Matthew 5:9: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with ME!”

December 12, 2017

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

 

It seems as if we live in the midst of constant turmoil. Conflict is all around us all the time. We constantly hear of wars and rumors of wars. At the time of this writing, North Korea is threatening all out war against us. Terrorism is foremost in everyone’s mind. Our streets are not safe for us anymore, with gang warfare bloodying the streets of many of our cities. There is a great lack of peace in our homes, with divorce courts jammed to capacity with feuding couples. Our school campuses have become less than peaceful with fights and bullying occurring daily. Even in the church! Many church business meetings are filled with the conflict of everyone wanting to have his own way. In this age all of us are predisposed to conflict. Some of us have clashed with so many people, that we don’t really know how to live peaceably with others. I’ve known some individuals over the years that never seem happy unless they are fighting with someone. Oh how we need “peacemakers!”

 

Our need for peacemakers goes back as far back in human history as Cain, who killed his brother Abel. Ever since then there has been conflict between brothers and sisters, and not just in the family sense, also in the church, the family of God.

 

“Will and Ariel Durant, in The Lessons of History, begin the chapter on ‘History and War’ noting that: ‘War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization and democracy. In the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.’

 

“Clearly mankind is in need of a peacemaker. The real need for peace is first between God and man. Man has been at perpetual war with God since Genesis 3, with no years in which there has not been war. This record therefore is even worse than the record between men!” –adapted, Precept Austin

 

Verse 9a: “Blessed are the peacemakers…”

 

The Greek word for “peacemakers” is eirenopoios, a compound word formed from eirene (peace) and poieo (makers), describing those who make peace not war, one who brings parties together again. Eirene signifies a harmonious relationship and is not merely the absence of war or uneasy truce. This word signifies parties holding differences of opinion who are willing to turn toward each other and embrace one another in spite of their differences. It describes those who love peace, those who reconcile others!

 

The term "peacemakers" includes all who make peace between men, whether as individuals or as communities. It includes even those who worthily endeavor to make peace, though they may fail at the attempt.

 

Spurgeon comments that these are “Those who always end a quarrel if they can, those who lay themselves out to prevent discord.”

 

“Peacemakers are not passive people who just try to keep everything quiet. Who sometimes just sweep problems under the rug. No, peacemakers are people who pursues making peace wherever they encounter division. They do not get defensive and try to protect one side of division. They get offensive by attacking division to restore peace. Peacemakers don’t buy into the idea that we have irreconcilable differences. No, that’s where division sets in. But, they understand we can have our differences, as long as we don’t have division. So they seek to reconcile differences through understanding and acceptance. Peacemakers are not threatened by differences. They appreciate the fact that our differences are what makes us unique and beautiful in our own way. Peacemakers know that a world without differences would be a dull, and boring world to live in.”

–redeemingmarriages.com

 

The definition we commonly accept, the absence of war, is woefully lacking in depth and has little to no relationship to the Biblical understanding of peace.

 

“Peace is not just stopping the war; peace is creating the righteousness that brings the two parties together in love.  When a Jew says to another Jew, ‘Shalom,’ which is the word for peace, he doesn’t mean ‘May you have no wars, may you have no conflict,’ he means ‘I desire for you all the righteousness that God can give, all the goodness that God can give.’  Shalom means ‘God’s highest good for you.’  It’s a creative force for goodness.  So if we are to be peacemakers, we do not only stop the war, we replace it with the righteousness of God.  We replace it with all the goodness of God.  Peacemakers are those who not only call a truce but a real peace where all is forgotten, and they embrace one another.  It is an aggressive good.  What I’m trying to say is that peace is not creating a vacuum.  Peace is not creating the absence of something, but the presence of something.”–John MacArthur 

 

Peace is not just the cessation of hostilities, not the absence of war, ie:

      

•The Roman Empire had peace because her subjects were so beaten down they had lost the will to fight.

