BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS (Matt 5:9; Eph 4:17-32) A. If I could choose one word to describe life in the Garden of Eden, it would have to peace.

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1 BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS (Matt 5:9; Eph 4:17-32) A. If I could choose one word to describe life in the Garden of Eden, it would have to peace. 1. Because once they were escorted out of the garden, the war had begun. B. Peace is something we all want, but we live in a world of warfare. 1. In the past 4,000 years there have been fewer than 300 years of peace. 2. The US alone has had approx. 16 wars, & that s few compared to most countries. 3. In recent years there have been more than 80 wars within a single year. 4. Jesus was talking to a people who expected war. a. They expected their Christ to be a man of war (John 6:15; Luke 24:21; Acts 1:6). b. Even John was confused about the nature of Christ (Luke7:19; John 18:36). [And all of that despite what Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the peacemakers. ] I. PEACEMAKERS, PEACE A. The word peacemakers is only used only once in the Bible. 1. But that doesn t mean it s not important: For they are children of God. 1

2 B. Peacemaking is active: founding, promoting & maintaining a condition of peace & harmony. C. Peace: freedom from strife, conflict & disturbance; not quarrelsome, but calm, serene, quiet, harmonious. [And since we cannot be children of God without this (attitude), we see the importance of this study. To start with, ALL peace begins with God, that s why the garden was peaceful.] II. GOD AND CHRIST OF PEACE A. God is referred to as the God of peace at least five times in the New Testament. 1. Jesus: Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6; Psa 72:7). a. When He was born, the angels said, Peace has come to earth (Luke 2:14). b. Jesus promised to give His disciples peace even though tribulation was all around them (John 14:27; 16:33). B. But then Jesus made - what seems to be - a contradictory statement to His purpose in coming here. Matthew 10: Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. (Mic 7:6) 1. How can this be? The peace that Jesus promised to give is not the peace most people are looking for. 2

3 a. Most people want peace on their own terms, SO they re at peace with those who agree to their terms. b. Some people want peace with no terms at all. - You live your way & leave me alone, and I ll live my way & leave you alone. - But that kind of peace doesn t last; eventually someone will want peace on his terms (Jas 4:1). - A good example of that is the one we brought up in our lesson on the fourth beatitude: merciful. There are people out there who will force you legally to do business with them, even when it offends your conscience. - And so you cannot have peace without setting the terms of peace. C. God has set His terms of peace with mankind. 1. And although we have a choice of whether or not we will accept His terms, we cannot change them. 2. His terms of peace with us are: a. Believing Jesus to be the Christ the Son of God (John 8:24; 20:30-31). b. Repenting of our sins (Acts 17:30). c. Confessing openly our faith in Christ (Rom 10:9-10). d. Baptism in His name & into His death (Acts 2:38; Rom 6:4). - Having accepted those terms of peace, we receive forgiveness of sins, we are added to the church, & we live in true hope of eternal life. 3

4 3. That kind of peace is impossible to find in any other person (Eph 2:14-17; Isa 2:2-4). a. He is our peace (14). b. He preached peace to us (17) c. He united us in one body (14, 15). d. He reconciled us in that one body to God (16). - How? In His flesh, through the cross (blood) (15, 16). - Because In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness (God s forgiveness) of sins (Eph 1:7). [You see, when you have a community such as we have here, of forgiven people, you have an environment of peace. But when you step out of this environment, you walk back into a world of conflict. What we need to know is how to be peacemakers in the warring world we live in.] III. BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS [A peacemaker is not a peace lover. We can t love the world & make peace with it (1 John 1:15-17). We can t just go with the flow of moral turpitude. A peacemaker is not just a peaceful person, one who is always calm & easy going. Neither is a peacemaker one who wants peace at any price, one who lacks conviction & just wants everyone to get along.] A. Actively making peace with God. 1. The only way to make peace with God is to obey the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15). 4

5 2. Take a look at (Col 1:19-23). a. When you become a Christian, when you obey the gospel of peace, you are made holy & blameless & above reproach in His sight (Col 1:22, NKJV). b. Beforehand, you were alienated (estranged) & hostile (enemies) in mind (Col 1:21, NASU). c. What the Holy Spirit is saying, is that if you reject the gospel of peace God has no dealing with you, because you re acting hostile toward Him. [But there are those who have never been taught the gospel of Christ. They too, without knowing it, are alienated & hostile in mind. So the second way we can be peacemakers ] B. Making peace between others & God. 1. The apostles certainly did their share of this kind of peacemaking. 2. But I can t help but think of Philip who was a servant in the church in Jerusalem, & then made time to preach the gospel of peace in Samaria, Azotus (Ashdod), Caesarea, & all the cities in between. 3. He took advantage of the opportunities the Lord gave him to make peace between those who were lost in sin & God. Proverbs 11:30 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, & he who is wise wins souls. 2 Corinthians 5:20 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. Romans 10:15 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" 5

6 [The third way we can be peacemakers.] C. Making peace between ourselves & others. 1. The peacemaker will go out of his way to make peace with others. a. He goes the second mile, turns the other cheek, & loves his enemies. Romans 12:18 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Hebrews 12:14 14 Pursue peace with all men, & the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 1 Peter 3: For, "THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE & SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL & HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11 "HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL & DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE & PURSUE IT. [How do we pursue peace?] James 1:19 19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak & slow to anger; Proverbs 15:1 15 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Romans 12:20 20 "BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, & IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." (Prov 25:21) 2. Occasionally, it s necessary to be a peace-maker in the peaceful environment of the church. 6

7 Ephesians 4:32 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Matthew 5: Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 18:15 15 If your brother sins, go & show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, YOU HAVE WON YOUR BROTHER. [God has taught us sufficiently how to diffuse every heated situation with a peaceful solution.] IV. PROMISE: FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF GOD A. God will acknowledge them as His children. They have features of their Heavenly Father; they resemble Him. CLOSING A. World peace could never make that kind of promise (John 16:33). 1. In fact, nothing short of NT Christianity can result in peace for any length of time. Romans 5:1-4 5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; & we exult in hope of the glory of God. [NOTICE WHERE THAT PEACE IS ENJOYED] 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 & perseverance, proven character; & proven character, hope; 7

8 [SO PAUL WRITES] Philippians 4:6-7 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus. 2. The Greek word for guard your hearts & minds is a military term that pictures the sentry walking back & forth while protecting the camp at night. a. So, in the same manner, God guards our hearts & minds through Christ Jesus, & therefore we are at peace. B. Are you at peace today? If not, let us know how we can help you. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You (Isa 26:3). 8

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