Love That Astonished the World

LOVE that Astonished the World
Luke 2:15-20

How to live astonished:

  1. Let the message bring a sense of urgency (Luke 2:15)
  2. Let the message bring enthusiasm (Luke 2:16)
  3. Let the message encourage responsibility (Luke 2:17)
  4. Let the message bring wonder (Luke 2:18)
  5. Let the message bring private devotion (Luke 2:19)
  6. Let the message bring genuine worship (Luke 2:20)

The Need for Peace

PEACE that Overcomes and Overwhelms


  1. By Isaiah, the messianic prophet. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
  2. By the heavenly host, at the birth of Jesus. “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:13-14

— The Prince of Peace came to bring peace to men of good will.

What is that peace? Here is where the outline in your bulletin begins…


According to Luke 2:14, this PEACE is…

Personal – “Peace among men with whom he is pleased” Personal peace can come in two ways…


  1. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” so this reminds us that since we have been made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace with God.
  2. James 4:4 tells us that “do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” When you are an enemy of God, there can be no peace. He requires total surrender, coming to him on HIS terms, not our own.
  3. Paul says in Colossians 1:20 – “and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

— The bottom line? Without peace with God, no real peace is possible


  1. Jesus offers peace inside, unfazed by the world around us. Consider Paul’s teaching in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  2. In a world of trouble and distress, Jesus encourages his followers in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
  3. Also in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
  4. Jesus also gives us peace even in the task (or the mission) that he has for us to do, in John 20:21, “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

— Jesus provides peace that surpasses all understanding

Finally, according to Luke 2:14, this PEACE is also…

Practical – “On earth peace among men…” we are not alone on this planet, rather we love in community.


  1. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:28 that Jesus breaks down the barriers between other people. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  2. Paul tells us the same thing in Ephesians 2:14 he tells to “remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,”
  3. Peter tells us to “be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 “He must turn away from evil and do good; He must seek peace and pursue it.” – 1 Peter 3:8-11

— Jesus makes peace between mankind possible.


So, when the Old Testament Scriptures ascribed to Jesus the title, “Prince of Peace,” He was proclaimed as One who forever has a rule of peace (offering a right relationship with God, with one another, and with ourselves).

The standard of peace becomes a great way to spiritually measure our lives: am I at peace with God, with others, and with myself.

Can you imagine being so affected by the Prince of Peace that you daily walk in peace with God, with others, and with yourself? This is the message of Christmas: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men…”

If you need peace, I’ve attempted to reinforce that there is only one place to get true peace, in the person Jesus Christ.

Hope that Proclaims a Name

Hope that Proclaims a Name
Matthew 1:18-25

Adventus, meaning “the arrival.” The past, present, and future of our faith coming together. Advent is about an ancient longing for the arrival of the Messiah, the anticipation of the birth. We celebrate advent to remember his first arrival and anticipate his coming again, the second advent.

Survey: 2 out of 3 people have practiced or plan to practice re-gifting. Every year we have the opportunity to reopen the gift of Jesus here at Christmas. Be astonished!

Matthew 1:18-19 – Hope is from God.
Hope has a name. It all came about this way, this is one of two narratives of the coming of the Christ child. That which was impossible with man became a reality with God. This announcement was not uncovered but discovered. A Hebrew wedding was more complex than what we have in America today. 1) the arrangement or engagement, then 2) the betrothal, binding without consumption, then 3) the marriage itself, living together as a couple.

Mary became with child through or by the Holy Spirit, which speaks of the power of God through the Holy Spirit. There is a miracle in this conception. The role of the Holy Spirit is through all of this. Hope that is given is from the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit 1) conceived Jesus, and then 2) strengthened his earthly ministry, and then 3) then confirms that it all really happened; reality and hope coming into a broken world.

Romans 8:11 – the same Spirit that was in Christ is at work in you.

Matthew 1:20-21 – Hope clearly points to Jesus Christ.
The dream and the angel. 1) we see harmony here, two separate visitations; to Mary then to Joseph, God has this, it is all about Jesus, 2) we see Joseph addressed as Son of David, the connection is simple, the line through Joseph leads to the Messiah, 3) we see his name is called Yeshua, meaning salvation.

Matthew 1:22-23 – Hope defines our journey of faith.
All this took place, all what? These facts or statements in the text, yes, but all the prophecies were to fulfill the coming of Emmanuel. God with Us. We live our life today, taking God with us, we are on mission, we promote and embrace M3. Jesus is fulfilling every part of the prophetic message. He will build a kingdom forever, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, that comes through David and points to Jesus, and we are a part of the kingdom coming in the lives of others.

In the beginning of Matthew, we have “Emmanuel, God with Us,” then at the end of his gospel we read, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age.” Matthew begins and ends his book with hope. The Ravi Zachariah’s story of Stacey traveling overseas, the man was the doctor that delivered her and would make sure she arrived home safely to her family.

Matthew 1:24-25 – Hope calls us to true obedience.
Joseph did as the angel told him. He married her and kept her pure until she gave birth. He went from “I’ll handle this” in his own strength to submission to God’s will, plan, and timetable. Hope is the certainty of God when we can’t see what’s next.

Life Group Questions for December 5

  1. What are some tabloid headlines this week? Who’s been in the grocery store line to read the covers?
    1. Why is our society so drawn to gossip and scandal? In this day and age, does the story need to be true?
    2. How do people typically react when facing an embarrassing situation?
  2. What are two positive qualities about your mom and dad that come to mind when you think back to your childhood?
    1. What do you know about your parents’ courtship?
    2. How did your parents pick your name? Who’s got a story?
  3. Had you been Mary, what would have first popped into your mind?
    1. What did Joseph initially think when he heard the news (Matthew 1:19)?
    2. How would you have felt if you were in Joseph’s place?
    3. Had this couple been in our church, how would our congregation have handled this awkward situation?
    4. How do you think the “grapevine” would have treated Mary and Joseph?
    5. How does it feel to be the victim of unsubstantiated rumors? When people attack your character and you know that you are innocent?
    6. Did the incidents in this passage likely strain or strengthen their marriage relationship?
  4. The passage tells us that Emmanuel is “God with us.” When did Jesus become a warm person to you, not just a character found in the pages of the Bible?
    1. How have you recently experience Jesus as Emmanuel? Who has a story?
    2. We all seek meaning and purpose in life, what does this passage say about the purpose of the incarnation (Matthew 1:21)?
  5. What do you learn about faith from Joseph?
  6. How will you respond the next time someone begins to tell you a juicy bit of gossip?
  7. Ken’s message was all about HOPE, 1) that it is from God, 2) points clearly to Jesus, 3) defines our journey of faith, and 4) calls us to true obedience.
    1. Where are you on this journey? 1) just starting, 2) at a rest stop, 3) on the shoulder with a flat, 4) nearing your destination, 5) not even packed, 6) somewhere else?
    2. What difficult, hard-to-swallow command of God do you need to obey today?
    3. What makes obedience so difficult?
    4. Who has a story about a time you stepped out in faith and God came through and made quite a difference in your life, or the life of someone else.