Summary: What did Christ mean when he said "blessed are the peacemakers" & "blessed are you when you are persecuted"
7/13/03 EPIC-Peacemakers & persecuted
Read-Blessed are the Peacemakers-
Ill. Nobel story-The Nobel Peace Prize is the supreme award given to those who have made an exceptional contribution to the betterment of the world. Other Nobel Prizes are given to those who have made outstanding contributions in the arts and sciences. There is a story about the Nobel Prize that is rarely ever told.
Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, made his fortune by inventing powerful explosives and licensing the formula to governments to make weapons. One day Nobel’s brother died, and a newspaper by accident printed an obituary notice for Alfred instead of the deceased brother.
It identified him as the inventor of dynamite who made a fortune by enabling armies to achieve new levels of mass destruction. Nobel had the unique opportunity to read his own obituary in his lifetime and to see how he would be remembered. He was shocked to think that this was what his life would add up to: he would be remembered as a merchant of death and destruction.
He took his fortune and used it to establish the awards for accomplishments contributing to life rather than death. And today, Nobel indeed is remembered for his contribution to peace and human achievement—not explosives.
(from Hot Illustrations published by Youth Specialties)
-called to be peacemakers both in the church & world/community
-true that he later said in Matt. 10:34-36 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!”
Simply saying that the natural result of His coming, of following Him wholly would be conflict, even in your own family, but that if we truly want to follow Him we must love Him most of all and put Him first, above all, everyone.
Listen to the rest of that paragraph-vs. 37-39
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.”
So when X calls us to be peacemakers, it is not peace at any cost, not a peace where we compromise our values and beliefs to avoid conflict, but rather as Paul says Rom. 12:18 “Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible” or as much as it depends on you.
Don’t seek out conflict or be responsible for it, but when there is conflict, seek reconciliation.
Sometime seeking peace will cause us pain,
Pain of admitting we’re wrong and asking forgiveness,
Pain of confronting someone who has wronged us
Make peace in our own relationships
Also opportunity to be peacemakers even when we are not personally involved in a dispute-help others to make peace w/ each other, people groups, etc.
Help others make peace w/ God-evangelism
Call to make peace in your relationships w/ others
Here-go to them and make it right
Not here-Letter writing station in back write them a letter and do what you can to make peace in your relationship.
Read- Blessed are you when you are persecuted
No here, not now-but true in many places in the world. Even today fellow believers are dying for their faith.
Do we get off easy because we live in a “xian nation” or because we compromise, don’t take a stand, don’t live the way X has called us to?
One def. I found of persecution from John Stott defined persecution as the clash between two irreconcilable value-systems.
The value system that X has laid out for us is definitely irreconcilable w/ the value system of the world we live in today.
X says world says
Poor in spirit self confident, self relient, proud
Mourn pleasure seeking, get what you can
Meek proud, powerful, important
Hunger for righteousness satisfied, practical, fulfill your desires
Merciful look our for # 1, take care of yourself
Pure in heart sophisticated, broad-minded,
Peacemakers competitive, aggressive, win at any cost
Persecuted for righteousness popular, tolerant
Jesus says, when we live out these Kingdom values we will suffer persection, we will be mocked, we will be lied about.
But be happy about it, because when that persecution comes we will be in good company, OT prophets of God were persecuted & we have the promise of reward in heaven.
If tonight you want to take a stand for X, feel His call to live out the Kingdom values He is setting before us encourage you as we close w/ a time of worship-stand up come to the front take one of these stones as a symbol of the reward that awaits you in heaven.
Put it somewhere where you will see it daily and be reminded of your commitment to live out His kingdom values in the face of persecution.