Summary: This is the introductory lesson of a series on being peacemakers. The series begins with THE Peacemaker, Jesus.
The God of Peace and the Peace of God
Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
In the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lists several characteristics of His true disciples. One of those characteristics is being a “peacemaker”.
Over the next few weeks, we will examine several aspects of being a “peacemaker” and how our lives should reflect our desire to please God by living in peace. As I began planning these lessons, I thought it most appropriate that we begin not with how to be A peacemaker, but instead with THE Peacemaker.
Our God is a God of Peace
Our God is a God of Peace. He desires peace with man. Just as any father would want a true peace in his relationship with his children, our God wants peace in His relationship with us. In any family, there will be some discord and disagreement from time to time. In our family, sometimes the kids get out of line, and there seems to be a strain in the relationship between me and them. More often, I get out of line and put that strain there. They and I would far rather be at peace with one another, but because we sometimes seek our own selfish desires instead of seeking peace with one another, we forfeit the peace that we could have.
Unlike me or any of us, God is a perfect Father. He always wants us to be at peace with Him, and never does He act selfishly. But our God is holy, and there can be no peace between the holy and the unclean. Because of this disparity between Him and us, He has done everything to enable us to be at peace with Him. All He asks is that we obey Him.
Turn with me to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul’s standard greeting for his epistles was so much more than a simple, “Dear Philippians, how are you…”
Philippians 1:1-2 (NIV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi,
together with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul is sending a message of peace, but not just any peace! He is sending peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; real peace!
Paul continues in his letter, teaching them and us to imitate Christ.
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
One of the keys understanding our relationship to God is in understanding that God wants us to obey Him not for His sake, but for ours. God loves us so much that He wants us to avoid the pitfalls and disappointments of this life. He knows that when we take on the attitude of Christ, we will be happy and satisfied. Our obedience to Him is to our great benefit in our lives today and forever.
I can remember my dad trying to explain to me that he wanted me to avoid the mistakes that he had made. He wanted me to do things the right way because it would make my life easier and I would be happier. This came from a father who, just like all of us, made his share of mistakes. Our Heavenly Father never made mistakes, but he knows us well. He knows our weaknesses and where we might stumble. He knows what tempts us, and He wants us to avoid that temptation. Our God is a God of Peace, and wants us to enjoy peace, but that peace comes out of obedience to His will.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
8 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.
9 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 God’s will, and He, the God of Peace will be with you.
Have you ever had to go somewhere you really didn’t want to go? Maybe it was to see someone you really didn’t want to see because you knew there would be trouble. Maybe you didn’t want to go because you had never been there before and didn’t know what to expect. Maybe it was some place that just looked creepy. If you have ever had to go somewhere like this alone, wouldn’t it have been better to have had a friend go with you?
You know, we are strangers here. This is not our home. But while we live and breathe the air here isn’t it great to know that the God of Peace will be with us. When we go into uncharted waters, we can be assured that if we practice God’s will in our lives, He goes with us.