Hey, good morning, everybody. It’s great to be back together after nearly a month away from preaching, the reason I’ve been away is because or I guess away from the podium is because this this time of year is the time of year where I get to work on the plans for next year. And so the staff, the elders and I have been hard at work forming a refreshed plan for the church for twenty, twenty one. And certainly as the year winds down, I’d love to be able to present to all of you all that is that we all that we would like to do in twenty, twenty one.
But, but I can’t do all that now but it’ll be sort of rolling out slowly. But all I want you to know is that twenty, twenty one I believe is going to be a year of hope for us, a year where we try to anchor ourselves back to the rock of our salvation, where we lift our hearts and minds out of the rubble of twenty twenty and we begin to develop something and build something brand new and God glorifying from the proverbial ashes.
That was this year. I know this year was hard for all of us, but I do believe again that twenty, twenty one can be a year of hope. And I’m excited to present those plans. But we’re going to have to wait a couple of weeks because this week we are in the very last week of the Beatitudes and next week will be our Christmas service on the lawn. I want to invite you to that service is going to be a great time together.
We’re going to have a circle’s out in the front of the lawn. If you you came to worship on the lawn a couple of months ago, it will be sort of a similar setup. But just in the daytime, apparently, the weather is going to be phenomenal. So bring your lawn chairs, bring blankets, bring family and friends. If you’re more comfortable, you can hang out in your car and watch again. The weather is supposed to be super, super, super nice.
We’re going to have two services so that we’ll have enough room for us to maintain some distance. One service will be at nine and the other one at eleven fifteen. Anyway, come out next week. It’s going to be a great time together. So with all that out of the way, let’s just jump right into it. We are in Matthew Chapter five. We’re reading the Beatitudes. I’m going to summarize where we have been because we’ve been in the Beatitudes for the last eight weeks or so.
And this is what the Beatitudes say. This Matthew Chapter five, verse one says that when Jesus saw the crowd, he went up on the mountain side and sat down. This is the beginning of what is called the Sermon on the Mount. His disciples came to him and he began to teach them. He said, blessed are the poor in spirit. That’s what we talked about week one.
We talked about this idea that we if we are to really be happy on Earth, we have to first realize that we are poor, humble beggars before the king of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. My friend Kevin Hirka did this lesson for us and reminded us that being meek wasn’t being weak. In fact, it was being strong, was being strong enough to put aside our desires and put aside our wants for the benefit of others.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Mike Degree talked on this sermon and told us that that if we really wanted righteousness, we have to begin to strive to be righteous. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Chase Denoux did a great sermon on this topic, helping us understand the value of forgiveness. And last week we heard from John Brush and he preached on verse eight. Blessed are the poor and so pure in heart, for they will see God.
They talked about this idea that a little bit of contamination really does spoil the entire batch and a little bit of contamination or impurities in our heart does fester and become something that grows into death in our hearts.
And this week we read verse nine. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God. Today, I want to focus our attention on this one word. I want to talk a little bit about peace. We would all agree that everyone wants to experience peace.
In fact, if I asked you to put in the chat an area where you wanted to experience peace, all of us could think of something even right off the top of our heads. We can come up with something. All of us want peace in our homes. Let’s say we want to get along with our wives or with our children or with our parents or with our siblings. We hate the tension we experience over the holiday season where we are kind of like the unmet expectations placed on us of loved ones.
When people ask you when are you going to get married and when are you going to have children, when are you going to finish school or where are you going to start school? None of us like the war that happens at home. We want peace at home. All of us desire to have peace at home. We want peace in our minds. We want to be anxiety free, even if just for a moment, we want the freedom of not feeling worried about our finances or not feeling worried about our health or not feeling worried about our children, we want the peace that allows us to fall asleep at night.
And we get to lay there in bed and not be thinking about one hundred things with our arms and legs twitching. We want those anxious thoughts, those depressing thoughts, those debilitating thoughts to just go away.
