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Beatitudes Lesson Eight               

Beatitudes Lesson Eight
The Peacemakers

“Blessed are the ___________, for they shall be called ____ of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Of course this could only describe the people of God. After all, if there were any people on earth who should be characteristically peaceable, certainly it would be those who seek to be godly. But from where does this attribute come? Is it natural to be peaceable in nature? It seems not. The evidence that we have before us from historical events and present activities upon this earth show otherwise. So what changes the heart of a person and makes him or her a “peacemaker?” And how does this take place in the heart, mind and soul of a human being?

As Christians we are familiar with the act of “conversion.” We have each experienced it. And that is exactly what must take place in the heart of man for him to become a "peacemaker" from his heart. There must be a change of heart, a “change of mind.”

“Paul said the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The word for power is the same word from which we get our word dynamite. The only power that can blast sin is the dynamite power of the gospel. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus has won the real Peace Prize” (“The Beatitudes,” Ed Bousman, Sermon of the Week, April 1999).

Eph. 2:13-22, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (NAS).

This Ephesian passage gives us a supreme example of “peacemaking.” Paul points out to the readers that although initially “far off” (Gentiles by birth), and therefore “enemies of God and His people, they have been “brought near by the blood of Christ.” He writes that, Christ “is our peace.”

The Gentiles had been excluded from Christ's Kingdom and His promises. They knew nothing of what the Messiah was to be or do. They were foreigners.

“The promises were for the Jews, not for the “foreigners.” In classical times the word for “foreigners” meant “alien to the people and the land, and hence unsuitable and even hostile” (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

But God changed all of this through the Gospel. As verse 13 begins, “But now . . . .” Now these Gentiles are "in Christ." They have been “brought near through the blood of Christ.” It is through the power of the Gospel that they have been saved, just as those who were initially to receive the promises (Jews by birth) were saved, through the cleansing blood of the Savior.

In bringing about the reconciliation of Gentile to God and Jew to God, man was also brought to peace and reconciliation with his fellow man. For when one becomes God's possession, he must also make peace with all others, as much as it is possible for him to do so "in Christ" (Rom. 12:18).  Jesus Christ destroys the barriers that men erect and allows them to live in peace with one another. In fact, this was His very purpose, that we might unite through the cross in His name and bring honor and glory to Him. He has put to death the enmity (hostility) that divides men and brought them together in His body the church.

“The attitude in men which must change is an attitude of defiance and hostility toward God (see Col. 1:20-22). It is at the cross that Jesus “draws all men” to himself (John 12:32) and wins back their runaway hearts. As their hostility toward God is put to death, so is their hostility toward one another” (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

Is this not how His church has been described by the Old Testament prophets as well as the New Testament writers?

THE PROPHETS
Isaiah 9:7 - The government of this ruler would be ever expanding. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, however, his kingdom would expand by peaceful means.
Isaiah 11 - Isaiah indicated that the government of this Ruler would be peaceful. Former enemies would coexist harmoniously. Vicious beasts would be docile. Paradise-like conditions would exist in all God's “holy mountain” (Zion, God's kingdom). This tranquil state would be the result of the dissemination of the knowledge of Yahweh throughout the earth (11:6-9).
Isaiah 57:18-21 - Though God knows the ways of his people, yet he would heal, i.e., forgive and restore them. He would comfort them and lead them as well. On their part, the redeemed of the Lord would respond to God's grace by praising him. They would come to recognize that the peace of God is available to all near and far, i.e., to Jew and Gentile alike.
Isaiah 65 - Messianic Zion would be a safe place. Former enemies would peacefully coexist. Isaiah emphasized this in the picture of meat-eating predators grazing peacefully with domesticated animals.
Isaiah 66 - Such wonderful things were in store for Zion that all who loved her could rejoice. There the faithful would find true satisfaction just as an infant at a mother's breast. By this figure Isaiah described the tranquillity (“peace like a river”) and nourishment (“the glory of the nations”) which the new Zion would enjoy in its infancy.
Jeremiah 31 - Peace and harmony would exist between farmers and nomads who frequently were at odds in the ancient world. The weary would find rest and the sorrowful, comfort (Excepts From “The Old Testament Survey Series: The Major Prophets,” Copyright © 1992 James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., Smith, James E., College Press Publishing Company).

