Episode 4
|
19 December 2022

Advent | Peace

Peace has arrived! Through Jesus, what was broken in your life can be restored.

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well Advent means
0:05
arrival
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it's a season of preparation both for
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the birth of Jesus and for his coming
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again and in the northern hemisphere
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it's also a season of great darkness
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which not sure if you knew this this is
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why we celebrate Jesus's birth when we
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do it's not because he was born on
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December 25th it's because his birth
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signifies that into great Darkness
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a light has shined
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and so traditionally the Advent season
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is celebrated by the lighting of four
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candles that represent four themes of
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God's light
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hope love joy and peace and for today
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we're going to focus on
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peace my objective for our time today is
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to explain how the Advent of Peace means
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that what was broken by sin has been
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restored through Jesus
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now when we talk about peace we usually
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are referring to an absence of War or
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conflict but the word most often
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translated to peace in the Old Testament
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is the word Shalom which actually means
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something closer to whole or complete
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and so in the Old Testament we see the
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word Shalom used to refer to a stone
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without any cracks or blemishes we also
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see it referred to a flock of sheep with
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none missing it can also be used
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to describe one's own personal
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well-being
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the idea is that shum can mean an
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absence of conflict but it also implies
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something better in its place
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so when we use Shalom as a verb it means
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to bring wholeness or completeness to
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something that's been broken or is
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incomplete which is why when Solomon
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finishes building the Temple he says
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that he brings Shalom to it that's why
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if you or I were to break something that
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belonged to someone else the law of
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Moses would say that we could make
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Shalom with the person whose thing we
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broke by giving a full repayment
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it's also why in Proverbs it says that
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to bring healing to a broken
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relationship is to bring Shalom to it
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the idea of making Shalom or bringing
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Shalom is more than just ending the
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fighting it's also about working
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together for each other's benefit this
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is what the Kings of Israel were called
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to do and were supposed to do but failed
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pretty miserably to do
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and so at the end of the Old Testament
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the prophet Isaiah starts to talk about
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a prince of peace who is coming it's
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it's a future king who will come and
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whose reign of Shalom will have no end
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this is how he writes it
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he says
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for to us a child is born
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to us a son is given and the government
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will be on his shoulders and he will be
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called wonderful counselor Mighty God
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Everlasting father Prince
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peace
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and of the greatness of his government
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and peace there will be no end
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this prophecy is why when the Angels
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proclaimed on the night that Jesus was
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born to the Shepherds who were watching
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their fields by night they proclaimed
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this
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glory to God in the highest heaven and
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on Earth peace
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to those on whom his favor rests and
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this claim from the angels that night
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came to fruition in Jesus life
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throughout his life he brought healing
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and restoration to the broken and the
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marginalized and then at the end of his
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life one of the last things Jesus said
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was my peace I leave you my peace I give
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you
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than the first century the apostles
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write that Jesus not only gives us his
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peace he made peace between God and
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humans
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see sin had done something to our
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Humanity he had he had left us like a
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stone with a crack in it like a blemish
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and it left us like a flock of sheep
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with many missing
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and so just like a full repayment can
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make peace when you've ruined something
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that belongs to someone else the
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apostles write that Jesus's death and
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Resurrection made peace between humans
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and their creator because he was the
