************ Sermon on Isaiah 9:6 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on December 23, 2001
"Prince of Peace"
Title: A Child Shall Lead Them
After the closest friend of Mayerly Sanchez was stabbed to death in a gang fight, she vowed to find a way to stop street killings in Colombia. She had just turned 12.
In a country where homicide by gunshot is the leading cause of death (ahead of cancer, heart failure, and accidents), the now 17-year-old Sanchez leads 100,000 children in a campaign that has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Violence has festered in Colombia for nearly four decades among paramilitary commandos, rebel guerrillas, cocaine lords, and youth gangs.
While still 12, Sanchez joined the leadership of the Colombia Children's Movement for Peace. The movement provides kids with the tools to promote nonviolence to their peers and to their elected officials. In October 1996, the movement sponsored a poll in which 2.7 million Colombian children selected peace as their top priority. This inspired more than 10 million adults to vote in favor of a similar Citizen's Mandate for Peace, Life, and Freedom a year later -- the largest number of votes ever cast for an initiative in Colombia.
At the same time, the movement pushed the government to establish "peace zones," where paramilitary squads and guerrillas are prohibited from using children in their conflicts.
--Christianity Today, December 1, 2001
Or, consider this news item taken from the newspaper in the years 1988 and 1993.
Topic: Prince of Peace
Title: Abie Nathan
Abie Nathan is leading a new children's crusade! Nathan, who operates a pirate radio station aboard his "Peace Ship" in the Mediterranean, has promised to give a scroll with the biblical quotation from Isaiah, "And they shall not learn war any more...," to any child who smashes his military toys. He has also offered to buy the complete stock of war toys from any store which agrees not to sell them in the future.
In December of 1993 Abie announced that the ship and radio station "The Voice of Peace", which has been beaming programs from the Mediterranean Sea for 21 years, will be intentionally sunk. He has decided to shut down his radio station because of the peace agreement between Israel and the PLO.
We may admire Mayerly's work and Nathan's optimism. But, as recent events in Israel and Afghanistan show, there still is no peace on our present sin-filled earth.
Finally, I want you to consider the attempts of Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, to promote world peace. He established the Goodwill Games. Four years ago he announced his intention to give one billion dollars to the work of the United Nations. And, he promoted a competition to find a book that gave a workable plan for world peace.
Topic: PeaceTed Turner forgot to read one manuscript – the Bible! The competition was a bust because Ted Turner did not read the manuscript about the Prince of Peace. For, it is only the Prince of Peace who can bring about the lasting peace that Mayerly Sanchez, Abie Nathan, and Ted Turner are looking for.
In August 1993 Ted Turner announced to a gathering of contributors to CNN that the competition was a bust. "With 10,000 manuscripts, we did not have one plausible treatise on how we could get to a sustainable, peaceful future," Turner told the gathering.
-- The Columbus Dispatch, 5-10-93, p. 2B
One of the names that Isaiah gives to the Messiah is "Prince of Peace." How this name must have stirred the hearts and minds of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Don't forget, Isaiah spoke at a time when there was little peace. We are told that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, had joined forces to fight against Jerusalem (Is 7:1). It was a time of bloodshed and turmoil and invading armies. But there will come a Messiah, says Isaiah, who is the Prince of Peace.
(Is 9:5, 7) Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire ... (6) And he will be called ... Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end ...
What does this name mean? What does Isaiah have in mind? In the Hebrew the word for peace is "Shalom." It means more than an absence of strife and war. "Shalom" means completeness, wholeness, harmony, and fulfillment.
I Need for Peace
A As we look at the world in which we live it should be obvious to all that "shalom" is desperately needed because of man's fall into sin. Because of the fall there is a lack of harmony, wholeness, completeness, and fulfillment almost everywhere that we look. Because of the fall man lacks shalom within himself, with his fellow man, with creation, and with God.
B First, on account of sin man lacks peace with and in himself. For instance, who among us is not filled with insecurities? Who among us is not filled with self-doubt at times? Who among us does not have moments of self-loathing? Who among us does not have times without a healthy self-image – either thinking too much or too little of ourselves? Like the Apostle Paul we who are born-again believers are forced to live with the tension of wanting to do good but instead doing evil. And, look at the many imperfections that can happen within anyone of us: cancer, disabilities, heart disease, and so on. Can there be any doubt that many times within ourselves we are without peace, without shalom (cf Rom 2:15; Rom 7:7-25)?
C Second, on account of sin man lacks shalom with his fellow man. Wherever we look in this world and in this life we can find jealousy, covetousness, envy, adultery, hatred, theft, murder, gossip, and the like. Because of such sins men fight and quarrel with each other (cf James 4), husbands and wives get divorced, parents and children are estranged, and nations wage war on each other. On account of such sins men are divided from each other in terms of language, race, ethnic background, sex, and social standing (cf Gen 11:1-9; Gal 3:28; Eph 2:11ff). Behind our prison walls are men who have raped, murdered, and abused fellow human beings. Who can forget the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center? Can there be any doubt of man's hatred toward man? Can there be any doubt of a lack of shalom between and among men?
