Summary: History shows that most peacekeeping efforts by and large have failed. So what does Jesus mean by being a peacemaker?
We live in a world characterized by fighting, wars, and animosity at every level of society. It’s everywhere.
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.”
We laugh at this, but it shows how all of us are inclined to quarrel. Some of us have clashed with so many people that we don’t know how to live peaceably with others. I’ve known some people that don’t seem happy unless they’re fighting with others. Let’s face it – we enjoy being the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s.
History shows 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.
Tonight we are going to look at another attitude that Jesus says we are to have to be His disciples. Matt. 5: 9; “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
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 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 halfway thru the trip.
Sometimes even at church peace is hard to find. Somehow 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! But true.
The fact that the lack of peace is so prominent is nothing new. We can trace it back to the book of Genesis. Humans have been at war with God ever since Adam and Eve sinned. And, beginning with the conflict between Cain and Abel, which eventually led to one brother killing the other, we’ve been in battle w/ one another.
So 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.
It‘s within this context that Jesus promised to bless the people who’d become His agents for peace saying that the peacemaker would be called the “sons of God.” This means that every Christian, according to this Beatitude, is responsible for being a peacemaker in their home, church, community, nation, and ultimately, the world.
Before we proceed, let’s describe what biblical peace is not: It’s NOT the absence of hostility. The biblical concept is much deeper than an absence of conflict or a vacation to get away from it all.
In the O.T., the word for peace is shalom referring to a state of wholeness and harmony intended to be in all relationships. When used as a greeting, it was a wish for outward freedom from disturbance and an inward sense of well-being.
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 with good. But not everyone is a peacemaker – some are peace-breakers or peace-fakers.
Concerning Peace-BREAKERS, Paul wrote, “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Rom. 16:17-18
Pease-breakers enjoy causing division and enjoy throwing obstacles in the way of others to prevent them from following and accomplishing God’s will. They do this because they are far more concerned with their plans and appetites being satisfied.
Yet notice how they do it – predominantly with their words. You know, it’s easier to create conflict than it is to promote peace. It only takes a word. The quickest ways to settle if you’re a peace-breaker is to consider your words. Do you use your words to unite or separate – to encourage or discourage.
Paul wrote, ”Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. Do not grieve the H.S. w/ whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander, and every form of malice.” Eph. 4:29 (Grandma said, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all.”