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full repayment
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he went after the lost sheep he healed
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what had been broken by sin so Paul says
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Jesus himself is our peace and then
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later he writes this the god reconciled
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to himself all things whether things on
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earth or things in Heaven by making
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peace through Jesus's blood shed on the
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cross Jesus is peace
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is a gift
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and the proper response to anyone who
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receives that gift
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is to go and share that peace with
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others or as Paul instructs make every
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effort to keep the unity of the spirit
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through the bond of peace
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the idea is this that
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that Jesus's death and Resurrection
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doesn't just make peace between us and
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God but when we respond appropriately to
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it it makes peace between one another as
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well because we have unity in our need
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for Jesus to make us whole both
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internally
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but also with each other this is the
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rich biblical concept of peace
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and it's this concept that the song we
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just sang oh little town of Bethlehem
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captures so well
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the song title is a little Unbecoming
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okay oh little town of Bethlehem it
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makes you think that the song's about
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this quaint town where Jesus was born
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oh that's true there are some deep
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biblical truths underlying in the lyrics
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to this song we sing this in verse one
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yet in thy dark streets shineth the
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Everlasting Light
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the hopes and fears of all the years
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are met in thee tonight
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has Christmas ever felt a little more
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dark than you expected it would
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has has this season ever been marked by
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unmet hopes
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fear
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have you ever wondered why you feel
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broken and disconnected and you look
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around and everyone else seems to be
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full of joy and peace their families are
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all together and
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what's going on
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with me
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the song reminds us the darkness
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just as much a part of the Season
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hopelessness fear for many of us is just
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as much a part of the Christmas season
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as love and joy and peace
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and we don't we don't put that on our
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cards that we send out we don't have a
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little figure for darkness in our
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nativity scenes but it's there right
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kind of just lurks
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in the background
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the song encourages us because the night
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that Jesus was born the Streets of
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Bethlehem were dark
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This song reminds us and and encourages
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us that when the road ahead in our lives
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seems dark we can bring our hopes and
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our fears into God's Everlasting Light
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and we can be confident that it will be
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met with the peace of God
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that's his gift
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and so in verse verse 3 we sing how
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silently how silently this wondrous gift
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is given
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now how silently is referring to the
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subtle nature of God's arrival on Earth
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and not the volume of that night okay
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because well there is much joy in the
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birth of a child there is nothing silent
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about childbirth right there's much pain
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and commotion and this was in a barn in
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the first century so it was probably a
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pretty chaotic night at least for part
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of it
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and yet the birth of this child
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symbolized the Prince of Peace was here
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the one who would come and make peace
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between God and Humanity had arrived
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this song is playing on our assumptions
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about what true peace is silent wondrous
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subtle
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and then we sing this
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so God imparts to human hearts the
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blessings of his Heaven this is true
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shalom
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the wholeness of Heaven given freely to
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any who would receive it the birth of
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Jesus symbolized that what was broken
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in the world was beginning to be healed
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that our
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it was broken in our human hearts was
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was going to be made
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complete
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the end of this first thing goes like
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this no ear may hear his coming
