Luke 2:14
The Last Christmas Present

I don’t know how you do Christmas in your house but since we have
never participated in some of the Christmas traditions, we wrap all of
the gifts and give them out some time on Christmas day—one at a time.
We all watch as the one who has received the last gift unwraps his or
her present and then another is passed and so forth. I have never
been the passer-outer but I know that usually the biggest gifts,
which are pushed furthest under the tree, are opened last.  So most
often, the biggest gifts are opened last.

One of the biggest gifts that God gave to mankind has not been opened
yet.  Tonight, let’s consider what will be our last Christmas

I. A gift was promised.
    A. I preached this morning on our first presents although I did
        not mention them as such.
        1. Our first present was the Savior.
        2. At the same time, we also received the Lord.
        3. By receiving these two, we have many other presents:
            a. Forgiveness of sins
            b. Fellowship with God
            c. Home in heave.
            d. The Holy Ghost
            e. The Living Word of God
            f. And much more.
    B. But one gift we have not received:
        1. What is it? "Peace on earth." 
        2. Interestingly, this was one of the first mentioned.

II. But what is the present that we have not received?
    A. That one we have not received yet.
        1. Jesus’ conception did not bring peace on earth.
            a. Mary was a woman "espoused to a man."  \\#Luke 1:27\\
                 (1) That means that these two had already been
                      pledged to one another and so they were
                      considered in part, husband and wife.
                 (2) The penalty for adultery was death
                      \\#Deut 22:22\\.
                 (3) Her situation could not have left her in a state
                      of peace.  
            b. Mary would travel to spend three months with her
                cousin, Elizabeth, no doubt in turmoil about what was
                and would happen to her.
            c. When she returned to Nazareth, Joseph was looking for
                a way to get out of his wedding with her without
                having to have her stoned.
            d. Even after the angel appeared to Joseph and they
                married but stayed celibate, they must have told the
                people that the Child was not Joseph’s or else the
                people would have assumed it was.  Yet, it was
                common knowledge that Mary and Joseph were not
                married when Jesus was conceived.

John 8:48  Then answered the Jews, and said unto
him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan,
and hast a devil?

            e. I would say that those two knew well what it was to
                be in turmoil not only for the next 9 months but
                probably long after.
        2. Jesus’ birth did not bring peace on earth.  In fact, the
            opposite was true.
            a. Soon after Jesus’ birth, the wise men brought word to
                King Herod.

Matt 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem
of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold,
there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the
Jews? for we have seen his star in the east,
and are come to worship him.
3  When Herod the king had heard these things,
he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

            b. King Herod the Great was very jealous.
                (1) He had a wife killed years before the birth of
                (2) Before Herod died, he had three of sons killed
                     and one have killed his brother but he died
                     before Herod could do it.

            c. Once Herod learned of a potential Jewish rival to His
                throne, he was troubled and so was Jerusalem!
                (1) They feared what Herod might do!
                (2) There was no peace in that city and probably
                     very little in the whole of the kingdom.
            d. We remember the plot Herod conceived to have the
                wise men return with the location of the baby King,
                but they did not.
            e. And so…

Matt 2:16   Then Herod, when he saw that he was
mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and
sent forth, and slew all the children that were
in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from
two years old and under, according to the time
which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
17  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by
Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18  In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation,
and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping
for her children, and would not be comforted,
because they are not.

            f. No.  Jesus’ birth produced no peace on earth.
        3. Jesus’ life did not bring peace on earth.
            a. One would think that His life should have.
            b. Jesus was a Preacher, Teacher, and Healer.
            c. He never attempted to cause any kind of rebellion.
            d. He encouraged the people to obey Rome and even the
                Jewish religious leaders.
            e. In fact, He commanded the people to be even better at
                obeying the teachings of the religious leaders than
                the religious leaders!

Matt 23:3  All therefore whatsoever they bid you
observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after
their works: for they say, and do not.

