One glance at Facebook or the headlines will tell you, there is NOT much peace out there these days. Yet most of us crave peace, and the world cries out for it… but is it really “peace” that we’re crying for?
True peace only comes from God—most people will say they want “peace”, but they don’t want God. What they really want is to have their own way, without any impediments. Those who have surrendered their lives to Christ, however, carry within us both the ability AND the requirement that we “make peace”, especially with those who don’t want it. But how?
Joining us today in the 8th episode in our series on the Beatitudes to tell us how and why we need to work for peace, and exactly what is this peace we are to make with others, is teacher and author of the book “Broken, Yet Blessed”, Kathi McCarty, with the 7th Beatitude in our series.
Table Talk Notes
A quick overview
One after the other, the Beatitudes tell us that the blessings of eternity will be given only to those who have become new creatures. To attempt to fulfill the beatitudes without being born again is an exercise in futility and religiosity.
From beginning to end, the Sermon on the Mount cries out, “Get yourself a new heart! Become a new person!”
Matt 5:20 | “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”
Matt 7:21-27 | “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.’’
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Obedience to the beatitudes, as a believer, is not optional.
John 14:15 | “IF you love me, you WILL keep my commandments.” WILL – the expectation to fulfill without hesitation or compromise.
What is a peacemaker?
The Greek word translated “peacemaker” (eirēnopoios, pronounced “i-ray-nop-oy-os”) is used in only one other place in the New Testament, in a slightly different form.
James 3:13-18 | Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Col 1:19-20 | “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross”
Jesus laid down His life to make peace between God and sinners, and when we can carry that message of peace to others, we are peacemakers.
2 Cor 5:18-20 | we have a ministry of reconciliation 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Those who bring reconciliation to broken relationships are carrying on the work of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Those who give of themselves as Jesus did in order that others may know God are called “blessed.”
Romans 5:1-2 | There is no real peace apart from a relationship with God. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
John 14:26-27 | What may masquerade as worldly peace is merely a temporary lull in chaos. True peace is found only in a restored relationship with God. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Isaiah 48:22 | “‘There is no peace,’ says the LORD, ‘for the wicked’”
Psalm 55:12-14 | “It is not an enemy who taunts me – Then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me –then I could hide from him. It is you… my companion, my familiar friend, we used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house when we walked in the throne.”
Thomas Watson has a vivid picture: “Satan kindles the fire of contention in men’s hearts and then stands and warms himself at the fire.”
Peace in your heart flows from purity in your life. Notice the order: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (5:9). There’s a direct connection…
James 3:17 | “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable.”
We do not seek peace for its sake, but for the sake of the Kingdom of God to thrive.
Being a peacemaker is much more about the peace from within first, and then establishing peace without, even when there is discord! We can be at peace.
God has peace in himself. In the Bible, he is called: “The God of peace.”
Hebrews 13:20-21 | Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
1Thess. 5:23 | Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:33 | May the God of peace be with you all.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is described as “the Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6-7 | For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
God’s way of making peace
1. Don’t stand on your rights
Phil 2:5-8 | Christ was in the form of God. But he did not grasp what was his by right. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
2. Move toward the trouble
But don’t move toward all trouble. Some people are drawn to trouble. They look for fights because they want to get involved. People like that are obviously not Christians. Our calling is to act as peacemakers, and where you can be a peacemaker, you will move toward the trouble. That is what God did in the incarnation. Sons follow their Father’s lead. Making peace does not mean avoiding conflict. Peacemakers often cause trouble in pursuing peace.
Matt 10:33-39 | “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” Peacemaking is not for the faint-hearted—it takes immense courage. It’s the most dangerous job in the world! For Jesus it meant laying down his life. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
3. Love before you are loved in return
Romans 5:8 | God demonstrates his own love for us in this: that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Peacemaking requires a generosity of heart that is foreign to the world’s understanding of peace.
A peacemaker’s prayer
Make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt true faith in you.
O master grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul
Make me an instrument of your peace.
~Attributed to Francis of Assisi~
We do not compromise truth
Wanting, desiring and pursuing being a peacemaker must never come at the expense of truth itself.
Bringing truth into a situation may well, in fact, cause anything but peace to your outward circumstances, but a peacemaker is AT peace in even situations where there is no peace.
Some closing thoughts
Only children of God can bring the peace of knowing God to others. A person must have a real relationship with God before he or she can help someone else know God.
Those who witness for Christ, share their faith with their friends, and serve others in the name of Christ are the ambassadors for peace this verse identifies
Matthew 10:40-42 | “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
Those who bring the wonderful message of God’s peace to the world are “peacemakers,” and Jesus calls them the “children (sons) of God.”