Summary: Being a peacemaker
Sermon by Donald R. Hart – Antioch Christian Church, Pittsburg, Missouri – February 25, 2007
(All quoted Scripture is from the NIV)
Text: Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.”
Two weeks ago I spoke on “Love Defined”, last week on “Grace Defined” and today I want to talk about “Peace Defined”. The word “peace” has several different meanings in the Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament meaning of peace was completeness, soundness, and well-being of the total person. This peace was considered God-given and was obtained by following the Law. It also sometimes had a physical meaning that suggested security or contentment or prosperity. It also at times meant the absence of war. As many of you know, the traditional Jewish greeting, shalom, was a wish for peace.
In the New Testament, peace often refers to the inner tranquility of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. The peace that Jesus spoke about was a combination of hope, trust, and the quiet within the soul brought about by a person’s reconciliation with God.
Jesus in our text very simply says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” This is part of the Beatitudes given at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. We understand that the word “blessed” carries with it the idea of “happy”. So one could say, “Happy are the peacemakers…”
It was interesting that this week I received some pictures taken at a Muslim “Religion of Peace Demonstration” held in London.
None of these pictures found their way on American TV or into our newspapers. They came by the way of a Canadian friend who thought Americans ought to know. I know that you cannot see these very well so allow me to quote from some of the placards from this “Peace Demonstration”: “Slay those who insult Islam”
“Butcher those who mock Islam”
“Behead those who insult Islam”
“Europe is the cancer – Islam is the answer”
“Islam will dominate the world”
“Freedom Go to Hell”
“Europe, take some lessons from 9/11”
“Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on its way!!”
“Be prepared for the real holocaust!”
Please understand I do not share these photos in order to create intolerant feelings toward the followers of Islam, but rather to let you know there are those in our world that have a very jaundiced idea of what peace entails. We dare not retaliate in kind, but rather to do as Jesus commands – “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
Today in our message I would like to consider “Peace Defined” from three different viewpoints - Finding the source of peace, Finding personal peace and Finding our role at peacemakers.
I. FINDING THE SOURCE OF PEACE
A. GOD THE FATHER GIVES PEACE
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
It is clear from the context the “You” in this passage is referring to God for it goes on in verse 4, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”
During our Scripture reading this morning from Psalm 37:7 we heard:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
I know the word “peace” is not found in this passage, but I believe you will agree that it is certainly inferred here. When one is still before the Lord and is waiting patiently for him and is not fretting, one is going to be at peace.
Very quickly here are several passages where the Apostle Paul uses the term “the God of peace”: As Paul begins to close his letter to the Romans he says in 15:33 – “The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” and then in 16:20 he gives them a promise that “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
We often quote Philippians 4:8 as a guideline for what our thoughts should be: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” However we often stop short and fail to read verse 9 which says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Do you want the God of peace to be your companion? Then think about those types of things that are outlined in verse 8.
Paul closes 1 Thessalonians with these words – “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:23)