“ON EARTH PEACE”
1. Allow me to make but a few comments related to the birth of Jesus Christ. Only a few are needed at this time.
2. My comments will be confined to one phrase that was spoken by the angelic host who appeared to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock by night.
3. Allow me to read to you Luke 2.8-20, before focusing my attention on a single phrase in verse 14:
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
4. All of this takes place in the shepherd’s field outside the little village of Bethlehem, where Jesus had been born, probably sometime in the late afternoon.
5. It is now nighttime, Mary has recovered from her delivery, the babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, and God the Father has decided that His Son can now receive visitors.
6. So, the announcement is being made to nearby shepherds. And what an announcement is being made. As soon as the one angel has completed his grand announcement, “. . . suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” And then they left.
7. I want to comment on one thing the angelic host said, but first I want to recreate how they said it. The word “host” refers to things military. Now, I am not a musician or a choir leader, but I do know how an army, a grand host, cheers on their champion. And that’s what this, in my opinion, the great host of heaven come to cheer on their champion, their Lord, their Master, their King.
8. So, let’s all stand. And I want you boys and men to transform yourselves in your mind into a great host. Ladies and girls, since there are no female angels, I’d like you to be the audience and enjoy what we’re about to do.
9. I want your voices to rise up in baritone with me and say in military type cadence, “O O O O O O O O O O, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
10. Thank you. You can be seated. I think the angelic choir sounded somewhat like that. Imagine 10,000 angels trumpeting the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ. And then they were gone.
11. What did they say? Let me draw your attention to but a single phrase that they bellowed out as an anthem, “and on earth peace.” What means this phrase, “and on earth peace”?
12. It is a prophetical pronouncement. That angelic host knew Who it was they were cheering. They knew their eternal Master. They knew why He had come. They knew what He would accomplish.
13. And with respect to peace on earth, He would accomplish three distinct things:
1A. First, PEACE WITH GOD
1B. You do know that all mankind is at war with God. Every child born of woman is a warrior set against God and His Son. The greatest Christian who ever lived, the apostle Paul, pointed out that before he was converted to Christ, and before anyone is converted to Christ, there exists a state of war between that person and God.
2B. Romans 5.10 reads, “when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Jesus was born into the human race so that after growing to adulthood as a man He would die for the sins of mankind and effect a reconciliation of individual sinners to God.
3B. To this end Paul wrote Romans 5.1, which says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
4B. Through faith in Jesus Christ the war that exists between you and God can be brought to an end, with the establishment of peace with God. And this occurs through the means of a sinner’s faith in Christ.
5B. This is the first accomplishment of peace the angelic host was anticipating.
2A. Next, PEACE WITH YOUR BROTHER
1B. In His sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus Christ pronounced, in Matthew 5.9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
2B. When you are born into this race we call man you are a pariah, not really any good for anyone. Left to yourself and without the application of external controls guiding you in the right direction, and sometimes even with the benefit of such discipline, your evil nature shows itself.
3B. But when a sinner has a saving encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, and when with his new heart he has peace with God, he also becomes a man who seeks peace with his brother, he becomes a peacemaker.
4B. This is the second accomplishment of peace the angelic host was anticipating.
3A. Finally, PEACE WITH ALL MEN
1B. This aspect of peace on earth anticipates the second coming of Jesus Christ in power and great glory. The Gospel would spread far and wide, that host of angels knew, but it would never include all men. It would never include the majority of men.
2B. Referring to the salvation which Jesus Christ freely offers to all men, it was the Savior Himself Who said, “few there be that find it,” in Matthew 7.14. So, with a world of men at war with God, and with a world of men either openly or subtly opposed to God’s people, how will there be peace on earth?
3B. I take you to Isaiah 9.6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
4B. This government that shall be on Jesus Christ’s shoulder? It will not be representative government, but a theocratic kingdom established at His second coming. So, how will Jesus ensure peace on earth? By force. Let me read Revelation 19.11-16 to you:
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
1. There will be peace on earth.
2. That peace will first be seen as peace between a sinner and God, through faith in Jesus Christ.
3. That peace will next be seen as peace between the child of God and his brother in Christ, or his sister in Christ.
4. Finally, that peace will be brought about by smiting the nations, removing all who are not at peace with God, when the Prince of Peace comes.
5. This is what the angelic host anticipated when they cried out “and on earth peace.”
6. Kinda makes me glad I’m a Christian.