THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-5-05
LESSON TITLE: "THE CHRISTIAN BEATITUDES: BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS"
Just why have we gathered this morning to serve God, on this His Day? Well, Paul gives us some good reasons - He stated, "...the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." Yes our God is wise, strong and great. May we all love and praise such a mighty God!
We are glad that it is before this Lord that you have assembled on this Lord's day. What a privilege and opportunity this is for those of us who love God and desire to serve Him according to His Will. I hope and pray that we will each do our best to participate in this worship to God and to offer those sacrifices which are acceptable in His sight.
So, as we begin our reverence to God the Creator of all, won't you bow with me before His throne at this time.
Well, its time to begin our first song of the day. So, won't you do your part in praising God at this time, as we sing together, "In Vain In High And Holy Lays!"
(SONG # 1)
Today we began with a verse which said that God's foolishness and weakness still far surpasses the greatest wisdom and strength of man. Why is this so, because our God is great, mighty and all powerful! With this in mind, we want to consider the context around which Paul made these statements.
Read with me from 1 Corinthians 1:21, the Bible says, "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." You see, man has always tried to out think or out guess God. We often feel that we know best or we know how God ought to lead things. However, what we learn here is that God's wisdom is far greater than any man. Why, because God is all-knowing and He can see that whole picture at once. He does not look like a man at the here and now only, God considers the here and now - as well as the outcome which will result from a decision in the future.
So what did God do for man, Paul said He gave His own Son, Jesus Christ. But Why? This was according to His Wisdom. So that the Jew and Greek might be saved and obey His precious gospel. The reality is, when we hear the truth, believe it and act on that belief through obedience - oh how we then see the true love and wisdom of God.
What about you this day? Are you turning to the wisdom of man and this world to try and see if God will do things your way. Or have you turned yourself wholly and completely over as a servant of God. A follower of God! One who loves God enough to do it His Way, because you know that God alone truly is wise? Have you submitted to the wisdom of God?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our lesson, we are still engaged in our series which is dealing with the Christian Beatitudes! Our specific lesson of the day is, "Blessed Are The Peacemakers." So please stay with us for this study from God's Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let's join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Jesus Is All The World To Me."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
In Matthew chapter 5 and verse 9 we read of our next Beatitude, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be sons of God." Peace, perfect peace. What a beautiful topic this morning to consider the great, vast and wondrous peace of our God.
And to do so, we'll actually turn over first of all to the book of Philippians, Philippians chapter 4 and consider there what Paul had to say to the church at Philippi as he was inspired concerning peace through the Holy Spirit. Verse 6 begins like this, "Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus." The peace of God. Notice that the peace of God is brought out here and is mentioned as that which is a result of one who prays to God, one who talks to God and lives the life that God asks. But the peace of God is also referred in verse 7 as something which surpasses our ability to fully comprehend it or to even understand it because God has offered us complete peace through the Son. He has offered us complete solace and comfort and love, the great and wondrous peace of God. But not only that, but it mentions here that the great peace that surpasses all understanding will do what? It will actually do something further. It will guard our hearts. It will guard our minds.
We talked about last week the pure heart will see God. Well it is now peace then, the peacemaker, the concept that God has given through Him that we might imitate it. It is that peace that cares for that very heart and comforts it and protects it and guides it according to the Will of God.
It's not just that, but we actually can go back even in the Old Testament to the book of Isaiah and we find there that Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 9 and verse 6 reminding us about a great prophecy of one who would come in latter days. In verse 6, he says, "For unto us a child is born. Unto us a Son is given...." It is talking about Jesus Christ here. "...and the government will be upon His shoulders and His name will be called (notice) Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, (and hear it) Prince of Peace." Well if Jesus is the Prince of Peace, what does that make the Father? The King of Peace. It is that peace again that surpasses all understanding now that God now speaks to us in that first and greatest sermon concerning the Gospel that Jesus ever spoke when He said, "Blessed, happy are those who are peacemakers." Why? Because God Himself is a peacemaker. God desires peace, and that should be exactly what we strive for as His children.
