The Bare Soul - October 11, 2009
The Beatitudes - Peacemakers

The following is a video recording and message text of a sermon titled "The Beatitudes - Peacemakers" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on October 8, 2009.


The Beatitudes - Peacemakers @ Yahoo! Video

The Beatitudes - Peacemakers (PowerPoint)
 

Matthew 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Much has been written and stated about the peacemakers of our time. Many notables have attempted to bring about lasting peace regarding their respective spheres of influence. While all never attained to their highest ideals, some failed more demonstrably than others. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sought a peaceful solution to the rise of Nazism in the late 1930s in Europe, yet his naive appeasement only led to millions dead in the wake of World War II. Others such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. saw passive resistance as the way to join the hands of those who hate. Unfortunately, both were assassinated for their cause. Others such as President Bill Clinton who helped engineer the so-called Mideast Peace Accord of the 1990s saw the unraveling of peace nearly as soon as the pen met the paper. Throughout our present history, United Nations ambassadors have often been lost in an "ocean of dialogue" in the halls of diplomacy while lasting peace has languished amidst bloody chaos back in their own countries. While some would say that peace is a noble, humanistic endeavor that needs to be striven after and that will one day be obtained, the scripture tells us otherwise. While we may know "seasons" of truce between warring factions, there is always the slow simmer of hatred and unrest under the cloak of detente'. Millennia-old tensions and resentments await just the right catalyst to once again stoke the fires of hostility. Not only is this true with governments and cultures dating back to the dawn of time, but it is also true in an individual's life. While this is the sober state of unregenerate humanity, it does not have to be that way. There is One who is not only the Creator of peace, but who rules a kingdom where its very charter is empowered by the spirit of reconciliation.

True and lasting peace is not an ideal that carnal man can attain to in a humanistic endeavor, but it is realized in a Person (Ephesians 2:14-15). It is the embodiment of the Lord Jesus Christ and how He lived His life on this earth. Once again, we see in this beatitude (as in all previous) Jesus revealing a particular facet of Himself and of His Father in heaven. The implied definition of a "peacemaker" is someone who possesses or owns the power of reconciliation and is amply supplied within their respective character to give it to others. As the embodiment of peace, Jesus spoke with authority into people's lives (John 14:27) as well as into the creation itself (Mark 4:39). This was diametrically different than the authority others had wielded over the nation of Israel in Jesus' time. While many spoke of peace with the Romans and those who threatened their homeland, they were impotent to render a peaceful outcome. However, the Lord spoke of a heavenly kingdom and a kingdom yet to come on this earth where His peacemakers would act with the same divine authority that He possessed from the Father. Christ tells us that if we know Him and have accepted His life into ours, then we too will epitomize His vocation as peacemaker. As such, we will be unable to avoid this divine calling since we are inextricably joined with His life. And, as so, we become not only sons of God but brethren to our Lord (Hebrews 2:11). And, as sons of God we join in His labor for the Father's longing -- a harvest of souls through the ministry of reconciliation.

The apostle Paul understood the true character of a peacemaker. Commending the ministry the Lord had entrusted to him and others, Paul instructs the Corinthian church on first comprehending being rightly related to God through new birth, and then the responsibility of every believer to bring others in relationship with the Father. In II Corinthians 5:17, Paul states a familiar passage to most believers: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. By Paul's declaration, anyone who has identified themselves with Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection has now become a "super-naturalized" citizen of another kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Through this new birthright into another realm, Paul is telling us that we all have been given divine appointments as ministers of reconciliation. Therefore, just as Christ drew us to Himself and saved us from our sin, so also should we be drawing others from the grasp of hell into the kingdom of light by the authority and power of His Holy Spirit (II Corinthians 5:18-19). As holy ambassadors of heaven and a future redeemed earth, we are given the same power to bring lost souls into the Father's arms (II Corinthians 5:20).

Not a lot has changed in the Mideast in 2,000 years. Peace is not attained through weakness but through a confident show of strength and authority. Many say that this is the only thing Semitic and non-Semitic Middle Eastern cultures understand. As Jesus spoke and acted with authority, he garnered the common people's respect and the established religious-political authorities' ire. Similarly today, if we speak out in the name of Jesus as ambassadors of His peace and His salvation, then we will encounter resistance from some but also respect and gratitude from others. As Christians, we must stand up for truth because, at the end of the proverbial day, we will know that we are laboring with God as peacemakers. By our testimony of His love and salvation, we are seeking to restore the broken relationship between a lost man, woman, or child with a loving, forgiving God. While the work of Chamberlain, or Gandhi, or King may have been noble for this lifetime, we must seek a higher calling of closing the chasm between humankind and God the Father. As peacemaking is commendable between nations, cities, communities, and individuals, the loss is much more incalculable if peace is not brokered between a man and His God.  It is only by trusting in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may first have peace for ourselves (Romans 5:1) and then are equipped to give it to others.

Father, we thank you that Your Son gave us all the ministry of reconciliation through the gift of salvation -- that we ALL can be peacemakers of a righteous kingdom that will one day fill the earth, even as it does heaven. Help those of us who know You to draw from Your Spirit as we bring others to you through your spiritual diplomacy. Allow us to participate as holy ambassadors for the great work of peacemaking between heaven and earth. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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