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Blessed Are The Peacemakers

"1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:   2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  4Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.  5Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  6Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.  7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.  10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11Blessed are you, when men shall revile and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.  12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."  Matthew 5:1-12
What a great Beatitude!
We will look at this using the following outline.
I.   Position
II.  Definition
III. Acquisition

POSITION

Blessed are the peacemakers comes to us in the seventh position of the eight beatitudes.  We have finished the Christmas season, and are into the new year.  As I reflect on that blessed time of celebrating our Savior's birth, I am thinking of the verse in the gospel of Luke chapter two verse 14.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."
Yes, there is a desperate cry for peace in our time.  The world is longing for peace.  The individual soul desires peace.  Man has made many attempts at world peace and has failed.  For some, peace is just the absence of war.  But that is not true peace.  It is just an agreement to stop shooting at each other.  So, why have all their peace conferences failed?  Why do all these world leaders find themselves at an impasse every time they get together?  Could it be that they are approaching the issue from political, social, and economic perspectives?  The answer is, "yes".  The problem is not political, social, or economic.  It is spiritual.  This is why they fail.  The approach is man oriented and not God oriented.  The Bible gives us the answer.  The heart of man needs to be changed.  Jesus said that it is out of the heart that evil comes.  Murder, adultery, etc.  So, the source of the trouble is the heart of man.  Being in the seventh position, it follows "pure in heart".  Ah, how appropriate!  What follows the purity of the heart?  PEACE!  That is so cool!  Do you see it?  YES!  Listen to the scripture in James 3:17:
"The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable."
Whoa!  How great is this!  In fact, you will find many references in the epistle of James to the sermon on the mount.  See if you can come up with some verses in that great letter of James that refer to this great sermon.  What is the condition of my heart?  Maybe the answer to this question will reveal to us why people are having such a hard and difficult time making peace among themselves.
Without the purity of heart, all our attempts at world peace or any other peace will be futile.  Why?  Simply because all efforts to accomplish something by the arm of the flesh is not starting at the beginning of the problem.  It is only treating a symptom of the disease and not the disease itself.  It would be like trying to treat a water problem down-stream by pouring in a bottle of chlorine when there is a dead carcass up-stream at the source.  We try to make laws to cause people to behave as we think they should.  We try to legislate righteousness.  Though the effort may be much appreciated, and we should make good laws, yet, good as they may be, they never deal with the dead carcass up-stream!  We must get to the root of the problem.  What is that root?  It is sin.  As we stated above, this beatitude is in the seventh position.  It is interesting to note that in the book of Proverbs chapter 6 verses 16-19 we find these words:
"These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies and he that soweth discord among brethren."  
The seventh thing God hates is the sowing of division, or discord.  Yet the seventh thing God promises to bless is a peacemaker!  A believer who by his/her life and testimony, sows peace by way of purity.  Yes, the pure in heart is just before the peacemaker.  Let me ask you, is not the reason there is so much discord, and division in the world due to the fact that there is so much impurity in the heart?  My dear friends, we cannot ignore this.  What is going on inside (of us) is directly related to what is happening outside.  Can we not see this?  Sadly, most of the world does not simply because the god of this world has blinded the minds of men.  Lord open our eyes.

DEFINITION

So, what is a peacemaker?  We need to see it negatively as well as positively.  What it is not, and then what it is.
Negatively:
1.  Being a peacemaker is not avoiding trouble, or conflict.  It is not peace at any price.  It is not being a pacifist.  It is not compromising in order to get along.  Doing so, is just another means of avoiding truth in order to keep the peace.  A peacemaker, though he loves the sinner, will make no league with him.  The peacemaker will not put his or her spiritual safety at risk.  Oh, but Pastor Jerry, the Bible says "Follow peace with all men..."  (Hebrews 12:14) Yes, it does say that.  But here we are once again face to face with the same old problem.  It is only quoting a portion of the verse and not the whole.  We will always find ourselves in a dilemma when we do this.  Listen to the rest of the verse:
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."
Ah, there it is!  Do you see it?  I know you do.  Peace and holiness are connected in this verse.  Now let's see the connection between holiness and purity.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
We can see that holiness and purity are connected.   How so?   Without holiness and purity there is no seeing God.  If there is a choice between peace and holiness, we choose holiness.  Why?  The Bible tells us:
 "There is no peace saith my God, to the wicked."  Isaiah 57:21
2. It is not peace at the expense of truth.  Proverbs 23:23 says:
"Buy truth and sell it not."
He is not a peacemaker who unites himself with error.  Purity is always a precedent to peacemaking.  Jesus said that "He did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34) Ah, but, Pastor Jerry, the Bible says He is the prince of peace!  Yes, Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  You will find in Isaiah the prophet these words:
"And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace..."  Isaiah 9:6
Then how do you reconcile this?  Is there not a contradiction here?  You may say, "How can Jesus be the Prince of peace and yet the Bible says He did not come to bring peace but a sword?"   It is quite simple when you realize that Jesus the Prince of Peace draws His sword in the INTEREST of peace!  Hallelujah!  If you had a cancerous tumor in your body, you would want it removed, correct?  Yes!  Well, there will be no PEACE in your body until the surgeon comes and takes a scalpel and cuts that mass out of you!  There is no contradiction here in these verses.  Jesus has come to bring peace by the blood of His cross.  He came to cut out of you the thing that is causing you to have NO PEACE!  Is it not true, that when you surrendered your life to Jesus and He took (cut) your sin away, you had a real peace in your heart for the first time in your life?  Absolutely!  Listen to it:
"And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto himself."  Colossians 1:20

"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."  Romans 5:1
This peace came the moment your impure heart became pure through the blood of His cross.  The moment you were justified by faith you had a peace that could not be explained any other way than by a supernatural cleansing of your heart by the blood of the Lamb of God!  I am thinking of a song:
"NO CONDEMNATION HAVE I IN MY HEART,
HE TOOK MY SINS AWAY,
HE TOOK MY SINS AWAY.
HIS PERFECT PEACE, HE DID TO ME IMPART,
HE TOOK MY SINS AWAY."
~ He Took My Sins Away - M. J. Harris
Yes, He took them all away!  Praise the Lamb forever!  Glory to God in the highest!  Yes, the angel's words at the beginning of this lesson are found in  Luke 2:14:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."
So, all the earth is now at peace?  Oh, no.  This verse actually says, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men in whom He is well pleased."  Ah, that is it!  Just because Jesus came to earth to die on the cross and bring peace, does not mean that everyone automatically has this peace.  Peace comes to those in whom He is well pleased.  How does one get to be one of those men/women in whom He is well pleased?  It happens when I allow the Prince of Peace to come and draw His sword and cut out of me the cancer called sin.  He confronts me with who I am, and He cuts out the filth, the disease called sin that has been eating away at me preventing the peace that I so desperately crave.
Positively:
1.  A peacemaker is one who is spiritually at peace.  It begins as I make my peace WITH God, and then, I experience the peace OF God!   A peacemaker is someone who has been saved by the blood of the Lamb.  He has a new view of himself.  He sees that in him dwells nothing that is good.  He sees the wretchedness of his sin is the reason he had no peace within.  But now, he says, since Jesus came into my heart, there is a light in my soul for which long I had sought!  It's no longer all about me!  It's all about Jesus!  What does that do for him?  He now sees others in a different light.
2.  A peacemaker sees others differently!  We used to look at others and envy them.  Well, didn't you?  Yes, you did.  You could not understand why others had the things you never had.  It almost made you angry.  In fact, you WERE angry at times.  You said that life was not fair!  You wondered why you were dealt such a bad hand!  You may have even wondered why ol' Joe next door had two houses and a boat on the lake and yet he lives like the devil all week long.  Admit it.  You used to be like that.  But now, as a saved man/woman you do not see ol' Joe that way anymore.  NO!  You ask, "Why is ol' Joe like that?"  As a peacemaker you answer by saying, "I know why ol' Joe is like this."  Yes, Joe has been blinded by the god of this world just like you used to be.  He is blinded by Satan.  Poor Joe!  He needs Jesus!  Joe needs the SAME PEACE THAT I HAVE!  He does not need our envy, or resentment.  Ol' Joe needs our prayers, our pity, and our testimony.  Why?  Because he is one of our fellow human beings.
3. A peacemaker is meek.  Ah, remember our last lesson?  We made mention of the figure of speech called "correspondence".   Or overlaid repetition.  We drew a diagram for you and connected or corresponded the meek man with the peacemaker man.  It looked something like this:  
Do you see the line going from meek to peacemaker?  Meekness corresponds to peacemaking.  In other words, the greater the meekness the greater our peacemaking will be.  Meekness feeds our ability to be a peacemaker.  The two are related and connected.  Meekness is the attitude that does not need to retaliate.  When a sinner maligns him, or says all manner of evil against him, the meek man does not stand up and fight the man for his accusations.  In fact, the meek man knows that he is actually worse than what that sinner has accused him of.  He knows that if it were not for the grace of God he would be in a worse condition.  This kind of a spirit, or attitude lends itself to the greatest peacemaking ever!  Lord, increase my meekness.
Friends, as peacemakers, we know why the world is as it is.  Therefore, it is our desire to share and bring this gospel of peace to those who are in darkness.  We want them to know the same peace we have come to enjoy!
There is only one way to this peace.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Peace in our family, our world, our church, and in our institutions is only possible and directly linked to peace with God through Jesus Christ.  The church must get back to its priority!  Our priority is not political peace, or world peace, but spiritual peace.  The spiritual internal peace with God through Jesus which leads to the external peace with our fellow man.  What must the church do to get back to and emphasize its priority of peacemaking?
1.  Christians must PRACTICE it.   Demonstration.
 May we learn to control our tongue.
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" James 1:19
2.  Christians must PROTECT it.    Preservation
May we guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ecumenism = a movement promoting union between different religions then, is not an option.  Compromising truth for the sake of getting along has no place.  
"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  Ephesians 4:3
3.  Christians must PREACH it.      Proclamation
"How beautiful ... are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace...." Isaiah 52:7
4.  Christians must PRAY for it.     Supplication
"Be careful 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 passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6,7
Listen, our nation is on the verge of judgment.  We need to stand in the gap and pray.  Not just for the peace of Jerusalem, but for the peace to come into the heart of man and keep us in perfect peace.  Pray for God to show mercy to this country.  Pray for the light to shine.  Pray for the president, congress, pastors, and people.   Remember that Abraham prayed for Sodom.  God said if there were 10 righteous people, He would not destroy it.  Just think what 10 righteous people could have done.  Let us begin to pray as never before.  It is not too late.

