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Sermon on the Mount - Peacemakers

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Sermon on the Mount – Peacemakers
Matthew 5:9
Matthew 5:9 ESV
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
1. Introduction – Today we come to the last of the Help Beatitudes.
a. Remember the picture for these three Beatitudes is one with us on our feet, our hands extended out to those who are in need.
i. After being emptied and filled in the Help Beatitudes – we take our filling from God and we use it to help those who are currently in the situation we were once in.
1. We are merciful towards others. We are motived by bringing honour and glory to God’s name.
a. We are singularly focused and singularly motivated.
ii. But Jesus continues with his list of essential Christian characteristics.
1. Poor in spirit, mourning over sin, meekness, hungering and thirsting after righteous, merciful, pure in heart…
a. And today we come to the 7th Beatitude…peacemakers.
i. Notice that it says peacemakers…this is the only time that this word is used in the entire Bible.
1. But what we’ll discover today is pace is a constant theme throughout Scripture.
iii. The Beatitude singles out peacemakers…not peacekeepers of peace lovers.
1. It points to those who actively seek peace.
a. It points to those who want to bring reconciliation between 2 parties.
i. Hear God’s Word. Matthew 5:9.
2. What It’s Included – Like we did when we studied pure in heart, we need to figure out why this Beatitude is included in the list.
a. And in order to figure that out, we once again have to look at this Beatitude from a 1st century perspective.
i. When we look at this from that 1st century perspective, we’ll quickly realize why Jesus included peacemaking in his list of essential Christian characteristics.
b. If we want to have a better understanding of the Bible, we’d be well served to study history.
i. Each of these books were written to real churches and real people, who lived in a real historical setting.
1. So if we can understand the background of each book, we can better understand what it is written and why it is written.
a. So why is peacemaking included in the Beatitudes and how can we have a 1st century understanding of it?
ii. Well in Jesus’ time, there was a group called the Zealots. They wanted to establish God’s kingdom through force and war.
1. And what we have to always keep in mind is that Jesus lived and taught within the Roman Empire.
a. The pax romana is the background to the entire NT.
i. Israel was under Roman occupation, but there was a always a group that wanted to take back Israel’s freedom by force.
iii. Some had tried in the past – and while they were successful for a time, Rome would eventually flex its muscles, ramp up its military machine, and they would squash any kind of rebellion.
1. A Jewish rebellion took place in 70AD, and that’s when Emperor Titus ordered that Jerusalem be completely destroyed.
a. So the Temple was laid waste and the entire city with it.
i. There was always a temptation to establish an Israelite kingdom through force, by war.
iv. Even in Jesus’ own ministry…some tried to make him their king by force.
1. And this group, the Zealots – would fight to the bitter end in order to establish Israel’s kingdom.
c. And this would have reached a fever pitch when Jesus came along.
i. Jesus, the long-promised Messiah….
1. The Messiah, who Israel thought would lead an army…
a. And through a military campaign, would overthrow Israel’s oppressors and establish Israel as a world power.
ii. But along comes Jesus…and as he so often does, he reverses things and doesn’t line up with what the people thought he should do.
1. They thought he should be crowned king, but instead he slipped away.
a. The people thought that Jesus should lead an army…instead he blesses the peacemakers.
i. The people thought he would overthrow the Romans…instead he died at the hands of the Romans.
d. So, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” to show the Zealots of his day…and of our day…that the kingdom of God will not be established through force or war…but by bringing peace.
3. What is Peace – And what exactly is meant by peace?
a. So often we think of peace as the absence of war…the absence of hostility.
i. Or we think peace relates to a state of inner tranquility.
1. And while the biblical concept of peace…shalom…includes inner tranquility…there is so much more.
a. The word ‘shalom’…the Hebrew word for peace…conveys the picture of a circle…it means peace and well-being in every direction and in every relation.
b. But we also have to know this…peace…true peace…is the absence of hostility and the presence of God’s salvation.
i. When we are talking about biblical peace…ultimately, we are talking about God’s peace.
1. Peace of knowing Jesus as our Saviour.
a. Peace of knowing that God is working for our good and his glory.
i. Paul describes God’s peace as something that surpasses all understanding.
ii. Peace is God’s peace – the absence of hostility and enmity and the presence of God’s salvation.
4. What is a Peacemaker? – So what is a peacemaker? And how can we become peacemakers?
a. Why are we blessed when we exhibit this attribute?
i. Simply put, a peacemaker is a reconciler.
1. A peacemaker is someone who seeks to bring 2 opposing parties to an agreement.
a. And what ai want to focus on today are the 2 areas that Christians are to be peacemakers.
b. First, we are to make peace in personal relationships. We’ll call this human-to-human peace.
i. This kind of peace is commanded throughout the entire Bible….too many passages to quote all of them…here’s just a few.
1. Heb. 12:14 – strive for peace.
a. James 3:18 – a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
i. Romans 12:18 – if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
2. 2 Cor. 13:11 – Finally brothers, rejoice, aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace.
a. Ps. 34:14 – turn away from evil and do good – seek peace and pursue it.
i. Romans 14:14 – so then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
1. And there are so many more. I hope you’re seeing a trend here.
a. Peace. Peace with each other.
ii. And we could take this human-to-human peace and break it down even further.
