Summary: Week 7 of an 8 week sermon series on the Beatitudes that focuses on our call to bear His peace.
February 19, 2006
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Note: We live in a world characterized by fighting and rivalry. From sibling rivalry to civil war, we see is the affects of animosity at every level of society. It is everywhere.
Funny: Lady Astor once said to Winston Churchill, “If you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.” Churchill responded, “And if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
Note: We laugh at this sarcasm, but it reveals how all of us are predisposed to conflict. Some of us have clashed w/ so many people that we don’t know how to live peaceably w/ others. I’ve known some people that can’t seem happy unless they’re fighting w/ others. Let’s face it – we enjoy being the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s.
Note: History bears this out. History reveals that most peacekeeping efforts by and large have failed. In fact, in nearly 4000 years of recorded history, the world has been at peace a total of only 286 years including over 8000 treaties made and broken.
Quote: Peace is merely that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stops to reload. (from John MacArthur book on the Beatitudes)
Trans: We’re in a series focusing on the (8) attitudes Jesus said we’re to have as His disciples. Each of these attitudes determines our altitude. They testify to our disposition and determination in life. Jesus offered these be-attitudes to remind us that God isn’t focused on man’s outward performance but rather w/ what is in the heart. This AM we’re going to look at blessed are the peacemakers... (Read Text)
Funny: A young daughter was working so diligently on her homework that her father became curious and asked her what she was doing. She said, “I’m writing a report on how to bring peace to the world.” Humored, the father smiled and asked, “Isn’t that a pretty big order for a little girl?” She relied, “Oh, no. Don’t worry. There are (3) of us in the class working on it.”
Note: It’s easy to be naïve about peace, yet peace can be very elusive. One moment you can have peace at home, at work, or in your relationships, and the next it’s gone. I recently heard of a group of people walking across America on a mission of peace. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get along so they divided into (2) groups in Arkansas!
Insert: Sometimes even at church peace is hard to find. Some how many believers have managed to take the words of Jesus – “Where two or three are gathered in my name I will be in their midst,” and turn that verse into, “Where two or three gather together in Jesus’ name, eventually there will be conflict.” It’s pitiful!
Trans: The fact that the lack of peace is so pervasive is nothing new. We can trace it back to the book of Genesis. Humans have been at war w/ God ever since Adam and Eve sinned. And, beginning w/ the conflict b/w Cain and Abel, which eventually led to one brother killing the other, we’ve been in battle w/ one another.
Note: Thus, when Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers” he totally shocked those around Him. How could the Jews hope to overthrow Rome and restore their nation to a place of prominence if they were going to have to be “peacemakers?” The Romans weren’t going to just lie down and let Israel have their way.
Trans: It‘s w/in this context that Jesus promised to bless the people who’d become His agents for peace saying that the peacemaker would be called the “son of God.” This means that every Christian, according to this Beatitude, is responsible to being a peacemaker in their home, church, community, nation, and ultimately, the world.
I The CONDITION
Note: Before we proceed, let’s describe what biblical peace isn’t: It’s not the absence of activity, the absence of hostility, or the escape from reality. The biblical concept is much deeper than an absence of conflict or a vacation to get away from it all.
Insert: In the O.T., the word for peace is shalom referring to a state of wholeness and harmony intended to resonate in all relationships. When used as a greeting, it was a wish for outward freedom from disturbance and an inward sense of well-being.
Verse: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Nm. 6:24f
Trans: It’s vital to understand that Jesus isn’t referring to being a peacekeeper but rather a peacemaker. The difference is that a peacemaker actively overcomes evil w/ good. He finds satisfaction in removing hostilities and effecting resolution b/w enemies. But not everyone is a peacemaker – some are peace-breakers or peace-fakers.