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December 21, 2021 3:00 am
The message of everywhere Christmas from ornaments to ports on but just because we see it doesn't mean we haven't today on Truth for Life.
Alastair Begg explains the predicament. All of us are, and how peace can become a reality in our lives. I turn to Isaiah chapter 9.
I will read from verse one through to the end of verse seven. Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past, he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor and honor Galilee of the Gentiles by way of the sea along the Jordan, the people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increase their joy.
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest as men rejoice when dividing the plunder for what is in the day of Midian's defeat. You have shattered the yoke that burdens them the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warriors boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning will be fuel for the fire fertilizer child is born to his son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Thanks be to God for his word. We pray now before we look at the Bible become humbly to living God.
Thanking you for your living Word, the Bible and praying that the work of the Holy Spirit now will so take that which is off yourself and introduce it to us as we think about things in a way that is rational and life-changing. Only you can accomplish this to you alone we look, and we pray in Christ name, amen.
While each day has some of you will know the Wall Street Journal carries a summary of the news right on his first front page is very helpful if you don't have much time at all you can very quickly in the course of about 1/3 of a cup of coffee. Find out exactly what's going on, at least according to the Wall Street in terms of business and finance and then in terms of the world in general.
This is the half a cup of coffee's introduction to the world that was provided for us Friday, December 28. Just a couple of days ago.
If you sat down in the morning, took your paper.
This is what you were confronted with Pakistan's ex-Premier Bhutto was assassinated, sparking riots, US forces in Iraq sees two men possibly linked to the capture of three American soldiers earlier this year and he killed 22 in the process of doing so is Israeli and Pakistani Palestinian leaders agreed to put aside a dispute over a certain kind of construction in a Jerusalem neighborhood but at the same time, an Israeli airstrike killed six militants in Gaza. North Korea continues to make a shambles of his nuclear arms program is not what it says is my interpretation.
Sorry I'm not supposed to editorialize to Russian officers were convicted by a military court of killing three construction workers can use presidential vote went off fairly well despite violence and allegations of vote-rigging at Sri Lanka's military said his jets destroy the Tamil Tigers. The infantry killed 66 rebels and 14 government troops Hindu extremist torch churches and Christian set fire to the homes belonging to Hindus.
France asked Chad to hand over six French workers as they were stealing little children from the Central African Republic newly involved in the sex trade in Indian easy. Other toll road 87 dead or missing as a result of the landslide and the San Francisco zoo's director said a tiger that killed a teenager and mauled two other men probably jumped over the wall of its pan that was below the recommended height just a routine Friday with your newspaper, allowing us to conclude that the Bible is very very accurate when it lets us know that the world today knows no second piece the world today knows no second piece and fight we would be pretty accurate in acknowledging that not a lot has changed since the time of Isaiah's prophecy which we have just read from the ninth chapter because it is there in the fifth verse that Isaiah says he anticipates the boots of the warriors and the garments that are rolled in blood.
Being destined for burning and being made as fuel for the fire and in the context of war and depression. He focuses on the coming Messiah. All the bits and pieces of war he says will eventually be irrelevant be rolled up and put away and then he tells us why it is an amazing statement. He says for you. I was a child is born in the son is given. In other words, the answer to everything that is going on and will go on is directly tied to the birth of a baby just any baby, but this particular baby.
The baby who has forename's wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father and our name this morning. Prince of peace and fight. If we summarize what Isaiah provides us with in these verses. It is simply this, he says a child is born, that child is the Prince of peace.
And if we would have peace. It is to that child. We must go child is born is the Prince of peace and there is no peace except that which is found in him is if you get it is quite staggering claim.
I thought about it this week when I was listening to folks talking on one of the programs concerning the the death of Benazir Bhutto and of the newsletter come out at that point is I was listening to it that the government of Pakistan were actually suggesting that she had not been killed by shrapnel or by a bullet that she had actually died as a result of the explosion causing her to fall and hit her head on the open roof of the vehicle in which he was traveling and one of the commentators is particularly conservative set actually I believe that the reason I believe it he says is because it is so implausible. Why would a government of all the stories and could invent invent a story such as that the P would say all, and in many ways people are on the fringes of Christianity were wondering about the Bible who are not sure what it says may feel the very same way about a claim like this you actually suggesting is the Bible really say that the answer to the dilemma of man that the issues of our enmity with God and with one another are found in the birth of a baby albeit a baby was being given forename's.
While this particular name, Prince of peace is our focus for this morning and I think it has the most curbside appeal of the four. If you are putting something up to speak on. I think you may get more reaction from this than from any of the other three.
Certainly when I mentioned it to someone in Starbucks a couple weeks ago inviting them to come to the services this morning and I told him that we would be addressing the question of the Prince of peace. It had an immediate reaction. I'm not coming know it had and had their reaction was always very interesting. I don't know if you're here, but if they are can talk later because a desire for peace among the nations is more than matched by a sincere desire to live at peace with each other. Enmity is ugly as distasteful is not nice is not enjoyable and nobody really likes being in a bad mood and aggravating everybody for the entire day and I may hit a little too close to home for some of you are enjoying the Christmas celebrations together, but the fact is we know the importance of harmony amongst one another and we know the absolute necessity of peace within ourselves.
Peace within ourselves and fight at tranquility on the outside may simply disguise the raging torment that is going within us because strife and disharmony in futility and decay are undeniably part of the fabric of our lives is not nice to observe but it is honest to observe and it is equally accurate. But despite man's ability to accumulate stuff despite his progress in knowledge both in the Psalms, and since the sounds that sense of frustration and alienation which men and women are forced to acknowledge is not answered by a trip to the mall is not answered by a Masters degree is not answered by anything that holds out hope to us, know you don't have to be big books to figure this studio. It comes at us in all kinds of ways it comes to resin the monologues of the comedians and in the little bits and pieces the right George Carlin whom I will surely get a letter for recording from the pulpit by George Carlin somewhat humorously and relatively sarcastically writes as follows. We've cleaned up the air but polluted the soul with conquered the action but not our prejudice, we write more but learned last week plan more. We accomplish less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion big man in small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. The days of two incomes, but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window.
Nothing in the stock room, a time when technology can bring this letter to you at the time when you can choose either to share this insight or just a hit delete, and of course he's right, Disney particularly brilliant.
This is an observation of what each of us if we are honest has to face up to David Wells commenting on contemporary culture describes the human spirit, sagging beneath the burden of emptiness, sagging beneath the burden of emptiness and again this is not something that is unique to the 21st century for all can see that wise men die. The foolish and the senseless alike parish in and I is a PhD or you can die as a dimwit but you will still die. That's what he say you can die with a tremendous bank balance. Or you can die with zero you still die and their tombs will remain in their houses forever, and their dwellings for endless generations. Though they had named lands after themselves. Rhodesia sets all roads as a result of his business and political acumen has a nation named after him. Unfortunately, it's not a for his heritage. Zimbabwe and he's long gone and we will be to the preacher who writes in the very heart of our Bibles and a book called Ecclesiastes describes his own tortured sandwich for peace and for contentment in these honest enough to say that he conducted it without reference to God. He tried to unscramble the riddle of life by simply looking under the sun. He took what was here in what was now in what was available and he said now perhaps in these things I will be able to find peace. And if you read it for yourself, you will discover that wisdom left him frustrated and restless work made him tired and angry. Leisure caused him pain and stuff just made him sick and set he lived the American dream long before there was an America and told us it was a dead-end street, but nobody wanted to believe that then unfriendly. Nobody wants to believe it. Now because of where if we're honest about it, the living of our lives even on our best days is actually an attempt to make the best of a bad job. I know that doesn't sound very positive but I think it's true, again, David Wells in a purple pass. He says we face a relational disjuncture so substantial and complete as to leave as disorientated and caught in the coils of painful futility disorientated and caught. Let's just leave it there. Not sure where were going not too happy about where we've been. That's why you see this name has such appeal doesn't.
Who is this Prince of peace. A Prince of peace.
Someone who is himself. Peace. Someone who is achieved peace. Someone who in knowing him becomes our very peace.
I'd like to suggest to you in the balance of our time that there are essentially only two reactions and I know this seems simplistic but I think it's I think I could substantiated. There are really really only two honest reactions to the human predicament and I want to summarize them both in a lyric from the grandfathers of rock 'n' roll, Lennon and McCartney either.
Men and women look around them at this relational disjuncture. This enmity is fighting this feuding this internal psychological may have and they say we can work it out or they say help I need somebody not just anybody. First of all, then the reaction of man that simply says I know things are not the way they ought to be, but I can fix this myself.
After all, I am an individual. I have intelligence I have resources or whatever it might be and from this perspective, the individual doesn't usually want to deny that their life is not exactly a rose garden picture-perfect the same time, the probably unprepared to admit that their lives are more like a jungle, but he may be honest enough to say I know that my life is often untidy. It's sometimes ugly, and it is frequently painful.