The Bible is full of references about peace. We find there the concept of the Gospel of Peace and how the Gospel itself brings peace to the world. Why? Because again through the Son, we have not only the knowledge and the blessings of this life but of the idea of salvation in eternal life. Not only the gospel, but it talks of the Kingdom, the Kingdom of God being the Kingdom of Peace. There again, why? Because God is peace. His Gospel is peace. His Word is peace. Doesn't it just make sense that if God is peace and His Son is peace, then the institution that He set up, the church, is going to be based on peace and the Gospel that they present, the Word, as well is going to be found in what? In peace. You see, peace just is not a passing idea or something that is insignificant. Peace is of the utmost importance because it shows us truly what it is that we must do for God.
Now sometimes we know those in this world get confused because the Bible talks, in the book of Ephesians chapter 6 for instance, about soldiers of God taking up the armor. But what do we know about that warfare for Christ? It is a spiritual warfare. It is one that actually speaks of how that we now have a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, how that every item is really a spiritual item in that warfare as we equip ourselves to do what? Battle spiritually for God. And we know as well that it is not of the flesh because in Corinthians chapter 10, verses 3-4, we read there that "Our weapons are not of a carnal nature but of a spiritual nature." Not of a fleshly nature, but of a godly nature and of things that again are really concerning the righteousness of God in a spiritual sense. Because God is a spirit, we are to worship Him in spirit and in truth and therefore the activity that we have in a religious sense is spiritual, not a physical warfare, but a spiritual warfare. And so therefore, the peace that we bring is not always to be confrontational or to bring problems or even to bring heartache on those who know that they are in sin as we read earlier in the Beatitudes, blessed are those that what? Mourn. They will be comforted. But here peace is the outcome. Knowing God, knowing His Will, knowing the power of God, we can't help but find peace because what God does is He says, "Look, I've made you. I'm going to bless you. I'm going to care for you. I'm going to protect you. I'm going to guide you and in the end I'm going to give you eternal life." See, God offers peace. Peace, again, perfect peace.
So how great is the need for peace today? Look around the world. Look at war, conflict, destruction. Look at the murdering that takes place in our country everyday, the theft, the problem with different types of abuse. Again, we find that our world needs peace, and oh how man needs to turn to God, a God who can offer the only peace that is beyond understanding. We need peace so strongly that we learn it is among there those wondrous things that Paul spoke about, the wonderful joys and privileges that we have in God. But there as we look in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 19, there are so many evils and sins of the flesh. Then certainly we need peace, the comfort of God, those Christian attributes that certainly again make us like God or striving at least to be like God. Yes, we must strive to be peacemakers in a world that is very much lacking at times with peace. We must be peacemakers in the face of our neighbors and friends and co-workers who at times do everything but bring peace. We must always set the example. We must always go the extra mile and we must always show that we are interested in making the peace of God. Why? Because again, God is peace.
What is peacemaking all about? It's not just about maybe trying to get our way. It is not about stopping something for a few days or becoming so tired that we have to stop, so tired of arguing that finally there is peace. You know that's the idea we got. Well, finally somebody is going to give up and then there will be peace. That's not true peace. True peace, if we look at the concept, requires a change of mind. Yes, it's an end of conflict and strife, but it's because we have changed our minds, our hearts and the outlook. We have changed the principles and therefore we haven't just pulled the weeds out of the garden. We have replaced those weeds with good things, righteous things and wholesome things. You see, peace isn't about just getting our way or stopping conflict. It's about learning things anew and changing our mind so that we might have a better life, a better world and thus we are happy and not only are we happy, God is happy, but not only are we and God happy, but the world is happier. It's a happier place. Why? Because God's Will has been done. His peace again has found that it is able to overcome, to endure and even stop that which often brings us down in relationship to the things of this world. So yes, blessed are the peacemakers. Happy we are when we do what God has asked us to because then we are imitators of Him, then we have been found faithful in His service and then and only then can we know that the blessings of this life are ours and eternal life. The mansion has been prepared and awaiting us there at the end of our days.
I want you to notice with me once again back at the Beatitudes as we see there again, "Blessed are the peacemakers..." but we find the ending there in verse 9 as it goes on to say, "for they shall be called sons of God." Think about that for a moment. If I were to ask, "How many of us want to be sons of God?" Everybody's hand goes up. That's what it is all about. That's what being a Christian is all about, to be a child of God, and not just another child, but a child that is faithful, a child that is good. Many of you have grandchildren. Many of you have children that are grown and out of the house and many of us today that are still in our homes. Think for a moment about the children that you're really proud of, the ones that you really love even more it seems sometimes. Why? Because they have shown themselves worthy and good and righteous and they have learned the lessons that you taught them. Certainly we all know people or maybe have those in our family or even our own children or grandchildren that have left the right path. That doesn't mean we don't love them but it means certainly that they have chosen the wrong things. Now, as we look at our lesson here, as we see this concept, a son, a child, one that God truly loves is one who is striving to do His Will, one who is obedient, one who is certainly doing the things that are according to His law which is found in scripture. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be sons of God." As we all want to be the children of God, we certainly need to learn what being a child is all about.
