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YOU ARE NOW ON THE CUTTING EDGEF r i e n d s h i p B a p t i s t C h u r c h 2945 West Shore Road Warwick, RI 02886 Rev. Robert F. Reid, Pastor
738-4392, 737-1265, RFRFBC777@cs.com
June 24, 2001
Are You a Peacemaker? ... Matthew 5:9
In Matthew 5 as Jesus continued speaking to His disciples in this, His first teaching seminar with them, He must have been thinking of the hearts and homes of His followers as He said,
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
In the 4000 years of written world history, the world has only been at peace 7% of the time - 286 years -8000 known treaties have been signed and broken. The sad thing is that since the first century many of these wars have been waged in the Name of Christ - in the Name of the church - the Holy Roman Empire, the crusades, Germanyís 2 world wars - without ever being sanctioned by our Lord.
Why is there so much hostility and bloodshed?
Why has the history of the church so often been filled with fighting and divisions?
Why are families torn apart and failing?
Why are the races, tribes and nations of the world at each otherís throats?
The tragedy of our times with the 10 Commandments outlawed, with the Bible displaced, and with God Himself dethroned is our failure to see that sin is the source, the root, the cause.
Beginning with the fall of Adam and Eve, there has been war with God, war with the environment, war with Satan, war with self, and war with each other. There is worry, anxiety, stress, anger, hatred and hostility in the human heart. Our people throw out the idea of guilt, the need for forgiveness, of moral responsibility. We reject the wisdom of Godís Word. We seek pleasures to make us feel good without being good; we throw out the results of evil without quitting evil; we seek peace of heart without repentance and confession of sin. But we canít drink enough alcohol, inject enough cocaine or swallow enough pills to silence our consciences and find peace. David wrote (Psalm 85:10) "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other." You canít have one without the other. If you want to feel good, you have to be good. If you want peace, you have to have righteousness.
We have the peace corp, we have peace marches, we have peace conferences, we have peace psychiatrists; But with all our science, education, and technology, we have less peace than the cavemen.
Sometimes peace in the home requires more skill than negotiating peace between Israel and the Palestinians. A wife asked her husband, "Honey, do I look 35?" "No, of course not," he answered. "But you used to." ... There was no peace that night!
Sometimes weíre like the couple who were with some friends and the subject of marriage counseling came up. Doris said, "Jack and I will never need counseling. We have a great relationship. He was a communication major in college and I studied drama. He communicates real well and I just act like Iím listening."
A high school junior was working hard on a term paper one night and Dad asked her about it. "Iím writing about the condition of the world and how to bring peace." "Isnít that a little heavy for a young girl?" "Oh, no, Daddy, and donít worry - there are three of us working on it."
Friends, that girl is not a bit more naive than the negotiators in Israel and Palestine and other people all over the world who are working on it; but never get it and will never find it.
Peace was lost with the first Adam.
But hereís the answer - peace is found with the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
At His birth, the angels rejoiced as they sang, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will to men."
Just before His death, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Jn 14:27.
In Mark Chapter 4, around vs 37, Jesus and His disciples had gotten into a boat on the sea of Galilee, Several small boats followed them. A terrible storm swept down from the surrounding hills. The Bible says that the waves beat at the boat until it was filled. Jesus was sleeping in the stern. The disciples cried out, "Master, donít you care that we perish?" Jesus, awakened, stood, rebuked the wind (the word rebuke tells us that there was an evil personality behind the storm - Satan was trying to kill the one who would become the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world) - He rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace be still." The winds ceased, the clouds broke up, the rain stopped.
Two truths emerge from this account. If God the Son can say "Peace be still" & silence a storm just like that, he can speak to your heart and silence the storms, the hurts, the brokenness that you are experiencing right now. And secondly, whether there is peace in your heart, or fear - or some other destructive emotion - depends upon your faith and the presence of Jesus in your life.
In the Old Testament, Gideon in Judges 6:23 worshipped God the Father as Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace.
One of the Names of God the Son is Prince of Peace.
The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of peace in the believer's heart.
Romans 14:17 says, "The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, joy and peace in the Spirit."
James 3:17 "The wisdom that is from above is first peaceable."
Romans 5:1 "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God."
Isa 26:3 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee."
Phil 4:6,7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Mt 5:9
Romans 12:18 "As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.í Give it everything youíve got!
There are three kinds of people we can think of in connection with this beatitude - Peace keepers, Peace breakers, Peacemakers.
Peace keepers are a quiet bunch - they stay out of things - they wouldnít break the peace, they wouldnít try to restore the peace. They are phlegmatic - donít want to be involved.
Peace breakers, or troublemakers, are just the opposite. They are loudmouthed, arrogant, self-centered, ;proud, angry - they donít care what they say, when they say it, or whom they hurt or how much they hurt.
Peacemakers - are the Lordís ministers of reconciliation. Praise God for peacemakers.
What is peace?
I donít believe Jesus was thinking of the things that the UN or NATO do.
Peace is more than the absence of stress, worry, anxiety, etc.
Peace is a combination of trust, assurance, well-being, calmness and joy, even in the face of evil circumstances and evil people.
Peace like this arises from your trust in the love and sovereignty of God, whom you know is working together all things for your good.
Godís peace passes all understanding. I might not understand this terrible situation Iím in; I may not understand why that person is making life miserable for me all the time; But Godís peace passes all understanding. When I have Jesus, I have His peace. If Christ is in your life, His peace is in your life. "My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you."
Now, what about being a peacemaker?
In the wild west, a peacemaker was a colt 45 revolver. Blessed was the man who had a quick draw. 200 years later, the United States has a nuclear missile called the Peacemaker. But peace in the heart comes from the presence of Jesus in the heart and the Holy Spirit filling the life.
Hereís the first principle of being a peacemaker.
You canít be a peacemaker if you donít have peace. You canít give away something that you donít have. Iíd like to give each of you 5 tickets to the Red Sox game this afternoon - that would be about 500 tickets - but I donít have any, so how could I give them to you? Iíd like to give the church $25,000 for a new parking lot; but I donít have $25,000. As a matter of fact I donít even have my wallet with me today because itís empty.
Peace is the gift of God. There is no peace until you have made peace with God. You canít manufacture it; You canít work it up; you canít will it into existence; you canít fake it. Some people stare into crystal balls looking for it - others smoke dope, pop pills, drink booze, trying to find it. But the bottom line is, there is no peace without God. Peace is the byproduct of a right relationship with the Lord.
"The fruit of the Spirit is peace.
"My peace I give unto you.
If you want peace, you must be born again, you must come to the cross and be washed in the blood of the Lamb, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you receive Christ as your Savior, when you are saved, forgiven and given eternal life, then you can have peace.
Principle 2 - A peacemaker leads others to make peace with God. If there is only 1 place to find true peace - in Jesus Christ - then the gospel of Jesus Christ must be given out.
A little dog had more sense than many Christians. The dog had been struck by a car. A lady brought him to her house, took care of his cuts and bruises and fed him. When she opened the door, he ran away. "Why you ungrateful little cur!" She said.
But she was surprised a few minutes later when she heard scratches at the door. There was the dog ... and he had brought another scrawny looking stray with him to her door.
Many Christians have never brought a lamb to the Shepherd of the sheep, who has come to seek and to save that which was lost, who has come to bind up our wounds and bring balm for our bruises, who has come not to condemn but to save.
Principle 3 - A peacemaker is a meddler - you canít be a peacemaker and mind your own business - you canít stay out of it - you must get involved. And you need to plan your meddling
like Deacon Brown did. I read about him the other day. He was concerned about Smith and Jones who werenít talking to each other, so he prayed that the Lord would make him a peacemaker for them.
He called on Smith and asked, "What do you think of Jones?" "Heís the meanest slob in the neighborhood." "But", said Brown, "you have to admit, heís very kind to his family." "Well I guess he is," was the answer from Smith.
The next day Brown went to Jones and asked, "Do you know what Smith said about you?"
"No, but I can imagine how that jerk would lie about me!" "This may surprise you, but he said you're very kind to your family." "What? Did Smith say that?" "Yes, he did." Well, if you hadnít told me I wouldnít have believed it." "What do you think of Smith?" asked deacon Brown. "Truthfully, I believe heís a lowdown scalawag, but you have to admit that heís very honest in business." "Yes, thereís no getting around that; in business heís a man you can trust."
The next day, Brown called on Smith again. "You know what Jones said about you? He claims youíre a person that can really be trusted in business, and that youíre absolutely honest." "Do you mean it? He really said that?" "Yes, he did," said Brown. "Well, of all things," replied Smith with a happy smile. The next Sunday, the former Ďenemiesí nodded to each other. Brown continued his meddling until a month later when Smith and Jones shook hands and restored their friendship.
The Lord loves a holy meddler. A peacemaker needs to be not only holy, but also humble, wise as a serpent, filled with the Spirit, a man or woman of prayer. Boldness also helps. Because a peacemaker must be willing to confront. If youíre worried about protecting yourself or what people are going to think about you, you canít be a bold peacemaker. Confronting doesnít mean hollering and screaming. It means a bold speaking of the truth in love. If you have a boil, it wonít be healed by ignoring it. You need the surgeonís knife to cut it open and get the poison out. Misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and the like, left alone will fester and become poisonous. They need to be dealt with.
