East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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February 19, 2017
The Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9

Intro: Beatitudes; intro to SOM. Comparing ourselves w/Jesus' description of His followers' character. Each statement builds on & is more challenging than one before. Review: "Blessed" means truly happy, b/c God has shown grace. To whom? Only those who have seen their spiritual bankruptcy. Jesus' followers mourn over their sins, and submit to Christ as Lord. They pursue righteous, obedient lives. They show mercy to others and seek God as their chief treasure.

The Peacemakers! (Read Matthew 5:9.) The peacemakers are the blessed ones! Zealots; Jews who wanted to overthrow Rome, would have been upset. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles endorsed the use of violence by Christians. (Read Matthew 5:39, Matthew 26:52, Ephesians 6:12.) For good reason! Times when church held political power, it abused that power. Jesus: My followers are peacemakers.

War and Peace! Before we look at peacemaking, we need to ask, what is peace? Webster's: 1) An absence of conflict between two people or two groups of people, a "freedom from war or public disturbance." 2) An inner peace, "an undisturbed state of mind, an absence of mental conflict." Bible tells us that our internal war is why we argue and war w/each other. (Read James 4:1-2.) But why this internal war? B/c we're at war with God! (Read James 4:4, Colossians 1:21, Romans 8:7.) As sinners, we shake our fist in God's face: "I'm in charge, not You!" We are rebels.

Even though we're His enemies, God made it possible for us to be at peace w/Him. When Jesus died on the cross, He took the punishment we deserved for our rebellion against God. (Read Romans 5:1, 8.) When you surrender to Jesus, you experience true peace with God. That peace w/God starts to bring peace to your own internal war, and it starts to affect your relationships with others.

Making Peace! (Read Matthew 5:9.) Once you are a Christian, God calls you to His business of peacemaking, turning His enemies into His friends. (Read II Corinthians 5:18-19; Romans 12:18.) What does it take to be a peacemaker? Let's not focus on making peace w/people in other countries. Focus on your family, friends, co-workers, church. How can we make peace with them? Difficult question!

General Peacemaking Observations!

1) Remember the context; order is important. There is a necessary connection between a person hungering for righteousness/justice, being pure in heart and being a peacemaker. Can only effectively make peace when your chief desire is for justice/God's glory, not your own benefit.

2) Peacemaking doesn't mean peace faking! If something is seriously wrong in a relationship, don't just try to ignore it. Care enough to gently confront!

3) We usually swing between two extremes, neither of which is helpful.

a) Peace at any price; trying to placate the offending party! ("Squeaky wheel gets the grease.")

b) Treating every conflict as a war that you must win! ("We don't negotiate with terrorists; take no prisoners.")

Specific Suggestions for Peacemaking! This section of the sermon is drawn from peacemaker.net

Sons of God! (Read Matthew 5:9.) "Peacemakers will be called sons of God." By Whom? God Himself! This identification is the high point of spiritual growth; being a peacemaker is what being a Christian is about! Making peace w/others requires courage. But if we've placed our trust in Jesus, we are God's children. We have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead; the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. By God's grace, let's use that power to be humble, to be honest w/ourselves and others, to listen, to care enough to confront, to make peace for God's glory. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

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