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but in this world of sin
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where Meek Souls will receive him still
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the dear Christ enters in
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did you notice before today that
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darkness and sin are like key themes of
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the song O Little Town of Bethlehem of
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all songs right
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if you've been tracking with the series
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we've been highlighting verses from old
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Christmas hymns every week and we've
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been showing that consistently sin and
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Satan seem to be themes of these songs
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and while the while the references may
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seem dark they remind us of the true
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meaning of the Advent season that into
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great Darkness
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a light has shined
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so why are sin and Satan a part of these
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Christmas carols
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I think it's because what John said that
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the reason the Son of God appeared
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was to destroy the devil's work
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which for me just brings up the question
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so what was the devil's work that needed
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to be destroyed
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in order to answer that we've got to go
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all the way back to Genesis 3 Adam and
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Eve the first two humans had one rule
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don't eat from this one tree in the
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middle of the garden
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and almost immediately Satan began to
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deceive Eve first
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he says sir did did God really say
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you can't eat from any tree in the
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garden you sure you sure that's what he
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said
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and the serpent convinces Eve that her
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religious convictions are holding her
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back
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God's actually holding out on her and if
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she would just give up all these
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religious commitments she's made she
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would enjoy life for real all she's got
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to do is rebel against her Creator and
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when Adam and Eve
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believe that lie
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they got
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exactly what they wanted
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they got a taste of the forbidden
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and then they got a whole bunch of stuff
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they never ever wanted
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first they got shame
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and in their shame they hid from God
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and then God delivered the consequences
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for sin this is what he says in Genesis
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these are the consequences that
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relationships from now on are going to
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be full of conflict and life will be
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full of toil and Thorns will come up
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from the ground and death will come
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to all living things and he took the
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hide of an animal and he covered Adam
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and Eve's nakedness as a way to show
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that someone else's life can cover their
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sin
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and in the midst of the mess of this
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scene in Genesis we're given this
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strange Ray of Hope in Genesis 3 15 when
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God turns to The Serpent and says I will
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put enmity between you and the woman and
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between your Offspring and hers he will
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crush your head and you will strike
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his heel
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this is the first reference in all of
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scripture that Jesus is coming
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while the stench of their sin is still
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in the air
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God doesn't keep on more condemnation
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he delivers the consequences and then he
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says but I'm sending a rescuer and The
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Rescuer is going to be an offspring of
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this woman and he is going to crush the
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head of the one who deceived you the
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hope in Genesis 3 is that a king will
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come and crush the power of evil and
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will crush the power of sin and darkness
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and will bring life and we'll bring hope
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and John takes that imagery and he says
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the reason the Son of God appeared was
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to destroy the devil's work
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and how did he destroy the devil's work
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not by perpetuating violence
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by taking violence on himself and
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refusing to give it back
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he absorbed in a sense the sins of all
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mankind
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and so
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the
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the conflict that we've been plagued by
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as Humanity ever since Genesis 3 it
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landed on him as his own people rejected
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him
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the Thorns that grew up as a result of
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our Rebellion were Twisted into a crown
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and placed on his head on the cross and
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the death that came to all living things
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came to him as well as Paul says God
