Summary: Two key points are: 1) The Gospel message, 2) Confession to God changes our lives.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Last week, we began a series about being peacemakers, and remember that we began by looking at THE Peacemaker, God. That is God, plural. God, the Father created the plan by which we could enjoy His peace. Jesus was sacrificed for our sins, and the Holy Spirit is at work in us, perfecting us and changing our very beings.
Our three key points last week were:
• Our God is a God of peace.
• We can enjoy the peace of God.
• God has provided the path to peace.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
God’s path to peace is paved with the body and blood of Christ Jesus. He laid himself down to die for our sins, and we were given the peace that was rightfully His. Today, we will take a closer look at what is required of us as we follow that path to peace.
What I am about to call the first step is actually several steps, but the first step is to become a Christian. Without that, there is no peace. On September 17, 2001, President George W. Bush gave a speech in the immediate aftermath of the most horrible acts of terrorism this country has ever seen. In that speech, President Bush was trying to establish that the terrorists were not truly representative of the Muslim religion. He remarked, “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”
Even though I support President Bush, I couldn’t disagree with that last statement any more strongly. Islam is not peace. Islam denies that Jesus is the Christ, and because of that denial, Islam is in discord with God.
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
No one means no one. Jesus is the way, not one way. He is the truth and the life, not a truth nor one of many lives. And for anyone to claim to be peaceful, they must be in accord with God. Islam denies Christ; therefore, Islam can not be at peace with God.
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
You heard the short list of sinners. We could add many more specific sins to the list, but I think you get the idea. But the beauty of this passage is in verse 11. “And that is what some of you were”. If Paul were from East Texas, he would have written, “and that’s what you ‘used to be’”. In even better words, “You aren’t like that any more because ‘you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’”
Back to the issue of Islam, they are not at peace because they haven’t been washed in Jesus’ blood. We said that God’s path to peace is paved with the body and blood of Christ Jesus. But for us to go down the path to peace, we must first hear and believe the truth that Jesus is the Christ; the One and only Son of God.
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
We must declare the fact that Jesus is the Christ from our hearts, not timidly, but with conviction.
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
We must recognize that we are sinners, unworthy of His favor, and we must repent from that life of sin. To repent is to change our direction, and that is exactly what we must do. We must stop following our selfish desires, the desires of the flesh, and begin living by faith, following the commands of God.