There are two verses that I'd like to primarily look at in understanding this sonship, this heritage that we have in God.
First, if you'll turn with me in the book of Romans, in Romans chapter 8. Notice with me there in Romans chapter 8 that beginning in verse 16 Paul here speaking to the church at Rome helps us clearly to see that we as children of God share in some wondrous blessings. Read with me there in verse 16. The Bible says, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs of God and (notice) joint heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together." Notice as this text here is talking about the Sonship of God, one who now has left the flesh, the world and the evils of it and those who have now in verse 14 it says, "Led by the Spirit of God and become sons of God." Well here it says those who have become sons of God are, the verse we read, 16, children of God, and those who are children of God, hear it, are heirs of God. Isn't that exciting? To know that those who are the sons or the daughters of God, who are the children of God are heirs of God. What does that mean? What does an heir get? Everything. What does an heir get? That which is rightfully his as has been left by the Father, that which has out of love been given by one as an inheritance. Oh, God has loved us enough to give His Son as a part of that inheritance, enough to give His blessings as a part of that inheritance, enough to give His eternal life and offer of it as an eternal inheritance. OH, how much again God loves us, and oh how much we see it here because He has not only made us heirs, but I love how He goes on to say, "joint heirs." Joint heirs of what? Joint heirs of the things of Christ, with Christ. As Christ suffered, we suffer. As Christ was obedient, we are obedient. As Christ was humble, we are humble. As Christ lived righteously and preached the Word, we must live righteously." On and on and on we could go. We are heirs of God as sons of God and just as the very son of God, Jesus Christ, we are fellow heirs with Him as we live as He lived in accordance to the precious Will of God.
A final scripture I want to look at again that shows us this great love that we have as children of God is found over in the book John chapter 3. Notice here again, "What manner has the Father bestowed on us of love that we should be called (what?) the children of God. Therefore, the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God and it has not been revealed what we shall be but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be (what?) like Him for we shall see Him as He is." Now hear verse 3. "And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure." Just as He is pure. The one who has this hope in Him, purifies himself. As He is righteous, we are righteous. As He is humble, we are humble. As He served, we serve. You see again, it's about being like Him, being fellow heirs in the eyes of the Father and knowing that as fellow heirs that we are children of God. What manner of love could that be that He made us children by giving up one of His own children? He allowed His Son to die. He allowed Him to die on the cross the cruelest death so that you and I might also be His child. That was the price He was willing to pay. So do you see now how much Christ, how much the Father now did that we might have ultimately complete peace, that we might know and have the solace and the comfort and the direction and care in this life to say that "My God is with me, that He cares and that He's going to always be with me and make sure that I have all that I need in order that I might as well present as He presented a life of peace and wonder and amazement to this world. Why? So that they might know the Father of Peace, the Father of Peace, the King of Peace who sent the Prince of Peace, His Son, Jesus. Who then sent the princes of peace and the princesses of peace, you and I. Why? Because we are fellow heirs who again are striving to do exactly what it is that was requested by God the Father of the Son which is that which He requests of all who are obedient. So the thing that we must know and understand today as we consider the great wonders of the Christian Beatitude, the characteristic that we must take heart with and take hold of and put inside of our lives and as a part of our practice is peacemaking, that we get out there and we make sure that we strive to have peace, not at all costs, not at the cost of putting God aside or His Word aside, but that we have peace because when we preach peace then man knows where true solace is found in Jesus Christ and when He knows where it is found, guess what. He is going to be obedient and when he is obedient, he is going to also have the reward that we have, a place in heaven someday on high with our God for all eternity.
(SONG # 3 - "Take Time To Be Holy!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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What a great lesson we have learned this day about the peace found in our God. Furthermore, how wonderful it is to know that we are to be like God, peacemakers in this world. Are you a peacemaker in this life?