Summary: Examination of the seventh BE-Attitude: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
PURSUING HAPPINESS: Peacemakers in a World of Troublemakers
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”
1. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. This be-attitude is probably the most often quoted and well-known of the Beatitudes that make up the introduction to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
• And the most probable reason is that it expresses the deepest longings of most people’s hearts for genuine and lasting peace.
• We live in a world full of troublemakers, and covenant and heart breakers. Aggression and abuse, conflict and chaos, violence and vendettas have become our expertise.
• Back in 1935, Gen. Douglas MacArthur stated: "In the last 3,400 years only 268—less than 1 in 13—have been free from wars.”
• Since 1945 our world has been without war for only a mere 26 days!
• Someone has said, "Peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload."
2. “Blessed are the peacemakers…” I wonder what questions, comments, arguments, and rationalizations went through the minds of Jesus’ disciples as they heard these words.
• Remember that at the time their country was under the boot of the hated Romans. One of them, Simon was a member of the Zealot party – the “freedom fighters” of the day who believed that liberation and peace would only come through war.
• Another, Matthew the tax collector, even though he inwardly despised the Romans, had adopted the philosophy “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and had made his living at his own people’s expense.
• James and John on one occasion had wanted to call down fire from heaven on a group of Samaritans for refusing to let Jesus and his disciples pass through their village – they were obviously well known for their explosive tempers as they often argued with the other disciples about which of them was the greatest – so Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”.
• Peter used to carry a sword under his garments and was quick to use it when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane as he hacked off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest.
3. As you can see, they were just ordinary, regular folks, like you and me –
• also having to do battle with divisions, alienation, feuds, aggression and hostilities between nations, ethnic or language groups, political parties, cliquish social groups within communities, churches, and even our own families – the troublemakers "out there".
• and the stormy emotions of anxiety, fear, bitterness, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness deep inside our own souls – the troublemakers "inside here".
4. So how on earth do we become “blessed peacemakers” when the battles are raging all around us and we hardly feel or experience much peace on the inside?
• Maybe it is much safer to just be like the tortoise and pull our heads inside our shell and try to keep our minds occupied or entertained with less troublesome matters.
5. As we have recognized in the previous messages in this series, Jesus presents a specific order and progressive development in each of these Be-Attitudes – each one builds on what has been stated earlier.
• You cannot just put them in any order you like or pick and choose which one you prefer for yourself.
Disciples of Jesus all have to start in the same place of acknowledging our own spiritual bankruptcy – that we are full of sin and God alone is full of righteousness.
That acknowledgment leads us to mourn and repent of our condition,
and so willingly place our strength and our wills in meekness under His control.
The consequence of that response is that we start to see the world from God’s perspective and desire His passions to be our own – we hunger and thirst for His righteousness.
In light of that humble attitude God showers on us His mercy and we in turn choose to respond to others in the same way.
As we continue to receive His mercy, so our hearts are refined and purified of mixed motives and unholy passions and the joy of seeing and beholding God’s face becomes our one chief desire.
God’s peace in our hearts is the blessed fruit of those who continue in this journey – peace with God and peace with themselves. Now the very nature of God’s peace is that it always fills and overflows its container – it is an abundant and living peace that does not stop filling when the container is 100% full – it continues to be poured in and then flows from us to its next recipients.
• Now as we will discover in our next and final message on the Beatitudes and many have learned by painful experience – every hurting and troubled person, family, community, or nation does not automatically recognize, acknowledge, and warmly accept their need of God’s peace. Sadly, many openly resist it, reject it and refuse it and will harass, threaten, and persecute those who seek to bring God’s peace.