Faithlife Sermons

Blessed are the Peacemakers

The Beatitudes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 7 views
Notes & Transcripts | Handout | Sermon Questions
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Matthew 5:3–12 ESV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Philippians 4:7–9 ESV
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Php 4:7-
Isaiah 11:1–10 ESV
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. 6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Isaiah 2:4 ESV
4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
Ezekiel 34:25–31 ESV
25 “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. 30 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord God. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 34:25-
Ezekiel 34:27 ESV
27 And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them.
What enemies do you know of, whether individuals or groups, who have reconciled? If you can't think of any instances, why do you think reconciliation is rare?
There’s a great deal of talk about guns in our country right now. An entire generation of kids, teens, and young adults have grown up with no memory of the world before the Columbine massacre and they are now starting to stand up and speak their minds about violence in our country.
Things are different for kids in school today than they were when I was in school or when most of you were in school. I didn’t have to worry about if an angry gunman was going to storm my school and murder me or my classmates. I never had to participate in a practice lockdown or active shooter drill. My own kids don’t have that luxury.
I’ll bet a few people lost at least some of their sense of peace when I started talking about this, because gun violence is not an easy topic to talk about. It is hard to talk about in regular conversations and believe you me, it is exponentially harder to talk about when you are in my position. In today’s sinfully divisive political climate, there is almost nothing I can say about certain topics -guns being one of them - that isn’t going to upset someone and/or start an argument. But I don’t believe scripture has nothing to say about this topic, which means that I have to find something to say about it if I am to come in here and preach the Word. The Bible has a great deal to say about peace and alleviating the sin of violence, which means that I as a preacher ought to have a great deal to say about peace and alleviating the sin of violence, and that you all as faithful followers of Christ ought to have a great deal to say about peace and alleviating the sin of violence.
So let’s start our conversation about peace today with this statement:
People - including children - are dying in gun violence at higher rates in this country than in any other developed country in the world and that’s a bad thing. Regardless of what you think the solution to the problem is, I hope that as followers of the Prince of Peace, we can all agree that it’s a problem in need of solving. This isn’t just school shootings - in fact, suicide and domestic abuse are at the top of the gun violence risk chart. But violence is violence and any lives lost are too many.
Gun violence isn’t the only violence around us we should be concerned with either. And it’s not even the most complicated. It’s just the one that statistically hits closest to home and is the most prevalent in the news these days.
If it doesn’t bother you that abused women and children are the most at-risk group for gun-related homicide, I’ll remind you that I myself am a domestic abuse survivor who once lived in fear that my abuser would one day come home with a gun. If you don’t think suicide counts as gun violence that we should worry ourselves with, let me remind you that it is the tenth leading cause of death in our country. And if you don’t think children dying en masse in classrooms at the hand of armed assailants is a big problem, I’m going to have to remind you that I was a mom and then a youth pastor long before I stepped behind a pulpit. If you think that gun violence is no big deal or that it is something that the church doesn’t have a say in, this sermon isn’t going to sit well with you.
I’m preparing to head to Israel/Palestine in a few weeks’ time for a two week conference in which we will be talking about how complicated things are over there. In our first meeting together as a team, we were reminded that our job is not to go over and impose our smarter, better ideas for fixing what has been complicated for centuries over there, but to go and listen and represent peace. That’s our whole purpose in going - to try and get a better understanding about what is happening over there and how we might be advocates of peace in a complicated situation.
What if we applied that concept to other conversations about violence around the world and right here in our own country?
Violence is complicated. Peaceful solutions are not easy. We as Christians are called to be seekers of peace where peace is lacking: wherever we find abuse, murder, hate crimes, sexual violence, war, or other violence, we are to be God’s voice saying, “There is a peaceful answer to all of this.” That’s hard, but Jesus never claimed that following him would be easy or popular.
Friends, we are called to be peacemakers, which means that when there is violence around us, we should be very concerned with finding a solution. We should also be humble enough to sit down and listen to people on all sides of the conversations. If you are a gun owner, sit down with someone who has lost a child or friend to gun violence and just listen to them. Don’t say a word. Just listen. If you hate guns with every fiber of your being and would love to see them all melted down to nothing, go sit down with someone who is or has been in the military or the police force and has had to handle guns or go hang out at the shooting range with someone who shoots targets for fun. Don’t say a word, just listen and observe.
As hard as the discussion is, we have to find ways to have responsible, compassionate, intelligent, and creative conversations about gun violence in our country. As much of a hot-button topic it can be, we must care about peace in the middle east. Regardless of how unpopular a subject it is, we are called to talk about how to protect those who are subject to or vulnerable to domestic abuse or sexual violence.
Winston Churchill has a great parable about how tricky it is to talk about solutions to violence.
Jesus came so that we might have peace. (.) Those who make peace in Jesus’ name are known to belong to God.
Not only are
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 4307 Churchill’s Peace Parable

Winston Churchill gives this clever peace parable:

Once upon a time all the animals in the zoo decided they would disarm, and they arranged to hold a conference to decide the matter. The rhinoceros said that the use of teeth in war was barbarous and horrible, and ought strictly to be prohibited by general consent. Horns, which were mainly defensive weapons, would, of course, have to be tolerated. The buffalo, stag, and porcupine said they would vote with the rhino; but the lion and the tiger took a different view. They defended teeth, and even claws, as honourable weapons.

