The salutation.

Good morning Beloved.  May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Pt.1:2) I pray that these Bible studies are filling you with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk worthy of God and please our Lord in every way, and bear an abundance of spiritual fruit. (Col.1:9-10) What a blessing to have a Bible.  What a blessing to have faith in the God of the Bible.

The scripture.

Let’s read Matthew 5:1-12. Verse nine is our text under consideration. This is the word of God.

Matthew 5:1. When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.  2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Prov.12:20, Rom.14:19, 12:18, Heb.12:14, James 3:17, Ps.37:11, 34:14, 37:37)

The prayer.

As always let’s go to God and ask the Holy Spirit’s blessing upon our worship in His word today. May He enable us to be peacemakers. Pray.

The definition.

This is our ninth study and the seventh beatitude.  Christ speaks about peacemakers and children of God.

First let me give us a brief definition of peace so we know what we are speaking about right from the outset.

Here is Webster’ dictionary (1991). Peace is a state of tranquility or quiet.  Freedom from disturbance.  A state of security, a state of order.  Freedom from oppressive thoughts and emotions.  A calm mind, a calm heart.  No hostilities, no wars, or fights.  Peace is calm in the place of anxiety.  Peace is love and tranquility in the place of fighting and hatred.

In Hebrew the word for peace is shalom, completeness, soundness, welfare, well-being, peace, friendship, prosperity, safety. (Gen.15:15)  In Greek peace is eirene (ei-ray-nay) peace, harmony, concord, agreement, mildness, and friendliness. (Lk.2:14)

The war.

Oh blessed peace!  What a wonderful subject today.  Especially because our country is so peace-less. We are a people seemingly at war with one another. We desperately need peace.

May I say that the history of the world from Genesis chapter three has not been man at peace, but rather man at war.  And the history of man has shown that all man-made attempts to bring world peace, or peace man to man, or peace of conscience have failed utterly.  Only Christ can bring this peace.  Only God in Christ can change man.

The children.

Jesus tells us that it is the peacemakers that are the children of God.  Let me just say a brief word on the children of God first before we address the peacemakers.  This is because there is some common confusion about this.

Non-salvific.

The Bible speaks about human beings as children of God in two ways. In a non-salvific way and in a salvific way.  In the non-saving way God is the Creator Father of all human beings.  All human beings regardless of their religion, in a non-saving way, are children of God.  This is what Paul says to the pagan philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens as he was preaching Christ to them. (Rom.1:18-32)

Acts 17:24.  The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;  25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;  26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,  27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

I will point out that God only speaks of even the unbelievers being children of God by creation in this non-saving way once in the entire Bible. At least that I can find.

Salvific.

The main way God speaks about our being His children is in a saving way.  We are His children by redemption in Christ Jesus His beloved Son.

Remember Christ addresses the Beatitudes to His disciples. Jesus is saying, this is what true Christians are like. Now in Christ we are meek and gentle. And we seek to make peace and not war.  And Christ goes on to describe all the various blessings He bestows on those in Him. In Him as evidenced by our fruits.

The Peace-Giver.

Perhaps this would be a good place to speak about the purchaser of our peace with God.  Thus, also the provider or the source of our peace with other men.

Before we were converted to Christ we were at war with God and He is opposed to us in our sin.  We were children of wrath, children of disobedience, and children of darkness.  (Eph.2:1-3, I Pt.4:1-4, Eph.5:6-10, I Cor.6:9-11) And the path of peace we did not know.  We had no real peace with God.  No real peace with men.  And no real peace in our own conscience.  Being in our sin is a peace-less estate.  Read Romans 3:10-18.