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made him who had no sin to be sin for us
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so that in him we might become the
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righteousness of God
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Jesus took our sin
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our Rebellion our rejection our
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Disobedience our debt he took it on
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himself and then he rose Victorious
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because his payment was
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sufficient
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whereas the prophet Isaiah is so
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poetically put he was pierced for our
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transgressions
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he was crushed for our iniquities the
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punishment that brought us peace was on
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him the punishment that brought us
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wholeness
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was on him and by his roots
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we are healed by his wounds we are made
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complete Jesus was God's way of dealing
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with sin and the peace we celebrate
13:56
during the Advent season is about more
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than just the absence of conflict or War
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it's about
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something better in its place
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because look the arrival of God's peace
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means that what was broken by sin has
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been restored through the blood of Jesus
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which is why in verse 4 of a little town
14:14
of Bethlehem we sing a simple prayer
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for God to come
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and rest his peace
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on us
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and in us check out these lyrics so holy
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child of Bethlehem to send us we pray
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cast out our sin
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and enter in
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be born in US today
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the call for Humanity
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put our trust in Jesus
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to receive his peace and allow it to
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make us whole
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and complete to experience and receive
14:54
shalom
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have you received the peace of God
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today
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now maybe receiving God's peace is
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difficult for you
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perhaps some pain or hardship in your
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life either in the past or or right now
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is feels like this roadblock
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it's like I know I understand the
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concept of some sort of Peace in God but
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but there's something blocking me from
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ever like actually experiencing it
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have you ever felt like that
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have you ever felt like why am I going
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through this
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why is God allowed this to remain in my
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life and if you would just take that
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away maybe then I would be able to
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experience this peace but I can't
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because this thing is in the way
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if I'm honest I've felt that way
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recently too
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this Thanksgiving I spent uh
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Thanksgiving Day in the hospital with my
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three-year-old son
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we took him to the ER on the Wednesday
15:51
before
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and he didn't come home till Sunday and
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a lot of people have been asking he's
15:57
doing great he's doing fine he's totally
15:59
back he bouncing kids bounce back fast
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but I'll tell you what those first two
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days
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as as the treatments were intensifying
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they're like adding more tubes and more
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medicine and he's not getting better
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man it was Thanksgiving I'm trying to be
16:15
thankful but I'm sitting there thinking
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God what are you doing
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like I'm laying next to him in his bed
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and his fever is growing and he looks
16:23
sick and he's sweating and I'm like God
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where are you like when are you going to
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do something about this he's only three
16:29
like give it to me something
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have you ever wondered why there's pain
16:35
in the midst of your story
16:37
because I think one of the biggest
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reasons why we struggle to receive God's
16:41
peace or share it with others
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is because
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like how am I supposed to bring
16:46
wholeness to someone else when I feel so
16:49
hopelessly broken
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Church
16:55
this is why Jesus came
17:00
because God had a plan to work his
17:03
purposes through our pain and not just
17:05
through our pain but in our pain as well
17:11
one of the best examples for me of this
17:14
of of how God works his purposes in in
17:17
our pain is actually interestingly
17:19
enough that the history of the synagogue
17:23
so in the Old Testament
17:25
the main place for Jewish worship was
17:28
the temple in Jerusalem and people would
17:30
travel sometimes for days with their
17:31
sacrifices to make sacrifices in the
17:33
temple in Jerusalem and these sacrifices
17:35
were a representation of the blood of
17:38
this animal making peace between people
17:40
and God covering their sins like God did
17:42
when he covered Adam and Eve in the
17:44
garden
17:45
so these these sacrifices were us were a
17:48
reminder that death is a consequence of
17:50
sin and just the whole cost and
17:52
inconvenience of the whole process was
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meant to deter people from disobeying
17:56
God well the people of Israel continued
17:58
in their Disobedience and So eventually
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God allowed them to be taken into Exile
18:01
in Babylon and the temple of God in
18:04
Jerusalem was destroyed
18:06
and when the temple was destroyed the
18:08
people of Israel began to wonder like
18:10
how do we worship now that that's gone
18:14
so while in Exile
18:16
there's this
18:18
new appreciation from the Jewish people
18:21
for the word of God
18:25
people started to gather together in
18:26
homes and in various places and study
18:29
the law of Moses and the words of the
18:31
