Our Prince of Peace - the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Our Prince Of Peace


A few weeks ago we started an Advent series based on Isaiah chapter nine and verse six.  Today is our last week of Advent and we will look at Jesus as “Our Prince of Peace”.   "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Prince of Peace is the one empowered by God's Spirit to deliver His people and establish His kingdom.  As Isaiah prophecies, he assumed that the Messianic Child would establish God’s Kingdom on earth in one Advent and that when Jesus grew up he would rule in triumph for the nation of Israel.  Here in Isaiah 9:6 he recorded five things about the coming Messiah.

1.    He was to be born a Child. 

2.    He will rule over God’s people and the world. 

3.    He will have four descriptive names that will reveal His character; Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty         God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.

4.    The Messiah, seated on David’s throne, will have an eternal rule of peace and justice for ever         and ever.

5.    This will all be accomplished by the zeal of the Lord Almighty. 


However, like the other prophets, Isaiah was not fully aware of God’s Sovereign plan of establishing a spiritual kingdom on earth which is open to both Jew and Gentile.  He was not informed about the great time gap between Messiah’s two Advents; his First and Second Coming.  


  • In Jewish thought, the Messiah would be the King of the Jews, a political leader who would defeat their enemies and bring in a golden era of peace and prosperity. 
  • In Christian thought, the term Messiah, or the Anointed One, refers to Jesus' role as a spiritual deliverer, bringing peace and freedom from sin and death to everyone.

Anticipation and Expectation

The Jewish people had many prophecies directed towards the Messiah and some were faithful to wait as we see in Luke 2:25-32.  In Jerusalem there was a righteous man named Simeon who lived in the prayerful expectancy.  At the time of Jesus’ circumcision the Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. He was led by the Spirit into the Temple just as the parents of the child Jesus brought him.  Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God saying “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 


Simeon had the right posture in life; he was a righteous man, devout, waiting in anticipation, the Holy Spirit was upon him, brought revelation to him and led him to meet with Jesus.  This is such a great example of what expectation looks like…  


What is our level of anticipation and expectation this Christmas season?  Do you remember the wonder of Christmas as a young child?  Do you remember waking up early for this holy day?   Unfortunately, for many, the anticipation of the birth of the Prince of Peace is somewhat lacking in today’s fast-paced materialistic society.  For some of us the expectation surrounding Christmas has become old and maybe even a bit religious.  So how do we renew our sense wonder at Christmas time?  I believe we must rediscover the Prince of Peace…

Peace defined:  

Peace is such a beautiful word conjuring up wonderful word pictures; a place of tranquility or quiet, freedom from civil or governmental disturbance, or a state of security or order within a community.  Many people today are looking for that place of peace where there is an absence of war.  When you look at a dictionary this is what you will see defined:

ï    The non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.  

ï    An agreement or treaty to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting... 

ï    A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbours. 

ï    Cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension. 

If these are the definitions of peace, then we live in a world where there seems to be very little peace – don’t we?  Within the last one hundred years we have seen WW1 and WW2, the Korean War and then Vietnam, the Cold War and then the Persian Gulf.  Now the world is ‘on alert’ against the war on terrorism.  All of this has been man’s attempt to bring peace on earth and goodwill towards man.  War will never bring peace to the world…  When peace is defined as the absence of war we sadly miss the mark.  


Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where there is no war or fighting, no arguments or conflicts at all?  It is difficult to do, why?  Because from our earliest days we have never experienced peace or anything close to true peace because there is sin in the world.  Even in our Christian families there are expressions contrary to peace.  Leaders and people throughout history have talked about peace; but, few, if any, have ever had an actual plan to bring a lasting peace to the world! 

In the Western World, the term peace has been clearly connected with the absence of war; i.e. – if there is no war – there is peace.  However, God has a different way of defining peace.  The word that is used in the Old Testament for peace is “Shalom” and it means so much more than the absence of conflict.  Most of us would know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood to mean "peace."  And yet "peace" is only one small part of the meaning of shalom.  "Shalom" is used as a greeting – hello or goodbye – to give peace.  According to Strong's Concordance (7965) Shalom also means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.  Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.

The Old Testament meaning of peace was completeness, soundness, and well being of the total person.  The traditional Jewish greeting, shalom, was a wish for peace, security, contentment and prosperity. and the absence of war also define peace.  


Ps 4:8 - I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD make me dwell in safety. 


Psalms 29:11 - The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. 


Ps 37:37 - Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. 


Ps 119:165 - Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Prince of Peace

In the midst of a world caught in war and unease, God has a plan – a Child born as the Prince of Peace.  The wisdom of God in contrast to the world is simply; the world seeks peace on a practical level but the Kingdom of God sees peace in the person of Jesus Christ.  Peace is actually a Person, it is not a geographical place free of war, nor an inner peace or a state or condition of inner calm like the New Age movement.  

In the New Testament, peace often refers to the inner tranquility and calm of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ.  The peace that Jesus Christ spoke of was a combination of hope, trust, and quietness of spirit, soul and body, brought about by reconciliation with God.

In Luke’s Gospel 2:14 we are introduced to the choir of angels singing - “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”  The peace of God would touch and influence thousands during Jesus’ time on earth; he brought health and peace and righteousness from sickness and satan and sin.  


Rom 5:1 - Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…


Eph 2:14 - For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…


Col 1:20 - and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 

In Conclusion:

In Isaiah’s day the Jewish people lived under the threat of war and captivity.  The same was true when Jesus was born the Prince of Peace; the Jews were under Roman rule.  The Prince of Peace was needed in the hearts of the people.  When you have Shalom or the Prince of Peace, whether you live or die, enjoy life or struggle through challenges, we do not have to fear or be anxious.  You know your purpose in life and you have a sense of wholeness and completeness because of the Prince of Peace.  This is shalom – this is the peace that Jesus brings for us because he is our Prince of Peace.

We serve a wonderful God.  Over that last few weeks we have looked at Isa 9:6 where Jesus is described as our Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and today our Prince of Peace.  How awesome to be a part of the Kingdom of God where our leader is defined by these Names, and many more as well. 


Every Christmas I am inspired by The Christmas Truce.  This was a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas of 1914, during WW1.  During the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and Christmas songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into "No man's land", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing.  Why did opposing soldiers who were fighting to the death engage in the Christmas Truce of 1914?  They had hope for a better life in light of the Prince of Peace.  

In Application:

Let’s allow the Spirit to intercede for us where we are weak and lacking peace.  

Let’s receive Shalom from our Prince of Peace.  

Let’s share the Prince of Peace with others.




Our Everlasting Father - the Third Sunday of Advent

Our Everlasting Father


This is the third week of Advent and we have been following the theme found in Isa 9:6 - 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.  This passage is referring to the Child who would be born centuries later – Jesus Christ.  Over the last two Sundays we looked at our Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God.   One sets us free from our hurts and offences and the other breaks us free from the schemes and strategies of the enemy.  Today we will look at Christ as our Everlasting Father.  Think about this for a moment; Jesus is named as the Everlasting or Eternal Father.  To some degree this can seem confusing; Jesus Christ as the Everlasting Father seems to be a contradiction.  The Trinity tells us that God is one and yet three distinct divine persons - the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; these three are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal and co-eternal.  In one sense Jesus can’t be the Father and the Spirit can’t be the Son and the Father can’t be the Spirit.  And yet there are aspects of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit overlapping within themselves because they are One.  Do you understand my thinking?

So how do we interpret this passage for us today?  

ï    Isaiah is describing the names of the child to be born and a name in itself is descriptive.  The names of the Messiah express certain characteristics of his life on earth.  In the context of the Everlasting Father; he is everlasting or eternal

Psalm 72:17 His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun.  And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.  


We are told in John 1:1-4 and 14 – “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” … “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(NKJV)

ï    Certain translations render “Everlasting Father” as the Father of the future world – (Pater futuri sæculi; Vulgate).  This implies that in the coming age, when a Child is born, he will be like a father to many.  This makes more sense to me and I can understand Jesus as the Everlasting Father in this light.  When I understand Christ’s title in this sense I am much less uncomfortable to call Jesus my Eternal Father.  Isa 9:6 teaches us that Jesus is eternal and has fatherly attributes.  He was in the eternal beginning and involved in the creation of all things and he was the Child-born-Messiah who became the father of many children.  

ï    Lastly, Isaiah tells us Jesus will have the name father and the characteristics that go with that title.  Jesus himself said, “if you have seen me you have seen the father” and even more bewildering to the Jews “I and the Father are one” (John 14:9; 10:30). 

Everlasting Father:

So this morning we will look a little deeper at the name of Jesus as Everlasting Father and discover some of his characteristics.  It has been my experience than whenever I speak on the issue of fathers, there are varied responses, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Personally, I had a good relationship with my Dad.  Could it have been better, for sure, but he did his best as a husband and father toward us as a family.  For some of us our relationship with Dad was absent or distant or even hostile; when we think of Dad maybe we would rather forget...  Some others were adopted and others still were abused.  

Whatever our circumstance with our earthly Father, the picture of our Heavenly Father is much different.  One of the best passages of Scripture describing fatherhood is found in Luke 15:11-32 – I want to specifically look at the Father and his reckless son.  

Here is the parable Jesus tells...  The son asks for an early inheritance and goes off into a far country and squanders all his money.  He runs out of money and then guess what happens; he runs out of friends and ends up in a pigpen, eating from the slop that is fed to the pigs. This is not a good place for a Jewish boy.  At the lowest point of his life he starts thinking, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare?  And here I am, starving to death.  I will set out and go back to my father.”  

Let’s stop for a moment and think about this.  Would your earthly father welcome you back after you asked him for your early inheritance?  That is like asking for your dad to die so that you can selfishly receive from all his hard work.  Why would this young man in the parable he be thinking this way?  How could he think such thoughts?  After being so selfish and wasteful why does he think about home?  How could he come to that conclusion?  Here is what I think. 

ï    He knew the character of his father.  

ï    He knew that his father was compassionate.  

ï    He knew that his father’s love did not change. 

Their relationship might never be the same but he knew that the father was full of forgiveness and mercy.  To some degree, all he had left was to hope that his father would welcome him home.  Why did he think this way; because he grew up in the house of his father?  

So the story carries on…  The prodigal says, “I will say to my father, ‘I have sinned against heaven and against you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  Make me like one of your hired men.” He had lots of time to think about his speech and to rehearse it on the way home.  Sometimes that is just like us.  We have to get it all right and in order so that the Father will accept us.  He had it down pat. 

But before he could even get a word out his father had run to him, thrown his arms around him and kissed him.  

Our Everlasting Father is compassionate:

Every so often we see or hear about a father and son being reunited, especially when one is sent off to war.  The reunion is full of hugs and kisses and tears and sometimes full of surprise.  I love watching those moments unfold as it touches a place deep in my heart.  As I have thought about this passage and prayed for the Lord’s wisdom and discernment, two characteristics of our Messiah – Everlasting Father – come to mind.  My hope is that your heart will be touched deeply as you consider yourself being reunited with the Everlasting Father.  

One of the biggest aspects of the Everlasting Father I see in Luke 15 is this – the father was filled with compassion as his son returned home.  This compassion as the Scripture states was overwhelming for the son and yet the son went ahead and gave his rehearsed speech.  The beautiful part of this parable is that our Eternal Father always leaves the door open for us to come home again.  No matter how far we distance ourselves from God, he is waiting to throw his arms around you. 

Throughout the gospels we find that Jesus was full of compassion.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with COMPASSION for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew 9:36 (NKJV)

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Then Jesus, moved with COMPASSION, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." Mark 1:40-41 (NKJV) 

Compassion defined: sympathy for the suffering of others…  This is how Jesus – our Everlasting Father – feels towards you and me.  When Jesus sees us in our distress he has compassion on us. When He sees the mess we have made of our lives he is moved with compassion.  When life has been hard and disaster after disaster has followed us around – our Everlasting Father, our Messiah Jesus Christ is moved with compassion.  The compassion of Jesus moves him to guide and provide and rescue and restore our lives in him; just like we learned in the last few weeks as we saw Jesus as our Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God.  

We live in a broken world where we can experience broken relationships.  Our hearts can be broken and bruised; sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally.  We live in a world where we can get hurt.  That is why I am so glad that there is our Everlasting Father who will have compassion on me.  I am glad Jesus is moved because of my suffering.  

Our Everlasting Father is celebratory:

Another aspect of the Everlasting Father I see in Luke 15 is this – the father was filled with celebration as his son returned home; in other words, the Father was waiting for a party.  The happiness and joy of the father was overwhelming for the son (and his elder brother).  The wayward son was clothed with a robe of distinction, he received a ring of authority and sandals for his feet (servants went bare feet).  You know, the beautiful part of this parable is that our Eternal Father always leaves the door open for us to come home again.  No matter how far we distance ourselves from God, he is waiting to throw his arms around you.  

Oftentimes when I am disobedient or distant from God I struggle with returning to my Father, just like the prodigal son.  I have to clean myself up or rehearse my speech so that God will set fit to accept me back into fellowship.  Can you relate to this?  

Our Eternal Father – as seen in Jesus Christ – has quite the opposite response to sinners or saints returning home.  In the case of Luke 15, he puts on a feast and celebrates his son who was as good as dead but is now alive.  Now there is music and dancing in the house of the father.  

Do we have a picture of our Everlasting Father celebrating our return to him or do we see him as hard and demanding?  

In Conclusion:

Jesus is our Eternal Father. He is always there for you – He will not abandon you.  His character is such that he is filled with compassion for us and the difficult circumstances that we find ourselves in.  As well, when we return to him in humble repentance he wants to throw a party and celebrate.  He is both compassionate and celebratory towards us his children.  

The beauty of the third Sunday of Advent – Our Everlasting Father – is amazing.  Jesus came to earth, the Incarnate Son of God, to seek and save sinners like us and to turn us into saints.  His compassion identifies with our brokenness and he celebrates our lives as we enter into his party.  We are to be clothed with his robe of righteousness and to display our ring of authority as his children and we are to wear the sandals provided for us so proving to be his children.

I am going to read to us in closing the Father’s Love Letter.  I came across this quite a few years ago and I believe it truly communicates to us the love and character of our Everlasting Father as seen through Jesus Christ our Messiah…

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up.  I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:1-3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being…  For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28 

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12 

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 

I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16 

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1 

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11 

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48 

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33 

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40 

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5 

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41 

And I want to show you great and marvellous things. Jeremiah 33:3 

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29 

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13 

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20 

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18 

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11 

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4 

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4 

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23 

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3 

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31 

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32 

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7 

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 

My question is… Will you be my child? John 1:12-13 

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

* Words paraphrased from the Holy Bible ©1999-2008 

Our Mighty God - the Second Sunday of Advent

Our Mighty God


About 700 years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah introduced Jesus to the Jewish people in a time of great darkness.  There was something in Isaiah’s words that spoke to his people and gave them hope.  The message of a “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” was somewhat strange to God’s people at the time, none-the-less, this Son that was given, was to take the weight of government upon his shoulders.  Last week we looked at the Wonderful Counsellor who is able to take an offended heart and make it right.  In the last days we are told there will be much offence and yet as God’s people we can come to the Wonderful Counsellor and become free from our sins and of the traps of the enemy.  God is truly wonderful in his counsel.  


This Advent season, I was thinking about the phrase “and the government will be upon his shoulder” as I was preparing for today’s sermon.  This reminded me of the responsibility that was to come upon Jesus.  Literally, this little child would grow up to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders.  The Scriptures tell us that Jesus would carry the weight of mankind’s sin and the defeat of the enemy as a result of his death on the cross: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col 2:13-15).  It is hard to fully imagine carrying the weight of sin and Satan to the cross.  However, Jesus was able to do so because he is the Mighty God.  

The Weight of the World

The word picture that comes to my mind is of Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders.  In Greek mythology he had to carry the weight of the cosmos for eternity as a result of his loss in battle.  Many people today feel that they have to carry the weight or responsibilities of life beyond their human strength.  There are times in life when we feel like we are lost, unable to carry on, overwhelmed by sickness, under the weight of debt, in a relationship that is broken.  Scripturally speaking, that is what the Israelites were feeling in Isaiah’s day.  The weight of their captivity was too much to bear.  They were lost in darkness and gloom.  They were not able to carry the weight of their circumstances themselves.


We live in a day and age where everyone demands for the personal rights to be upheld but not everyone is willing to be responsible in life.  We demand for that our rights be validated even though they contradict Scripture.  We demand that our voices be heard but if someone else has a contradictory voice we riot.  When everyone demands that there rights be affirmed but there is no standard by which we agree to there is chaos.  In the context of personal rights and responsibilities we must maintain a biblical mindset.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col 3:23–24).  Personally, in our own lives the temptation to sin and the struggle to resist the enemy can be overwhelming - like a great weight or burden.  However, our Wonderful Counsellor has told us - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).  

The key thought here is to “learn from me.”  Not only do we need to spend time with our Wonderful Counsellor, we also must encounter our Mighty God.  So the question remains what can we learn today from our Mighty God?

Our Mighty God

The Jewish people in Isaiah’s day needed more than a Wonderful Counsellor due to their situation.  They needed to know that they had a Mighty God who was able to deliver.  I am sure they reminded themselves of Psalm 24:8 - Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  The battles in the Old Testament were fought with soldiers and armies facing off against each other.  The word for “mighty” in the Hebrew language carries with it several perspectives.  Firstly, there is a power present, some form of strength.  This is described in the OT as manly when it came to those who fought in war; they were mighty, strong, valiant heroes.  Secondly, there is a showing of power as in the authority of leadership, whether militarily or politically.  Our Mighty God would have brought great encouragement to the Israelites under Assyrian captivity.  


When we speak of might or power in the New Testament were tend to move from the physical to the spiritual realms, especially when speaking of Jesus Christ.  Mary speaks of Jesus - “for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).  The Immaculate Conception of Jesus is a mighty and powerful work of the Holy Spirit.  The literal translation can be stated as “the one who is able or capable of doing anything.”    


In our Care Group we are learning about who Jesus is through our study in the Book of Mark.  There are five points that describe Jesus’ power and authority and mightiness.

  1. His power and authority to teach and cast out demons (Mark 1:21-27).
  2. His power and authority over sickness (Mark 1:29-31, 32-34; 3:22).
  3. His power and authority to forgive sin (Mark 2:1-12).
  4. His power and authority over nature (Mark 4:35-41).
  5. His power and authority over death (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43).


We serve a Mighty God.  AMEN!!!  This morning I want to focus on one aspect of our Mighty God - his power and authority over the devil and demons.

Our Mighty Deliverer

Last week I spoke about our Wonderful Counsellor helping us break free from offences and hurts in our lives.  He brings healing to our lives through wise, biblical counselling and it is wonderful.  However, there are times when the process of being set free or sanctified can be opposed by the enemy.  In that light I would like to take a look at some Scriptures that bring honour to our Mighty God and his deliverance in our lives.  


The Gospel of Mark does not waste any time introducing Jesus’ public ministry; his baptism and temptation, the calling of the first disciples and his teaching in Capernaum on the Sabbath.  Mark 1:21-27 highlights Jesus as he was teaching in the synagogue and confronts and evil spirit.  Mark emphasizes several key points of this encounter.  

  • Jesus taught as one who had authority, Mark 1:22,27.
  • Secondly, Jesus’ teaching confronted the demonic realm, Mark 1:23-24.
  • Jesus exercised authority over the demonic spirit and the man was set free, Mark 1:25.


Signs of Spiritual Attack

Not only is Jesus our Wonderful Counsellor who can give advice and direction to our lives, both practically and spiritually.  He is also the Mighty God who sets the captives free.  There are times in our lives that we are held captive in our thoughts, emotions or actions.  We feel like we can not break free.  We can struggle in silence or sometimes we act out in sinful ways.  We repent… We ask forgiveness… And yet we seem to repeat the same struggle over again.  Why?  We could be under spiritual attack.


What is a spiritual attack? A spiritual attack is a series of coordinated events by the demonic realm in order to keep people in sin, to abort promises in God’s Word, shipwreck one’s faith, oppress a believer and keep people from their destiny.  Spiritual attacks are performed by demons, which are fallen angels who resist God, war against God and God's people, and against unbelievers as well.  Their goal is to bring as many people as possible into rebellion against God and condemnation in hell.


There are many ways the enemy attacks that affect one’s life.  I have simply broken the spiritual attacks into two groups - physical and spiritual.  Here is a short list, but not exhaustive list, that may indicate spiritual attack…  

  • Physical struggles or illness such as sleeplessness and or nightmares, strong anxiety, self-mutilation, addictions, and physical sicknesses.  Sometimes the physical attacks can be seen in areas of constant financial pressure.  Physical attacks can also be experienced mentally or emotionally; regular outbursts of anger, high and low mental or emotional levels, inordinate fears, hopelessness, abnormal obsessions…


  • On the spiritual side of demonic attacks we can experience spiritual deadness that includes apathy and anger towards God, can’t read God’s Word, can’t stay awake in prayer, interest in false religions and or the devil.  


We must be very careful not to make every negative thing we experience a demonic attack.  Sometimes physical problems are caused by lack of proper sleep, poor diet, germs, or disease.  As well, spiritual struggles can be brought on by physical problems.  And as far as financial situations go, we have to be careful that we’re not spending more than we take in and then somehow blame our financial difficulties on demonic forces.  Our choices play an important part of our growing relationship with God.  Many times people don't have demonic oppression.  We simply need to be mature enough to exercise self-control in areas of personal sanctification.   


One of the areas of spiritual giftedness that needs to increase in the Body of Christ is that of the gift of distinguishing spirits; this is the divine ability to discern between good and evil spirits.  The ekklesia 

needs to be able to rightly evaluate and judge what is of the Spirit of God and what is not.  A foundation is needed in the area of discernment between what is the sinful nature and what is the attack of the enemy.  In other words, we all need our Wonderful Counsellor to help us in areas where we struggle with temptation and sin; hurts and pains and offence and unforgiveness as examples.  However, we also need discernment in the area of spiritual attack where our Mighty God who brings deliverance and freedom; from a spirit of offence and or unforgiveness, a spirit of lust or a spirit of criticism for instance. 


Questions have been raised by theologians over the years as to whether or not a Christian can have a demon.  I would say without a doubt the answer is yes.  There are several reasons for my belief.  Jesus himself told the disciples to pray “deliver us from the evil one” (Matt 6:13) which tells me Christians can experience the attack of the enemy.  I remember John Wimber stating, “it does not matter whether the demon is “in” a person, or “on” a person or “around” a person, the person needs deliverance.”

Keys to Freedom

One of the strategies of the enemy is to keep things in the dark or secret.  Sometimes the enemy may try to trap us into embarrassment or shame, and or keep us in deception.  This is where we need to experience our Mighty God who sets captives free and have the courage to come into the light. 

In my walk with our Mighty God, here are some of my keys to freedom from the attack of the enemy.  

  1. Just as Jesus has power and authority over the enemy so do we…  Look at Mark 6:7 - “Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.”  This     has been passed on us as believers in Christ.  I had to learn to spend time with our Mighty God.


  1. Resistance is essential: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from         you” (James 4:7).  We must be submissive towards God and intentional and forceful in our         resistance of the enemy.  Sometimes the spiritual attack feels so strong that I don’t have the energy to resist.  This is when I draw near to our Mighty God BUT I also draw near to close brothers and sisters in Christ who can resist with me…  Being accountable to one another is key as we resist the enemy.  Personal freedom is never a private matter, it involves people along with our Mighty God.  


  1. Faith must be exercised: One aspect of faith is to see into the spiritual realm and this is key when you are fighting an enemy you cannot see.  We release our Mighty God to act on our behalf when we walk by faith.  I had to learn to “see” into the spiritual realm and trust that our Mighty God would release deliverance…   “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).


  1. Break through with prayer and fasting: I learned that spiritual warfare can be overcome by prayer and fasting.  The deliverance from the spiritual attack can take time; sometimes there was an immediate relief and in other situations it took a longer period of time.  This is where prayer comes into play - “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Eph 6:18).  In one situation Jesus said to his disciples “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Matt 17:21 NKJV; Mark 9:29).

In Conclusion

My hope this morning was to inspire our faith in our Mighty God.  We have a God who is powerful and mighty and has all authority over the powers of darkness.  This Advent season is a great time to reflect on our Mighty God.  It is also a time to come into a renewed place of freedom.  Our Mighty God desires to bring us into a place of victory over the enemy.  There are seasons of warfare and seasons of freedom.  In both we worship and serve a Mighty God.  

Our relationship with God is one of right thinking but also right practice.  We must know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is mighty and that God is for us.  And then we must put into practice our walk with Jesus in the area of overcoming the enemy by resisting, praying and fasting.  It is my prayer that we experience our Mighty God this Christmas season and find ourselves walking in greater and greater personal freedom.  

Let’s pray…


Our Wonderful Counsellor - the First Week of Advent

Our Wonderful Counsellor


Advent simply means arrival or coming.  In one sense it speaks of a new beginning, a fresh start.  Contemporary advent ideas could be seen in a wedding day, or the birth of a child where we look forward to hope finally realized.  In the context of the Church (ekklesia), advent has been used for centuries to describe the coming of Jesus; in other words, the Messiah would change everything.  Traditionally, many churches welcome Christ’s arrival by lighting five candles on the four Sundays before Christmas, and the fifth on Christmas day.  The first four candles traditionally celebrate hope, love, joy, and peace with the Christ Candle being lit of Christmas day.

This morning I want us to begin our series on Advent using Isa 9:6 as our text.  This prophecy of the coming Christ that was given hundreds of years before his birth tells us that the child that was to be born would have some very amazing names. Of course the One that Isaiah is speaking of is Jesus - 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.”

Later in the book of Isaiah we find that the author speaks of Jesus again when he says: The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord — 3    and he will delight in the fear of the Lord” (Isa 11:2–3).  The Bible places a high premium on wise counsel. Wisdom and counsel are important.  By way of introduction - Jesus’ First Advent was wonderful and full of wise counsel for those who received him. 

Wonderful Counsellor:

Have you ever found yourself in a place of despair or darkness, whether emotionally or mentally?  We all experience the struggles of life and can at times feel hopeless and in great distress.  In Isaiah’s day he announces good news to those who need it most and expect it least.  The Jewish people were dwelling in gloom, darkness, distress and feeling like they were under the shadow of death; literally under the captivity of Assyria.  Not a great place to exist.  However, God was about to break in with a great light.  I could imagine their thoughts of being rescued by a great army, and yet Isaiah prophesies about a child being their source of deliverance. This is quite strange to the Israelites in Isaiah’s day as well as at the time of Jesus’ birth.  A Wonderful Counsellor was born to guide us through life in all its twists and turns.  

I remember in High School going to a career counsellor for guidance.  When I entered the workforce I received counsel in the area of employment.  There is pre-marital counselling most often followed by marriage counselling.  Counselling today is at an all time high in our society.  From Dr. Phil to Oprah Winfrey people are seeking advice.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking advice and counselling when you have a particular need in your life – in fact the Bible encourages it.  Proverbs gives us some very encouraging thoughts about counsel; “in the abundance of counsellors there is victory” (Prov 11:14), “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed" (Prov 15:22), and “make plans by seeking advice” (Prov 20:18).  The word translated “counsel” is a Hebrew nautical term for that of steering a ship.  This helps us to understand that wise counsel can steer us in the right direction.

However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we, as believers, have access to the most wonderful and personal counsellor imaginable – Jesus Christ.  His counsel is wise and pure and loving, we can’t live without it…  Jesus is the one who counsels and clarifies all those things that mess us up in life.  In fact, when we follow Jesus’ counsel and guidance, we can avoid temptations and trials of life.  And that is wonderful…

Overcoming Offences:

I was thinking about Advent this week and how we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  This is a season of contemplation and communion as we hopefully take time to slow down and enjoy the holiness of the season.  However, all to often we can find ourselves busy with all the holiday plans, buying gifts, setting up the decorations and preparing food.  This took me in my thoughts to Jesus speaking about his Second Advent and the time just before his coming.  I was reading in Matthew 24 about deception, wars, famines, earthquakes and persecution being the beginning of birth pains or the advent of Jesus’ return.  Then I came across verse 10a - “At that time many will turn away from the faith”.  A more literal translation is this - “many will be offended” which leads to stumbling, turning away, and being led into sin.  This got me to thinking that in the last days one of the dangers facing Christians is that of being offended.  And this needs to be addressed by our Wonderful Counsellor.  

In John 16:1 Jesus tells us “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray”.  This phrase “going astray” can be translated as “not being offended” and is a Greek term describing scandals.  Scandals are those nasty things that come against our lives to entrap us.  We find ourselves struggling mentally or emotionally with this or that circumstance and become offended.  Sometimes we are offended unjustly and yet as believers there is blessing in being unoffendable.      

Unfortunately, many of us know of times where we experience rejection or hurt, personally or on behalf of others.  All too often, we see relationships fail or a job loss due to a bad situation.  What do we do in those times?  How do we overcome the sense of loss or despair?  Or how do we defend those caught in these scandalous situations, while not becoming offended ourselves?   

How to be un-offended?

As followers of Jesus one of our primary goals is to walk in God’s love, forgiving others, not holding grudges, believing the best etc.  However, we know from the Scriptures that trials and temptations, obstacles and offences are a part of everyday living whether you're a Christian or not.  It is these “scandals” that have the potential to lead us astray from the purity of God’s love and peace and kindness in our hearts.  So, how can we be un-offended?  What makes Jesus our Wonderful Counsellor? 

1. He COMPREHENDS Your Struggles

In Hebrews 4:15 we find: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.” (HCSB)  Jesus gets it. He understands it. He can relate to you. Sometimes when we are going through a difficult situation and someone says, “I understand what you are going through…” it can seem empty.  Unless they have been through the same situation how can they possibly understand our problems. But Jesus does understand.  He knows exactly what you are going through.  When you come to him in need of counsel he knows your situation. He knows your heart and he knows your mind.  

Because of this fact verse sixteen of Hebrews chapter four tells us that we should: “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”

Have you ever been betrayed? He has. Have you ever been wrongly accused? He has. Have people ever gossiped about you? Have you ever suffered from offence? Have you ever been in physical need? Have you ever felt lonely? Have you ever suffered loss? Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever felt that you have reached the bottom and there is no way up? Jesus understands and is the wonderful counsellor who can bring peace to your life.  The Bible tells us that: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).  Jesus was fully human like you and I.  He knows how difficult life can be.  He knows scandals and offence can get rough.  He understands your struggles - come to Him.

2. He CARES For You

In first Peter chapter five verse seven it says in the Contemporary English Version: “God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.”  Some counsellors only care as long as you can pay the bill.  Not Jesus!  He cares about you as a person. He cares about your character. He cares about your spiritual growth and emotional welfare. He cares about the pain you suffer. He considers you of value and of worth. 

Yet there are times when we don’t feel so valuable or good about ourselves, especially when we are trapped in an offence.  Offence has a way of draining us of emotional strength.  In some cases spiritual vagabonds are the result of being overcome by an offence.  Offended people tend to hide from the reality of their inner life and can find blame and shame in others.  

Our Wonderful Counsellor thinks that you are worth a lot. He thinks so much of you that he endured the shame of the cross to rescue you from your pain and suffering – to give you a new hope, new life and salvation. God cares for YOU!

He cares so much that he will help you with your problems. He will help you deal with them. That’s why he is called Wonderful Counsellor.  He’s not going to leave us to fend for ourselves. You have probably heard it said, “God helps those who help themselves.”  The truth of the matter is when you have reached the bottom - “God helps those who can’t help themselves.”  This is God’s Wonderful Counsel and Grace.  When you see no way out - God steps in - if you call on him. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus gives us this promise:  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.  

Folks that is a promise! He will not turn His back on us. He will not abandon us. God cares for us.

3. He COMMITS Himself To You

Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with each of us in this way - giving us wonderful counsel.  We have mentioned the struggles and scandals of life and the times we feel all alone, wondering where to turn for help.  But we must remind ourselves that our Wonderful Counsellor has not left us as orphans (John 14:18).  In addition to Jesus, one of the words the New Testament uses for the Holy Spirit is this: Counsellor - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever (John 14:16).  The Holy Spirit is committed to bringing the ekklesia into deeper and more intimate relationship with God.  How does the Spirit do this?  By giving us the counsel, guidance and at times the conviction of sin we need day to day to draw close to God.  Just what is involved in the Spirit’s counsel - truth, teaching, and testifying to us about Jesus.  Much of the counsel of the Spirit comes from the Scriptures.  And Jesus states - “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray (John 16:1).

Some of us may say, "Well I have never heard the Holy Spirit talk to me."  Let me ask you have you ever done something wrong and felt guilty about it?  Good!  That’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you.  Part of his job is to keep us on track. He does that sometimes with conviction.  Have you ever had a verse of scripture come to you out of the blue – that may be the Holy Spirit trying to teach you something?  The Spirit of Counsel often uses the Holy Scriptures to enlighten our ways.  Have you ever thought about a friend or family member and sought them out for some advice?  That may just be the Holy Spirit prompting you to be open to wise counsel.

In Conclusion:

Advent is upon us and this morning we have reflected on our Wonderful Counsellor(s).  Jesus and the Spirit of God know us inside and out.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  He offers to us counsel on a daily basis.  As we commit ourselves to God – He commits himself to us!  When we give ourselves to him - He promises to hold on to us and give us wonderful counsel.

I want to give you a challenge – make an appointment this week with the Wonderful Counsellor.  Sit down with him.  Open your heart up to him.  Tell him what is going on in your life. Believe me – there is no heartache that he can not mend.  There is no problem he can not solve – because He is our Wonderful Counsellor. 

Let’s give him those places of offence and hurt.  

Let’s give him those places of mental and emotional weariness and receive his comfort and strength.  

Let’s allow his wonderful counsel to teach and train our lives in ways that glorify him.  

Let’s pray…