But God!  The Bible says God is a God of peace. (I Cor.14:33, Eph.6:15, I Thess.5:23)

Scripture calls Christ the prince of Peace. (Isa.9:6) Jesus is the True Melchizedek, the King of Salem, priest and king. (Gen.14:18, Ps.110:4, Heb.5:6-10, Heb.7:1-17) Christ rules over the New Jerusalem, His church, which is the eternal City of Peace.  (Ps.122:1-9, Mt.2:1-6, Rev.3:12, Rev.21:1-10)

His gospel is the good news of peace. (Lk.2:14) God in Christ makes peace with us by His blood.  So that we can be at peace with God.  And the Holy Spirit that gives us faith in Christ is called the Spirit of peace.  He brings life and peace. (Rom.8:6, Gal.5:22) 

Romans 5:1.  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 

Now in Christ, Jesus has made us lamblike, dovelike.  We are not what we used to be.  We are new creatures in Christ. I want you to think of that.  In Jesus, you are no longer a wolf or a dog or a lion or a snake.  You are a lamb of Christ.  Say this to yourself.  Believe it.  It is true.  Think of yourself what God says of you in His Son.  (2 Cor.5:14-21, I Cor.6:9-11) We are being shaped into His glorious and peace-loving and peacemaking image. (Rom.8:29)

The normalcy.

Now in Christ God has called us to a life of peace, peace with other men.  Remember these beatitudes reveal the moral character of the Believer in Jesus, the true Christian, the true disciple of Jesus.  Remember the word disciple means ‘learner of’.  We learn of Jesus and then we imitate what He says and what He does.  These traits are supposed to be normative for Christians.  

Colossians 3:15.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (I Cor.7:15)

Romans 12:14.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.  17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.  20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Heb.12:14)

The habitual practice of a Christian is to strive to be at peace with all men, insofar as we are able.  Christians are to be gentle and kind – like Christ.  Christians are to imitate Christ.

A quick note here.  Remember in the Beatitudes Jesus is describing the behavior of true disciples.  It would be a helpful exercise to test ourselves if we have these traits.  Are we loving people for Christ’s sake?  Do we bear fruits of the Holy Spirit? Christ says His true people will be known by their fruits. (Mt.7:13-29, 2 Cor.13:5-6, Gal.5:17-26)

To put it another way.  Those who are truly justified in Christ will be increasingly sanctified in Christ. (Heb.12:14) Only new creatures in Christ can do this.  The man or the woman still in their flesh, still in their sin, still (savingly) separate from Christ cannot be meek and make peace. (Rom.3:10-18)

Look how Jesus presents the Christian life.  No huge events or miracles or mountain top experiences.  Just live for His glory and love and obey Him and love people for His name sake!  How different the kingdom of Christ is from the kingdom of Man. (Mt.20:16-28)

The Exemplar.

Let’s look at Jesus who is our great example of this.  This is to inform and motivate us to peacemaking with other people.  (Eph.2:1-7) Christ teaches us to be peacemakers by precept.  And Christ taught us to be peacemakers by His practice, by His example.

We already spoke of it earlier, Christ made peace for us by dying on a Cross.  And think of the kind of people that He made peace for.  Vile enemies of the worst stripe.  When Christ was struck on the face, He gave the other cheek.  When He was cursed, He blessed. Jesus submitted His will to the will of the Father.  It was the Father’s will for Christ to make peace through suffering and death. (I Pt.3:8-9) Christ loved us unto death to make peace.

Think of this.  We ought to be holy because God is holy.  We ought to forgive our enemies because God forgives His enemies.  We ought to make peace with other men because God makes peace with other men.  Beloved we ought to imitate God.  We are after all His beloved children.

Ephesians 5:1.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Isa.2:4-5, Mic.4:3, Joel 3:10, Ecc.3:8)

And if we call Jesus our Lord and Savior, we ought to obey Him.

Luke 6:27.  But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  29 “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.  30 “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.  31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

The people.

As lovers of Christ we are trying to live at peace with all people.  No distinctions.  Remember, be on you guard against a Pharisee-spirit, trying to find loopholes or exceptions to duty.  Jesus told a man, love your neighbor.  And the fellow said, so who is my neighbor.  And then Jesus told the account of the good Samaritan.  Everyone is our neighbor.  Try to be peaceable with everyone.  (Lk.10:25-37)

But there are occasions where we are for peace, but they are for war as David says. (Ps.120:7) Here let us love them, pray for them, and wait for God to change their heart.  If someone will not be reconciled to us, so be it.  But let us labor to overcome their evil with our good. (Rom.12:14-21)

Also, we cannot make peace at all costs.  We cannot make peace with other men at the expense of divine truth.  We can’t deny God, deny Christ, deny the Law, deny the gospel to make peace with unbelievers, or even with professing Christians.  This is an unlawful and false peace. (Heb.12:14, Eph.4:15, Isa.57:19, Jer.6:14, 8:11)  

Peace with Christians.

