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The Advent of Peace

December 5, 2021 Speaker: Chris Jessee Series: Advent 2021

Topic: Sunday Sermons Passage: Isaiah 9:6–9:7, Isaiah 53:4–53:6, Philippians 4:4–4:7

Isaiah 9:6–7

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.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Intro

There’s something sweet and precious about a baby announcement, isn’t there?

There was a day where this happened via a cards, or post in a local paper - many times today we see this on Social Media in its various forms.

In Isaiah 9 we have a Baby Announcement on a cosmic scale: oh, and by the way... here’s his life’s purpose that he’s been given for!

What crazy authority to be able to speak your son’s life purpose - that’s way above my pay grade as a parent - with my three children their life’s calling has been much more of a Journey that we’re discovering together. I shudder to think what mistakes I would have made trying to declare why they were being born.

Yes, it’s my responsibility to disciple them but… that’s not what God sends his Son to experience. And I’m reminded, yet again, that His ways ARE NOT my ways - and we’re all so glad that’s true!

The people of God have often wrestled with God’s Ways not being our ways and in our passage today we’ll see that uniquely.

This advent season you can receive peace through Christ’s coming.

The Announcement of His Coming

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

Our passage begins with the proclamation TO US - a child is born, a son… given.

We’ll return to the government being on his shoulders in a few moments - for now let’s set a bit of the context of those hearing this good news.

The people of Israel were once again rebellious but awakened by political turmoil and a threat from the neighboring Assyrians who were ruthless in their battle and conquest. The people hearing this good news were desperate!

Our Savior will have specific characteristics to meet our deepest needs...

and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Who will this son -who is given- be? What will he be like, what kind of kingdom will he reign over?

Wonderful Counselor – i.e. exceptional, or distinguished; or a supernatural counselor. [a supernatural-wonder of a counselor!]
a king who rules with deep, divine wisdom, unlike the foolishness of human wisdom
I want to be careful here because there are many counselors in our church, many friends that I have that are councillors and counsellors that I've spoken to over the years. They are wonderful individuals who can help sort through the things of life and reorient our affections or our thoughts or our emotions right Lee. I've even had some opportunity to do counseling passed orally. But there's one thing I know about counseling whether giving or receiving, we do so imperfectly.
God’s council is PERFECT, it’s supernaturally-wonderful, unlike any council here on earth.

Mighty God – He will be mighty in battle on behalf of Israel. He protects His people as a Warrior!
This implies that he will be divine and human and have God’s strength.
I think this is where we can get tripped up at times, perhaps even the nation of Israel at the time was tripped up by this because they were looking for salvation from Earthly kingdoms. Their focus was on here and now.
This was not unique to the nation of Israel in those times, Jesus’ own disciples would expose that they misunderstood this text, John the Baptist and his disciples would expose that they misunderstood this text.
So, let us understand rightly today… A few weeks ago Seth in our Genesis series preached about being mindful of the temptation to become overly triumphant in the world today.
I'm grateful that he spoke to that so plainly and clearly for us.
Pastorally; I would want to caution our church today of the temptation of triumphalism.
Let us pray bold prayers, filled with faith in the one we are praying to
Let us also take care in our understanding and making claims on our Mighty God!
He is mighty indeed and his ways are indeed not our ways.
This keeps us from assuming on him but being dependant to look to him!

Everlasting Father – or eternal Father; or the Father of eternity or, the author of eternal life to the redeemed.
not to be confused with the New Testament name for ‘God the Father’ because in our text today it means ‘benevolent protector’.
It indicates a godly king who will protect his people as a good father does his children.
But, how could he be both Son & Father?
This isn’t saying He is God the Father (the persons of the Trinity are distinct), but has a title here of Father.
Though they are “one”! - “One in essence, Three in persons!”

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Though the formula is mysterious & even paradoxical, it is in no way contradictory. - R.C.Sproul

I think it’s helpful to think about the son as our everlasting father in this way: this title refers to the Messiah’s relationship to time, not His relationship to the other persons of the Trinity! This affirms both His eternality & His deity.
He is our tender & faithful, wise guardian & provider for His people!

Prince of Peace – Shalom’s fullest meaning! - signifies a ruler who will bring God’s promised peace to mankind
His government brings peace!
This anticipates the glorious 2nd coming of Christ and his kingdom when he brings peace to the earth that he created.

OT: Shalom1
Peace (calm - absence of conflict)
Relational: Restoration
With God (vertical)
And Fellow Man (Horizontal)
Wholeness
Complex, multi-pieces, coming together in harmony
The presence of one who is greater / powerful
NT: Elreyne (+Agape)
Absence of Conflict
Agape covers the relational aspect of restoration
Vertical & Horizontal

Christmas Carol: Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
'Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

The story of this Carol is famous, organ is broken down and there’s just a guitar and a poem for the christmas eve service - three chords later: silent night! We close out our Christmas Eve service with this song.

Today, I’d like to share a personal experience with this song and with the truths we’re looking at as we consider the advent (or, arrival) of peace.

