As we enter the Christmas season, we see more and more cards and banners expressing “Peace on Earth,” as if it is really happening; but as we look around the world, we clearly see that there is very little true peace on earth.
This expression of “Peace on Earth” seems to have originated from what the angels said to the shepherds the night Jesus was born (Luke 2:14):
14 "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Let’s also look at another translation:
14 "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
We just acknowledged that there is very little true peace on earth, or even among men.
Does this mean that the reason that there is not peace is because God is not pleased with most human beings?
I believe that it is…
So let’s see what Jesus really said about peace on earth, as recorded in Luke 12:51-53:
51 "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;
52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 "They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
This really does seem to be closer to what is happening on earth today, doesn’t it?
Jesus knew that most people weren’t going to listen to His message of love and peace; and because of that, there would be division.
However, the division isn’t always among family members; it can also be among neighbors, and among so-called religious people from all over the world; and at times it can get very violent.
And the worst thing of all? Most of these violent religious people say that what they do is according to God’s will or that it is ordained by God.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What they are doing is blaspheming God, and it doesn’t matter what religion they claim to follow.
Jesus says (Matthew 5:9), "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Thus we know that anyone who is not a peacemaker is not a child of God.
Isaiah expressed a similar thought when he explained what the world conditions would be when God’s peaceable kingdom is reestablished (Isaiah 11:9):
9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.
The reason that there is no peace on earth is because the earth and its people lack the knowledge of the Lord.
And this brings us back to why I titled this sermon, the hypocrisy of Christmas peace on earth.
Most people say that they want peace on earth or they pray for it, but by their actions, we know that what they are doing is hypocritical, and to confirm this, we have to look no further than their plates or what they put in their shopping carts.
They are full of suffering and death!
We cannot be peacemakers if we cause animals or our fellow human beings to suffer and die.
When we do this we are actually making war on them.
Their peace has been shattered.
Humans don’t need to eat animals to be healthy; in fact, we would all be a lot healthier on an unprocessed whole plant food diet.
People get diseases and chronic illnesses from raising, killing, and eating animals, which to us is part of the curse for being so hard of heart and having no empathy for the "food" animals of the world.
Just think about something: in the short span of time it takes for you to hear or read this sermon, humans will kill approximately 2 million tortured land animals, which amount to about 50 billion animals a year, and this doesn't include any of the billions of sea animals that are killed.
This brings a double sadness to my heart, much like what Jesus must have felt as He looked upon Jerusalem (Luke 13:34):
34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!"
Mary and I mourn for the suffering animals.
But there’s something else that is very important, which most people don’t seem to grasp or understand; I also mourn for the human beings, particularly those who claim to be Christian but seem to possess little or no part of the fruit of the Spirit that they are supposed to have as Christians (Galatians 5:22-25).
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
It is so obvious to us that people who raise, kill, and eat animals have no compassionate love, kindness, goodness, and gentleness for the animals.
They think nothing of stealing away the joy and peace that God gave the animals.
They show little or no self control; they just eat themselves into obesity, illness, and death, and we mourn for them because of their hardness of heart and their indifference toward the suffering of the animals.
And we wonder if they ever were really saved, no matter what they say to the contrary; for as Paul writes…
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
When we watch how these people live and act, it is very obvious that they are not walking in the Spirit and haven’t crucified their own flesh against their passion for consuming the tortured remains of once living, breathing, and loving animals who want to live just as much as we do.
With all this indifference and violence in the world, is there any wonder why we say our Christmas “Peace on Earth” is really hypocritical?
It is hypocritical because so few people are really doing anything to have real peace on earth for the whole of God’s creation.
But we don’t have to go along with this hypocrisy.
We can tell the truth.
We can dispel the lies.
We can live as God’s peacemaking children.
If we let the Holy Spirit empower us, we can make peace on earth a reality, just as the words of the song “You Raise Me Up” tells us.
He’ll raise us up so we can stand on mountains and have our voices of love
and compassion be heard around the world.
He’ll raise us up to walk on stormy seas of indifference, cruelty, and
suffering, and to bring forth our peaceful calm.
We are strong, when we are on His shoulders; for it is His strength, and not ours, that will bring about this true peace.
He’ll raise us up to more than we can be, or thought we could be.
All we have to do is be willing to be the Lord’s servant.
All we have to do is be willing to say NO to the cruelty and indifference around us.
All we have to do is be willing to live a life that causes no harm to befall our fellow human beings, the other animals, or the earth upon which we all live.
All we have to do is be willing to be the peacemaking children of God that we are called upon to be.