Micah 4 - The hostility between nations would cease as a result of their common allegiance to Zion's King. Instruments of war-swords and spears-would be transformed into instruments of commerce-plowshares and pruning hooks. The prophecy envisions one greater than Solomon who would rule a peaceful kingdom where ancient hostilities would be erased. . . . Those weapons would no longer be needed because “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Micah was not speaking of political peace but of the spiritual peace within the kingdom of God's grace (4:3b).
Haggai 2 - Heavenly peace (2:9b). Yahweh promised: “and in this place will I give peace.” Messianic prophecy is full of promises of an ideal peace (e.g., Ezek 34:25; Mic 4:3f.; Zech 8:12). The history of the material temple is filled with strife.
Zechariah 9:10 - Messiah will “speak peace to the nations.” This statement makes clear what was implied in the combination of the terms “Ephraim” and “Jerusalem.” Messiah's kingdom would not be limited to the Jews and to the Promised Land. It would extend to the nations as well. The advancement of this kingdom would be through the proclamation of peace by the ambassadors of the king- peace with God, peace within, peace with one's fellow man. The gospel of Jesus announces this peace and sets forth the terms upon which it may be obtained and enjoyed (NK "steplinkto4 38 9:10" 9:10a) (Excerpts From “The Old Testament Survey Series: The Minor Prophets,” Copyright © 1992 James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., Smith, James E., College Press Publishing Company).

Romans 5:1, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NAS).

Colossians 1:20, “and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (NAS).

Having seen that Christ's kingdom is a peaceable kingdom, and also having ourselves received the peaceable reconciliation with God the Father through Jesus Christ, we then should see the result in our lives of being those who seek reconciliation over division, peace over turmoil, and humility over pride that says “I must win at all cost!” We received a peaceful settlement when we were in a hopeless condition with no ability to offer anything to the one whom we had transgressed . . . . . . . Should we not also seek to manifest that same attitude toward those with whom we share this world?

The scriptures have much to say about being “peacemakers.” Jesus mentions “peacemaking” several times in His Sermon. Let's read just a few of the other references that encourage God's people to be “peacemakers.”

Deuteronomy 20:10, “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace” (NAS).
Proverbs 12:20, “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy” (NAS).
Proverbs 17:9, “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends” (NAS).
Psalms 34:12-14, “Who is the man who desires life, and loves length of days that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (NAS).
Proverbs 14:30, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones” (NAS).
Proverbs 15:1-2, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly” (NAS).
Proverbs 16:7-8, “When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice” (NAS). [Yahweh provides deliverance (16:7-8). “When a person's ways please Yahweh, even his enemies shall make peace with him.” A person in the right relationship with the Lord, lives a life that is winsome and attractive. The blessings which God showers on the faithful attract the worldly (16:7; Gen 26:27f.).] (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Copyright © 1996 by James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., Smith, James E., College Press Publishing Company).
Proverbs 29:8-9, “Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger. 9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest” (NAS).
Ecclesiastes 3:8, “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (NAS).
Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (NAS).
Hebrews 12:11, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (NAS).
James 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (NAS).
Ephesians 6:15, “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (NAS). [The Roman soldier wore a low half-boot with a strong sole and open leather work above. It was studded with sharp nails to ensure a firm grip. His footwear was also designed for mobility, and Roman armies were renowned for their ability to march great distances in a short time. The “gospel of peace” is the footwear for the Christian soldier. While the firm foundation of the gospel is implied here, Paul's expression “fitted with the readiness” puts most of the emphasis on the preparedness or preparation of the soldier. Without the sandal/boots he is relaxing; with them he is ready for combat. Paul's irony should not be overlooked: the gospel of peace makes us ready for war.] (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

“There are three ways in which Christians need to strive be "peacemakers": 1) We need to help bring man into peace with man, 2) We need to help bring man into peace with God, 3) We need to help bring brethren into peace with brethren.” (Blessed Are The Peacemakers, By Tom Moore, http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_peacemakers.html).

HOW does one go about making peace? 1. He must first be a man in whom bitterness and strife cannot dwell and, in consequence of his character, a man whom men can trust to be fair. (Lk. 6:35; II Tim. 2:24-26; Jas. 3:13-17) 2. Then he can bridge the distance between the antagonists. (Mt. 18: 15-35; Phil. 4:2, 3; Philemon; Eph. 2:11-18) 3. He can heal the break by rebuilding the human concern for one another. (Cf. Ac. 7:26; Ro. 15:25-31; II Cor. 9: 12-14) 4. He must be thoroughly impartial: perfectly just in seeking and removing the cause of estrangement `but thorough]; merciful with the persons involved. (Gal. 2:11f; II Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:1-10) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

The peacemakers (v. 9) show others how to have inward peace with God and how to be instruments of peace in the world. They desire and possess God's righteousness even though it brings them persecution (v. 10) (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, Copyright 1983, SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved, Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., PO Box 100, Hiawatha, Iowa. All rights reserved.).
Happiness can be found where there is conflict. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” You should notice that it does not say, “Blessed are the peace-lovers.” If we dare to make peace, then we will be given the greatest compliment a person may know on earth. We will be called “sons of God” (Sermon Outlines for Seekers, Original work copyright © 1996 The Standard Publishing Company. All rights reserved).

For they shall be called sons of God. Just as God got involved in the sin, pain, misery and strife of this wicked race, even so those who lay down their lives to make peace wherever their influence extends, will be recognized by the “very spirit and image of their Father” which they bear. So regardless of all their pretenses to orthodoxy warring factionists, by the very nature of the case, disprove their claim to be “sons of God,” . . . .if Jesus meant “sons of God' in the sense that is developed in the New Testament, He is describing one of the essential characteristics of such a “son,” without which none can claim to be one of God's children. (Other passages illustrating this concept: Ro. 8:14-21; II Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 4:5-7; Eph. 1:5; 5:1, 8; Heb. 2:10; 12:5 -8; I Jn. 3:10; 5:1,2)” (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

Rom 8:15-17, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (NAS).

In the process of becoming His children, we are “adopted” as His sons, His Spirit being witness to the fact. God adopts us as His own when we accept His offer of reconciliation "in Christ" through obedient faith and immersion (Acts 2:38; Eph. 1:13; Titus 3:3-5; Gal. 3:27f). And as His sons our greatest desire is be LIKE HIM!


Discussion Questions

1) In order for one to truly be a "peacemaker", what must first occur in his or her life?

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Of course this could only describe the people of God. After all, if there were any people on earth who should be characteristically peaceable, certainly it would be those who seek to be godly. But from where does this attribute come? Is it natural to be peaceable in nature? It seems not. The evidence that we have before us from historical events and present activities upon this earth show otherwise. So what changes the heart of a person and makes him or her a “peacemaker?” And how does this take place in the heart, mind and soul of a human being?

As Christians we are familiar with the act of “conversion.” We have each experienced it. And that is exactly what must take place in the heart of man for him to become a "peacemaker" from his heart. There must be a change of heart, a “change of mind.”

“Paul said the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The word for power is the same word from which we get our word dynamite. The only power that can blast sin is the dynamite power of the gospel. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus has won the real Peace Prize” (“The Beatitudes,” Ed Bousman, Sermon of the Week, April 1999).

"Be anxious for nothing." Medical experts tell us that stress produced by anxiety is one of the greatest mental health problems in our nation. People worry about losing their jobs, their investments, and their health. These are all legitimate concerns, but there is a difference between concern that produces the proper preparation and provision on the one hand, and anxiety or worry on the other. It often may be a fine line, but Christians need to stay on the side of not being anxious (“Paul's Prescription for Peace,” from The Interactive Website, By Wayne S. Walker, From Expository Files 8.7; July 2001, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-philippians-4-4-7.htm).

2) How does this take place? What “power” is involved in this transformation and reconciliation process? Read Romans 1:16 and Eph. 2:13-22.

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” NAS).

Eph. 2:13-22, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (NAS).

This Ephesian passage gives us a supreme example of “peacemaking.” Paul points out to the readers that although initially “far off” (Gentiles by birth), and therefore “enemies of God and His people, they have been “brought near by the blood of Christ.” He writes that, Christ “is our peace.”

The Gentiles had been excluded from Christ's Kingdom and His promises. They knew nothing of what the Messiah was to be or do. They were foreigners.

“The promises were for the Jews, not for the “foreigners.” In classical times the word for “foreigners” meant “alien to the people and the land, and hence unsuitable and even hostile” (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV),

But God changed all of this through the Gospel. As verse 13 begins, “But now . . . .” Now these Gentiles are "in Christ." They have been “brought near through the blood of Christ.” It is through the power of the Gospel that they have been saved, just as those who were initially to receive the promises (Jews by birth) were saved, through the cleansing blood of the Savior.

In bringing about the reconciliation of Gentile to God and Jew to God, man was also brought to peace and reconciliation with his fellow man. For when one becomes God's possession, he must also make peace with all others, as much as it is possible for him to do so "in Christ" (Rom. 12:18).  Jesus Christ destroys the barriers that men erect and allows them to live in peace with one another. In fact, this was His very purpose, that we might unite through the cross in His name and bring honor and glory to Him. He has put to death the enmity (hostility) that divides men and brought them together in His body the church.

“The attitude in men which must change is an attitude of defiance and hostility toward God (see Col. 1:20-22). It is at the cross that Jesus “draws all men” to himself (John 12:32) and wins back their runaway hearts. As their hostility toward God is put to death, so is their hostility toward one another” (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

As one becomes a peacemaker between man and God, he is more and more overwhelmed as God uses him in such a magnificent way. He is once again in the midst of a poverty-struck spirit.
As he becomes impressed with God's grace in working through him, he is even more convicted of how unworthy he is and of how many things God must still transform within him.
As he is more convicted and realizes that God is the only one who can perfect him, he surrenders even more.
He desires God to work more fully in him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.
As he is filled more fully with God's righteousness, he is convicted of His mercy shown to him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.
His mind is set more and more on things above and his heart and life is made purer as he surrenders to God.
Because he is surrendering, he is at peace with God. And as a result, he desires peace between God and all of those whom he loves (“Evangelism 101”, from “The Interactive Bible” website, by Brent Hunter, http://www.bible.ca/evangelism/e-brent-hunters-evangelism-101.htm).

             Only the power of God through Jesus Christ can reconcile us to Him and to one another!

3) What did the Old Testament prophets have to say about the nature of the “coming” church according to this article?

THE PROPHETS
Isaiah 9:7 - The government of this ruler would be ever expanding. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, however, his kingdom would expand by peaceful means.
Isaiah 11 - Isaiah indicated that the government of this Ruler would be peaceful. Former enemies would coexist harmoniously. Vicious beasts would be docile. Paradise-like conditions would exist in all God's “holy mountain” (Zion, God's kingdom). This tranquil state would be the result of the dissemination of the knowledge of Yahweh throughout the earth (11:6-9).
Isaiah 57:18-21 - Though God knows the ways of his people, yet he would heal, i.e., forgive and restore them. He would comfort them and lead them as well. On their part, the redeemed of the Lord would respond to God's grace by praising him. They would come to recognize that the peace of God is available to all near and far, i.e., to Jew and Gentile alike.
Isaiah 65 - Messianic Zion would be a safe place. Former enemies would peacefully coexist. Isaiah emphasized this in the picture of meat-eating predators grazing peacefully with domesticated animals.
Isaiah 66 - Such wonderful things were in store for Zion that all who loved her could rejoice. There the faithful would find true satisfaction just as an infant at a mother's breast. By this figure Isaiah described the tranquillity (“peace like a river”) and nourishment (“the glory of the nations”) which the new Zion would enjoy in its infancy.
Jeremiah 31 - Peace and harmony would exist between farmers and nomads who frequently were at odds in the ancient world. The weary would find rest and the sorrowful, comfort.
Micah 4 - The hostility between nations would cease as a result of their common allegiance to Zion's King. Instruments of war-swords and spears-would be transformed into instruments of commerce-plowshares and pruning hooks. The prophecy envisions one greater than Solomon who would rule a peaceful kingdom where ancient hostilities would be erased. . . . Those weapons would no longer be needed because “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Micah was not speaking of political peace but of the spiritual peace within the kingdom of God's grace (4:3b).
Haggai 2 - Heavenly peace (2:9b). Yahweh promised: “and in this place will I give peace.” Messianic prophecy is full of promises of an ideal peace (e.g., Ezek 34:25; " Mic 4:3f.; Zech 8:12). The history of the material temple is filled with strife.
Zechariah 9:10 - Messiah will “speak peace to the nations.” This statement makes clear what was implied in the combination of the terms “Ephraim” and “Jerusalem.” Messiah's kingdom would not be limited to the Jews and to the Promised Land. It would extend to the nations as well. The advancement of this kingdom would be through the proclamation of peace by the ambassadors of the king- peace with God, peace within, peace with one's fellow man. The gospel of Jesus announces this peace and sets forth the terms upon which it may be obtained and enjoyed (9:10a) (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Major Prophets, Copyright © 1992 James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., Smith, James E., College Press Publishing Company).

They foretold the peaceful nature of the kingdom. This is not a worldly prophecy, but a prophecy of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be peaceful, peaceable and peacemakers. We should be able to coexist with all who would allow us to live in obedience to God and His church. Unfortunately, that cannot be when people are murdered without an opportunity to hear the Gospel. When these kinds of things occur, justice must reign and often tranquility in the world does not continue to exist (as we see in Iraq).

4) Please take time to read the scriptures given that encourage us to be “peacemakers.” Who were some “peacemakers” in Bible times?

Isaac, Jacob, Abraham . . . . .

Bath-sheba … bare a son, and he called his name Solomon-that is, “peaceable.” But Nathan gave him the name of Jedediah, by command of God, or perhaps only as an expression of God's love. This love and the noble gifts with which he was endowed, considering the criminality of the marriage from which he sprang, is a remarkable instance of divine goodness and grace (JAMIESON-FAUSSETT-BROWN COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE By Robert Jamieson, A. R. Faussett David Brown, Electronic Edition step Files Copyright 2003, Quickverse).
All the kings in this region rendered tribute to Solomon. In spite of the large extent of his kingdom, peace prevailed (4:21, RLINK "steplinkto4 11 4:24" 24). . . . The peace was maintained by means of a huge cavalry and chariot force (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Books of History, Copyright © 1995, James E. Smith Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., Smith, James E., College Press Publishing Company).

See above.
Isa 57:18-21, “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, 19 Creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. 21 “There is no peace," says my God, “for the wicked” (NAS).

5) The “peacemakers” will be called the sons of God. There are four other passages where the same Greek word for “peace” is found. Let's take a moment to look at these.

Mark 9:50, “Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” (NAS).

2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (NAS).

1 Thessalonians 5:13, “and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another” (NAS).

Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (NAS).

“Be at peace” (2) with one another, “live in peace” (2). We are told in these four passages to live peaceable with one another. We are to be peacemakers.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. See Matt 5:9; RLINK "http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Heb+12%3A14" Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 3:11. As in v. 17, the admonition is about our relationships not just with other Christians but with everyone in general. As Murray sums it up, “Peaceableness in disposition and behaviour is a virtue to be cultivated in our relations with all men” (2:139). I.e., our goal should be to live in such a way that we would never antagonize anyone or give anyone an occasion for doing evil against us. We should never take the initiative in disturbing the peace (Morris, 452). In fact, we should go out of our way, doing all that is possible, to establish and maintain peaceable relations with others (see Matt 5:23-24). As Jesus says, we should make peace happen (Matt 5:9).
If it depended only on us, we could, through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, be at peace with all men. But it does not depend just on us. Unfortunately, even after we have done everything in our power to live peaceably with others, sometimes they themselves simply will not allow it. Despite our best efforts they continue to perpetuate a spirit of hostility from their side.
In fact, if we live consistent, faithful lives, and if we take a firm stand for the truth of God's Word and for the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only Savior, we can expect to arouse enmity and be openly opposed and hated by those who hate Jesus (Matt 10:22, 34-36; John 16:33). The only way to avoid all such enmity is to compromise our commitment to Jesus, and this we cannot do. I.e., living at peace with others is not the highest virtue. Like Melchizedek, God is first King of righteousness, then King of peace (Heb 7:2). God's wisdom is first pure, then peaceable (Jas 3:17). Peace is nothing without holiness (Heb 12:14). See Murray 2:139-140 (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).


6) Having read the scriptures in the preceding questions, how do we make personal application in being “peacemakers”? Ephesians 6:15

Ephesians 6:15, “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (NAS).

The Roman soldier wore a low half-boot with a strong sole and open leather work above. It was studded with sharp nails to ensure a firm grip. His footwear was also designed for mobility, and Roman armies were renowned for their ability to march great distances in a short time. The “gospel of peace” is the footwear for the Christian soldier. While the firm foundation of the gospel is implied here, Paul's expression “fitted with the readiness” puts most of the emphasis on the preparedness or preparation of the soldier. Without the sandal/boots he is relaxing; with them he is ready for combat. Paul's irony should not be overlooked: the gospel of peace makes us ready for war (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

Feet fitted with the Gospel of peace. More than once in this letter Paul has stressed how the Gospel brings peace, reconciling us to God and making us one. In Ephesians, peace is the bond that holds the unity created by the Spirit. When unity is maintained, Christ's church is enabled to move in full responsiveness to its Head (The Victor Bible Background Commentary, New Testament, ©1994 by Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America, Richards, Lawrence O., Victor Books).

Hebrews 12:11, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (NAS).

“There are three ways in which Christians need to strive be "peacemakers": 1) We need to help bring man into peace with man, 2) We need to help bring man into peace with God, 3) We need to help bring brethren into peace with brethren.” (Blessed Are The Peacemakers, By Tom Moore, http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_peacemakers.html).

If we haven't achieved peace with our fellow man, we will not be able to accomplish #2 or #3. We must first have an audience.

HOW does one go about making peace? 1. He must first be a man in whom bitterness and strife cannot dwell and, in consequence of his character, a man whom men can trust to be fair. (Lk. 6:35; II Tim. 2:24-26; Jas. 3:13-17) 2. Then he can bridge the distance between the antagonists. (Mt. 18: 15-35; Phil. 4:2, 3; Philemon; Eph. 2:11-18) 3. He can heal the break by rebuilding the human concern for one another. (Cf. Ac. 7:26; Ro. 15:25-31; II Cor. 9: 12-14) 4. He must be thoroughly impartial: perfectly just in seeking and removing the cause of estrangement `but thorough]; merciful with the persons involved. (Gal. 2:1 If; II Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:1-10) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

Our character will help us to accomplish the first stages of being peacemakers. We must be known as calm, gentle and reasonable people. Then and only then can we reach others with the message of reconciliation. This message must be:
To those with whom we desire peace and reconciliation.
To those who need to be reconciled to and have peace with God.
To those who need to have peace with their fellow man.
To brethren that must be reconciled to their fellow saints.

The word peacemaker is not a sissy word. Sometimes the policeman who shoots a bank robber is the best example of a peacemaker. The serviceman who holds a gun in his had may be a peacemaker in some far away place (“The Beatitudes,” Ed Bousman, Sermon of the Week, April 1999).

Before World War Two, I used to think what a terrible thing that man did who invented dynamite. To invent such a power to be used in war to blow up people. Later I learned that the man who invented dynamite thought the same  thing. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. As he thought of the horror of war, he decided to make what amends he could by leaving all the interest of his money to various worthy endeavors. One prize is the Nobel Peace prize (“The Beatitudes,” Ed Bousman, Sermon of the Week, April 1999).

Blessed are the peacemakers. To those arrogant Jews who expected God's Messiah to wage war, leaving all Gentile nations groveling subjects of Israel, this beatitude must have come as a shock. Those who secretly nourished the hope that Jesus would help them realize all their fiercely nationalistic ambitions against the world must have felt keenly disappointed. (Note Jn. 6:14, 15) Jesus clearly announces a spiritual kinship to God which is not a question of nationality, social standards, economic position or bloodline descent. It is a matter of spiritual likeness to God. (Ro. 8: 14; 15: 33; Mt. 5:44, 45) God's sons are not the warlike, yearning to assert their political supremacy over the rest of the world, but those who labor to create peace. Observe that Jesus said “peacemakers,” not “peace lovers.” He wants His disciples to be active promoters of peace, not merely peaceable men. The peacemaker does not fold his hands, but he rolls up his sleeves. (Heb. 12: 14) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

But Jesus' peace corps volunteers are those who share His worldview and seek the peace on His terms. This means fighting with spiritual weapons against SIN ( Jas. 4:1-5 ), the real cause of strife, bitterness, hate and war. (Eph. 6: 10-18; II Cor. 10:2-5) It means waging war not upon mere ignorance but rather ignorance of God (Hos. 4:1, 2, 6), not upon mere poverty of purse but poverty of soul. It means not merely to seek to bring about an absence of hostilities, but to teach men to love one another. It cannot mean anesthetizing men into tranquil self-satisfaction in sin; it must mean bringing rebels to their knees before God, seeking to be reconciled to Him on His terms. In His peacemaking mission, Jesus lost His life (Eph. 2: 14-17) and, in the strife against sin, His disciple may not expect to fare any better (Heb. 12:2-4; Mt. 10: 34ff). Obviously, the Christian cannot make his peace with the world without risking his peace with God (Jas. 4:4), so he must nor seek a peace at any price. Rather, he must sow for a harvest of righteousness. (Jas. 3: 18) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

Consider what James wrote in his epistle, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:13-18) (“Peace Amongst Brethren,” from The Interactive Website, By Jonathan L. Perz, From Expository Files 6.2; February 1999, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-james-3-13-18.htm).

When it is all said and done, James expresses the reward of true peace amongst brethren when he says, "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." Easier said than done? Perhaps! Is it worth cultivating the attitudes that bring about these fruits? If you have ever been part of a church in turmoil, I sincerely believe you will whole-heartedly agree! (“Peace Amongst Brethren,” from The Interactive Website, By Jonathan L. Perz, From Expository Files 6.2; February 1999, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-james-3-13-18.htm).

Jesus does not hereby justify mere pacificism, for this usually means opposition to war or to the use of military force for any purpose, or that attitude of mind which opposes all war and advocates settlement of every international dispute entirely by arbitration. He is, first of all, discussing His ideal disciple, not establishing rules for international control of nations or power-groups who do not acknowledge His authority. For Jesus' disciple to refuse to take part in an aggressive war is in perfect accord with Jesus spirit here expressed. But Satan still commands enough powerful forces in the world to threaten world domination at the expense of the rest of humanity. For the Christian to adopt a policy of opposition to war with those tyrants who would suppress all opinions bur their own, is to betray the rest of humanity into their hands. Paul, on the other hand, defends the right of governments to use force to maintain a just order; this he does on the basis of the declaration that God Himself has given that right (Ro. 13:1-7). Not one centurion was instructed to forsake the army to demonstrate the reality of his faith in Jesus or the genuineness of his repentance (Mt. 8: 5-13; Ac. 10, 11); likewise for the common soldiers (Lk. 3: 14), Even the attempt to arbitrate every international dispute by use of the conference table often fails, because of the unchangeable desire of one power to rule the world. The difficulty with idealistic pacificism is that it naively assumes that all men are inspired by the same high ideals. Is it loving one's neighbor to stand idly by doing nothing while another hacks him to pieces? (See notes on 5: 38-48) Peacemaking, considered on the state or international level, is basically beyond the scope of this attitude for two reasons: first, true peace on earth is impossible where sin reigns; second, the only effective means of removing sin is by conversion through the gospel of Jesus, and this can be applied only at the level of the individual. If the morality of Jesus, which He aimed at the individual, be applied on the level of unconverted society, the result will be disastrous: the structure of society will be destroyed by the unconverted who take advantage of the non-resistance offered by the rest of society, and the ethic of Jesus (thus wrongly understood and applied) will be either reduced to an ineffective whisper, or else laughed off the human stage as completely unworthy of further consideration (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

7) What does it mean to be called “sons of God”?

For they shall be called sons of God. Just as God got involved in the sin, pain, misery and strife of this wicked race, even so those who lay down their lives to make peace wherever their influence extends, will be recognized by the “very spirit and image of their Father” which they bear. So regardless of all their pretenses to orthodoxy warring factionists, by the very nature of the case, disprove their claim to be “sons of God,” . . . .if Jesus meant “sons of God' in the sense that is developed in the New Testament, He is describing one of the essential characteristics of such a “son,” without which none can claim to be one of God's children. (Other passages illustrating this concept: Ro. 8:14-21; II Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 4:5-7; Eph. 1:5; 5:1, 8; Heb. 2:10; 12:5 -8; I Jn. 3:10; 5:1,2)” (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

Rom 8:15-17, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him” (NAS).

In the process of becoming His children, we are “adopted” as His sons, His Spirit being witness to the fact. God adopts us as His own when we accept His offer of reconciliation "in Christ" through obedient faith and immersion (Acts 2:38; Eph. 1:13; Titus 3:3-5; Gal. 3:27f). And as His sons our greatest desire is be LIKE HIM!

The last beatitude of comparison is “Oh, the blessedness of the peacemakers, because they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). The Messiah for whom the religious leaders of Christ's day were looking was a warrior who would destroy the enemies of Israel. Jesus, who is called the firstborn among the sons of God (Colossians 1:15-18), proclaims that God's sons are peacemakers. They do not divide and conquer; they restore human relationships. People are called sons of God who act like him. Following the actions of the Prince of Peace, they are themselves peacemakers (“The Beatitudes: Picturing Life in God's Kingdom,” Charlie Starr, The Lookout, August 1, 2004).

A Concluding Thought:
We have discussed in these three weeks of our lesson on “peacemakers,” that it takes a “change of heart,” a “conversion” to make a “peacemaker” such as Jesus is describing here in verse 9. We have also talked about the power that is involved in “peacemaking.” It was the Gospel of Christ that reconciled us to God and brought us to peace with Him, and it will be the power of the Gospel that will bring true peace to any man's heart. Jesus Christ came as the divine “peacemaker!” He made peace between man and God and brought hostile nations together at His feet.

We have also looked at some of what the Old Testament prophets had to say about the peaceful nature of the church as they foretold its coming. We mentioned some peacemakers in Scripture and read some Old Testament and New Testament Scripture that encourages us to be peacemakers as we serve our Lord. We looked at the other four usages of the word for peace used here in Matthew 5:9. Each time the word was used in encouraging us as Christians to be at peace with one another.

And we spoke of the applications involved as “peacemakers.” This involves taking the “Gospel of Peace” that rules our hearts (Colossians 3:15) to others who do not have this peace, maintaining our peace with the Father, maintaining peace with others as far as it is possible, helping others to be at peace with God, and helping men to reach an attitude of reconciliation with one another!

And finally, we spoke about how there are times when peace comes at a price. Jesus said He came not to bring “peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Peace may be achieved because of the threat of punishment or because of the punishment of an evildoer. Being a peacemaker is not a call to pacificism, but a call to seek eternal peace for any who are void of that tranquility of heart.

This morning we mentioned how this attitude is contrary to the attitude that prevailed among those that looked for an earthly kingdom and earthly ruler in the Messiah. We also spoke about being “sons of God.” The “sons of God” are those whom Jesus is describing! It is those who are “like the Father” that are His sons!  


What did Jesus mean by: I came not to send peace, but a sword (ouk e¯lthon balein eire¯ne¯n, alla machairan). A bold and dramatic climax. The aorist infinitive means a sudden hurling of the sword where peace was expected. Christ does bring peace, not as the world gives, but it is not the force of compromise with evil, but of conquest over wrong, over Satan, the triumph of the cross. Meanwhile there will be inevitably division in families, in communities, in states. It is no namby-pamby sentimentalism that Christ preaches, no peace at any price. The Cross is Christ's answer to the devil's offer of compromise in world dominion. For Christ the kingdom of God is virile righteousness, not mere emotionalism (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 4: Epistles of Paul, Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., Robertson, Archibald Thomas, Parsons Technology, Inc.).

           WHAT JESUS SAYS IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
5:21-22. Jesus first cites the prohibition of murder from the sixth commandment of the decalogue (Exod 20:13), along with an allusion to the legal proceedings leading to punishment for its violation (see f=Ex+21%3A12" Exod 21:12; Num 35:12; Deut 17:8-13). Although the letter of the Law may appear clear, Jesus extends the grounds for “judgment” to include “anger” and demeaning and insulting language directed at one's brother (Raca =”empty-headed,” “good for nothing,” and the synonymous term “fool”). While the prohibition Do not murder may have originally been concerned to regulate acts of violence within the covenant community of Israel, the intent underlying the command was to cultivate a deepened sense of the worth and sanctity of human life and the preservation of community. Jesus' words, in fact, address fundamental attitudes and practices that reflect the devaluing of others which is the source and root of a wanton disregard for human life. Whereas the Law prohibited “murder” Jesus envisions a scenario where the factors that lead to hostility and broken relationships are no longer present (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

5:23-24. Jesus draws out the practical implications of his teachings with two illustrations designed to impress the hearer (and reader!) with the importance of pursuing the restoration of broken relationships (5:23-26). First, cultic piety in the form of offering your gift at the altar is to be interrupted in the pursuit of seeking reconciliation with a brother who has something against you. Observe that Jesus expects the offender to pursue the offended in an effort to restore relationships. In the kingdom one's relationship to God is intimately related and practically exhibited by the willingness to take the initiative to be reconciled with an offended brother or sister (cf. 18:15-18). Jesus' form of righteousness places a high priority on restoring broken relationships (cf. 5:9) (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

5:25-26. The second illustration depicts a legal scene where broken relationships result in a judicial proceeding leading to the possibility of imprisonment. Jesus' point seems to be that the only way to avoid the escalation of legal action (way, judge, officer, prison) is to seek reconciliation early in the process. In the face of grievous consequences, Jesus enjoins his followers with a sense of urgency in seeking reconciliation (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

Love Your Enemies (5:43-48) “You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemiesb and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. a43 Lev. 19:18 b44 Some late manuscripts enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you

ww.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Mt+5%3A45-47" 5:45-47. For the first time Jesus' ethical instructions are supported by explicit statements setting forth a basis and goal for his demand. Jesus' command for unrestricted love is grounded in one's relationship to the Father, which necessarily demands a love surpassing conventional standards or expectations. The Father's indiscriminate love and goodness results in natural blessings being poured out upon all alike. God's children will emulate his benevolent compassion by exhibiting the same unrestricted love for all humanity. Such love is not conditioned upon reciprocity. As Jesus illustrates: to love in response to love is natural; to be favorably disposed to those whom we like is a common everyday occurrence. Even those considered outsiders and undesirables respond favorably when it is reciprocated. Jesus calls his followers to an uncommon love grounded in the very character of God. It is this distinctive feature that separates Jesus' form of righteousness from that of the Pharisees (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

5:48. The “righteousness” Jesus demands is not to be confused with mere external conformity to the letter of the Law. Such godly behavior cannot be comprehensively legislated by a legal code. The “righteousness” that goes beyond the scribes and Pharisees finds its “completeness” or “wholeness” (teleivo", teleios) in conformity to the character of God. The realization of the qualities discussed in 5:21-47 came only by the creation of a new heart (cf. Ezek 36:26; /www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Jer+31%3A33" Jer 31:33) and a new starting point for human relationships. As Israel was set apart and challenged with the words, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (+18%3A13" Deut 18:13; Lev 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26), so the new people of God are called to a life wholly consumed by and integrated with the character of the God who calls them into the kingdom (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

Other scriptures and Comments:

Ephesians Be completely humble and gentle; he patient, bearing with one another (4:2). Paul now introduces four graces which are essential elements in that “worthy” life which is appropriate to the Christian's life. These four are not exhaustive. Like the rest of this passage they target traits which are critical if the church is to experience love and oneness.
“Humble” is tapeinophrosyne. In Greek culture the root served as an expression of contempt applied to the social inferiors. In the NT the term is positive, representing a person's proper estimate of himself in relation to God and to others. The humble person sees others as persons of great value because they are loved by God, and finds satisfaction in serving them.
“Gentle” is prautes, which might be rendered as considerateness. Words constructed on this root suggest a mild, soothing quality. Rather than generate strife, a gentle person tends to generate a peaceful and harmonious climate around him or her.
“Patient” is makrothymia, a capacity for self-control that enables an individual to keep on loving and forgiving despite provocation.
“Bearing with” is anechomenoi, which might be rendered “put up with” until a provocation is past.
In essence Paul has given us a clear explanation of the love he calls church members to exhibit. If we live with each other in these ways, we will learn what love is, and experience the love that Christ has for each one of us (The Victor Bible Background Commentary, New Testament, ©1994 by Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America, Richards, Lawrence O., Victor Books).

Colossians Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace (" 3:15). The word is brabeuo, used only here in the NT. In earlier Greek it had a sporting connotation and meant “to umpire.” It is possible that by the first century the word simply meant to decide or rule (The Victor Bible Background Commentary, New Testament, ©1994 by Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America, Richards, Lawrence O., Victor Books).

Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (NAS).

Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NAS)


Beatitudes Lesson One   |   Beatitudes Lesson Two   |   Beatitudes Lesson Three   |   Beatitudes Lesson Four   |   Beatitudes Lesson Five   |   Beatitudes Lesson Six   |   Beatitudes Lesson Seven   |   Beatitudes Lesson Eight   |   Beatitudes Lesson Nine   |   Beatitudes Lesson Ten



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