Summary: Part III of the Four Part Vision: As the redeemed children of God, we are called to live lives that reflect the peace that Christ won for us on the Cross. This message is a practical introduction to Biblical Peacemakers.
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ’every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18.15-17, NIV)
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12.18, NIV)
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." (James 3.17-18, NIV)
An important thought and attribution:
In order to help explain and develop the main points of the sermon, outside resources were consulted and referenced. Important principles and thoughts explained in this sermon are based on the teachings of two organizations devoted to teaching the principles of Biblical peacemaking: The ministry led by Ken Sande - Peacemaker Ministries; and the ministry led by Ted Kober – Ambassadors of Reconciliation. Paraphrases are included in this message that are based on the published works: The Peacemaker by Ken Sande and Confession and Forgiveness by Ted Kober. I am indebted to them for the wonderful contributions that they have made to Biblical peacemaking. I am also extremely thankful for having had the opportunity to study under Ted Kober.
It’s been all over TV and a number of Internet sites this week. The cause celebs for the family reality TV genre – Jon and Kate + Eight – announced that big changes are coming on the near horizon. Jon and Kate are getting separated. Their very public lives clearly showed the strains of a relationship that was on the rocks. We saw a husband who just sort of seemed to find cause to disagree with his wife or cause not to follow her instructions. And there on prominent display was a wife who seemed to be, well, let’s just say it, quite demanding and overbearing at times. Sad to say, but this young couple with ten years of marriage under their belts, could be the poster children to promote the need for Biblical Peacemaking.
Jon and Kate aren’t alone. Conflict rears its ugly head in all sorts of places. Conflict and a person writing off another person aren’t just the topics of conversation for a reality TV show are they? Conflict happens in the lives of most of us. Conflicts happen in just about every place that you could imagine. It happens because the evil one sows seeds of discontent every place that we can imagine. Husbands and wives fight. Parents and children fight. Brothers and sisters, siblings fight. Neighbors fight with each other. Institutions are in conflict with each other. Pastors are conflict with each other. Even people who belong to the same congregation argue and fight with each other. Luther once wrote: “Whenever God opens a new church; Satan opens a chapel next door.” How true! From that vantage point, the old, evil foe knows exactly what buttons to push to inspire division and conflict.
A few years ago, ORLC helped to host the National Hispanic Convention. The night before the Convention started, there was a meeting of the members of the National Lutheran Hispanic Mission Society. While the president of the National Hispanic Convention made a point from the podium, one of the people in the audience refuted his point by raising his hand and saying something like, “Well, the synodical president has appointed a Blue Ribbon Task Force for Hispanic Ministry – I’m a member, and aren’t you a member also, Eloy?” I hadn’t said a word and actually was counting on the synodical president, who was coming to the meeting to make the announcement of the establishment of this task force. "That task force was his baby, and it was up to him to make the announcement," I reasoned.
The president of the Hispanic Convention had obviously not been informed about this, nor had he been appointed to the Task Force. So at that meeting, when the young man raised his hand and brought this up – the guy at the podium literally exploded. He began to use pretty strong language and make some very ugly accusations. It was very nasty. And I got really, really angry with him. After the meeting I confronted this man and we really had it out. Finally, I said to him that his behavior was unseemly because he was a pastor. We established a truce – even hugged on it. But in my heart – I harbored a grudge.