Summary: Lesson 8
With His statement "Blessed are the peacemakers" the Lord surely must have shocked those around Him. How could the Jews ever hope to overthrow the Roman government and restore themselves to a place of prominence if they were going to be a bunch of "peacemakers?" The Romans were not going to just lay down or step aside at the request of a group of peace-making Jews. What the Lord said in this seventh Beatitude made absolutely no sense to those who were looking to overthrow the Romans and to take back by force that which rightfully belonged to them.
As we approach a new millennium, things haven’t changed that much. Conflict and turmoil still exist in our society today, hostility runs rampant around the world, and yet we are called to be "peacemakers." How can we as Christians fulfill our role as "peacemakers" in a world that is growing more and more antagonistic toward us and what we believe? What does it mean to be a peacemaker?
I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF "PEACEMAKERS"
Regardless of whether it made any sense to the Jews of Jesus day or whether it makes any sense to us today, the call of Jesus is for us to be peacemakers. Working for, and following after peace, is a distinguishing mark of those who are true followers of the "Prince of Peace."
A peacemaker is one who:
A. Knows peace Inwardly
1. Before one can become a peacemaker, he must first of all have experienced peace himself.
2. Romans 5:1
5. True peace can only be found in a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
B. Brings peace Spiritually
1. Romans 10:15
2. Once we have made peace with God ourselves, it becomes our responsibility to be actively involved in taking the good news of the "gospel of peace" to a lost and dying world so that they too might know the "peace of God, which passeth all understanding." Paul speaks of this as the "ministry of reconciliation."
4. One of the wonderful results of others making peace with God is that soon they begin to make peace with one another. It is the fact that they are at war within their own selves that brings about conflict with others (James 4:1). When the inward conflict is settled, it is only natural that they seek to make peace with those around them.
5. "Peacemakers" preach the message of Job 22:21, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee."
C. Pursues peace Socially
1. A Biblical peacemaker seeks to bring peace to every relationship they are involved in, whether it be familial, social, or ecclesiastical (Romans 14:19; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:3; Colossians 3:15; 1 Peter 3:11).
2. It is the desire of a peacemaker to see brethren dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133:1). The peacemaker works to solve disputes, erase division, eliminate strife, and build relationships. Consider the actions of Abraham in dealing with the strife between his herdsmen and those of Lot (Genesis 13:7-15).
3. While peace is his ultimate goal, the Biblical peacemaker does not seek to achieve that goal by sacrificing truth, compromising principle, or forsaking duty.
(1) Note the words "first pure" in verse 17.
(2) Peace is not to be sought at the expense of righteousness.
(1) Peace does not mean the absence of convictions, confrontation, or conflict. If we are going to follow "holiness" it will most certainly involve conflict and confrontation.
(2) 2 Timothy 3:12
(3) Matthew 10:32-38
c. Romans 12:18
(1) Paul’s words in this verse suggests that peace will not always be possible.
(2) A peacemaker, though he loves peace, does not passively accept trouble. He does not flee problems or threatening situations, nor does he evade issues. He faces the trouble and pursues every possible means to bring about a peaceful solution.
4. While earnestly contending for the faith, the peacemaker will speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Knowing that the truth itself is offensive enough, the peacemaker will endeavor to avoid being deliberately contentious, discourteous, or inconsiderate.
II. THE COMMENDATION OF "PEACEMAKERS"
A. "Peacemakers" are Regarded as Content
1. Christ declares "peacemakers" to be "blessed" or happy or contented.
2. This contentment comes first of all as the result of having made peace with God through a right relationship with His Son.
3. Secondly, this contentment comes as the result of having faithfully communicated the "gospel of peace."
4. Thirdly, "peacemakers" can experience contentment when they know in their heart that they’ve tried, by every means possible, to live peaceably with all men.
B. "Peacemakers" are Recognized as Children
1. The text is unclear as to whether "peacemakers" are called "the children of God" by others or by God Himself. More than likely the commendation will come from both.