Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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Midweek Advent 3 – December 20 – Phil. 4:4-7 “God’s Gifts Of Joy And Peace”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from Philippians 4.  We begin with prayer. 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • The angels announced it to the shepherds the night of Jesus birth:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” [Luke 2:14]  Since that time there have been all kinds of wars, bloodshed, and violence – including the Jewish war with Rome in the late 60’s A.D. which led to the virtual total destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. 
  • In the past century there have been two World Wars, a massive cold war, and all kinds of regional skirmishes.  Human history has been so filled with warfare that historians speak of the times of peace with great marvel – the great “Pax Romana,” the peace of the Roman Empire.  Some call the past nearly 70 years, since the close of World War II the “Pax Americana,” the general “peace” established in the world through American military strength and resolve.  That, in spite of the Korean War, the Vietnamese War, the Gulf War, and the War on Terrorism that is ongoing today. 
  • This is an absence of peace that we really can’t get out of our minds – and when we add in all of the others problems and woes that we struggle with in life on this earth:  survival, making a living, tending to the things we own, avoiding crime and violence, health dangers, moral decay in the society around us, and all of the politics which threaten the continued health of our nation, and all of the evil which has encroached into the life of the church, it seems that we seldom have even a moment’s peace.
  • Still it is clear from God’s Word that He wills for us to have peace, and that Jesus came to provide us with “GOD’S GIFTS OF JOY AND PEACE” – but a “peace which surpasses all understanding.”  It is a peace which prevails and guards us – even in midst of all the conflict, war, threat, and violence of this present world of sin.  So, we must first understand what this peace is that God gives to His dear children, and we must receive and utilize this peace.  If we do so, then:


I.  We Rejoice To Have Peace With God Through Faith In Jesus Christ


Rom. 5:1  “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Text:  “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.”


A.  This Peace With God Is Real Because Of The Forgiveness Of All Our Sin In Christ Jesus


Eph. 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”


1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


B.  This Peace With God Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Gives Us The Peace Of Having Certainty In Regard To Eternal Life In Heaven


John 3:36  “He that believes the Son has everlasting life.”


John 5:24  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” 


C.  Knowing God’s Love In Christ, His Gift Of Eternal Salvation, And His Commitment To Our Good And Blessedness And His Almighty Power Gives Us Peace In All Circumstances Even In This Troubled Life


Rom. 8:28  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”


Rom. 8:32  “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”


Rom. 8:38,39  “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Statement:  So while there is little in the world around us that gives us peace – save for those things that enable us to forget all of the tension, conflict, danger, and sorrows that exist all around us, “GOD’S GIFTS OF JOY AND PEACE” continue in full force for our blessedness all the time.  This is what Jesus was talking about when He promised His disciples:  “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.” 


Application:  These are gifts of God, given only by God, and they have all come to us in the greatest gift of all, the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.  God wills for us to have this joy and peace in His love, and the Lord Jesus wills for us to have this joy and peace in His love.  And the closer we are to Him, the more our minds are focused on Him, and the more His Word permeates our hearts and minds so that our thinking and experiencing of the things of this world are dominated by faith in His promises and assurances, the greater our peace and joy will be.  This may seem like “pie in the sky” to unbelievers, but it is most real for those who know and believe God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.


Transition:  But things come up, and we still have our innate fears, and we still struggle with doubts and lack of faith.  And so the apostle reminds us that:


II.  We Also Have Peace And Joy In Knowing God’s Closeness To Us, That He Is At Hand To Help Us And Preserve Us – And So Instead Of Being Anxious, Or When We Become Anxious, We Are Urged To Pray To God About Everything; And In Faith We Give Thanks To God For His Providence And His Blessings In Everything


Text:  “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.”


Statement:  So God’s Word constantly directs our hearts and minds into the Word of God – and there we see and learn about God’s great love for us in Christ Jesus, that all our sins are washed away and forgiven, that we have the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus, and that God is taking care of everything, making sure that everything has to work together for our greater good and blessedness.  And in this faith and trust in His love we bring everything that continues to bother us, things that worry us, that cause us to fear, to our loving heavenly Father in prayer.  Knowing His love for us we bring everything to Him – and always with thanksgiving, for we know His promise that we are being blessed in everything!


Application:  These are gifts that God wants you to have, that He has given to you in His beloved Son Jesus Christ, and through His gracious Words and promises.  Could you use more “joy and peace” in your life?  If you are anything like me, I know that you could!  And so Christ seeks to grant our requests and to fulfill our needs – through His great love for us expressed and conveyed to us through His Word, and the blessed Sacrament of His own body and blood – “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” 


Conclusion:  Given all the things in the world around us which threaten us and destroy our joy and peace, perhaps we would do well to take God up on these gifts He seeks to bestow upon us!  You remember the old television program:  “Father Knows Best.”   Well, in reality “Our Father” knows best – what is good for us, what we need, and how best to give these gifts to us.  So He has loved us and given His Son to be our Savior, and in Him, He has promised us all goodness and blessing!  I doubt whether we’ll receive any better gifts this Christmas season, or in our entire lifetime!  Thanks and praise be to God!  Amen.


Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.