Daniel Fast 2023

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Message Text

Luke 2:1-14 ESV

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Isaiah 9:6 ESV

6 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 calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Message Notes

When Jesus was born, angels were dispatched to a group of shepherds to announce the birth of their Savior, where they could find him, and how they would recognize him. They wouldn’t be looking for a king or an entourage but a poor family in town for a census, staying in someone else’s place with a new baby wrapped in swaddling cloths laying in a feed trough. With that description, they also realized there would be something else noticeable with this savior: a multitude of heavenly host began to praise God and proclaim peace over those who His favor rested on. 750 years before this took place, Isaiah proclaimed that the baby born would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Jesus brought peace to the earth - it changed time itself. Jesus started a new era of the Prince of Peace.

1. Jesus brought the opportunity for peace.†

The earth was not peaceful when Jesus arrived - it was in chaos. Just a few years after Jesus was born, a jealous king decreed that all male children 2 years and under would be killed.

Matthew 2:16-17 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

Jesus did not mandate peace or by use of military might enforce peace over the world. He came with the perfect opportunity for us to experience peace. We could now have peace with God.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus came so we could be reconciled to God, making peace between us and God. Peace in our lives comes from being found in Christ.

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

I can have peace because I am in the care of Christ himself. My circumstances should never determine whether I am at peace or not.

Jesus prevents the yoyo effect: When my circumstances are good, I’m good. When my circumstances are bad, I’m bad.

Philippians 4:5-7 5 The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

He is the Prince of Peace in all my circumstances. He came to bring peace to me no matter what is happening around me.

2. Jesus in me brings peace to others.†

Romans 12:14-21 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, butĐgive thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The American Civil War, Fredericksburg, Va; December of 1862: In this lopsided battle, the Union Army suffered 12,653 casualties compared to the Confederate Army’s 5,377. In one day, between 6,000 and 8,000 Union soldiers fell in numerous yet ridiculous frontal assaults that gained nothing. Wounded and dying, Union soldiers were begging for aid and/or water. A Confederate sergeant, Richard Kirkland, had seen enough. He approached his commanding general and said he couldn’t bear to hear the pitiful cries of the Union soldiers and requested permission to go out in the open to give the wounded enemy troopers some water. With gunfire still being exchanged, the general rejected the idea. Kirkland persisted until the general offered a compromise. Kirkland could give water to the enemy soldiers but not under a white flag of surrender. Kirkland, said the general, would have to trust in God to protect him. Kirkland did just that, walking onto the open battlefield to give aid and water to the injured and dying Union soldiers. The Union soldiers still engaged in combat ceased firing to allow Kirkland the safety he needed to care for their wounded brothers. Once his life-giving mission was completed, Kirkland returned to safety behind the lines. Richard Kirkland was killed a year later during the Battle of Chickamauga, but this one man had shown at Fredericksburg that there could and should be peace on earth, and certainly, goodwill toward men.

The peace of God allows us to walk into situations and bring peace with us. In our time, people are longing for peace, and yet they see Christians fueling the chaos. What if we cared for people like there were no sides? What if the same Prince of Peace that came into the world at that time would rule in our hearts at this time? Our message could be, “Peace on earth is available to all who are reconciled to Christ” and then show them what that looks like.

Christ went to the cross in peace, and he was resurrected in the peace of the morning. Our lives should be marked by peace enough to make people wonder where we got it.

Let that be our prayer in our time: The church would see peace on those His favor rests.