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Dec 08, 2019

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

Passage: Isaiah 57:12-21

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Isaiah: The Story Beneath the Story

What’s missing from too many places on earth today is missing from too many individual hearts: peace. The angels’ first words were “fear not,” and were not completed until they promised “peace...with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2). Isaiah’s words make a like promise of peace, but only for those who’ve come to grasp something. How, if at all, do these two moments converge?

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Luke 1:68-69
Advent Reading: Luke 1:68-79
Sermon Title: A Christmas Story
Central Text: Isaiah 57:12-21
Benediction: Hebrews 13:20-21
Post-Service Text: Luke 2:14

12.08.2019 Sermon Notes

Readings & Scripture:

Pre-Service Text: Luke 1:68-69
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David”

Advent Reading
“Advent is a time of waiting. During this season, we remember and celebrate Israel’s waiting for the birth of the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And in this season, we also remember that we, the Church, are in another, larger season of waiting: waiting for Christ to return, as he said that he would. In this sense, we are in-between advents. And last week, the first candle was lit, the Hope Candle, which invites us into a hopeful anticipation of the Coming King. And now, this second candle is the Peace Candle, reminds us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, restoring our relationship with God.”

Advent Scripture: Luke 1:68-79
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Central Text: Isaiah 57:12-21
Is. 57:12 I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
but they will not profit you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
The wind will carry them all off,
a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
and shall inherit my holy mountain.

Is. 57:14 And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not contend forever,
nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
and the breath of life that I made.
17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19 creating the fruit of the lips.
Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD,
“and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
for it cannot be quiet,
and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Benediction: Hebrews 13:20-21
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: Luke 2:14
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Related Scriptures:

  • Psalm 30:5 / Isaiah 54:8
  • Psalm 51:16-17
  • Psalm 139:23-24
  • Isaiah 40:3-5; 62:10
  • Luke 2:14
  • Luke 15:7, 10
  • Luke 18:9-14
  • John 14:27
  • 2 Corinthians 7:9-11
  • Ephesians 2:13, 17
  • Hebrews 4:12-13
  • 1 Peter 2:23-25

Discussion Questions & Applications:


  1. What does it mean to be at peace? Warning: personal questions. What tends to steal your peace? What do you most commonly do to recover a sense of peace? How well do those efforts work? 
  2. What might the peace here in our passage mean? How is it more than merely an inner sense of calm?
  3. Where was Israel trying to find its peace--its refuge--which Isaiah calls out as a futile search? Can you think of any contemporary examples of what it would look like to do likewise--from modern life, or (gulp!) your own life?
  4. What is being “contrite” and how is it like mourning? What in this passage is involved in that mourning, and what is God’s response to it? Why does mourning prompt that response? 
  5. How do we see Jesus acting as the preeminent effort and example of what the Lord promises here to Israel? What prompts Jesus to act in that fashion?
  6. How would deeply believing that affect whatever is stifling your peace right now?




  • . . .we need a genius healer we just don’t have.  Eric Weinstein
  • [God]  is not a “being,” at least not in the way that a tree, a shoemaker, or a god is a being; he is not one more object in the inventory of things that are, or any sort of discrete object at all. Rather, all things that exist receive their being continuously from him, who is the infinite wellspring of all that is, in whom . . . all things live and move and have their being. - David Bentley Hart