The people we especially should be peaceable towards are other Christians.  Christ say that we are salt and light and that we are to have salt in ourselves and that we are then to be at peace with one another. (Mk.9:50)

We know Jesus says the mark of being a true Christian is that we love the brethren.  How can we truly love other Believers if we do not try to live at peace with them? (Jn.13:35)

It is good and pleasant when brothers live together in unity and harmony. (Ps.134)  We are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, as fellow believers, members of the same family, members of the same body, fellow partakers of the same grace in Christ. (Eph.4:3-6) Think of them as redeemed by Christ.  Think of them as your family.

Peace with unbelievers.

And Christ also calls us to love unbelievers, which also requires us to be peaceable with them. As we have opportunity.  And of course, if it is peace with man but not denying God’s truth. (Gal.6:10)

Think of them as needing what God gave you in Christ.  Think of them as fallen-image bearers.  Think of them as having an eternal soul.  Think of them as potential brothers and sisters in Christ.  Think of them as a divine opportunity to show the love of Christ.

The practice.

Let’s talk about some additional practical things to help us with our peacemaking.

Be purposeful.  Look for ways to practice peace and be active.  Work at it.   

Romans 14:19   So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Be Godward.  Think of Christ.  Think of His Gospel.  Meditate on the two greatest commandments. Love to God and Love to man.  Read God’s word daily.  Pray constantly.  Think of holiness. Think of heaven.  Drawing close to God increases our faith and increases thus our faithfulness.

Be thankful.  Meditate often on the benefits you enjoy in Christ.  When we are convinced that God the Father loves us and that God the Son died for us and prays for us, and that God the Holy Spirit resides within us, comforting us then we are inclined to be peaceable to others.  (I Cor.13, WSC 32, 36-38, WCF 20.1)

Be evangelical.  Speak of Christ often.  Share the gospel as much as you can.  True peacemakers proclaim the gospel of peace. (Eph.6:15) True peacemakers pattern their lives after the Prince of Peace. (Lk.19:10, Jn.13:12, Mt.10:8)

Be humble.  Be on guard against pride and self-seeking.  Being a peacemaker requires that we look away from self. And we have an eye to God’s glory and that we consider others above ourselves. (Phil.2:3, Rom.12:10) Mortify any know sin.  Sin breeds sins.  A lack of peacemaking can be evidence of unrepentant sin.

Proverbs 13:10.  Through insolence (pride) comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

Be benevolent.  Labor to think highly of all people.  Try to put the best understanding on them and their words or actions.  Don’t be quick to take offense.  Related to this, understand that God has given other people different gifts, and graces, and desires, and callings, and stations, and limitations, and crosses than you.  And that is OK.  Do not think it is your job to change or correct other people on everything.  This just makes for strife.  Consider others higher than yourself. (Phil.2:1-11)  Pray for others.  It is hard to fight with people when you are praying for them. (Num.16:47-48, 2 Sam.24:17)

Be long-suffering.  And be long-suffering with others. Bear with their infirmities.  Like Father Abraham did with his silly and sinful nephew Lot.  The older took a lower position before the younger to keep the peace. (Gen.13:8-9)

Be careful.  Guard you tongue, guard your eye, guard your ears.  Watch even the very beginnings of harsh words or malicious speech, or gossip or any such thing.  Be the first to give a gentle answer so as to turn away wrath. (Prov.15:1)  

Psalm 34:14.  Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. (Prov.16:21)

Don’t listen to evil speech concerning others. This will fan the flame of sin. This will fan the flames of strife.  Whisperers are back-biters. (Lev.19:16, Prov.25:23)

