Today’s sermon is sure relevant in today’s day and time.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Notice nowadays that peacemakers seem to be reviled? Many seem to go by Jesus’ words from Matthew 10:34: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Notice that Jesus is to wield the sword, not us or if we do it is to be the sword of the Spirit as Paul said in Ephesians. Yes, I do believe this “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” needs explored in today’s world.
A three year old boy had a friend over to his house to play but the little boy was arguing about the toys and was grumpy. He just plain wasn’t nice. When the mother came in to offer them some snacks she said to her son, “You know you should really be nicer to your friend. He came over to play with you, but you’re not being very nice to him. You should share your toys better.” The little boy replied, “Well Mom, sometimes I’m mean, sometimes I’m not. People are like that you know.” Out of the mouth of babes – wisdom comes.
Did you know there are three types of people in this world? There are:
Peace–Breakers, there are Peace–Fakers and there are Peace–Makers.
Peace–breakers are people who go out of their way to cause trouble and division. They are just plain trouble makers. They are deliberately confrontational. They walk around with a chip on their shoulder looking to pick a fight. They will fight about anything and everything, even things that don’t really matter. They disagree, just to disagree. Look at what Proverbs says about troublemakers:
Proverbs 16:28 from the Message states “Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships.” NRSV translates troublemaker to be a “perverse person.” It is interesting then and true that God doesn’t take to kindly to troublemakers. He desires peace makers – not peace breakers. Look at the people God says He loves from Proverbs 22:11 the Message: “God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship.”
Seriously, take a moment and absorb that verse. Friendship is characterized by learning to get along with people. In the church we should be friends because we are family. God is our Father. Christ is our Savior. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We need peace makers in the church. We need people whose goal is unity, who strive for unity. Look at how God tells to deal with trouble makers in the verse before this Proverbs 22:10: Drive out a scoffer (troublemaker), and strife goes out; quarreling and abuse will cease.
Now before we take this verse and go on a “witch hunt” to get rid of all the troublemakers, let us remember that all of us can have bad days. Just like the little boy in story, sometimes we’re mean. We need to examine our own hearts and see if we are peace makers rather than peace breakers.
Let me say this – Proverbs 22:10 bears this out, the easiest way to be a peace breaker is with the use of your tongue! Gossip, slander, being a busy-body, being judgmental these things don’t belong in the church. We need to kick those things out! We are here to build each other up, not to tear each other down. We are here to create unity not division. We need to be peace–makers not peace–breakers.
Before we start looking at others we need to listen to what we are saying ourselves. We need to hear the words that come out of our own mouths. We need to ask, “Are my words building up, or are they tearing down?” All of us are capable of doing both. We can either build up, or we can tear down. We can either bless or we can curse. Let us be peace makers with our actions and also with our words.
What do I mean by ‘peace-fakers’? Peace-fakers will go to any lengths to avoid any kind of conflict, confrontation or argument. In doing so they settle for a counterfeit peace that is based on avoiding the real issues. They avoid talking about things because it may upset the other person. Or they give up, give in, even when the issue is vital. Some people will try to ride both sides of the fence just to avoid conflict. They will agree with everyone, no matter what the issue is, and then turn around and tell that next guy on the other side that they agree with them too. They are faking peace – because peace is not appeasement.
You see, peace at any price is not peace. When you know you need to tell the truth the enemy will whisper in your ear, “Don’t do it! Maintain the status quo. Don’t upset the apple cart.” Folks be very careful what you say, or don’t say, to keep the peace. Look at what Paul says in Ephesians 4:25: So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.” Folks don’t fake peace at the expense of truth, but seek peace for one another.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Scripture and the whole of the Word reflects that God wants us to be peacemakers above everything else. Peacemakers are very different kind of people. Let me give you some reasons that they are different:
A. Peacemakers pay attention to what they SAY.
Peacemakers are prepared to tell the truth and to trust God for the outcome. They want peace with out compromise. They want peace that is lasting and worthwhile, but when they are trying to help people they do it gently. They do it with grace and mercy, not with finger pointing and a raised voice. Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Find me the instances where Jesus used a bunch of harsh words except with hypocrites.
B. Peacemakers attack the PROBLEM not the person.
You can’t focus on fixing the problem if you’re focused on blaming at the same time. It’s impossible. If you think you’re peacemaker, but all you do is blame the other person for the problem, then you’re not a peacemaker. You’re still trying to pick a fight. Peace in a fight is not peace, it is only a lull in the action if you haven’t attacked the problem. If you’re still trying to establish blame, you’re still bitter. Focus on the problem not the person.
Ephesians 4:31-32, “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
C. Peacemakers COOPERATE as much as possible.
Romans 12:17-18 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Look at the phrase “so far as it depends on you”. There are some people that it’s hard to get along with. But do your part to try to get along with them. Do everything you can. Here is fact: Peace always has a PRICE.
If you want peace in your home, your marriage, your church, there is always a price. It costs you your self centeredness. It costs you your selfishness. It costs you your self inflated ego. You may need to say, “Maybe my wife was right.” “Maybe my husband has a point.” “Maybe my co-worker has a legitimate gripe.” You see peace has a price. It’s letting go of self to let God take control.
Peace and love means telling the one you love that you are sorry over and over again. In relationships we hurt each other. Accidentally, intentionally, we just do. We need to say to one another, “I’m sorry.” It’s not easy to do. But let’s admit, we’re not perfect, but thank goodness we’re forgiven, and if you know Christ, you’re forgiven too. We ought to forgive one another – just as Christ has forgiven us. Jesus wants peacemakers in our homes, in our workplace, in our church, in our community. We need to be bridge builders not bridge breakers. “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.”
D. Peacemakers emphasize RELATIONSHIPS above resolution.
Folks here is a simple fact, people are different than you. They don’t always see things the same way that you do. We don’t always agree, but we can agreeably disagree. There are things we will never see eye to eye on, but we can still always walk hand in hand. There is wisdom in the saying, “Let’s shake hands and agree to disagree.”
All of us are different and we have different viewpoints on many things. Building relationships matters. Look at what it says in Second Corinthians 5:17-18: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
God is in the peacemaking business. God has called us to be in the peacemaking business too. God says that relationships are important. That is what life is about. When all is said and done, you won’t have possessions, but you’ll still have relationships. Heaven is about relationships. You get into heaven by the relationship you have with Jesus. We won’t have “stuff” in heaven but we will have each other and Jesus too. Relationships matter. Relationships need to be emphasized above resolution.
How can you be a peacemaker? It all begins by really knowing living like the “Prince of Peace”, Jesus Christ. It all begins by have a relationship with Him. He wants you to trust Him, to believe in Him, to have faith in Him. He has the ability to change things. He has the ability to fix that which is broken.
You see Jesus was a peacemaker. He changes things. Where there is a storm, He creates calm. Where there is chaos, He creates order. Where there is bitterness and strife, He creates peace. He is the Prince of Peace. He has called us to be peacemakers too.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”