God’s Words to us, Paul, tells us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) We are to do all that we can to live at peace with one another.


We are called to love God and to love other people. We need to own our failures to love Him and others. We need to do all we can to make restitution when we have wronged someone. God’s Word and God’s Spirit, His Personal Presence, will lead you in this as well as in other things.


Matthew quoted Jesus as saying: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24)


If you have wronged someone, go and be reconciled.


Even if you are not at fault, you need to do all you can to be reconciled to other people. Matthew quoted Jesus as later saying, “If your brother or sister sins (some versions say ‘sins against you’), go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Matt. 18:15-16)


No matter whose fault a problem is, if we are following Our Lord, He will lead us to be at peace with other people and Eliminate past regrets.


P – Problems must be recognized.

E – Eliminate Past Regrets.

A – Appreciate What We Already Have


Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)


God loves me. What else really matters? He will care for me no matter what my situation in life. My belief that God loves me is not based on my being good, but on the truth that God is good. I choose to focus on His goodness and not my badness.


He will help me to become better if I will trust Him to love me and lead me. I am not all I want to be yet. I am not all that God wants me to be… yet.


I choose to trust God to be a loving God who cares about me and about other people. I choose to be a person who will follow God and love Him and love other people. I will do all I can to live at peace with other people.


When I fail, I will admit my failure and trust God to forgive me and I will get up and go on because I know God loves me. I will not wallow in regret and frustration.


My peace is not dependent on other people. My peace is not even dependent on me. My peace is dependent on the love of God and the goodness of God. Because I believe He loves me, I will be content with what He has given me. I will be content with whatever circumstance He gives me to deal with because He loves me.


My life is not based on my love for Him, but on His love for me. I can love Him, and others because I know I am loved. I am content. I Appreciate what I have.


P – Problems must be recognized.

E – Eliminate Past Regrets.

A – Appreciate What We Already Have

C – Change The Focus Of Our Hearts


Philippians 4:2 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”


If all your time is spent worrying about yourself, you need to change the focus of your heart. If all your prayers are asking God to change your circumstances, you need to change the focus of your heart.


We are encouraged by our culture to seek after our own interests, but Scripture and the teachings of Jesus, point us toward caring for others and looking out for the interests of others.

Peace and righteousness are twin brothers. When we focus on others it leads to peace. God would lead us to love Him and to love others. We need to be less concerned about ourselves and more concerned about others.


P – Problems must be recognized. Recognize what God is saying to you.

E – Eliminate Past Regrets. Be reconciled to those in your past.

A – Appreciate What We Already Have. Be content with what God has given you.

C – Change The Focus Of Our Hearts. Focus on loving God and others, not yourself.

E – Entrust Your Future to God. Trust God for today and for tomorrow.


Peace is not the absence of trouble. It is the presence of security. We do not have peace because we have no problems. We have peace because we are confident that God loves us and that He will be with us no matter what!


In Isaiah 48:17, God says, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”


If we want peace, we need to pay attention to God, who teaches us what is best for us, who directs us in the way we should go. We need to stop worrying about what may happen and stop focusing on what has not happened. We need to get ourselves ready for what God can make happen in our situation.


P – Problems must be recognized. Recognize what God is saying to you.

E – Eliminate Past Regrets. Be reconciled to those in your past.

A – Appreciate What We Already Have. Be content with what God has given you.

C – Change The Focus Of Our Hearts. Focus on loving God and others, not yourself.

E – Entrust Your Future to God. Trust God for today and for tomorrow.


May God’s Peace be a reality for you this Christmas.