Summary: To make peace is not to compromise or avoid confrontation. Abraham set us a good example. We must have the desire to make peace, treasure the relationship, be generous in heart and avoid a self-centred view of things.
JOHN PIPER says the cry of the beatitudes is this: “Get a new heart!”
• They are not good suggestions, but what every Christian ought to be.
• The beatitudes counter the false understanding that a person can be saved without being changed. Or: that a person can inherit eternal life even if his attitudes and actions are like the attitudes and actions of unbelievers.
• One after the other the beatitudes tell us that the blessings of eternity will be given only to those who have become new creatures.
• Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
• If we don’t obtain mercy, we are still living under judgement. If we don’t see God, we are not in heaven. If we aren’t called the sons of God, we are outside the family.
In other words these are all descriptions of true salvation.
• And it is promised only to the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.
• Therefore the beatitudes are like long spikes holding down the lid of the coffin on the false teaching which says that if you just believe in Jesus you will go to heaven whether or not you are merciful or pure in heart or a peacemaker.
• In fact, from beginning to end the Sermon on the Mount cries out, "Get yourself a new heart! Become a new person! The river of judgment is at the door!"
• Matt 5:20 says, "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
The beatitudes set the hallmark for the Christian. May we all grow in all of these beatitudes and manifest the beauty of Jesus in our lives.
RECAP: Last week we learn that the pure in heart will see God.
• They live under God’s watchful eyes, fully aware of it and glad to be so.
• We want to live a life of integrity. Nothing to hide.
• Determined to set our heart both right and true. No falsehood, no pretence.
• We seek to grow in that through a conscious reliance on God – our constant cry is “Change my heart, O God, make it ever true.” Be quick to confess and repent.
• And make a commitment to be authentic and real. You have to DECIDE to do so yourself.
Matt 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
The sons of God are peacemakers.
• People who are peacemakers will be recognised as the sons of God.
• Because sons of God have the character of the Father. God is a peacemaker.
• "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them." (2 Cor 5:19).
• Even though He has the right to, and is just to do so, God has chosen to make peace.
God is a peace-loving God, and a peacemaking God.
• So as children of God, we bear that same resemblance to our Father.
• We are to be merciful, and we must seek to make peace.
• This is our ministry. That’s our calling today.
Let’s understand what peacemaking is not.
Firstly, to make peace is not to compromise our faith.
• We are not advocating ‘peace at any price’, and accept anything to avoid trouble.
• Jesus said in Matt 10:34-36 34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn "`a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law- 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
• His coming will surely cause humanity to be polarised between those who seek God and those who reject Him; between what is right and wrong, between light and darkness.
• Peace is not at the expense of the truth.
• To make peace therefore is not to accept everything to avoid conflict.
• We have to stand by what God says is right and true.
Secondly, to live in peace with pp does not mean we avoid bringing up differences.
• In fact, it is to acknowledge the differences and learning to live with them.
• To avoid all clashes of views is not really peacemaking. It’s faking it.
• It’s like stepping into a family where every member is quiet and not talking to one another. Well, it’s extremely quiet and peaceful. Actually, you’ve just walked into a cold war that is taking place.
• Relationships can be dead while everything on the surface looks good.
• A few months back we were visiting and came to know this family – parents and sister-in-law stays together but not talking to each other. No ‘good morning’, no ‘Hi’, no ‘have you taken your dinner’, nothing! See each other every day but not a word was spoken. And the relative told us this is so every day!