Summary: 7th sermon of eight on the Beattitdes.
The Perfect Standard For Life
Peacemaking Wins God’s Heart - Part 7 of 8
Reading: Matthew 5v9
Two historians by the names of Will and Ariel Durant wrote in their book The Lessons of History, “War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization and democracy. In the last 3421 years of recorded history, only 268 have seen no war”.
“That’s a frightening thought, isn’t it?”
Today we have CNN, the BBC, and many other news agencies around the world who bring into our homes, as wars are being fought around the world.
It’s become a reality of life.
It’s almost a given in the times we live in that there’s war happening somewhere in the world, and many people have many answers on how to stop these wars.
They come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas.
Some people say there has to be at least one superpower to control everything, and if they become a superpower by winning a war, then let it be so.
Some people suggest that people must not turn up for war when their country calls them into duty.
They ask the question, “What if they had a war and nobody came?”
Other people again say, if we live by the Golden Rule then wars will stop.
Now, this last suggestion only touches on the solution, but it does not go far enough, because no person can by their own strength live by the Golden Rule.
In other words, our own efforts to make peace are like those unfortunate firefighters who were called to rescue a cat that was stuck in a tree.
Their rescue was successful, carried out by the book, but as they put their truck into gear to return to the station they backed over the same animal they had just rescued.
Yes, they had the right motive, but they ended up with the wrong result.
…and so the answer lies not in simply applying ethics.
The answer to war lies in the pages of the Bible and we Christians have the answer to this dilemma.
Jesus said, “Blessed [approved of God] are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God”.
…and if we understand this statement of Jesus correctly and apply it to our hearts in the right way, then it can do two things for us.
It can bring peace to our own hearts -, and we can become peacemakers.
In other words, we can become the very people who mediate peace amongst people.
What Does “Peacemakers” Mean?
Let’s start at the beginning.
If we take the first half of the word “peace”, it means very much the same as the Hebrew word “Shalom”.
“Shalom” has the idea of wishing someone else the absence of trouble in their lives, but it says more than that.
It also speaks of a certain wholeness and a complete life.
In other words, the word “shalom” includes all of a person.
It says, “God’s highest good to you”.
The second half of the word “makers”, tells us that you and I must not be passive and inactive about peace, but we must be a source of peace as well.
So if we take these two meanings together it describes for us a person who is active in pursuing peace in it’s complete fullness.
In other words, a “peacemaker” as it is used here, is someone who not only pursues the absence of conflict in another person’s life, they also pursue wholeness and total well-being in that person’s life as well.
But then also if we want to understand what the word “peacemakers” mean, then we first have to look at what it does not mean in order to understand what it actually means.
a. It Does Not Mean Being An Easygoing Person.
A peacemaker is not a person who does not care what anyone else does as long as it does not affect themselves.
b. It Does Not Mean Being Tolerant All The Time.
A peacemaker never says, “You do your thing, and I’ll do mine”.
c. It Does Not Mean Having Peace At Any Cost.
Agreeing to a truce or appeasement does not make peace, it only puts off the conflict until another time.
What Is A Peacemaker Like?
There are three things I want us to look at:
a. A Peacemaker Is An Honest Person.
In other words, an honest person never hides a problem when there’s one, he always admits it, because you cannot fix what you don’t admit!
Ezekiel spoke about people who act as if all is well, when in fact it is not.
He says in Ezekiel 13v10 of such people, “They shout peace when there is no peace”.
In other words, people like this kind of just plaster over the cracks, but never fix the cracks permanently.