This is the Sunday morning sermon for May 17th, 2009.

Make peace not strife!
Matthew 5:9.

Matthew 5:9 TNIV – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

This morning we are continuing our series in the beatitudes. We are concentrating on Matthew 5:1-16 throughout this series. We are looking into verse nine this morning.

So far in the beatitudes we have seen that they deal with our relationship with God. We cannot live these beatitudes out in the flesh, but must be lived out as we are born again, and through the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

Now we come to what has been traditionally called the “blessing of the peacemaker.” There is only one problem, if this is talking about us making peace with God, how is that possible? We cannot make peace with God? If we could, then Jesus Christ died in vain.

Well, this is the subject that we will tackle this morning. This has more to do with our relationship with others and the world, and not so much our relationship with Christ, although you cannot be a true peace maker unless you have that relationship with Him.

Let’s look into the subject of being a peacemaker and our text, plus other passages and see what God would say to us this morning.

First off, what is biblical peace?

Some people seem to think that biblical peace is the absence of conflict, but that is not true. The Greek word and it’s Hebrew equivalent (Shalom) were (and still are) literal greetings between the middle eastern people like the Jews. When you said Shalom or peace as a greeting, you were not wishing them the absence of trouble, but that they would find joy and happiness in the midst of trouble.

So, true biblical peace is not the absence of conflict, sorrow, pain, or trouble, but it is the presence of a supernatural joy and happiness and contentment in the midst of the conflict, sorrow, pain, and trouble.

So if this is true, how can we find this true biblical peace?

True biblical peace is only provided to us by the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ.

We all know that one of the character descriptions of Jesus is that He is the Prince of Peace. But what we may not realize is His entire ministry life was filled with conflict and strife, in fact, His ministry often caused conflict and strife.

Notice what Jesus said about Himself.

Luke 12:50-53 TNIV – 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Jesus – the Prince of Peace – came to bring division. This division is not to be between churches concerning foolish things that can divide us; but it is against those who follow after Christ and those who don’t. In verse 50 we see that Jesus is under stress concerning a metaphorical baptism that represents His death on the cross. There will be division between those followers of the cross and others, yet Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

You see, Jesus wants peace, but not at any cost. He wants a peace that He has purchased for us.

So first off, if we want to be peace-makers we must first have peace with God that He made for us – and that is what Jesus Christ has done for us His children.

Ephesians 2:14 TNIV – For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.

Colossians 1:19-22 TNIV – 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Romans 5:1 TNIV – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we have been reconciled to God through Christ – we are to become peacemakers in the midst of a world of conflict.

Notice the promise from our Scripture text.

Matthew 5:9 TNIV – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

We will be called God’s children. Think of it this way, there are certain characteristics that my children have received from me, because I’m their father. In the same way, we receive certain characteristics that our Father possesses because the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and one of those is peacemaking. This is also called the ministry of reconciliation that all believers should have.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 TNIV – 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

This ministry of reconciliation involves two types of people:
• Those under God’s wrath – the non-believer.
• Those under God’s grace – the true believer in Christ.

The non-believer. Whether they realize it or not, they are presently under God’s wrath, and there is a separation from Him because of sin. As verse 20 states, we are Christ’s representatives, and we need to plead with them, “Be reconciled to God.” They must not come to Him their way, but it is through God’s way: Faith in Christ and repentance of sin.

The true believer in Christ. Church, there is too much that divides us. We try to justify it, sugar coat it, deny it isn’t there, but God wants us to be reconciled with one another. Our relationship with God is proven, not by how we love the lost, but by how we love one another. Let’s look at just a few Scriptures that support this truth.

1 John 3:14-18 TNIV – 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a fellow believer is a murderer, and you know that no murderers have eternal life in them. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Romans 14:19 TNIV – Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Ephesians 4:3 TNIV – Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

To be a peacemaker is first off to be a person reconciled to God through Christ. Then we receive the ministry of reconciliation – to the lost, and to the found. We preach Christ crucified as the hope for the lost for peace with God, and we endeavor to treat other believers with love in Christ not just in words, but in action and truth.

Let’s be peacemakers and endeavor to be obedient to the word of the Lord this morning.