Peace in the Midst of Pain

Peace in the Midst of Pain

Sermon Notes

Many songs of Christmas mention “peace” as a major theme. But it is fair to ask where is this peace? One cannot be blamed for asking this: If Christmas is supposed to bring peace close by then why does peace seem so far away?

Key Word

Peace (and its cognates) are mentioned:

  • 420 times in the Bible
  • 100 Times in the New Testament

Peace, more than the absent of conflict or personal tranquility:

  • Can mean something that is complex that is a state of completeness (Job 5:24, 1 Samuel 17:22)
  • To make complete or restore as in a relationship (Prov 16:7)
  • Can also mean a deep level of satisfaction with all layers of life.

The key word Peace finds itself in a center of the Christmas story. But the way it is used might be misunderstood (Luke 2:8-14, KJV). Notice the two different translations of the passage:

KJV
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

ESV
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased

that is, the ones receiving the will, or good intentions of God, or God’s kindly intent

This is the Angelic Message:
Because Christ has come, peace can exist among those who have surrendered to God’s favor. 

So, how can I have peace in the middle of pain? In his adult ministry, Jesus shares some powerful insights while teaching his disciples about painful situations. Here is what Jesus wants us to know about our personal pain (John 16:16-22, 33)

1. For a Christ follower, all pain is temporary.
“Now is the time of grief…” (vs. 22)

2.   For a Christ follower, all pain has a purpose.
“she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born…” (v. 21)

3.   For a Christ follower, all pain will surrender to Jesus.
“…I have overcome the world.” (v. 33)

Key Word- Trouble (θλῖψις)
a pressing, pressing together, pressure or metaphorically- oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

The World is Messed Up

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth

Jesus Has Overcome this World

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The light of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT:

  1. Pastor Rusty asked this question near the beginning of the message, “If Christmas is supposed to bring peace close by then why does peace seem so far away?” How would you answer that question? 
  2. The word “peace” or variations of it are used 420 times in the Bible. Why do you think scripture places such an emphasis on peace? 
  3. Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” In his sermon Pastor Rusty said, “Because Christ has come, peace can exist among those who have surrendered to God’s favor.” Have you observed times in your life when you weren’t surrendered to God and discovered that you also weren’t at peace? Have there been other times when you experienced peace because of your relationship with God? Knowing this, why do you think we are so prone to still focusing on doing things our own way? 
  4. Pastor Rusty shared this observation about pain: “For a Christ follower, all pain is temporary.” Reflect on your life, jot down some times when you were experiencing pain and it felt like it wasn’t going to go away. 
  5. Pastor Rusty made another observation about pain: “For a Christ follower all pain has a purpose.” What has God taught you through the pain you’ve experienced in life? 
  6. What do you think Bible means when it suggests Christ’ birth can bring peace into our messed up world? 

LIVE IT OUT

  • Jesus promised peace even as He was about to leave His first followers in John 16. He informed them that they would endure tribulation but said, “I have overcome the world.” Make a list of the things God has helped you overcome. What is He currently helping you overcome? 
  • Ask God to help you overcome these challenges you’re facing? Ask Him to help you trust Him, even though you may often not see exactly what He’s doing. 
  • To find peace we need to surrender our pain to Jesus. What specific things do you need to surrender to Jesus today? Ask Him to help you do that. 
  • How might God use you to bring His peace to others who are currently searching for peace in their lives this Christmas? Ask Him to help you do that this week. Commit to being alert for opportunities to bring peace to others this week.