 

•Then there’s the story of Rip Van Winkle. He and his wife had stormy  sessions in their little home, but by and by peace came to this hapless couple. The noise of conflict was no longer heard, it seemed that the war was over, peace had come at last, children and neighbors were finally getting some sleep. How did that peace come about? Did they come to some agreement? Did they decide that they loved each other too much not to forgive and forget? No! One day Rip took his musket on his shoulder, hiked off into the mountains for 20-year nap.

 

•Bilateral or unilateral disarmament means nothing if the roots of the conflict are not dealt with. Cease fire is not peace!

 

The peacemaker is doing a positive work, he doesn’t just pull the weeds of discord, anger, hate and enmity and leave the garden bare and dusty dry, he sows the seeds of love, joy, kindness and peace. He puts the end to strife by bringing in its opposite, peace! He drives out all suspicion with confidence. He drives out enmity and disharmony with good will and understanding. He drives out bitterness and unbrotherliness with calmness and mutual consideration. He puts love and brotherhood before hate and distrust. The peacemaker does more than break the sword in pieces and, he “beats the sword into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). He overcomes evil with good! He puts love in the place of hate. He sows righteous fruit “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). He resolves conflict and replaces it with truth.

 

Jesus did not say: “Blessed are the pacifists,” but rather, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” meaning those who make peace. It was He who “…made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20).

 

Why do we need peacemakers? There is such a widespread  lack of peace in our world. Are we not grieved by the troubles in our world today? Everywhere we turn people are against each another. There are divisions over race, religious views, political views, social and economic status. And for many of us there is division in our own families. Strife, bitterness, disharmony, misunderstandings, hate and discord are a way of life for far too many people, even in the family of God. So I think everyone would agree, we need peacemakers.

 

Unregenerate people have a constant war going on in their own soul, “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22). In Romans chapter 3, God places mankind on the operating table and dissects them, saying, “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God” (Verse11). He continues with His scalpel, cutting into the corruption of men, “They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways…”(Verses 12-16). Then He concludes with, “And the way of peace they have not known” (Verse17).

 

And, of course we observe daily the constant conflict between people. And often we exalt people who break the peace. We bow to the gods of the tough, macho, hard-nosed, self-sufficient, I ain’t gonna take nothin’ from nobody person, and much of the time count them as our heroes. And the cry from mankind without Christ is, “I want my rights!” And we fight and war and in general cause a lack of peace until we get what we think we have a right to.

 

Why is there conflict? James answers that question, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:1,2).

 

What does the peacemaker do?

 

“God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).

 

“Before there can be peace between man and man, there must be peace between man and God. Since His blood has reconciled God to man, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). His disciples, therefore, can best be peacemakers themselves by urging men to “be ye reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:20). –Henry Morris

 

Man is like the raging sea until he finds his rest in God. “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20).

 

When we see believers fighting, feuding or disagreeing, the true peacemaker cannot ignore the situation, that could hurt the whole body of Christ. A true peacemaker boldly dives into the middle of the conflict in hopes of bringing in a righteous solution. Address the conflict with God’s word, depending on the Holy Spirit’s leading and say, “You are offending a holy God, you are at war with God, in Jesus name, I implore you to, first make peace with God, and then with each other.” Conflict in the church causes bitterness and hurt that effects, not just your local church, but the entire body of Christ. And i effects your corporate worship. No one can worship effectively where conflict is present. There is always the possibility of committing the sin of Achan, where one man’s sin caused the whole of Israel to lose a battle. (Joshua 7:10-15).

 

When I became the pastor of a church in a small town, reaching out to the community was nearly impossible, why? The church was known, not for its love and compassion but for its fights and mean-spirited people.

 

Being a peacemaker:

 

The peacemaker makes peace with God yourself. Prior to coming to faith in Christ we were not at peace with God. We were still God’s enemies. “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will” (Romans 8:7 NLT). Yet out of His love for us, while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), so that we can have true peace, peace with God as our Father. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

 

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

 

Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). How proper it is, therefore, that the citizens of his kingdom shall be peacemakers.

 

There was a time when I was at war with God, but the conflict ended in October, 1958 when I had a peace conference with the “Prince of Peace.”  I got up from my knees, after asking Christ to be my Savior and Lord, and immediately knew God wanted me to be  preacher, a messenger of God’s peace, “…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace“ (Ephesians 6:15).

 

The peacemaker helps others find peace. The greatest thing about being a peacemaker is that we may go to anyone who is at war with God, and help them make peace. We are God’s ambassadors! “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

 

“God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you” (2 Corinthians 5:20 MSG).

 

God’s greatest peacemakers are those who boldly tell others about Jesus Christ!

 

The peacemaker brings people together. I had the opportunity years ago to bring two preachers together who had been in a war of words with each other. They found through our mediation that they didn’t disagree as many things as they thought they did. Over lunch the conflict ended and peace and fellowship followed.

 

Peacemakers:

•Don't start conflict, they end them!

•Don’t start gossip, they squelch it!

•Don’t promote battles, then bring peace!

•Don’t have bitterness, they bring sweetness!

•Conflict, gossip, battles, and bitterness…stop with the peacemaker!

 

Verse 9b: There is a promise for peacemakers, “…they shall be called sons of God.”

 

Does this mean that if one becomes a peacemaker, he is assured of being a child of God? Who are the “sons (children) of God?” Every human being was created by God, but not everyone is a child of God. The only way to get into God's family is being born again into it. You became part of the human family by your first birth but you become a member of God's family by your second birth. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: (John 1:11,12).

 

Jesus is the Son of God, His Father is God. Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God (John 3:16). He was the only person that was ever born physically as a son of God.

 

John 1:14, “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

 

1 Timothy 3:15, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

 

700 years before Christ was born Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder: and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Matthew records this, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
 Luke also, “Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen up among us’, and, ‘God has visited His people’” (Luke 7:16).

 

One becomes a “son of God” when they are born again spiritually, when they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus said, in John 3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, ‘unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (verse 3).  “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (verse 7).

“The phrase ‘sons of God’ suggests that someone is that a bearer of your image. being identified as a partaker of the character of God. Jesus uses the phrase in exactly this way in His Sermon on The Mount. In Matthew 5:43-48, He says, ". . . Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:44-45). –adapted and edited, bethanybible.org

 

If you are a peacemaker, and you have made peace with God, if you publish peace through the word of God and the Gospel day by day, if you make peace with one another and brethren that are in schisms and broken through argument - you're like your Father in heaven!

 

“Well, a great blessing. ‘We...’ it says in verse 9...are given a great privilege. ‘We are called...’ what?...’sons of God.’ This is the honor that comes to peacemakers...sons, Greek, (huiosnot téknon), not little kids, but sons, emphasizing stature, inheritance, dignity, honor, standing. It's to designate us as those who are worthy to bear the title ‘sons of God.’ We, because we characterize ourselves as peacemakers reflect the character of God. You see a son and you say, ‘Ah, I know whose son that is, I can tell because he bears resemblance to his father.’ That's what it's saying here. When you are a peacemaker you bear a resemblance to God your Father. You can say, ‘Now there's a peacemaker because he's like his Father, the God of peace.’ He's a peacemaker because he preaches the gospel of peace, because he seeks to bring peace to the relationships around him.” –John MacArthur

 

The peacemaker receives the honor, dignity and standing of being a special child of God. My Father not only loves me, but He is proud of me! I love my children more than I love my house. God’s house is the universe and He loves me more than the universe. I love my children more than my estate. God loves me more than the world and all that is in it. I am His child, the “apple of His eye” (Psalm 17:8).  “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘…for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). In the Hebrew, the “apple” refers to the pupil, the most sensitive part of the eye. When something comes near your pupil, you shield it. That’s the way God feels about us, when anyone touches one of God’s children, they are poking your finger into the eye of God.

 

Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English  bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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