Peace- A Divine Invitation
Topic: Peace- A Divine Invitation
Sermon Title: “Peace- A Divine Invitation”
Sermon Series: Jesus is Coming! (Advent 2017)
Date: December 24th, 2017
Speaker: Pastor Damian Mericka
Text: 2 Kings 15:1-5; 2 Chronicles 26:16-23; Zechariah 6:9-15; Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 1 Peter 2:1-12
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the global population is estimated to be about 300 million people. Out of this 45 million populated the Roman Empire. More than 90% of this population were not citizens of Rome; they were slaves / conquered people who through taxation provided the means the Empire needed to sustain its glory. The larger lower class funding the smaller upper class- foreign concept, right?! It has been suggested that the Jews made up 10% of that enslaved margin.
Just how many people were waiting and watching for Jesus? While the history of the Jews was full of incredible miracles, inspiring prophecies and encouraging reflections- most of this became a volume of stagnant tradition. Rituals that brought a sense of identity, but provided no direction. Scripture was allegorical rather than literal and aside from some fanatical groups the idea of a coming Messiah was like a wonderful dream that no matter how much one may try to hold on to it, the awakening day crumbles what was and is hardly a thought thereafter. Most were not looking for His First Advent; will you be watching and ready for His Second Advent?
I. Peace Cannot be Taken from or Forced upon (2 Kings 15:1-5; 2 Chronicles 26:16-23)
Azariah (Uzziah) was made king at 16 and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, except:
High places remained and were tolerated (v.4)
Azariah died a Leper (v.5)
Due to fame from military might he grew proud (2 Chron. 26: 16)
He usurped Priestly role and offered incense on the altar of incense (v.16)
This was a role for the Priest, Distinct from King (See Numbers 3:10)
This was a place of intentional offering (See Exodus 30: 7-8)
Angry at the Priest’s counsel he becomes leprous. (Vv.17-19)
As a leper he was stripped of Kingly duty and submitted to the Priests (Vv.20-23)
Going Deeper: Why two names for Azariah / Uzziah? What is significant about following God and tolerating high places in our lives from this story? Do you find yourself relating to Uzziah? How does our struggle with sin affect our witness for Jesus? Has pride ever driven you to disobey God and hurt yourself and / or others? How was leprosy a “mercy” from God? Have you ever considered discipline from a parent (or God) as an act of mercy? How?
II. Peace is shadowed by one who will be BOTH King and Priest (Zechariah 6:9-15)
Some who were choosing to remain in Babylon would bring gifts to finance the building of the Temple (Vv.9-10) (Note: Three from the East…traveling afar)
Their gifts instead would be designed into a Crown (Vv.11-14)
Placed on the head of Joshua, the High Priest, Symbolizing:
Will Rebuild the Temple
Will be Royal (Line of David / Judah)
Will be Priest (Line of Aaron / Levites)
In Him PEACE will flow forward from God to Creation.
This Crown would sit in the current Temple as a reminder to the Exiles, there will never be peace but through the One whom God has chosen…the Messiah! (v.15)
If the Nation is faithful to understand this Vision, it will translate into faithful patience looking forward to the one who will be a High Priest bringing PEACE
Going Deeper: Why was Joshua crowned? Could a King serve as a Priest? Support your answer. Who is the Branch referring to? How would peace be experienced through this Branch? Did Joshua continue to wear the crown? Did the crown serve to prepare the people for the Messiah’s First Advent?
III. Peace is a Divine Invitation for God’s People (Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 1 Peter 2:1-12)
It begins with our relationship with God through Jesus.
Although not yet King in the sense of sitting on the Davidic Throne in the Temple, Jesus is our High Priest in the Presence of God (v.14)
We have an invitation to enter His presence (Vv.15-16)
Aside from Jesus, there is not invitation to His Presence because He is Holy; we are not outside of Jesus (5:1-4)
Jesus did not take the role of Priest, it was given (Vv.5-6)
Melchizedek of Salem (Prince of Peace)
Jesus submitted Himself to the Law in Obedience (Vv.7-8)
His Priesthood is eternally established, “anchored” on our behalf (v.10)
First coming: Become Priest / Second Coming: Become King (See Hebrews 9:28)
It Continues in our role as Priests, preparing God’s People for His Return (1 Peter 2: 1-12)
Take down our “high places” (Vv.1-3)
Follow Jesus, living as He lived (Vv.4-8)
Embrace our role as Priests and mission to prepare the world for His Second Advent (Vv.9-12)
Going Deeper: Do you have peace right now in this moment? In Christ we understand peace comes from His role as High Priest (Atonement) making us Holy before a Holy God. But, is the world experiencing this peace? Why or why not? How do we live out the peace we have with God in our personal lives? How does our peace with God affect our Gospel witness?