             f. Even so, Jesus’ life ended with a large violent
                 event, Jesus’ crucifixion!
        4. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension did not bring peace on
            a. The Bible and history details those terrible days.
            b. The world already lacked peace and walked in turmoil
                but things soon heated up.
                (1) It started with the Christians being persecuted
                     by the Jews. 
                (2) Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, was a
                     persecutor, but there were many others. 
            c. As the gospel spread, the persecution changed.
            d. Eventually it was not the Jews but Rome which
                persecuted and killed the Christians.
        5. On into the church age, things were never any better.
            a. Around 200 AD, the Roman emperior supposedly turned
                to Christ, eventually creating a government/state
                with the Roman Catholic Church.  
            b. Within a few hundred more years (500 AD), the world
                was cast into the Dark Ages, a time when religiously,
                politically, and economically the world languished
                in oppression, poverty, and cruelty.
            c. There was no peace here! 
        6. The church age has not brought peace on earth.
            a. Some of us have lived during the last 100 years, a
                time period with the…
                (1) greatest level of freedoms,
                (2) the highest levels of education and income,
                (3) the longest life spans,
                (4) and the greatest access and acceptance to the
            b. But during that time—even in this country—we have
                lived through two world wars, numerous smaller wars,
                and an almost uncountable total of military
            c. So much so that some are starting to think we have
                seen the best this world can be and have peaked,
                starting to go back toward a less favorable and a
                less peaceful time.
            d. Last week in a Berlin Christmas market, a pair of
                terrorists drove a truck into a crowd killing at
                least 9 people.

                 (1) As a result of that attack, I saw picture of
                      armed police officers in New York city in what
                      looked like army gear carrying automatic
                      rifles.  They were standing guard at strategic
                      places to protect the public from a similar
                      attack in the US.
                 (2) I remember my first trip out of this country in
                      2008.  Arriving at Israel and as we walked to
                      our bus, seeing my first fully armed soldier
                      stationed to protect travelers from
                 (3) I thought of the line from the Wizard of Oz,
                      "Todo, we aren’t in Kansas anymore."
                 (4) But now, terrorism is common place in the US.
                 (5) Not only do we have terrorist cells who have
                      been imported from other countries but we have
                      home grown terrorists so that there is no way
                      to weed them out.
            e. This is definitely not a time of peace on earth.
        7. What about after the rapture?
            a. You probably know the answer to that one as well!
            b. No, no, no, NO!
            c. That time is called "the time of Jacob’s trouble"
                \\#Jer 30:7\\.

Matthew 24:21  For then shall be great
tribulation, such as was not since the
beginning of the world to this time, no,
nor ever shall be.

    B. By my divisions, that is seven time periods covering from the
        Jesus’ conception into our future and none of those time
        periods will have the peace on earth that God wished upon
        mankind.  When will that gift be ours?
        1. And when the rapture does happen, most all of the promises
            Christ has made to us will be completed!
        2. We will have received our presents!   
        3. When and how will peace ever be ours? 

III. Peace on earth will not come until Jesus returns to establish His
     A. Even so, there will be no peace immediately after Jesus

2Thess 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with
us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
heaven with his mighty angels,
8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that
know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ:
9  Who shall be punished with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and
from the glory of his power;
10  When he shall come to be glorified in his
saints, and to be admired in all them that believe
(because our testimony among you was believed) in
that day.

        1. \\#Daniel 12:11-12\\ make mentioned of two different time
            periods that start counting from the Abomination of
        2. The details are sketchy but it appears that something will
            happen for 75 days after the 7 year tribulation begins.
        3. Some believe that those 75 days will be used by Christ to
            destroy the wicked, judge the nations, cleanse the
            temple, and establish His reign.
    B. But when the judgment of the wicked is complete, this world
        will enjoy its last Christmas present in the extreme.
        1. Animals and humans will live together in perfect harmony.

Isa 11:6  The wolf also shall dwell with the
lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the
kid; and the calf and the young lion and the
fatling together; and a little child shall
lead them.
7  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their
young ones shall lie down together: and the
lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8  And the sucking child shall play on the
hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall
put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
9  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all
my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters
cover the sea.

        2. There will be no war.

Is 2:4  And he shall judge among the nations,
and shall rebuke many people: and they shall
beat their swords into plowshares, and their
spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift
up sword against nation, neither shall they
learn war any more.

        3. Life will be extended and death will be delayed.

Isa 65:20  There shall be no more thence an
infant of days, nor an old man that hath not
filled his days: for the child shall die an
hundred years old; but the sinner being an
hundred years old shall be accursed.

        4. But to accomplish this peace, Christ will have to rule
            sternly over the people.

Re 19:15  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.

    C. I believe you and I will be there.  The time is not primarily
        for us but God may let us help.

Rev 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon
them, and judgment was given unto them: and I
saw the souls of them that were beheaded for
the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,
and which had not worshipped the beast, neither
his image, neither had received his mark upon
their foreheads, or in their hands; and they
lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Why was this promise made at the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry
but left unfilled for so long?  It may be that everyone who has ever
trusted in Jesus since His death, burial, and resurrection will be
alive to see its fulfillment!

<OutlineIndex>  <Close Window>