pros prophets and eventually the people
18:33
go back to the land they were taking
18:35
from and they rebuild the Temple but
18:37
this this concept of gathering together
18:40
to study God's word had taken root in
18:43
their in their culture and so wherever
18:45
the people of Israel scattered to they
18:49
would get together and they would form
18:51
these groups of people that would
18:54
study God's word and they called the
18:55
places where they would gather
18:57
synagogues
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in a season of tremendous pain in the
19:03
history of Israel they started to find
19:04
unity and Community around
19:07
studying God's word and what's
19:09
fascinating then is that after Jesus
19:10
died and Rose the apostles took the
19:13
message of Jesus the gospel to the
19:15
entire known world
19:17
they were taking the message that Jesus
19:19
had risen from the dead and God had made
19:21
peace between between Mankind and
19:23
himself through the blood of Jesus on
19:25
the cross and then they would take the
19:28
gospel of peace to a new town or Village
19:30
do you know where they would go first
19:32
they would go to the synagogue
19:35
where people
19:36
were gathering together to talk about
19:38
the law of Moses there was this unique
19:40
moment in history where wherever they
19:42
would travel there were already people
19:44
talking about
19:46
God's word and so Paul writes this the
19:48
the law was our Guardian until Christ
19:51
came that we may be justified by faith
19:53
now that this faith has come we are no
19:56
longer under a guardian what he's saying
19:57
is that the Old Testament the law the
20:00
prophets all that history of the
20:02
relationship between Israel and God
20:04
that was all meant to be like a a
20:06
guardian or like a tutor to lead you to
20:09
Jesus
20:13
and when they would show up in these
20:14
towns and they would see people
20:15
discussing the law of Moses they'd be
20:17
like yes yes all that
20:20
that's meant to lead you to Jesus and
20:22
he's come and he's died and he's risen
20:26
and he fulfilled it all and you can put
20:29
your trust in him and be saved
20:35
synagogues
20:37
came out of a season of tremendous pain
20:39
in the history of Israel and yet God
20:41
used it to expand the glory of his son
20:45
here's how this can be encouraging for
20:47
you and me
20:49
peace has been a struggle for you
20:53
pain in your life hardship
20:55
the history of the synagogue is a
20:57
reminder that God is working his
20:59
purposes even in the midst of our pain
21:03
don't let pain be a reason you don't
21:05
receive the peace of God this Advent
21:09
season this Christmas season in fact
21:11
sometimes the circumstances of our pain
21:14
are allowed to remain in order to be a
21:17
tutor that leads us to find our peace
21:21
in Jesus not an absence of conflict per
21:24
se but but wholeness
21:27
it's what's been broken in US
21:31
Jesus came to bring peace
21:34
and through his life death and
21:35
Resurrection he has forgiven us our sins
21:36
and he's begun the healing process for
21:38
all of what sin has broken in our world
21:41
Jesus himself is our peace
21:49
this Thanksgiving
21:51
as I
21:53
as I was sitting in the hospital
22:00
I had to receive peace from others
22:04
as a pastor I'm often called to come and
22:06
meet with people in their their darkest
22:08
moments
22:10
when peace is the hardest they need
22:11
comfort they need they need
22:13
encouragement they need just someone
22:15
there
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but this Thanksgiving I I had to I had
22:19
to receive that
22:21
I had to accept the kindness and
22:23
generosity and comfort of others and in
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the chaos and the confusion of the
22:28
hospital room I realized something that
22:30
even in my pain I realized this
22:32
personally God is working his purposes
22:40
Maybe
22:41
your next step
22:45
is to receive the peace of God
22:47
regardless of what you're going through
22:51
maybe your next step
22:54
is to extend that peace
22:55
to someone else
22:57
maybe you've received the peace of God
22:58
and your next step is to share that with
23:00
someone else to make peace in this world
23:05
making peace is really all about
23:07
participating in the life of Jesus by
23:09
bringing wholeness to where there's been
23:11
Brokenness
23:12
by bringing Unity where there's been
23:14
division
23:16
I can't think of a better example of
23:18
this than the story of Corey ten Boom
23:21
not sure if you've heard this story
23:22
before
23:23
but the tembu family lived in the
23:26
Netherlands and during World War II they
23:28
they hid nearly 800 Jews and kept them
23:31
from being arrested by the Nazi police
23:34
eventually they were turned in
23:36
and the entire 10 boom family was placed
23:38
in Nazi concentration camps after 12
23:40
days Corey was released nobody really
23:43
knows why but she was her sister was not
23:45
and her sister died in the concentration
23:48
camp in ravensbrook
23:51
after the war uh Corey wrote a book
23:54
called The Hiding Place by the way if
23:55
you haven't read it it's it's really
23:57
really powerful after the war she was
23:59
invited to come preach at a church in
24:00
1947 in Germany and she decided to
24:03
preach on
24:04
forgiveness of all things
24:07
and her message one of her lines was
24:09
this God casts our sins into the deepest
24:11
ocean gone forever
24:15
and as she preached that message she
24:16
looked out in the congregation and she
24:18
recognized a man immediately as the man
24:20
who was one of the guards at the
24:23
concentration camp in ravensbrook
24:26
after her message she says this man
24:28
approached her and with all boldness
24:31
said this
24:33
fine message
24:35
how good it is to know that as you say
24:37
all our sins are in the bottom of the
24:39
sea
24:40
you mentioned ravensburg and you talk I
24:41
was a guard in there but since that time
24:43
I've become a Christian
24:45
I know that God has forgiven me for the
24:47
cool things I did there but I would like
24:49
to hear it from your lips as well
24:51
you forgive me
24:54
he stuck his hand out for her to shake
24:57
it
25:00
what would you do in that moment
25:05
Corey talks about how she froze
25:07
absolutely froze she struggled to
25:10
implement the things she literally just
25:12
finished preaching on
25:15
then her book she writes this is
25:16
powerful
25:18
she stood there with the coldness
25:19
clutching my heart
25:21
Jesus helped me I prayed silently I can
25:24
lift my hand okay I can do that much and
25:27
so wouldn't we mechanically I thrust my
25:30
hand into the one stretched out to me
25:32
and as I did an incredible thing took
25:34
place the current started in my shoulder
25:36
it raced down my arm it sprang into our
25:38
joined hands and then this healing
25:40
warmth seemed to flood my whole being
25:42
bringing tears to my eyes
25:44
I forgive you brother I cried with all
25:48
my heart
25:49
for a long moment we grasp each other's
25:51
hands the former guard and the former
25:53
prisoner I had never known God's love so
25:57
intensely as I did
26:01
that can you imagine
26:04
it started as a cold-hearted
26:07
extension of the hand
26:10
suddenly the warmth of joy and peace if
26:12
she says in her book that she was
26:14
restored to her Heavenly Father
26:20
where might God be calling you to make
26:23
peace this Christmas season
26:27
who do you need to make peace with how
26:30
could you bring the peace of God into
26:32
this world
26:35
I don't know your situation this
26:37
Christmas season
26:38
but I know this that the Advent season
26:40
is a reminder that even in our darkest
26:43
moments God's light can shine
26:47
and if we've received the peace of God
26:49
we are called to go and share that peace
26:52
with the world to bring wholeness to
26:54
what's been broken to bring Unity where
26:56
there's been division
26:59
you may have a dark day you may have a
27:01
dark season
27:05
but know this God loves you
27:09
and if you put your trust in him even in
27:11
the darkest hours of our life
27:14
take that and he can use it
27:17
for the glory and honor of his son
27:20
let's pray
27:25
God thank you
27:27
for Jesus
27:31
thank you for the gift of peace
27:35
God may we receive it
27:39
may we receive it in our hearts the
27:42
peace that Jesus made between
27:44
you and us
27:46
and may we receive it not just to hold
27:48
on to it so it makes us feel better but
27:50
may we receive it so that we can be
27:52
filled in a way that we just overflow
27:54
your peace to the world around us God I
27:56
know that our world needs it
28:00
our families need it our workplace is
28:03
needed
28:07
so God I just pray use us
28:16
God may your peace
28:19
be bigger than just and into fighting
28:22
may it be something that brings us
28:24
together
28:25
is one in Jesus it's in his name we pray
28:28
amen
28:33
at the end of the

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