Be separate.   Related to this, be separate from people that cause strife and divisions.  Christians and non-Christians.  Stay away from angry people.  And pray for them.  If you stay in their company you will learn their sinful habits. (I Cor.5:9-13, I Cor.15:33)

Titus 3:10. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11. knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Rom.16:17)

1 Corinthians 11:18. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.  19. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Beloved, we are Christ’s sheep.  Let’s act like sheep and not like wolves. 😊

(Gal.5:14-20) Let’s not be the foolish woman that tears down her own house with her own hands. (Prov.14:1)  And for all the people that are quick to tell us about all the strife and divisions in the church.  Let peace start with us. Let’s live out the faith that we profess.

The blessing.

Let’s conclude by looking at the happiness or the blessedness that Jesus says for the peacemakers.  We shall be called sons and daughters of God.  Again Christ is not saying IF you make peace with other men THEN God will make you His child.  No.  The idea is as you strive to live like Christ because of what He has done for you, then God will openly acknowledge that you belong to Him. Assurance of God’s love!

This will occur in this life as His Spirit testifies to us that we belong to God.  He is our Father and we are His children.  (WCF 16.2, 18.1-3)  This will occur on the Last Day when Christ will openly acknowledge and acquit us on the Day of Judgment.

Matthew 25:34.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Rom.8:23, I Jn.3:2, Rev.1:6, I Cor.6:2, Heb.1:14)

Amen

 

Study Questions.

  1. Define and or describe peace. What is the opposite of peace? Why is peace desirable?  (Gen.15:15, 26:29, Lev.3:1-3, Ps.4:1-8, Ps.128:6, Rom.5:1-10, Jn.14:27)
  1. What are the two ways that the Bible speaks about our being children of God and God as Father? (Acts 17:24-29, Rom.1:18-39, Isa.64:8, Exod.4:22, Dt.32:6-18, Isa.64:8, Ps.103:13, Mal.2:10, Hos.11:1, Jn.8:41, Mt.6:6-8, Jn.1:10-13, Rom.8:14-17)
  1. How does Christ purchase peace with God for us? What does this teach us about ourselves apart from Christ?  Now in Christ?  How is Christ your source for your peace with other men?  (Eph.2:1-3, I Pt.4:1-4, Eph.5:6-10, I Cor.6:9-11, I Cor.14:33, Eph.6:15, I Thess.5:23, Isa.9:6, Gen.14:18, Ps.110:4, Heb.5:6-10, Heb.7:1-17, Ps.122:1-9, Mt.2:1-6, Rev.3:12, Rev.21:1-10, Lk.2:14, Rom.8:6, Gal.5:22, Rom.5:1-10)
  1. How does Jesus teach us to be peacemakers by His verbal teaching and by His own practice? How should this affect us? (Jn.3:16, Eph.2:1-7, I Pt.3:8-9, Eph.5:1-2, Isa.2:4-5, Mic.4:3, Joel 3:10, Ecc.3:8, Lk.6:27-33)
  1. Are there any limitations to our peacemaking? Is there lawful versus unlawful peace?  Should we make peace with other people at all costs?  (Ps.120:7, Rom.12:14-21, Heb.12:14 , Eph.4:15, Isa.57:19, Jer.6:14, 8:11, 2 Tim.4:14, Gal.2:11-14, I Cor.16:22, Gal. 1:8-9, Ezra 9:12)
  1. What are some reasons we should be peacemakers with Christians? With non-Christians? (Mt.5:9, Mk.9:50, Jn.13:35, Ps.134, Eph.4:3-6, Gal.6:10, Lk.6:35-36)
  1. Why and or how does thinking of Christ, His Gospel, reading God’s word and prayer help us with peacemaking with other people? (Jn.3:16, Eph.6:15, Lk.19:10, Jn.13:12, Mt.10:8, WSC 1)
  1. How does being content and thankful with our standing in Christ help our peacemaking? And extinguish fighting?  (I Cor.13, WSC 32, 36-38, WCF 20.1)
  1. How does humility and considering others above ourselves help with our peacemaking? Stop our causing divisions?  (Phil.2:1-11, