1. Peace was broken in the Garden of Eden when man sinned. At the cross it became a reality again as Christ became our peace.
2. In understanding what a peace maker is we must find the source of true an authentic peace. Jesus Christ is the only source of peace and is given the title: "the Prince of Peace" in Isaiah 9:6.
3. Not only did the Lord mention it here in the Sermon on the Mount, but it importance is shown in that there are about 400 references to peace in the Bible.
4. The opposite of peace is a state of confusion dissatisfaction and war. It is man who is a war...not God. God is at peace and seeks that all men everywhere also come to know perfect peace.
5. Man is the author of war and conflict and it is sin that destroys peace.
6. Jesus in Matt. 5:9, is saying happy are those who are peacemakers, they will be called the sons of God. This is not just saying believers are to be at peace, but more God is instructing us to be peace-makers. It is difficult to be at peace with others, it is much hard to be one who seeks to make peace. Yet, that is what the Lord is asking us to do.
I. What is the meaning of Peace?
A. The world would define it as the absence of conflict.
1. There is no strife in the cemetery. That is kind of peace few people are seeking.
2. Biblically peace is so much the absence of conflict..but the presence of righteousness. Righteousness means being "right." Where things are right there is no conflict and things go smoothly.
ILLUS: Last month on the way back from Ogden we were on I15 between Brigham City and Tremonton. Without warning the engine in my truck began to skip and run badly. I tried to keep it going by patting the accelerator but when we came to that big dip at the river the truck quick running. I had to call a tow truck to come and help. The problem was the truck was "unrighteous." The fuel pump was defective and not being right it cause the truck to quit running.
3. Peacemakers, Scripturally do more that stop conflict, they replace conflict with friendship and love.
4. Jew says, "Shalom", it means "peace." The greeting is saying more than "I wish for you no conflict." The salutation is saying, "I wish for you all the righteousness of God can bring." It is a wish for rightness in one's life.
B. There is a difference between a "truce" and "peace."
In a truce folks stop shooting, however peace comes when the problem is solved. In war a "cease fire" means you stop shooting at each other, but that does not mean there is peace. Each side stands on alert watching their enemy ready to resume fighting if they are threaten.
C. True peace comes from wisdom based on a knowledge of God.
James 3:17, "The wisdom that is from above first pure, then peaceable."
1. Only a wise man can have peace! He uses the knowledge he receives from God.
The wise man seeks God, he believes what God has said about Himself and this man wisely puts his trust and faith in that knowledge.
The fool, hears the truth, will not accept it as truth and foolishly and tragically believes a lie.
2. However, peace has a price!
Matt. 10:34, Jesus seems to contradict Himself is saying, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, I came not to send peace, but a sword." He was saying He did not come to bring peace at any price. That is important to understand. The cause of conflict is sin and because sin exists it has to be eradicated.
ILLUS: The Gospel message is of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that by believing in Christ one can have eternal life is first always preceded by the acknowledgement of that we are all sinners and need salvation.
Folks that causes strife. Many people will die in their sins and spend eternity in Hell because they will not deal with the strife the truth causes.
ILLUS: Everything has a cause and to solve the problem the cause must be acknowledged. The reason my truck quick was that unrighteous fuel pump. The problem had to be addressed. First we had to accept that we were struck on the Interstate, and because of the metal barriers there was only enough shoulder for the truck and about 18 inches from the highway. It was ten degrees and with the engine not running we started to get cold.
Thankfully we had our cel-phone and called our towing service. We accepted the problem and took steps to solve it. Of course, you would say, only a fool would ignore such circumstances.
That is certainly true, but although the danger does not seem to be a pressing when we thank of our eternal souls and the fate of the lost around us....it is even more serious.
When a person receives Jesus Christ as their Savior, there comes peace. . . an eternal peace from becoming reconciled to God our Creator. Once a person receives peace and realizes what it means to be a peace. . .he should then want to help others find the same peace.
Many say, I do not want to offend anyone who isn't a believer. That is not the statement of a true peacemaker nor of one who truly loves his neighbor.
Note what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39 "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
In this same sermon where the Lord Jesus gave the B-attitudes he also referred to loving one's neighbor. In Matthew 5:43-44 He said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Therefore being a peacemaker comes from loving one's brother.
3. A true peacemaker gives people God's truth which is the only thing that brings true peace.
ILLUS: Have you ever heard the statement "It's OK, you believe your way, I'll believe mine...we are all working for the same thing aren't we?" Is this true? You see some think that we should compromise the truth to avoid peace. If that is my attitude then I'm no peacemaker.
God is not at peace with false doctrine or with error and sin in our lives. He seeks to help us overcome the source of strife and conflict that is so destructive in our lives. Therefore we cannot be at peace with sin in our lives, or with false doctrine. Until there is error is removed and corrected there will be no peace. We can ignore the problem that all that amounts to is a "cease fire" it does not bring true peace.
It is interesting to note that believers in Christ are the most persecuted people on earth. The Jews are perceived as being the most persecuted because the lost 6 million in the horror of WWII. My wife and I personally have seen the concentration camp of Dachua, Germany. Yet, since the time of Christ it is estimated by some over 40,000,000 Christians have died for their belief in the Word of God and Jesus Christ as their Savior. Even at this very hour in Muslim countries Christian are being murdered by the hundreds.
Luke 12:51-53. READ
Some have said to me over the years, "you are too narrow in your beliefs!" You need to have a non-denominational church which simply means a church of no doctrine or truth. Some proclaim that preachers should say nothing negative about false beliefs and those that teach them. We should find a common ground and discover and emphasize what we agree on.
ILLUS: A good example of this modern trend to accept all religious beliefs as valid was demonstrated during President's Bush's inauguration when the Washington Times Foundation sponsored an inaugural prayer luncheon. Those that attended included well know religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Kenneth Copeland, Pat Boone, and also leaders from non-christian religions Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus. Robert Schuller, of the Crystal Cathedral was asked about the religious diversity represented at the meeting. He said "...the only way I can explain it in my theology is the Holy Spirit [and that] Jesus Christ has really diversified His investment portfolio." (FRIDAY CHURCH NEWS NOTES, March 9, 2001, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061)
Folks, if the Bible is true, then we have the revealed truth and that truth tells us what is right. It is not my truth, or someone else's truth, but God's pure truth. Then if I have the truth, which shall make me free, why should I not make a stand for truth and want to help others find that truth and the peace that it produces in one's life.
ILLUS: Should you and I not proclaim that salvation is the free gift of God, apart from works, churches, ritual, and all the man made religion? Should we not love my neighbor enough to tell him or her the true. If they are deceived into believing they will get to heaven by being good, shouldn't I lovingly teach and
tell them the true?
D. Biblical peacemakers are not easygoing people who go around trying to smooth out conflict or who do not make waves.
He is a person who loves the truth and faithfully proclaims it in love and concern for the souls of others. If you refuse to share the truth with someone who believes a lie for the sake of so called peace.....that are not showing love and concern for that person.
That is not peace, but a truce. To bring God's peace is to bring truth and that will bring true lasting, eternal peace.
We must be aware that our seeking to win the lost itself should not be offensive and be source of strife.
ILLUS: When we lived in Beaver we had many LDS friends. One lady told Carolyn that while she was on a mission in New Jersey she was run out of a person yard with a running chain saw! We must take care that we not be offensive in our witness and seeking to help other find God's truth. I visited a pastor's home in North Carolina and he had a large sign on his door warning Jehovah's Witnesses and all the cult to keep off his property. He certainly had no witness to them and was in fact saying he did not care for their souls. I have written a booklet that has been widely distributed titled "What to do when the Mormon Missionaries come to my Door?" The reason for it was that some many people in churches I visited told me proudly of their running LDS missionaries out of their yards like they had done some good deed! The booklet explains how the visit of LDS missionaries should seek to help them and leave a positive witness for Christ. Some missionaries have been won to Christ by Christians treating them nicely.
II. What does the true Peacemaker do?
A. The true peacemaker helps men to make peace with God. The conflicts of men are temporal and the conflict with God that is not settled ends in eternal damnation.
B. However, before one can lead others to know the peace of God they themselves must have the peace of God.
1. That means trust Christ as your Savior and become a Christian.
2. Next, you must be in fellowship with God yourself.
Sin in the life of a Christian, hinders and breaks
fellowship with God.
3. True peace comes from having and living a life of righteousness before the Lord.
That means confession of sin. I am not talking about, doing good works and outward acts, I'm talking about confessing sin, fighting sin in your life and yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit.
C. Second a peacemaker must seek to win other to Christ.
1. Jesus is the only cure for the strife and conflict that is within the heart of man.
Note what Paul said to the Ephesians who were once lost Gentiles:
Eph. 4:11-22, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision [Lost] by that which is called the Circumcision [Jews] in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
2. That dear friend is what the Lord Jesus has done for us and will do for all who will believe and accept him as their Savior.
a. The verse says the lost person is without hope, and a stranger to the covenants of the promise meaning God's plan of salvation (v12). The lost person is a alien to God and stranger to the Gospel.
b. Thank God the verse continues with the wonderful truth that Jesus Christ is our peace (v14). That means without Him there can be no peace. Jesus Christ himself broke down the wall that separates us from God by His shed blood for our sins.
c. V15, says He went to the cross to make us a new man and man at peace with God and with himself. That means we have the peace of knowing we have eternal life. Death has no fear for the child of God and we know that when we die will be in heaven with God. It does not mean that we will not suffer or be persecuted or that we will not have troubles and conflicts in our lives. It means we will have peace and joy in our hearts no matter what our circumstances.
You see the lost man's peace rests on being free of strife and conflict. He may have periods when there is not conflict, but still in his heart there is not real peace. He cannot be satisfied and all he does to bring satisfaction always end in failure.
But for the Christian, he may be in the midst of a storm, yet knows he is OK. . . He has the assurance of God's presence in His life.
ILLUS: In 1999 we were on deputation and had our travel trailer parked by Faith Baptist Church in Onley, VA. While we were there Hurricane Floyd hit. The rain came down in sheets and the wind rocked the trailer. The eye of the storm passed directly over us. But we were safe....in the hands of a loving and caring God. Carolyn and I read during most of the storm. When the back side of the hurricane came through it was rough....and things were outwardly uncertain, yet we have peace.
1. Is there true peace in your heart? If you are then you at peace with God.
2. Even as a Christian we can lose the sense of our peace because we are out of fellowship with the Lord. That simply means it is time to go to the Lord and get what ever is the problem solved. If it is being disobedient then we confess that and asking for God's strength we start obeying and doing that is right.
3. If we are peace with God are we then being peacemakers helping others to find the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Helping those who are in false religions to find God's truth.
Do we really care and have a love for the souls of others If the answer is in question...then now is the time to get the matter settled and with God's help become a peacemaker.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Do you note that the verse says peacemakers are known as the children of God. Do you want to be known as God's child?
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