Summary: God has called us to be peacemakers. What is involved with that?
ESTABLISHING PEACE THRU GOD
1. GOD’S DESIRE FOR PEACE.
Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
It takes 1 person to purse peace, but it takes at least 2 to have peace. Your duty is to pursue it, but you can’t force the other party to agree.
2. GOD’S PLAN FOR PEACE.
A. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.
Lk 10:25-29 25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus went on to tell the story of a Samaritan traveling down the road that came upon an injured man that had been beaten, robbed, and stripped of his clothes. The man had lain in the ditch while others had passed by without helping him. The Samaritan, though, had compassion on him. What did he do?
(1) bandaged his wounds.
(2) carried him to town.
(3) paid for him to stay in an Inn.
Who is your neighbor? It is not just who lives next door. Sometimes your neighbor is someone you’ve never met. Your neighbor is anyone that is not your enemy.
How do we show love to them? By showing the love of Christ to them. By meeting their needs.
James 2 teaches us that a believer’s faith is useless in the Kingdom of God if he will not help others who are in great need.
** Ill: The Man who fixed my tire. I had a flat and my lug wrench had broken as I tried to loosen the first lug. I could not get the tire off. A man stopped, pulled a floor jack out of his truck before I could say anything. Changed my tire. I felt embarrassed letting another man change my tire. He Wouldn’t take any money and he left. He said, "No, I will not let you rob my joy. I try to serve God as best I can. I can't preach, not a good singer, nothing really special about me, but I know how to change tires. So, I stop and help anybody I can." That my made me his neighbor.
But are we only to love our neighbors?
B. Love Your Enemies.
Mt 5:43-45a 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;
* The world says to love your neighbors and hate your enemies. This is the flesh way of living. Most everyone does this. Not much effort.
* What does Jesus tell us to do to our enemies?
(1) To love them. The same requirement for our neighbors. Remember, love is a verb, not a feeling. You can love someone that you don’t like.
* In marriage counseling, if someone tells me that their spouse is ignoring or mistreating them or they are talking about a divorce. I tell them to try something. Do 3 acts of kindness for them and say no cross words even if mistreated. Do this for 30 days. Sometimes this will break the cycle of back and forth hurt and the relationship is saved. But, if the spouse still chooses to leave, at least you know you did everything you could to save the marriage.
(2) To pray for them. If you hate someone or they hate you, pray for them every day. You will find it’s impossible to hate someone that you are regularly praying for. Maybe that’s what Jesus has in mind all along, turning enemies into friends.
* 2 Great Results of loving your enemy and praying for him:
(1) The Relationship will be restored and friendship ensues.
(2) They will continue to hate you...... but your niceness to them will simply annoy them to death..... you win either way.
C. Don’t Retaliate Against Personal Insults.
Rom 12:17-19 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.