This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Nov 21st 2021 by Abhishek Bansode D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
Creating a Counterculture: Part 7 - Blessed are the Peacemakers
Close your eyes and imagine the most peaceful place on earth. What comes to mind? How many of you just thought of a place with a lot of people? None, I'm sure! Why is that? Because people disrupt peace. In continuation of our series on creating a counterculture, we are going to study not only how to get peace but how to make peace. Peacemaking is a divine assignment very different from peacekeeping.. Peacemaking is a completely different approach. It is much more involved and countercultural. Peacekeeping involves cover-up and control but peacemaking exposes the truth.
Our verse for today is Matthew 5:9 - “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”
Martin Luther King Jr said, “Peace is not simply the absence of tension, it is the presence of Justice”. The Bible actually takes it a step further. The word for peace in the Greek - Eirene comes from the root word eírō meaning “to join”. The word Eirene/ Shalom in Hebrew means one, peace, quietness, rest. It is a part of the High Priestly blessing, it is a greeting in the Jewish culture… but Jesus says, not only is it blessed to have peace but it is blessed to be a peacemaker. So that is what we are going to look at today.
The person of peace
Know Jesus: Peace is the person and the presence of Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Luke 2: 13-14 “13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
He restored ultimate peace between man and God, and to be a peacemaker, we need to know the prince of peace. We cannot have the peace of God without peace with God. How can you be assured that you know the Prince of Peace? Romans 10: 9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Receives His peace John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ” What are the keys of peace?
Set our mind: Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you”; Romans 8:6 “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” Action Point (AP)- When anxious thoughts and cares to take over you, stop and listen for the voice of God by setting aside time for it, set your mind on him at random points in the day by reading the Word of God or reminding yourselves of the nature of God. Think about how you can practically incorporate this into your daily life.
Pray - Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds” When you feel troubled or anxious, do you gravitate towards praying or something else? Watchman Nee wrote, ‘Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.’
Practice what you have heard - Phil 4:9 “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”. Faith may come from hearing, but peace comes with practice. AP - Obey the things you understand. Do the things you already know to do. If you want to stop stressing out about your to-do list, do the list. Don't wait for peace to do what God has called you to do. The peace of God is hiding in our obedience.
Pursues His peace - Psalm 34: 14 repeated in 1 Peter 3:11 “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”; Ephesians 4:3 “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Romans 14:19 “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” We cannot be neutral about peace - we are called to pursue it. Romans 12:18 says as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all. Is that you can not go any further or you’re not willing to?
However, the pursuit of peace must not precede the pursuit of purity. There is a reason for the sequence of these beatitudes. Righteousness and then mercy. Purity and then peace. James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving,” Any pursuit of peace over purity is unwise. Eg: of Aaron. It is in this context that Jesus says I’ve not come to bring peace but a sword. If you just dont want to ruffle any feathers, you’ll have a tough time truly following Jesus. We all need to carry our cross in order to follow Jesus.
The product of peace
For us - shall be called sons of God. The word for shall be called in this means to call in a loud voice or to bear a name or title. We see this happen in Matthew 3:17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” This is what God does with peacemakers.
For the world - Romans 8:19-21 “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” The rising up of the peacemakers is freedom to the whole world.
For God - Ephesians 2 :22 “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Peace and oneness is to his ultimate glory. 1 Peter 2:5 “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”When peacemakers arise, the dwelling place of God is built and he is glorified! That is why we pursue peace.
So I have been reconsidering some of my own relationships … with friends, with family… and saying maybe I will pursue peace in this relationship a bit more. Maybe there is more peace in store than we think is possible… beyond our understanding. Until we attain that eternal peace - when we will be face to face with God - let’s pursue peace on earth because it glorifies God and it pleases him. Let’s pray.