And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 45 October 05, 2008
In this issue:
October 5-10, 2008
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
GOSPEL MEETING TOPICS
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
In the presentation of the “beatitudes,” Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” In a children’s class the question was asked, “What would be the opposite of this beatitude?” A child’s reply, “Cussed are the fuss makers.” Indeed! In Proverbs 6:16-19 we learn that there are seven things that are an abomination to God. Included in the list is “he that soweth discord among brethren.” In our last article we discussed the sin of division. Let us give attention to the importance of being a peacemaker.
The Scriptures are abundant with evidence that God desires us to become like Him (cf I Peter 1:15-16). He sent His Son to shed His blood that such peace might be possible between God and man (Ephesians 2:14-16). He is referred to as the “God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, (even) our Lord Jesus” (Hebrews 13:20-21). It is His desire to reconcile man to Himself through Christ (II Corinthians 5:20) who is the “Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6). When this reconciliation actually takes place, one has “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” No man ever makes himself more like God than he who makes himself a peacemaker.
Who are the peacemakers spoken of in this verse? Are they people who make peace between man and God or between man and man? Either understanding may be possible, however, it must be peace that rests upon our peace with God through Jesus Christ. The Jews and Gentiles were to have peace with each other, but this peace was contingent upon their mutual reconciliation and peace with God. We must help others to be at peace with God by proclaiming the “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 2:13-17; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 6:15). However, “Blessed are the peacemakers” takes on added significance when we read related passages commanding peace. Consider: “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord.” “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace” (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14; James 3:18). “At peace with God and thus themselves filled with sweet peace, they live in peace, if possible, with all men and work to keep and to make peace where peace is threatened or lost. Theirs is the work of true Christians who follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace” (Lenski). A peacemaker is one who has developed a peaceable disposition. One can’t be a peacemaker if he delights in strife and contention. He has also developed a peaceable conversation and has learned when to speak and when to be silent. The wisdom writer said, “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up strife” (Proverbs 15:1). James said, “Ye know (this), my beloved brethren. But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
There may be realms in which Christians may not be able to make peace. It may not be possible to make peace among government leaders, but we can pray for them (I Timothy 2:1-4). I may not be able to stop wars among nations or resolve labor disputes, but, as a Christian, I must learn contentment (Hebrews 13:5; I Timothy 6:6-8). However, there are at least two realms in which Christians can make peace and that is in the home and in the church. If we have peace at home, the honor is ours; if we have strife and hate, the blame is ours. Likewise in the church. If we have peace, we make it; if we have strife, we make it. The peacemaker is not a “peace at any price person” (anything to avoid trouble). But he has learned how to avoid compromise and error and maintain a spirit of truth. Robert Shank has stated, “The love of the world is the path of compromise. It ends in disaster.”
What makes peace in the home? The marriage vow is of little significance to some, much less God’s law. Read again Matthew 19:9. Marital fidelity, mutual confidence, cheerfulness and kindness, unselfishness, self-examination are all essential to peacemaking in the home. If a husband or wife is determined to have his way (or her way) and pouts and complains when he can’t get it, strife results; peace is destroyed. Whenever a home is torn by strife, each needs to ask himself, “Am I to blame?” But what often happens is husband or wife points the finger of blame at the other; again peace is destroyed. We are often so busy assigning blame that we destroy peace rather than seek peaceful solutions.
What makes peace in the church? We must be careful to adhere to New Testament patterns. All innovations cause strife. Instrumental music, the Missionary Society, sprinkling, infant baptism, benevolent societies, fellowship halls, gymnasiums all destroyed the peace of local churches. If there was nothing else wrong with them, I would oppose them because they have destroyed peace. In matters not essential to obeying God, Paul said, “If meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble” (I Corinthians 8:13). Right living by all members is essential to peace. Questionable conduct starts rumors, gossip, denials, and so destroys peace. Humility is necessary (I Peter 5:5). Conceited, self-centered members always cause strife.
There are two extremes that must be avoided. There are some who pick fights and are contentious about everything. They complain, but do nothing constructive. Nothing is right with them. Others want peace at any price. These will tolerate all kinds of error, allow every kind of innovation, because they want to maintain peace. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). True wisdom begins with that which is right!
“They shall be called sons of God.” Those who are peacemakers will be evidence to themselves that they are children of God. God will own them as such, and herein they will resemble Him. He is the God of peace; His Son is the Prince of peace. God has declared Himself reconcilable to us all. He will not own those for His children who are merciless in their hostility to one another; for if the peacemakers are blessed … indeed, “Cussed are the fuss makers.”
A form of this question was asked three times in the New Testament: Acts 2:37; 9:6; 16:30. Each time a direct answer was given. Before looking at the answers given, please consider the question:
* WHAT: An inquiry about the nature of a matter or thing.
If someone were to ask, “What must I do to be saved from foreclosure?”, a debt-relief plan would be arranged with a series of necessary steps in order to prevent the loss of one’s house.
God has arranged a “sin-relief” plan – a plan of salvation – that will save you from your sins when you follow it. The answer that was given to those who believed Jesus to be the Son of God was to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38-41). A repentant believer was told to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The man who did not know anything about Jesus was told to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house” (Acts 16:31-32).
To be saved from your past sins you must:
* HEAR the gospel of Christ (Mk 16:15; Acts 16:32)
Now the important question is, “Have you done what the Bible says you must do to be saved?” If not, you are still lost. Obey Jesus now and be saved from your sins! (Heb. 5:9; Mk. 16:16)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 10/04/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA