Blessed are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the Peacemakers [TRANSCRIPT]

Romans 7:22-23 says,
For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner person, but I see a different law in the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my body’s parts.
 
In James 4:1 we hear,
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts?

In 1 Peter 2:11 is this command,
Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.

Jesus said in John 14:27,
Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.

In Romans 5:1 we hear this,
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...

And in Colossians 1:19-20
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
 
Also, in Romans 14:19
So, then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

And in Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

What does Jesus mean when he speaks of Peacemakers? What is this characteristic of God’ s children? And why does it matter for a follower of Jesus to be a peacemaker?

I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a time of war protests and peace movements. People wore peace symbols around their neck and had it stenciled on their shirts, decaled on their cars. The Beatles had a song titled, “Give Peace a Chance. – All we are saying, is give peace a chance.” I remember seeing books using this Beatitude that we’re studying today and proclaiming that Jesus was a war protestor. I mean, peace was in vogue at that time.

Now, behind all of this was the naïve hope that if we could just stop war, everything would be great. Humanity would just find a way to get along and we could disband armies and police forces and have a utopia of peace. Those protestors are now senior citizens and have raised children and grandchildren seeded with the ideas of that time. It needs to be pointed out that there’s one major fallacy behind the whole idealism of that time. That misconception was that we had it within us on our own ability to achieve this kind of peace.

At the very least, that time revealed a desire within mankind to have a world where peace is a reality. The hitch only came because they did not understand the true nature of the problem. The reality of war won’t be solved by simply eliminating the weapons of war and saying that war is outlawed. All the governments of the world could join together and sign a treaty abolishing war but that wouldn’t end all the conflicts. No, it wouldn’t and there is a reason for that.

If I were to ask you, “What is the opposite of peace?” You’d say, War! Now, let me ask you, and this next question is the more telling one. “What is the source of the war? What’s at the core the discord among people?” Think about it. It’s us. More exactly, it’s our sin. We’re the problem. We’re the ones who stand in the way of having peace. Whether we’re talking about nations, groups, races, families, our sin creates the conflict. James 4:1 says it plainly, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts?” Earlier James points out again to the problem in James 1:14, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

We are the problem. The problem is within us. God has honestly told us that the source is in the heart of mankind. No mere external solution will ultimately succeed. God’s Word testifies to this. Remember Jesus said it. We read it earlier in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, acts of adultery, other immoral sexual acts, thefts, false testimonies, and slanderous statements.” The problem is in our sinful hearts.

And so, it’s not hard to imagine that the solution must address the heart. Just like all the other Beatitudes, being a peacemaker is not a natural characteristic trait. Our natural state is a sinful soul in conflict with itself, with others and most certainly with God. We cannot achieve peace by ourselves because we cannot solve the sin problem on our own. The solution must come from God. But it can only be realized by the peace provided by God in Christ Jesus.

If the source of all of the war is sin, then the peace can only be solved by settling the sin problem. Jesus provided the end of that war between mankind and God. He did it in Christ Jesus by what He did on the cross.

In Colossians 1:19-20 is says, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Again in Romans 5:1 it tells us, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” You see, the source of the inner conflict is sin and Jesus makes an end of that war and gives us peace. Our soul is at peace and so we can now share that peace with others. The war between us and God is over and so the war between us and our fellow man should likewise end. We can become peacemakers. This is to be the character of God’s children.

 So, how does a Peacemaker live out the peace of God? Well, first of all they have to exhibit the peace that resides within them. They’re not a quarrelsome people. Things are right between you and God (righteousness remember) and they display that righteousness. James 3:17-18 says,
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The peacemaker is someone who actively pursues peace. We can’t passively go about this. It just doesn’t happen. We take an active role and part in it. Romans 14:19 says it this way, “So, then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Our actions towards others are affected by God’s peace within us to the point that we pursue peace. We are no longer battling to destroy others. As God’s children, we are to be instruments of His redemptive work in the lives of others.

Hebrews 12:14,15 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble,” This pursuit is a continuous work. We can’t allow any personal bitterness to disrupt God’s grace working through us and towards others. Involve yourself in the true problem that’s disturbing the peace.

My son is a police officer. I’ll always remember what he told me one time when I asked him how he dealt with those individuals who yell and scream at him while carrying out his duties. He told me, “Dad, because of the duty that I have as an officer, I cannot allow them to disturb my peace.” What a great answer. That’s not a passive response in living. I have a life to live as a child of God and I cannot allow life situations to disturb the peace of God in my life as I live before others.

That brings me to another aspect of a peacemaker, Humility. Remember how last week I pointed out the relationship of the first three Beatitudes with the second three. The Poor in Spirit results in someone who is compassionate – merciful. Those who mourn their sinfulness find forgiveness and cleansing – they are Pure at heart. The Meek – Humble –are the peacemakers.

You can’t be a peacemaker if you make self-centered demands and must have always your way. A peacemaker is someone delivered from self-interest and self-concern as a preeminent concern of their life. As long as you’re first and foremost the concern is protecting yourself and shielding yourself, getting your way, there is fuel for conflict. I get in the way of the way of peace when I do that.

In all of these, the peacemaker is someone who realizes the BIG picture. In the realm of relationships both eternal and temporary, large or small, if it’s me winning that’s the ultimate goal it won’t work. The real WIN has already been achieved. You see, my self-interests don’t need to add to the casualties of war. The war has ended. I need to make God’s peace a reality in my life and with others.

It’s funny how stories provide us some excellent examples. I recall a scene from a western classic, The Outlaw Josie Wells. Josie Wells becomes an outlaw because of a betrayal at the end of the United States Civil War. He was always on the run and the movie portrays a multitude of conflicts that he faces as he tries to find some place to live in peace.

At the end of the movie, we find Josie Wells wounded in a saloon after another one of these heated battles. The man who had originally betrayed him and had been pursuing him all throughout the movie now stands beside him.

The pursuer asks if anyone in the saloon had seen Josie Wells even though he knows that Josie is standing right next to him. The bartender says that he had heard that Josie was dead, killed in gunfight in another town. The pursuer says he didn’t think that Josie was dead.
Josie then asks the pursuer, “If you found Josie, what would you tell him?”
To which the pursuer answers, “I would tell Josie that the war is over.”
Josie then answers, “Yea, I guess enough people have died.”
The pursuer then walks out of the saloon.

If your life is an inner war and you don’t know what to do or where to turn. Can I tell you something? “The war is over.” God has provided a peace that will transform your soul and life in every level. You’ve died long enough. Come to Jesus and find peace.

For those of us who are the children of God, blessed and happy because of the peace that God has made in our hearts, let us live out that peace with each other and with those we live among.

Enough days have died under the selfish pursuits of our hearts. Pursue peace. Don’t allow others to disturb the peace that lives in you. Be a peacemaker.

Jesus is the source of peace that the world desires.

Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called the sons of God.

This is a truth that makes a difference.
It is a Truth that Matters.

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