A peacemaker is one whose spirit has been broken by the Holy Spirit. He has grieved over his own sins. He has taken on the meekness and the mercy of Jesus. He has hungered and thirsted after righteousness. He has allowed the Lord to purify his heart. Now heís ready to be a peacemaker.
Principle 4 - Donít be a gossip.. There is nothing like gossip and tale bearing to fan the fires of strife and tension.
Proverbs 26:20 "Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
Principle 5 - Donít be quarrelsome - Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Donít argue about picky little things or create controversy over things that donít really matter. Like the fighting couple over the ironing board. She used the pointed, narrow end to iron her clothes. He used the wider, straight end. She continuously criticized him for not ironing right. Whatís the difference?
Principle 6 - A peacemaker does not seek Ďpeace at any price.í
Biblical truth and Scriptural convictions cannot be compromised - not for the sake of Ďgetting alongí, not for the sake of getting together, not for the sake of ecumenicism, not for the sake of anything. Martin Lutherís testimony at the Diet of Worms settled this once and for all.
A peacemaker - any true Christian is never a compromiser. One preacher said, "Peace that is won by compromising godly principles is not peace at all. Itís cowardice. Itís treason to the conscience. Itís anarchy toward the courts of heaven. If weíve won peace through compromising the standards of righteousness, we donít really have peace at all. We have apostasy.í And itís apostasy-peace that forms the basis of the coming new world order and the one-world government. Jesus was called the Prince of Peace but let us know what He thought of compromise when He went into the temple with a whip in His hand & flames in His eyes, overturning the tables of the money changers, sending goats, cows and people running for the gates.
Truth must be balanced.
"Blessed are the peacemakers" goes on one side of the scale.
On the other side goes the Scriptural truth of separation, where we are told to Ďcome out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.í
Be separate from what or whom?
From various unbelievers.
There is no peacemaking with evil unbelievers whose lifestyle dishonors the Lord or when participation with them would destroy or even question a believerís testimony. 1 Tim 6:11, 1 Peter 4:4, 2 Cor 8:20, 1 Thess 5:22.
There is no peacemaking with religious unbelievers who know the truth but willingly reject the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:9
There is no peace making with false teachers, false doctrine, apostate religious organizations,
Doctrinal compromise. 2 Tim 35, Rom 16:17, Eph 5:7, 2 Cor 6:17, 1 Cor 10:20,21, 2 John 10,11
From certain carnal Christians.
There is no peacemaking with idle Christians who wonít work and support themselves. 2 Thess 3:6-15
There is no peacemaking with disorderly or wild living carnal Christians 2 Thess 3:6
There is no peacemaking with troublemakers Rom 16:17, Titus 310
There is no peacemaking with busybodies 2 Thess 311
There is no peacemaking with the wicked 1Cor 5:11.
The wicked include fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, crooks and violent people. 1 Cor 6:9,10
Separation, not reconciliation is called for in these cases. This is the Word of God.
Our nation and our families are torn apart by divorce, drugs, booze, child abuse, incest, wife beating. Who will be bold enough and brave enough to make peace in the battle for the family - in the battle for our nation?
Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorra
Moses interceded for Israel
Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem.
In a time of social warfare like today, the Lord said to Ezekiel, "I looked for a man among them who would stand in the gap on behalf of the land, so I would not have to destroy it, but found none." Would He find none today?
Jesus words still ring true with a call to glory, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
The pages of church history tell us the story of a 4th century monk named Telemachus. While living in a monastery, God called him to Rome. He put his few possessions in a sack and headed out. When he arrived in the city, it was filled with excitement.
"Whatís going on," he asked a passerby. He was told that this was the day that the gladiators fought to the death in the coliseum. He thought to himself, "Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other for enjoyment?"
He ran to the coliseum & heard the gladiators crying out "Hail Caesar! We die for Caesar." He jumped over the railing, went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, held up his hands and said, "In the Name of Christ, forbear."
The crowd protested and began to shout, "Run him through. Run him through." A gladiator came by, whacked him in the stomach with the flat side of his sword, knocking him into the sand. He got up and again said, "In the Name of Christ, forbear." The crowd kept up its chanting, "Run him through. Run him through." Another gladiator came by and this time ran his sword through Telemachusí stomach. He fell into the sand, and as it began to turn red with his blood, he weakly cried one last time, "In the Name of Christ, forbear." A hush came over the 80,000 blood thirst Romans in the arena. Soon a man stood and left. Then another and another. In a short time all 80,000 had emptied out the stadium. It was the last known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome.
There are a lot of gladiators today in the home and in the church and among those who follow Jesus. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus was thinking of Telemachus when He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Are you a peace keeper, peace breaker or a peacemaker?
Will you stand in the gap for the Lord?
If you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never received Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to obtain His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you receive Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.
If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
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God bless you.
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