D Third, on account of sin man lacks shalom with the creation. When created, man found himself in a garden. There, in the garden, there was harmony between him and his God-appointed work place. But after the Fall the ground became cursed: it opposes man instead of helping him; it produces thorns, thistles, and weeds rather than crops; the gentle rain so necessary for life sometimes comes in the form of tornadoes and hurricanes or doesn't come at all; wild beasts regard man as an enemy rather than as a friend (cf Gen 2 & 3). Right now we see a world that is badly messed up because of man: toxic wastes, acid rain, nuclear wastes, PCBs, deforestation of the Amazon, extinction of whole species of plant and animal life, water pollution, oil spills, global warming, a mounting garbage and land-fill crisis.
E Finally, on account of sin man especially lacks shalom with God. Man's natural, sinful state is one of enmity with God; he hates and disobeys God. Since sinful man cannot bear to be in the presence of the holy God, he flees from God, he is separated and alienated and exiled from God. We see this already when our first parents, Adam and Eve, hid from God's presence and later were driven from God's presence in the garden. And, later in Genesis we read:
(Gen 6:5-6) The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (6) The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.On account of this sin there is enmity, not shalom, between God and man (cf Rom 5:1).
II The Messiah Brings Peace
A The good news of the Gospel is that Messiah Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He brings shalom into a broken world. Zechariah and Simeon, for example, expected the Christ-Child to bring peace (Lk 1:79; 2:29), the angels heralded it (2:14), the woman whose faith made her whole was told to "go in peace" (7:50), and the people sang about it on Palm Sunday when Christ entered Jerusalem (19:38). Overlooking Jerusalem, Jesus wept because she did not know what would bring her peace (19:42). In announcing His imminent departure Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you ... I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace" (Jn 14:27; 16:33).
Messiah Jesus brings peace in the four areas that I mentioned: within man, among men, with creation, and with God.
B First, the Messiah establishes peace within man. Here we think of wholeness, fullness, and well-being. Isaiah speaks of this when he says,
(Is 35:5-6) Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. (6) Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.Because of the Messiah, Isaiah can see a time when every person is whole and complete: no diseases, no sicknesses, no disabilities, no cancer, no heart-attack.
C Second, the Messiah establishes peace among men. Isaiah speaks of this too:
(Is 2:4) He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Those who have the peace, the shalom, that Isaiah speaks of, live in harmony with their neighbor.
Topic: PeaceHow could the father do this? Obviously, he got the peace, the shalom, that Isaiah speaks of in our text. Imagine that: enemies become friends and show love instead of hate.
Subtopic: Able to love
A young soldier was going off to fight in World War II against the Japanese. As his father put him on the train and waved good- bye, he turned with bitter tears and said, "If my son is killed, I hope every Jap in the world is killed!"
A year later the son was killed. Soon $10,000 in life insurance money arrived. The father did a most surprising thing with the money: he sent it to the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board and designated it for missions to the Japanese.
D Third, the Messiah establishes peace with creation. In the Messianic Kingdom man will live in harmony with God's creation. Isaiah says,
(Is 11:6-9) The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. (7) The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. (8) The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. (9) They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain ...
E Lastly, and most importantly, Messiah Jesus brings peace, shalom, between God and man. "Therefore," says Paul, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1). Imagine that: enemies of God are counted as friends of God.
III Peace Through the Messiah's Blood
A The Messiah, He is the Prince of Peace. His rule brings peace. His government knows only peace.
How? How does He establish peace? What does He do as Messiah that gives us peace within ourselves, among men, with creation, and with God?
You need to realize that in the Old Testament there are three dramatically different pictures of the Messiah. Sometimes He is presented as a Warrior King, sometimes as a Suffering Servant, and sometimes as God Himself or the Son of God. Over time, however, God's Old Testament people forgot or ignored the pictures of the Messiah as a Suffering Servant or as God Himself. The image of the Messiah they loved the most was that of Warrior King. So, by the time of Jesus, most of the Jews were looking for a Messiah Who would defeat and destroy the Roman army of occupation in Palestine. They were looking for a Messiah Who brought peace with the sword and shield, with the warrior's boot used in battle and with garments rolled in blood (Is 9:5).
B But that is not what Isaiah says. Listen, as Isaiah tells us exactly what the Messiah does to give and establish peace.
(Is 53:5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.According to Isaiah, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, brings peace by being pierced and crushed and wounded. His blood, shed on the cross, gives us peace within ourselves, with our fellowman, with creation, and with God. His blood breaks down the barriers that exist and tears down the walls that have been erected.
Messiah Jesus – call Him the Prince of Peace. In a world full of brokenness He brings shalom. In a world full of strife and bitterness He brings love. In a world full of disease and sickness He brings healing. In a world that hates and fears God He brings reconciliation.
Messiah Jesus – call Him the Prince of Peace, call Him the Prince of Shalom.
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