Christmas Caroling story - Church Organist in the Retirement Home
Her full faculties were not available to her, but her true peace was reigning over her life! Her mind may have been experiencing chaos in this world but her soul was secure… Do we have this same experience of peace reigning in our life?

When we consider the advent (arrival) of peace through Christ in the manger -as our passage shows us today- we must understand that the world that he entered in to was chaotic, but he enters our chaos so that we can enter his eternal, heavenly peace.

We are invited to live with him forever.
This happens through surrender not conquest.

His Kingdom of Shalom in its fullness

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

Here’s where I want to return to the line we saw earlier in v.6 - and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

Now our passage, using clear covenantal language, tells us that this government - the one on his shoulder - will be one of peace, increasing without end.

I think Sinclair Ferguson summarizes this for us well:

In the whole of the gospel story, I think it's right to say there was only one thing ever said to be on the Savior's shoulders. But he carried his cross outside of Jerusalem to reign from the tree. That's where power is to be found. Power to set me free from my deepest bondage.

Oh, if we could have men and women from many countries in the world [...] they could speak to us about the political bondage in which they have lived as Christ's free men and women...

You see, you can live in political freedom and be the greatest prisoner in all the world. Imprisoned to your sin and to yourself. - Sinclair Ferguson

This is where we begin to understand the type of peace that we receive through Jesus - increasing & eternal peace, shalom - wholeness, completeness, without end.

Isaiah is looking forward to the day when power will be displayed by PEACE on this earth. He’s also looking forward to the 53rd chapter of this book, where the servant that is coming is described to us yet again… not in conquest, but through suffering-surrender on our behalf.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. - Isaiah 53:4–6

We are…

Invited to live with him forever, through surrender not conquest.

The Cross is an expression of the Zeal of the Lord, Securing our Peace

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Have you ever wondered what the Lord puts his efforts into, what gets him out of bed in the morning… his ‘why’.

If we think back to the Assyrian Threat that the people of God were facing in today’s text, we learn this about the conquest that nation sought and what made their leaders, consider this relief from a throne room around that time2

 LiveStream Peace Illustration 1 - Adad-Nirari

“I am royal, I am lordly, I am mighty, I am honored, I am exalted, I am glorified, I am powerful, I am all-powerful, I am brilliant, I am lion-brave, I am manly, I am supreme, I am noble.”

“He made himself nothing.” Philippians 2:7

Christ surrendered himself for our peace that we might receive peace through surrender to his Lordship over our lives!

Outside of the Lord's ZEAL, there is no PEACE at all.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty, defined in terms of his covenant love, is displayed in his unfolding plan and is displayed in the company of his people. The purpose of God from all of eternity is to put together a people that are his very own. - Alistair Begg

Closing Considerations 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. - John 14:27

Think about our passage today, how it contains what Ray Ortlund, Jr calls ‘the pure gospel’ because it asks / expects nothing from us… this is all on God

I shared earlier that I wanted to share a personal story as well as a way - I hope - to illustrate what can be the fruit of this peace in our lives. To be clear, this is still working out in my own head and heart!

This week, as I was walking Duncan-the-wonder-pup one morning (which, is often when I’m able to pray and just take time to think things through more deeply). I realized that I was carrying the weight of a couple of things happening in life right now.

One of them is specifically related to the season of life that Stephanie and I are in and it’s a particularly busy season for us that I see that lasting for, IDK, 4-6 - maybe 8 weeks more, if things go the way they have been.

Then, I was weighed down by, some things that we’re working on for the first few months of the new year here at the church. Much like many of you there are personal things as well as things in the office that weigh on me. There not always bad things, just weighty things.

I realized these two items were becoming a distraction for me in my thought and devotional life - just becoming the center of everything.

I was reminded of one of my favorite verses to pray through, for others -and- for myself...

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4–7

This peace that you and I receive in Jesus - does more than just give us eternal hope for peace - it actively guards our hearts (motivations / drive) and minds (meditations / musings) that peace in Christ Jesus in real time serves us as the people of God.

So, today, remember…

You can receive peace through Christ.
Invited to live with him forever, through surrender not conquest.

Communion

Not just ‘at peace’ to be kept at a distance, welcomed into his presence - presented with great joy by the one who laid down his life for us.

We can now receive this gift of remembrance: knowing it will provide the peace we seek.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. - Colossians 1:15–20

Just before his sacrifice on our behalf, Jesus gave us the gift of communion as a reminder of the reason for his coming and the promise of his coming again.

May this meal today, remind us that he has provided our peace and he is the sustenance of that peace until he returns again.

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Take, drink, remember and receive his peace.

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. - Luke 22:14–20

Take, drink, remember and receive his peace.

Closing Song

Benediction

You can receive peace through Christ.
Invited to live with him forever, through surrender not conquest.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endnotes
1. An expanded look at Shalom, eirēnē & agapē can be found here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/shalom-content-for-a-slogan/
2. Quotes & images adapted for message from this source: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/ray-ortlund/i-am-nothing/

More in Advent 2021

December 19, 2021

The Advent of Joy

December 12, 2021

The Advent of Love

November 28, 2021

The Advent of Hope