We’ve prayed it. We’ve tried to pray it away, fast it away. But we seem to have no peace in our minds. Well, peace at home, peace in our minds, many of us this year have prayed for peace in the country. We see the growing division, the chasm between friends and the chasm between countrymen’s growing and the malice between people of different races and people at different ages and different genders and different cultures. And we wish there could be peace.
So many of us have prayed this, Lord bring us peace. In fact, if you feel this way, would you drop that in the chat? The simple prayer in the chat, Lord, bring us peace.
Peace in our minds. Peace at home, peace at work. Peace in our country. Peace with our extended family. Peace in the geopolitical realm. Peace in the Middle East.
Peace. The hope of peace dominates so much of our lives, in fact, that it’s no coincidence that the theme of peace is also pervasive in the Bible, it’s everywhere and it honestly touches everything.
So you could actually chart the course of biblical history based on the theme of peace. If you go back to the very beginning of mankind, there was peace in the garden Genesis Chapter two.
And then man sinned and peace was interrupted, Genesis Chapter three. Through Abraham, God set in motion a plan to restore peace Genesis Chapter 12, and that the cross piece became a reality again, as Christ, the Bible says, became our peace, that’s Ephesians Chapter two. And someday in the future, he will come again and will reign. The Bible says, as the Prince of Peace Isaiah Chapter nine, he will establish a Kingdom of Peace Romans Chapter 14.
And then we will enter an eternal peace Hebrews Chapter four.
There are more than 400 references to peace in the Bible. God is tremendously concerned with peace. So much so that he calls himself the God of peace, second Thessalonians, chapter three, verse 16.
But there’s a problem. See if every one of us wants peace and God himself demands that we have peace, then why is there no peace? Why is peace so elusive? If everyone shouts it and people march for it and people demonstrate for it and demand it and even God himself asks for it, why is it that as we come to this seventh step in the ladder, which ascends these divine beatitudes. Why is that what is offered to us to be peacemakers seems very much unattainable?
God calls us to be peacemakers, to restore and also to experience something that’s been lost since the since the fall of man. We look at life and we see really there is no peace, and yet God calls us to be a peacemaker. How can we be peacemaker when the world has seen very little success in making peace?As
we unpack this beatitude what we will find is that our calling to be peacemakers is really unlike anything the world has to offer, because God, as he calls us to be peacemakers, is not calling us to be a politician. He’s not calling us to be a statesman or a diplomat or a king or president or even a Nobel Prize winner. No, he’s not referring to an organization like the United Nations or he’s not calling us to some ecclesiastical order.
God’s peacemaking is vastly different, which is good, because the sad truth is that the world’s peacemakers actually have a terrible track record for making peace.
You know, it’s amazing how many times the media, our society has AEL has hailed a great peace agreement accomplished in the Middle East, actually counted. There have been forty five peace treaties for the Middle East since nineteen forty five, and every single one of them have collapsed before they even began. When you look at a world, we have no peace politically or economically, we have no peace socially or nationally, we have no peace in countries, we have no peace and political groups or in organizations.
I love the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that says, peace is the glorious brief moment in history when everyone stops to reload.
I read this week that I read something this week that asked this question and said, how many treaties have been broken? And the answer was all of them. The United Nations was formed in the aftermath of world of World War Two with its one with one singular mission. It’s this to have succeeding generations free from the scourge of war.
And since that time, there has not been one single day of peace on earth, not one. The world is filled with never ending upheaval.
So far, they haven’t done peace for a single day. It’s a pipe dream.
I read a stat that said at least one hundred and eight million people were killed in the wars of 20th century.
And there have been between one hundred and fifty million and one billion people killed by war in the history of mankind. We’ve never known peace in the history of America. There’s never been a single generation of peace.
It’s one war after the next war, at the next conflict, after the next conflict. The next conflict. And it’s not just wars. We actually in America have killed more people with private guns than have died in all the wars we have ever fought.