But don't worry I'll take care of it. Worry we can work it out in 1985 professor at Berkeley, wrote a book which was phenomenally successful entitled habits of the heart Prof. Robert Bella and in that book, he sought to chronicle the American experience in the 80s as a search for community and security, and spirituality. And I thought about it this week. I remembered it and I went looking for a particular quote which I was able to find it concerns one of the characters he interviews in the book name is Sheila Larson. She is a nurse and in the course of talking with her. This is what Sheila said. I believe in God. I'm not a religious fanatic. I can remember the last time I went to church. My faith has carried me a long way, it's Sheila-ism just my own little voice how perfect you got the whole thing without even leaving your bathroom all therefore you all you have to do is look inside Sheila, what you see says Bella. Commenting on this we must consider how it came about that Sheila-ism somehow seems a perfectly natural expression of current American religious life and we need to examine what that tells us about the role of religion in the United States today. I'm not sure that even as bright as he is. He could have anticipated the development of Sheila-ism so you can meet people all the time and in the strangest places will tell you that they're actually finding answers and all by looking within their finding answers, not as a result of discovering truth which is objective and verifiable, but as a result of discovering truths, not as it is not as as a result of disdaining the sacred and buying the secular, but if searching for this apron and finding the sacred in the strangest of places and combining end and amalgamating it and putting it into a nice little part of June which is perfect for all the Sheila's of the world, and as long as his individual benefits from this kind of quest has some kind of therapeutic or psychological value makes them feel quoted piece and of course are happy to continue looking within soon as the volume slides in the loop somewhere else. I don't want to belabor this you can think it out for yourself. You can say you're full of hot air.
Or you can say I think you probably have a point there.
I have noticed that if in others. If not in myself. There is a strong strain all of we are in a dreadful mess, but we can work it out. Life is very short and there is no time for fussing and fighting my friends always thought that is a crime, but we can work the other alternative. And I think there are really only two. They all pulled into these two facts. The other terms of this the person who finally says help I need somebody and not just anybody, I would have to look beyond myself because I looked in, and frankly the end that is in ought to be out and I can get it out and I read a lot, and I've thought a lot and I know that I must be looking for someone I must be looking. I wouldn't be on myself instead of reaching in and reaching down is where to search inside of me. I wonder, is there someone who comes from outside of me and has the answer to my dilemma will of course that's the message of the Bible is instead of man.
Finding God is the account of God finding man for unto us.
As a result of God's initiative. A child is born, and a son is given in this son is the Prince of peace. No. Clearly, this piece is something more than just the absence of warfare, or even the presence of an inner sense of tranquility or well-being or the enjoyment of harmony amongst those who were previously feuding. All of those things are inevitably limited in their generation that has been no lasting peace.
Since the Garden of Eden. Is there someone help his or somebody not just anybody actually this piece of which we read is an eternal peace. That's what it says in verse seven of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. While if there is a piece that is eternal and if not peace is found in this Messiah. This wonderful counselor. How does all that work. How do you get from a phrase, Prince of peace to the experience of peace within a life within a home within a nation within a world within the universe. God has come in the person of the sprints we are to expect that he has accomplished what he set out to do and that is exactly what the Bible tells us real peace and everlasting peace is found in Jesus listening to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life. Alastair will continue on this topic tomorrow here at Truth for Life teaching God's word is at the heart of everything we do in Scripture regularly points us to Jesus. So our mission here is simple to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance so that those who listen will come to know Jesus as both friend and Savior only in a personal relationship with him in our lives. We transformed and can we find the peace for which we hunger if you listen to Truth for Life regularly you know that in addition to teaching the Bible. We also love recommending great books that will encourage you to grow in your faith. The book we want to recommend to you today is a book that will help you in your prayer life. It's titled piercing heaven prayers of the Puritans. This is a collection of prayers written by more than two dozen Puritan authors. The language in the book has been slightly updated to easily make the words of the authors your own because the Puritans saw the value of praying God's word back to him. Many of these prayers contain Scripture verses and as you read them and recite them.
You'll be reminded of God's promises and his commands request your copy of piercing heaven.
When you give a gift to support the teaching you hear on this program online giving is easy, quick, visit our website Truth for Life.org/donate and then click the book image in the Truth for Life mobile app if you like to hear more of our series titled a child is born you can own all seven messages in this study impact are available on a single USB titled the miracle of Christmas. This special collection includes eight of Alister's Christmas series. Each short series examines a different aspect of the Christmas story find the miracle of Christmas on our website Truth for Life.org/store. It's just five dollars and the shipping is free. I'm Bob Lapine.
The Bible tells us that unto us a child is born words that are at the heart of Christmas question is have those words penetrated and transform your heart. Listen tomorrow to learn how following Jesus is what brings everlasting Bible teaching of Alister Beck is furnished by crude or Learning is for Living