Summary: Seventh in my Being the Believing series through the Beatitudes
A Piece of the Peace!
Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history. At least 108 million people were killed in wars in the twentieth century. Estimates for the total number killed in wars throughout all of human history range from 150 million to 1 billion.
Born again Christians in the U.S. file as many as 8 million lawsuits every year, often against other Christians, costing as much as 40 billion dollars. There are approximately 19,000 major, scarring church conflicts in the U.S. each year (an average of 50 per day). 32-60% of born again Christians who have been married have gone through a divorce, virtually the same percentage as our general population. 1,500 pastors leave their post every month in the U.S. mostly because of conflict.
Of the 19,000 major conflicts happening in our churches every year: only 2% involve doctrinal issues and 98% involves interpersonal issues.
Control issues ranked as the most common cause of conflict (85%)
About 40% of church members who leave their churches do so because of conflict.
And, on a more personal note, according to Thom Rainer, 8 out of 10 Southern Baptist churches have either plateaued or are declining and in danger of closing.
And, the church remains silent about these issues, pushing conflict under the carpet, allowing gossip to spread and looking in the other direction. That is why on Wednesday mornings I am urging our church to pray for UNITY! That is why the word unity is capitalized in our name and why our theme verse is “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity” –Psalm 133:1 Because I know what happens where there is no peace: Ichabod is written on the door to the church, the glory of God departs and we lose our Gospel Power.
Peace: Politicians promise it, beauty pageant contestants propagate it, and world leaders promote it. Humanity has searched for this seemingly elusive precious commodity since Adam and Eve were dragged, kicking and screaming, from the Garden of Eden. Even the Anti-Christ will use the promise of it to rally the world’s politicians, religious leaders and military might to his side during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation period. The good news is that even though many, and you may be one of them, have been unable to attain peace, peace is offered.
The politicians have failed, the beauty pageant contestants have come short and the world leaders, well, turn on your TV!
The good news is that peace has come “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”-Isa. 9:6
The Prince of Peace! Praise God one day Jesus Christ stepped out from eternity in the midst of chaos, turmoil and war and brought peace to a ravished, dry, parched and weary land.
But knowing that He was about to take on the cross and leave humanity behind He knew what would happen when THE peace departed, He knew:
followers would be discouraged
men would be angry and women would cry
the out-of-towners would turn their backs to the cross and hit the road home
even His closest Disciples would question.
All thinking that peace was gone. So, before He left He looked at US and gave some comfort. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” –John 14:27 Oh, peace is NOT gone my friend, it is right here, in this very room, PEACE is among us, NAY, peace is within us!
As the song says, God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through one of those doors is you.
So, turning to our next beatitude found in Matthew chapter 5 verse 9, standing in reverence to His Word as we read:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”” –Mt. 5:9
There are four points that I want us to consider this morning as we look at this verse: Our Christ, our calling, our challenge and our celebration, first:
1. Our Christ as the example of peace: Let me preface this point by stating how blessed we are to serve a God that never sets us up for failure by calling us to an impossible task for nothing is impossible for Him. Or calling us to do that which He was unwilling to do Himself!
Jesus is NOT found lacking in examples of Him bringing peace to this world! When He entered into this world he was hailed as the prince of peace and over 2,000 years later peace can still be found wherever the name of Jesus is uttered!