There is no peace. We have no ability on our own to get along with each other. Every relationship seems fragile. We have combat at home and combat and wars and our heart and wars in our minds and wars and our workplaces and wars in our school. Even in the church, there’s some conflict. There is no peace. We have mental and emotional illnesses, family bankruptcies, family breakups. What happens is that all the laws that are passed and all the marches and all the sit ins and all the rallies and all the protests and the demonstrations ad infinitum haven’t produced any progress in the pursuit of peace.
There is no peace. And yet when Jesus pulled those people beside him on the mountain that day, he gave them that charge to bring the world something it hadn’t tasted since the garden. He called all who would follow him to be peacemakers. And see if we’re going to be called to do something, it’s true for everything. You first and I first have to know how to make it. How is it made? If we are called to be peacemakers then the question is, how is peace made?
How is peace made? You know, some have concluded that peace is just the absence of conflict. So to make peace, they would argue all you have to do is remove the conflict and maybe you would agree with that assessment. And certainly when you’re in the middle of a conflict, the one thing you really want is for the conflict to go away.
But is that really what peace is? Is it just the absence of conflict? Let me give you an illustration. There is no conflict in a cemetery, but you can hardly use a cemetery as a model of peace. Cemeteries are filled with dead things, I wouldn’t say that’s a peaceful place. So maybe just the absence of conflict is a little bit incomplete of a definition of what peace actually is. And maybe peace and really what we’ll discover as we read the Bible is that is that peace is far more than just the absence of something.
Instead, it’s actually the presence of something else. And I’ll tell you what, that something else is in just a second. And let me just try to explain that concept, though, because when we ask for peace, we aren’t just saying stop the war. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying bring the two together and bring reconciliation. Like when we ask for peace in our homes, we’re not just saying stop the shouting. Though stop the shouting would be helpful. All we’re saying is why not bring the family back together to love each other and care about each other? When we ask for peace in our minds, we’re not just saying stop the anxious thought.
We’re saying fill my life with joy again. Peace then even logically, can’t just be the absence of something it has to be the presence of something else. Peace is actually an active word.
Peace is supposed to be interjected into a moment of chaos and it’s supposed to add some stability to pain.
Peace isn’t calling a truce. See, there’s a difference between a truce and peace. A truce is when you lay down your guns and you stop shooting for a while.
Peace is when you settle an issue and the two parties embrace each other and love. The idea that peace is not just the lack of something, but actually the presence of something is found throughout the Bible. I’m going to show you these passages of scripture and then we’re going to kind of wrap it all up at the very end.
This is James Chapter three. It says this, but the wisdom that comes from heaven is, first of all, pure. Then peace loving. Meaning that the wisdom that is from God brings peace by way of purity.
Look at Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 14. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. In other words, you can’t divorce peace from holiness. I love the imagery of Psalm Chapter eighty five verse 10, it says Love and faithfulness meet together. Righteousness and peace kiss each other.
These texts and many, many, many, many others like them teach us how to have and how to bring peace, what they show us is that peace is always attached to righteousness or holiness or purity.
And what we see again and again and again and again in scripture is that where there is real peace, there is always righteousness.
Where there is real peace, there is always a pursuit of holiness. Where there is real peace, there is always someone who is trying to take away the total impurities of the heart and remove them and cast them to God. That person experiences peace, meaning you can’t divorce peace from purity, you can’t divorce peace from righteousness. You cant divorce peace from holiness.
And this teaches us something so important. Peace is never made at the expense of righteousness. You can say it a little bit of a different way. You could also say that piece that ignores purity is not peace. So the groundwork for peace, sort of the prerequisite, the tracks on which the trains of peace can come into our lives. It’s things like holiness and purity and righteousness, and there’s two implications if this is the case. The first is this today, if you’re listening to me, you’re listening to this lesson and you have struggled with having peace in your heart, like every day, you’re just struggling to make peace.
There’s something that’s happening in you that feels so much like it’s just pulling you apart.
If peace is elusive to you, it may be because there’s something wrong with your purity.
