Welcome to Brooklands Digital Church on this Fourth Sunday of Advent!
As always, the service is also available via our YouTube channel.
Our Pastor Rev. Karl Stanfield brings us the message today.
The Bible readings are taken from Hebrews 7:1-4 and Isaiah 9:6-7
The service starts with a 15 minute countdown, where we share some news and announcements. Please use the scroll bar to skip straight through to the service/message if watching the recording.
If you would like to support our ministry, all donations are thankfully received.
These passages refer to one of the great points of declaration and celebration in Christmas – Peace! If I may just read two verses from Hebrews which highlights this on the Sunday before Christmas. “First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace”.” (Heb 7:2)
In verse four, the writer to Hebrews says, ‘Just think how great he was…’ That is what I want us to do this morning. The link is made between this Priest and Jesus, who is Prophet, Priest & King. I want us to think about the greatness of the Christ Child born to Mary and Joseph. Jesus is the Great King of Peace.
Peace has always been His stamp and trademark. When Jesus walks by, there is this sense of PEACE that pervades, persuades, and prevails. Peace is the evidence of His presence.
I tell you, friends, Peace is the underlying evidence that God is at work in your life. No wonder Peace is such a prevalent word over the Advent season… The book of Hebrews talks a lot about a ‘Priest’ called ‘Melchizedek’. The name is made up of two words meaning ‘King’ and ‘Justice’. A third word is introduced here – that of ‘Peace’; for he was also King of Salem, which became Jerusalem [which means ‘City of Peace’].
Now if you take a long look at the history of Jerusalem, it has lived through many turbulent times. Nevertheless, we have mention of a King of Salem – whom Abraham honoured! Not much is known about this mysterious King. We are informed that he was ‘Without father or mother… without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God’ (Heb 7: 3)
Then we are told, – Jesus was like Him! Jesus was…
A Perfect Man in an Imperfect World
How was Jesus a Perfect Man in an imperfect world? Well, for starters, Jesus was born in the City of David (the great King David), but in rather humble circumstances – we all know the details of the story. The rumour going around in high circles was that a ‘New King’ had been born. But this was a different kind of king; he was the King of Peace. He was born in Bethlehem, and died in Jerusalem, under the declared title of ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’.
His treatment typifies all that is wrong with our world; how we get things upside down, abounding in misunderstanding and only knowing part of the story. Nevertheless, he is still King. It was Isaiah who understood it all, hundreds of years before Hebrews was written, declaring so plainly… “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
One of the factors I often find is that when you get an amazing passage like this it is found right in the middle of a real mess of things going on. But then, this is not so different for us today. There are many things in recent years that for too many people have threatened our idea of peace – issues like Brexit, our present Pandemic, Scottish Independence, and the like. People feel forced to take sides; the differences are accentuated, and before we know it, things can get really messy.
One of the most disturbing things that often come ‘out of the blue’ is the threat of ill-health. And many are surprised to find it showing itself in hidden ways – one real shocker is the prevalence of mental ill-health. This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges to plague particularly our present younger generation.
What are we to do? To what or whom can we turn? One of the reasons we find ourselves living in a consumer-driven society is that it promises ‘perfection’ and quick fixes. The Media says, ‘You want to solve your problem, then this is what you need to buy’! We want you to enjoy the gifts from your family this Christmas, but the only perfection that you might find in a rather imperfect Christmas setting this December is a godly gift called – Peace!
Friends, the Evidence of God’s Presence is always a deep-down Peace! And I want to tell you this today, that no circumstance can destroy this foundation that supports God’s Kingdom!
People who follow the King of Peace and the Prince of Peace become people of Peace. Lord, help us by your grace to become Peacemakers in all circumstances of life. Let us sing together that wonderful, and Gospel-declaring hymn of old… ‘Make me a channel of your peace’!