1. For Christians, we are to live a peace with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
a. Live at peace with those in our church family.
i. We are not to be quarrelsome with each other.
1. We aren’t to look to pick fights with each other.
b. We are to live peaceably. Most of the peace instructions I just read were given to churches.
i. Churches in conflict, churches coming out of conflict. Churches who were living in peace and needed to be reminded about the importance of peace.
iii. And a reminder that ALL Christians – not just some – but all Christians are to be peacemakers.
1. We all marvel at that person who can bring 2 quarreling sides to an agreement.
a. Whether its in a tense business meeting…or in a sticky personal situation…
i. That person is often lauded as spiritual.
1. But the truth of it is that we are all to be peacemakers…bringing peace within the body of Christ.
iv. But we are also to live peaceably with those outside the family of faith.
1. We are to even live peaceably with those who have wronged us.
a. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. Go the extra mile.
i. In all our human-to-human relationship, live in peace.
c. But there’s another area of peacemaking we must look at.
i. We must also seek to make peace between humanity and God.
1. We are to be about the work of evangelism. We must share the good news of salvation through the blood of Jesus and peace with God with people we meet.
a. 2 Cor. 5:20 – we are ambassadors for Christ – God making his appeal through us.
i. Eph. 6:15 – as for your feet – having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
1. Romans 5:1 – therefore since we have been justified by faith – we have peace with god through our Lord Jesus Christ – that’s the message we must share.
b. Isaiah 52:7 – how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
ii. As peacemakers, as Christians, we are to share with people the good news of peace with God.
1. In a world full of turmoil…war…inner conflict.
a. Our world needs this message of peace with God…of having God’s peace in their lives.
i. It’s a peace that doesn’t immediately take all your problems away. But it’s a peace that accompanies you through them.
iii. Blessed are the peacemakers…those who make peace…who reconcile human to human relationships…
1. And those who preach the good news of peace with God.
5. Why Blessed? – And why are peacemakers blessed?
a. Well, peacemakers are blessed because peace is an essential characteristic of God.
i. God is a God of peace – who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. 1 Thess. 5:23 – may the God peace himself sanctify you completely.
a. 1 Cor. 14:33 – God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
i. Romans 16:20 – The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
ii. Peacemakers are blessed because Jesus is the prince of peace.
1. His name will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, the prince of peace.
a. At Jesus’ birth, a song of peace was sung. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.
iii. Peacemakers are blessed because the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of peace.
1. Peace makers are blessed because they are exhibiting an essential characteristic of our triune God.
6. How to become – How do we become peacemakers?
a. We aren’t just to theoretically talk about peace, that’s not a peacemaker…we are to actively pursue it.
i. First…we learn not to speak.
1. James writes that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get anger.
a. To be a peacemaker, we learn to listen more than we talk.
b. We become peacemakers by going out of our way to look for peacemaking opportunities.
i. By being a positive force.
1. By taking the initiative, by taking the first and apologizing to someone who has wronged us.
a. We are peacemaking when we love our enemies…when we pray for our persecutors.
i. When we return evil with good.
c. We are peacemakers when we se aside our laurels, get off our high horse, and are selfless, loveable and approachable.
i. The ultimate example of this is Jesus. Who didn’t stand on his laurels as God’s Son – imagine if he did…what a stake we’d be in?
1. But Jesus was selfless and came to earth as a man, lived as a man…and became the atoning sacrifice for humanity’s sin.
ii. We become peacemakers when we are slow to speak and quick to listen, when we go out of our way to make peace, and when we set aside our laurels and are selfless.
7. Promised Reward – Finally this morning, we have to look at the promised reward.
a. Depending on what translation you have in front of you – the promised reward says one of 2 things.
i. It either says, “they will be called children of God…” or it says, “they will be called sons of God.”
1. Now in the original Greek, the word that is used is the word ‘uios’ which is the word for ‘son’…
a. The word isn’t ‘teknon’ which is the word of ‘child or children.’
ii. The more accurate translation in this case is actually sons. Peacemakers are blessed and will be called ‘sons of God…not children of God.
1. The difference is slight, but important.
b. Understand this…this isn’t a statement about gender. Let’s not turn this into a gender thing…that’s not it at all. We’d miss the point completely.
i. It’s not that only sons, only boys will receive this promise.
1. It’s not saying that everyone will become a boy, a literal son, somehow.
a. The phrase “son of” was a colloquial Hebrew expression that means ‘partaker of the character of…’
i. So if someone insulted you and called you a son of a cow…this isn’t a insult towards your parents…but its an insult to you.
1. You resemble, you partake of the characteristics of a cow.
ii. So when you are a peacemaker – you are blessed, because, as we looked at earlier…
1. You are partaking in and exhibiting the very character of God.
a. So to be called a son of God has a different connotation than child of God.
i. Both expressions refer to a familial relationship with God.
2. But child of God refers more to your status or position towards God.
a. While “son of God’ has more emphasis on your character.
c. The title son of God is true for each and every Christian in this lifetime.
i. But again, in the age to come – Rev. 21:7 tells us that all those who conquer…and when Revelation talks about conquering, it means, all those who have been washed in the blood of Lamb, who followed the way of the Lamb…
1. We are told that God will welcome the conquerors into their eternal heritage…and will be his sons.
d. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
i. Exhibiting to the world around us, the very character of God.
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