Or there’s something that’s been affected, your personal righteousness or there’s something going on so that’s stopping you from being holy, what I’m trying to say here today is simply this. If you have no peace and maybe because you’re struggling with a spiritual matter, something deep in your heart, that you need to deal with a sin, something you need to confess, something to you to fight with. Because if righteousness is present and holiness is present and purity is present, so is peace.
Or if you’re in your home and there’s no peace in your home, and it may be because there’s some unresolved issues in the area of righteousness. If you have no peace at home, maybe there’s some sin in the camp. If you have no peace in your heart and maybe because you’re struggling again with your own personal holiness. That’s the first implication, but the second is really what we’re talking about here in regards to peace making. Being a peacemaker with the understanding that holiness and purity and righteousness is the way that you make peace teaches us that a peacemaker is actually not just a peacemaker.
In fact, they’re truth bringer. They’re righteousness, Slinger, they’re a falsehood exposer, they’re holiness banner raiser, they’re a purity pointer. A peacemaker is not an easy going person who just kind of like it goes along with whatever the ride is, who lacks justice and compassion, who compromises. No, no, no.
Biblical peacemakers never evade issues. Biblical peacemaking isn’t a gloss. The peace of the Bible conquers the problem. And what that means is that sometimes peace or the pursuit of peace creates a struggle or some pain or some anguish.
Sometimes a little more strife has to happen. But in the end, peace will be found. With all of this, there’s this text in Matthew, Chapter 10 that has been really hard for me to interpret my entire Christian life. I read this more times than I can possibly count, but I never really understood it. And so often when I don’t understand it, I try to study it out. But if it doesn’t make sense to me, I just kind of gloss over and assume I’m going to come back to it a different time.
And I never really had a handle on it until this week as I started studying this passage out as it related to Matthew. Chapter five, Matthew, Chapter 10 brings some incredible illumination. So I want to read you, Matthew, Chapter 10. And we’re going to go back and see how it connects to Matthew chapter five.
Matthew, chapter 10, verse 34 says this. This is Jesus speaking Jesus.
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. There are two passages like this, one’s found in Matthew, and I believe the other one’s found in Luke and both say a similar thing. They basically say that Jesus is saying, like, I didn’t come to increase on Earth, actually came to bring division, to bring conflict, to bring a sword. And the reason this passage is really difficult is because at first glance, this seems very almost diametrically opposed to what Jesus said five chapters earlier.
The first interpretation I had as a young Christian was maybe like, you know, in Chapter five, Jesus was like, I don’t know, like a hippie. And then like five chapters later, he’s, like, fed up with people.
He’s like, I’ve experienced the life of men for five chapters and they are not worth saving or peacemaking. And instead I’m going to bring a sword and just destroy them. He’s like a hippie in Chapter five and a conquistador in Chapter 10.
The sounds again like the antithesis of what Jesus says in the Beatitudes, but with an understanding that peace comes into our lives by way of righteousness and holiness and purity. The interpretation of Matthew Chapter 10 becomes a little bit clearer.
I believe this text is teaching us a couple of things. It’s that Jesus did not come to bring peace at any price. He knew that we who are called to be peacemakers. Rather, he knew that those of us who are called to be peacemakers need to know. And it’s this, that peace often begins with conflict.
It begins with exposing something, it begins with pointing out something that just isn’t true or just is it right. It begins with the sword in our hands, the sword, that is the word. And with the sword in our hand, we speak the truth in love. We confront the evils of the world.
We address the sin in our camp. Peacemaking isn’t hanging around and singing Kumbaya on the corner. It’s not about making people not feel offended by what you say. It’s about having purpose and direction in a pursuit to reconcile two parties that are at conflict. And sometimes you when you do that, you have to go into the camp and you have to say you are wrong and this is not good and this is not right.
That’s peacemaking. That’s sword carrying. Peacemaking brings the truth.
