This sermon was preached at Jubilee Church Wood Green. based on Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” You can listen to the sermon here, or read the notes below. This is a sermon I found particularly challenging to prepare, and I ask you to pray for me as I pray for you that I may be able to practice the principles discussed in this message more. At this time of Christmas when the message “Peace on Earth” is proclaimed, may my home and your home be filled with peace.
1. What is peace? At one level the absence of war. Cost of a lack of peace is huge: Peace is the most expensive commodity “Defense” spending 1.8 Trillion US Dollars for top 15 countries. Could end poverty overnight. More to Peace than war not happening!
“Shalom” =the absence of internal anxiety and external war:
Not alienation but acceptance
Not chaos but order
Not disruption but security
Not discord but harmony
Not danger but safety
Not anger but self-restraint
Not fear but the rest of faith
Not timidity but confidence
Not anxiety but calm
Not disorder but self-discipline
Not sense of being alone but being part of a people
Not loneliness but being known
Not a stranger but family
Not sickness but health
Not poverty but wealth
Not agitation but a settled spirit
Not hostile but friendly
Not bitter but reconciled
Not separated but together
Not broken but repaired
Not immature but complete
Not damaged but whole
Not ruined but restored
Not distressed but total well-being
Not full of clamour but quiet
Not restless but satisfied
Not inpatient but content.
Not insecure but in a covenant relationship
Peace is not just something between people but something that is inside of us too. Real need of world for peace is not just physical remedy but a spiritual one. PEACE comes from the presences of God. If we want to be peacemakers we must first have peace ourselves! If you haven’t experienced real peace you find it hard to give peace. If not at peace with God you are restless.
Sin breaks peace “Passions at war in you”
2. How do we get peace? a. WITH GOD
Our God is a god of peace. Purpose of Jesus Coming was to bring peace.
Real peace needs a change of nature. Must be reconciled first to God
As we heard we are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
At enmity with ourselves, each other, but more than that with God. Nothing we can do to put that right: he sees our righteousness like filthy rags
BUT GOD > two of the best words in the Bible “rich in mercy” “because he loves us…because he loves us!” NO OTHER REASON Allowed us to share in the benefits of Jesus resurrection, and turned aside his own wrath, with it being satisfied in the death of Jesus on the cross! GLORIOUS Gospel of peacemaking with God!
Propotiation Jesus paid the price so we could be justified. satisfied the wrath of an offended person and brings reconciliation.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
Spiritual peace is all about becoming more aware of the presence of God
b. Within ourselves
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8).
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.(John 14:27).
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:23
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5–7).
So for eg We grieve but not in the same way as those who have no hope
NOT AUTOMATIC…..SOME CHRISTIANS DO GET MENTAL ILLNESS FOR EXAMPLE = an absense of PEACE
CF THE FOUR PILLARS OF MENTAL HEALTH…Not just “not spiritual enough”
WE ALL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR PEACE!
“O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 131
c. WITH OTHERS children of God, his reputation is at stake in how we treat others
“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Is 32:17-18
Ephesians 2 speaks of “separated from Christ” , “alienated from God’s people “strangers” ”no hope” and “without God” “far off” “brought near” by the blood of Christ.
2;14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” NO NEED FOR DIVISIONS OF RACE, CLASS, CULTURE, GENDER
Eph 4: “urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace….. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
PRACTICALLY: CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK & ASSESS: If you want peace
- Get rid of Mindreading vs thinking the best of people.
- Awfulising vs gratitude.
- Overgeneralisation vs specific sin cf condemnation vs conviction.
- Threatening to leave vs commitment.
- Careless speach / emotive language vs peaceful words.
- Impulsive acts vs thought through responses
The price of peace
* Jesus paid the ultimate peace price & He wants us to pay the peace price
* Dying to self and own desires
* Dying to the right to be indignant
* Dying to the right of reply
* Dying inside to say ‘Sorry’ and mean it
* Peacemaking is a lifestyle not just for conflicts
Lies that destroy peace
* Look out for number one
* God helps those who help themselves
* Surely God doesn’t want me to remain in an unhappy situation
* Ill forgive you but I cant forget
* Dont get mad, get even
* I deserve better than this
* GO to solve conflicts: NOT an E-mail (worst of all!) NOT a letter NOT a phone call ……..Face to face
7 A’s of confession
* Address everyone involved
* Avoid ifs but and maybe
* Admit specifically- Call a sin a sin.
* Accept the consequences- How can you reverse the damage you have caused eg go to police to confess to crime.
* Alter your behaviour- What changes do you intend to carry out
* Ask for forgiveness- Trust may need to be earned
Forgiveness means to ‘DROP’ it
* Not a feeling
* Not forgetting
* Not excusing –Don’t say ‘it was nothing’
- D “I will no longer dwell on this incident.”
- R “I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our relationship.
- O “I will not talk to others about this incident.”
- P “I consign this to the past. I will not punish you for this incident or use it against you.
* Ban the use of the words always or never
NB SOMEONE SEEKING FORGIVENESS WILL STILL NEED TO FACE ANY LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
How do we become Peacemakers?
When we are at peace ourselves we can help others find peace with God, themselves and others. Those who bring reconciliation will be called sons of God
- Peacemakers love peace. Long to restore peace when it’s broken.
- When you make peace you are like your father because he is the God of peace.
- Must be at peace with both sides!
Some Christians are too angry and no wonder the world thinks we are haters (esp true of Gay’s)
Peace with God, peace with self and with others.
Peacemakers want peace to reign.
God calls us to be peacemakers at home. In the office. At church.
You can’t make peace in the world if you can’t make peace with your brothers.
Romans 12:18. “As much as it lies within you lives at peace with all.”
All means all. Make a choice to live at peace. Strive.
When you live at peace God blesses you.
2 Cor 5:20-21 We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.