ACQUISITION

Peacemakers shall be called the children of God.  Are not peacemakers already children of God?  Yes!  In fact, the only one who can be a real peacemaker is a child of God!  Then why does it say this?  The answer can be found in the meaning of the word "called".  Called means "owned".  They shall be owned as the children of God.  Hallelujah!  Are we seeing something here?  I hope so.  This is a great thing to be sure.  We are His children!  But we shall be called or owned as children.  What does that mean for us?
Because we are owned:
1. We do not belong to ourselves anymore.  1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us:
"What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
So, we do not belong to ourselves anymore.  We belong to Him!  He should take the initiative in my life.  Ah, so a peacemaker is someone who does not call the shots but is someone who is ready to do the Lord's will.   This will make for a great peacemaker.  Why?  He who is owned by God does what pleases God.  He or she does not think of themselves first anymore.  They think of others.  Listen to it:
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, ... and He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  Philippians 2:4-8
Because we are owned:
2.  We become imitators of God.  Ephesians 5:1 says:
"Therefore, be ye followers of God, as dear children."
In the Greek text, "as dear children" is a purpose clause which can be better rendered "because you are His children."  We, because of who we are in Him, should desire to be followers of God, or better yet, imitators of God.  They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.  By imitating God, we show how much we love and believe in Him and are thrilled to be called His children.  Peacemakers are people who greatly desire to imitate their Father.  Not just because they are His children, but also because HE IS THEIR FATHER!  This is an awesome privilege and a wonderful opportunity.   However, we must be honest here.  It is also a grand responsibility.  How so?  Let me ask a question.  When you walk through a store and see a young child, with their parent, who is acting up and misbehaving, about whom are we drawing certain negative conclusions?  Yes, the parent!  Dear fellow believer, people are also drawing conclusions about our Heavenly Father based upon the actions of His children.  May we who are called "children of God" keep in mind that the reputation of our Father who art in Heaven is on the line.  To be a peacemaker is to be like Jesus.  Therefore, Jesus does not adjust to us, but we adjust to Him.
Because we are owned:
3.  We are His possession.  1 Peter 2:9 says:
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
The word peculiar means to be surrounded by;   to be owned.  As children of God, we are surrounded by our Father.  This is a great truth.  Let me illustrate this to you as we close out this lesson.  Before you were saved, like a black dot on a piece of paper, you were vulnerable to all the enemy's tactics, temptations, etc.  See Illustration:
All of his arrows pierced your soul and hit you full force.  You were exposed to all his wiles, and methods.  His purpose in attacking you is always to kill and destroy.  But one day you surrendered your life to the Lord Jesus 100%, and you became a child of God.  As I Peter 2:9 says, you became a “peculiar” person.  A man/woman surrounded by God.  Owned by the Creator of the universe!  Things are not now as they once were.  The situation looks much different.  See illustration:
The dot is now surrounded by the circle.  The circle is the Lord!  Do the arrows of the enemy still come at you?  Yes, they continue to come full speed.  But there is a hindrance!  They must pass through the circle before they can get to the dot!  If they are allowed to pass through the circle, the purpose changes. Nothing can get to the dot without the Lord Jesus allowing it.  So, instead of all this trouble being meant for evil, killing and destruction, it is now meant for good!  10,000 Hallelujahs!  See illustration:
What does this have to do with peacemaking?  You can enter into this life of peacemaking without fear!  You can witness without fear.  You can be led of the Lord without fear.  Yes, you may be persecuted for trying to get ol' Joe saved, but it does not bother you.  It comes with the territory.   And you will notice that as a child of God, owned by God, surrounded by God that the devil can do nothing but by Divine permission.  Now, you approach your Christian life with a new attitude.  Because you are a child of the Highest, any situation or circumstance regarding peacemaking, persecution, COVID-19 or anything else will be faced with a new perspective.  In the words of Joseph to his brothers, "you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good".  Excuse me, but that calls for one more Hallelujah.

A SONG FOR YOUR HEART TODAY

HE TOOK MY SINS AWAY

Written by: Margaret Jinkins Harris
In this lesson, Pastor Jerry quoted a portion of the song that is printed below.  It has powerful truths written in it’s simple lines.  If you look closely you will see the sinner held captive in His sin and the changes that are made in him when he turns to Christ, confesses his sins, and begins to live a life of dependence on the Lord.  Look at the difference between the first line of each verse and the last two lines of the verse.  That complete change can only happen because Jesus Christ (the center two lines) takes sin away and sets the bound captive free!  “If the Son [Jesus] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36.   Don’t wait, He will do the same in your life today.
I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad,
He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad,
He took my sins away.

Chorus
He took my sins away,
He took my sins away,
And keeps me singing every day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away.
He took my sins away.

The Load of sin was more than I could bear.
He took them all away,
He took them all away.
And now on Him I roll my every care,
He took my sins away.  (Chorus)

No condemnation have I in my heart,
He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart,
He took my sins away.  (Chorus)

If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away,
He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.  (Chorus)

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