Then the bear spoke. He proposed that both teeth and horns should be banned. It would be quite enough if animals would be allowed to give each other a good hug when they quarrelled. No one could object to that. It was so fraternal, and would be a great step toward peace. However, all the other animals were offended with the bear, and they fell into a perfect panic.

Each animal feared the weapons the other had - either defensive of offensive - and did not see why anyone would fear the one they possessed themselves. Isn’t that so true of us as people? We fear losing what we have and we don’t understand how what we have could possibly harm or even scare another. And yet, we fear falling victim to what others have or losing some of our power over them.
What might have happened if the lion and tiger had listened to the other animals better and recognized their real and valid fear of the powerful teeth and claws they were carrying around everywhere with them? What might have happened if the other animals had stopped to listen to the lion and tiger’s fears that the defensive weapons could be just as deadly?
When we are afraid, we are bad at compromise. And when we are bad at compromise, we are bad at peace. When we are bad at peace, we are bad representatives of God in the world around us. The first step to being a peacemaker is to let go of our fear.
There are many fears that contribute to this loss of compromise - fear of personal harm, fear of losing power, fear of change. Those fears are real - I do not mean to dismiss them, but when we let them control us, we let violence win in the world and in our hearts. Just because a fear is real doesn’t mean we are to let it rule our decisions. When we let these fears override our desire to be God’s peacemakers in the world, we cannot be true peacemakers and representatives of God’s rule on Earth.
Jesus came so that we might have peace. (.) Those who make peace are known as being God’s people.
What fear do you most struggle with when it comes to conversations about peace and violence?
Jesus came so that we might have peace. Not fake peace, not military peace or the peace of a strained treaty, but real peace: God’s peace. Jesus came so that we might not be ruled by fear.
John 14:27 ESV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Peace and fear cannot dwell in the same place.
Those who make peace are known as being God’s people.
As we prepare for Holy Week, we remember that Jesus let go of fear. He let go of fear to such a degree that he gave up his God-given right not to die for your sake.
Jesus had a right to NOT HAVE TO DIE FOR YOU.
says that Jesus gave up not just his right to live when we were the ones causing the trouble, he gave up equality with God, being so peaceful as to not even fight back when he did nothing wrong. And in that lack of fear, peace was made possible.
That is the sort of peace we are called to follow. That’s not easy. That means we have to enter into hard conversations with the people around us and point out where peace is lacking. Entering into hard conversations does not just mean calling people out when we think they are wrong. It means sitting back and listening to people with offensive teeth and claws and to people with defensive horns and quills and especially those who have neither offense nor defense. My one objection to Churchill's fable is that it doesn’t have any fluffy, defenseless bunnies in it.
We have to call out violence when we see it and stand up for those on the receiving end of it. But we often don’t even see it until we let go of our fear in order to listen to someone else. Our modern culture likes to think that we all have a right to be right and we all have a right to assurance of safety at all times. But sometimes, being a peacemaker means saying things we know other people won’t like and taking the risk that we might be wrong. More often even than that, being a peacemaker means listening to other people say things we don’t like. Fear of being wrong or having to change our point of view is one of the hardest fears to let go of. Even if we had some sort of God-given right to be right, Jesus’ peace is not about clinging to our own rights, but about letting go of them for the sake of all.
Philippians 2:1–11 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That is the sort of peace we are called to follow. That’s not easy. That means we have to enter into hard conversations with the people around us and point out where peace is lacking. We have to call out violence when we see it. Our modern culture likes to think that we all hare a right to be right. But sometimes, being a peacemaker means saying things we know other people won’t like. More often even than that, being a peacemaker means listening to other people say things we don’t like. Fear of being wrong or having to change our point of view is one of the hardest fears to let go of. Even if we had some sort of God-given right to be right, Jesus’ peace is not about clinging to our own rights, but about letting go of them for the sake of all.

Josef Goebbels received a Ph.D. from Heidelberg University in 1920. Following graduation he became active in the National Socialist Party. In 1926 Hitler placed him in charge of party organization for Berlin, and three years later he headed the propaganda campaign for the entire party. Goebbels entered the Reichstag in 1930. He rose to the rank of general, being one of Hitler’s most trusted colleagues. During those turbulent days, Goebbels wrote in his diary that Mahatma Gandhi was a man of extraordinary abilities; if he would only use his skills to organize a military force, he would succeed.

At last, when Hitler’s dreams of world conquest turned into nightmares, and the German machine was devastated, General Goebbels is said to have committed suicide just before the fall of Berlin in May 1945.

Without firing a shot, Mahatma Gandhi, through passive resistance, discipline, and unflinching courage, brought to India what armies had not accomplished—freedom! Goebbels’s death went unnoticed. But when Gandhi was assassinated, January 30, 1948, the world wept. The advocate and practitioner of peace had fallen. His influence continues.

N. T. Wright. Matthew (N. T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study Guides) (Kindle Locations 173-174). Kindle Edition.
As we prepare for Holy Week, we remember that Jesus let go of fear. He let go of fear to such a degree that he gave up his God-given right not to die for your sake. says that Jesus gave up not just his right to live when we were the ones causing the trouble, he gave up equality with God, being so peaceful as to not even fight back when he did nothing wrong.
Philippians 2:1–11 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That is the sort of peace we are called to follow.
Related Media
Related Sermons