And if we bring the truth to bear on the world, if we bring the truth to bear on a world that loves falsehood, there will be conflict.
Every time there will be conflict before there is peace. So we use the sword of righteousness and the sort of purity and the sort of holiness, because here’s the bottom line. Why is there no peace?
Why is there no peace politically, economically, socially? Why is there no peace at home? Why is there no peace in our countries?
Why is there war and war and war and war and war? Well, the reason is that man has no peace in himself. The reason is there is no peace, the reason there is no peace is because men has no peace in himself. This is a fundamental issue, man has no peace with God, and so man has no peace. And so rather, a man’s world, which is merely just a projection of himself, is going to be riddled with chaos and it’s in that chaos that Jesus says, OK, grab a sword, because if you hope to make peace, you’re going to have to deal with some people who have real trouble in their hearts.
But isn’t this true for you, it’s true for me, too, the times when when I feel the most uncomfortable or the most chaotic in my life, the times I feel the most anxious, the times I feel like I have no peace is when I feel the furthest from the father.
It’s one when my quiet times are stale or my prayer life is lacking. It’s when I haven’t confessed sin that’s really in my heart.
Those are the times where I feel just the most uncomfortable in my skin. And what happens is I then go, I don’t feel a lot of peace. And so I go grasping for things to bring me peace. And the more I grasp the least, the less peace I feel and then the less peace I feel. Until one day I come to my senses and I go, Wait, wait, wait. I got to be with the father.
And in those moments, I kind of turn away and I chase to go after God and do it perfectly, but when I chase God and sort of he embraces me and I embrace him, all of a sudden what washes over me is a peace that surpasses my own understanding.
The reason there is no peace in the life of men is because men have no peace in themselves, men have no peace with God. And then when we have no peace, don’t you long for brothers and sisters in your life to wage war with you so that you can come back to a place of peace, of righteousness, of holiness.
See we have the gospel to bear. And it may ruffle some feathers and it may convict some people and may bring some contention and strife and some conflict, but when the conflict is resolved, the beauty is that then there is real peace. So, again, if you have no peace, he may be missing this element in your life. Don’t make your first step to grab for something more, instead, maybe make your first step towards running to the father.
And see it’s for this reason that I think that Jesus declares that blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Isn’t it true? That that’s who God is, he’s a peace maker in the way we described. That God is not content with us living a comfortable lie. We don’t serve a God who is OK with us ruining our lives through impurity or through unrighteousness, in fact, we’re going to be disciplined until it comes out of our lives.
We serve a God who is compassionate enough to go with us into our difficulties, but he’s loving enough not to keep us there.
These kind of decisions that ruin our lives, God allows those decisions to punish us so that we will then go, no, no, that’s not very good.
And the reason is because if you allow us to ruin our lives and be OK with ruining our lives, then we would never really find peace in our lives. And so whee disciplines us because he loves us and he refines us because he cares and wages war in us through his word so that we can have peace with him.
And so in peace making, what’s beautiful is we become children of God because we do the work of the father.
Let me give you a couple of illustrations from the scriptures, King David, you know the stories in the worst moment of his life, he just slept with this woman he saw on the rooftop, Bathsheba. And and he he’s so enamored with her that he calls her over and he sleeps with this woman that has a husband. And he creates this terrible, terrible adultery and then to cover it all up, he sends the husband into war and basically has him killed.
But the story doesn’t just end with God going well, now, the man is in sin, he’s going to go to hell forever. But the story ends with God sending a peacemaker his way. A man named Nathan. A man who stood up to the king don’t think that’s passive when Nathan did was not passive at all. Again, it’s not Kumbaya singing. He stepped in and he said something to the king. He told him, you have sinned.
He exposed his carnal thoughts and challenged him to repent. I love to think of it this way. He waged war with love so that peace with God could be found.
Because this is what peacemakers do. He was acting like a son of God. Think about Jesus who rebukes the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He sits there and he calls them whitewashed tombs, says you clean the outside, but you care nothing about the inside. And he exposes their sinfulness publicly. He does it because he cares about them again. He waged war with love so they can have peace with God. And he did it because he was the son of God, and when Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and he declared with great authority, you murdered Jesus, you put him to death by your sin, when Peter has that bold decree.
In that moment it’s not passive, it’s powerful. And in that moment, again, he’s waging war with love so that those people can make peace with God and three thousand made peace with God that very day.
And in doing so, he became a son of God. See, when you. Confront sin. When you deal with a conflict between two people or conflict between a person and God, when you say I’m not going to allow sleeping dogs to lie, I’m not going to be passive here, I’m going to speak the truth.
I’m going to listen. Certainly I’m going to care. I’m going to learn how to do this tactfully. But I’m going to challenge someone. I’m going to be willing to make war. What you’re doing is you’re becoming like the father. You’re becoming like a son of God. You put on the characteristics of God himself who would not allow sin just to lie there.
You take on that characteristic and you become a son of God. Don’t be passive brothers and sisters. If you have someone in your family who is falling away because of their own sin, don’t be passive about it. If you have someone in your community group who just is kind of falling by the wayside because they’re entangled in a serious sin, don’t be passive.
Don’t just sit there and just, you know, whatever, they’ll figure it out.
I don’t want to judge. Don’t do that. Instead, be a son of God, be a daughter of God, confront the sin, and maybe you can help them find peace with God.
Gird up the courage to speak truth to power. To speak truth in difficult circumstances and in those moments, you put on the characteristics of God himself. Just a quick aside. It’s no wonder. That the final beatitude speaks of persecution. It says, Blessed are those who are persecuted. You know, I always thought that was very confusing. It goes from peace to persecution, but that’s not what it’s not. It doesn’t sound like what it is.
It’s not peace the way the world thinks of its peace, the way we’re describing, and that peace often leads to persecution. Being a peacemaker is going to make the world hate you. It may even because it did many other times, make the world want to kill you, but if you do it, you will be a son or daughter of God.
They want to find peace. Deal with what’s really going on in your heart. If you’re anxious, it may be because there’s some sin there you have to deal with. Don’t just write me off, but maybe take some time to ask some people to expose your heart, there’s a lot of anxiety. There may be some some sin of fear. There may be some some sin of impurity. There may be some sin of unrighteousness. There may be some I don’t know what it is, but you have to figure it out yourself.
But there may be some issues there. And if you want to be a peacemaker, you have to be willing to wage war with love, to restore people to peace. Jesus, the Bible says, died for us while we were still his enemies. I love that text because it tells us. That Jesus looked at the relationship between him and us because of our own sin as a war to be waged.
We were his enemy. And so with love, Jesus sacrificed his life, died on a tree, was killed for our sin so that we can make peace with the father.
How far? How far did Jesus go so we can have peace? Well, he died for it. Same question could be asked for you, how far would you go? To make peace between two people or to help someone make peace with God. If we’re going to be children of God, we have to be willing to go as far as it takes as long as it takes, so the peace on earth could be found. We take our communion this morning, let us consider.
The way that Jesus was willing to go to war against us so that we could have peace with the father, would you pray with me, Father?
I’m just I’m amazed by your word. I’m challenged. God, I know over the last couple of years or so, I wanted to be more passive. I wanted to kind of wear the hat of I don’t want to be judging anybody, but but I’m learning more and more, Lord, that that if I really love people, I won’t allow them to live a life void of peace just so that I can feel good about myself. God, but if I really love somebody that I would be willing to challenge and ask questions and listen and and be willing to really listen for a long time and not try to expedite the process.
God. But I pray that we will have that heart to be men and women to take on the characteristic of you.
To become like you’ve got in their prayers, we take the bread that represents your body and the blood and the juice that represents your blood, that we would be reminded of the great lengths that you went so that we could have peace with you. Father, we love you, Dad. We praise you. You are to be honored and glorified in this place. Christ Jesus name. Amen.