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.