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12-5-21 “The Path to Peace”

“The Path to Peace” (Luke 1:68-79)

Advent C / Peace / Luke 1:68–79

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Jesus came as PROPHET to guide us on the path that leads to peace. He does this by embodying the life that leads to peace, giving us a perfect example. The basis for our receiving this peace is Christ’s work as PRIEST, whereby he opened up the door to relationship with God. As KING, he defeated our enemies, including the wrath of God, so that we can serve God without fear.

Introduction

1. We’re promised that Christ would bring peace but some experience more than others. Why?

Story about Lucinda Norman (Source: SermonCentral.com)

Story about a rabbi (Source: Encyclopedia of Humor)

2. Jesus is our guide to lead us in the path of peace (Luke 1:78-79). He is the “rising sun from heaven” sent to “shine on those living in darkness”. His life is our example.

In his life he demonstrated:

I. Recognize the source of a lack of peace, False Attachments/Beliefs–A radical TURNING FROM SIN

(Basis: Our having been DELIVERED from the POWER of our enemies—Luke 1:74, the bondage sin brings)

1. Jesus was baptized, affirming the message of John’s call to turn from sin (Luke 3:21-22).

Annotations on the Gospel according to St. Luke Chapter 1

Why was the ministry of the Messiah preceded by that of another divine messenger? Because the very notion of salvation was falsified in Israel, and had to be corrected before salvation could be realized.

2. Sin is first an attitude (unbelief, false belief) then an action (disobedience).

26. What is sin?

Sin is unbelief and disobedience in thought and desire, word and deed, whereby evil is done or good is neglected, whether thoughtlessly or willfully. (Evangelical Catechism–view catechism here.)

3. Jesus was then led by the Spirit to fight the real enemy in wilderness (Luke 4:1-2a)—the one who would lead us into bondage of sin.

Martin Luther, teaching the meaning of the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer (“Lead us not into temptation”) wrote: “We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us lest the devil, the world, and our flesh lead us into misbelief, despair and other great shame and vice.” The consequences of misbelief do lead to despair and other “great shame and vice.” (You can see Luther’s Catechism here.)

Backus, William; Chapian, Marie. Telling Yourself the Truth (p. 18). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Available at the EVPL here.)

4. Our turning from sin is based on having been set free by our deliverer (Luke 1:69), like the Hebrews in the exodus (Luke 1:74, 77).

II. Reconnect with the true source of peace, Practicing Faith in God–A radical TURNING TOWARDS GOD

(Basis: Our call to be DEVOTED to God’s PERSONLuke 1:75, the meaning of holiness, which is serving God.)

1. We were saved for a purpose, “to enable us to serve him” (Luke 1:74b). Greek word for serve is λατρεύω, latreuo

Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains (53.14 λατρεύω; λατρεία, ας)

53.14 λατρεύω; λατρεία, ας f: to perform religious rites as a part of worship—‘to perform religious rites, to worship, to venerate, worship.’

The Gospel according to Luke, Pillar NT Commentary (Benedictus (1:67–80))

The word for “serve” (v. 74; Gk. latreuein) connotes priestly service in worship (Exod 3:12), fulfilling the ancient ideal that Israel would be “a kingdom of priests” (Exod 19:6). “The priesthood of all believers” is thus intimated in the Benedictus. True service of God in vv. 74–75 includes both a pure heart (“holiness”), and the outward practice of virtue (“righteousness).

Gospel according to Luke I–IX: Introduction, Translation and Notes (Notes)

The infin. latreuein, “to worship” expresses the consequence of the deliverance brought about by Yahweh for his people, expected to result in a way of life that is really a cultic service of him. Though it denotes acts of worship, it is used analogously of the entire way in which the chosen people was to conduct itself.

2. Jesus was in constant contact with his Father. Luke 2:49: “had to be in my Father’s house”. Luke 3:21: “as he was praying … Holy Spirit descended”. Luke 4:1: “led by the Spirit”.

The Peace of God

There is what is called the “cushion of the sea.” Down beneath the surface that is agitated with storms, and driven about with high winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed for hundreds of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep down in the praying soul to be reached by any external disturbance. –A. T. Pierson.

From 3000 Illustrations for Christian Service

Oceanographers say the sea remains tranquil below twenty-five feet. No matter how bad the storm rages on top of the ocean, the waters are peaceful down deep.

“The Innovating Man,” Tony Evans, Innovative Church Growth Conference, 1994

3. Peace is found in seeking God and living in tune with him (as Christ did).

God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

–C. S. Lewis

III. Realize Your Purpose on this Earth, to bear the image of God–A radical TURNING TOWARDS OTHERS

(Basis: Our call to be DEVOTED to God’s PURPOSELuke 1:75, the meaning of righteousness, which is serving others.)

1. “Pure heart” (holiness) and “practice of virtue” (righteousness)—from quote above–is same as James’ definition of true religion (i.e., true worship, devotion)—James 1:27.

2. Yes, growth in individual virtues/qualities, but biblical emphasis is on outgoing love expressed in good works (Eph. 2:10, Heb. 10:24)—using the gift we’ve been given (parable of the talents).

3. Cannot know peace turned in upon oneself (Scrooge, etc.).

Conclusion

Story of Miss Thompson from Who Switched the Price Tags?, Tony Campolo, 1986, p. 69-72

The Gospel of Luke, William Barclay (A Father’s Joy (Luke 1:67–80))

There is walking in the ways of peace. Peace in Hebrew does not mean merely freedom from trouble; it means all that makes for our highest good; and through Christ we are enabled to walk in the ways that lead to everything that means life, and no longer to all that means death.

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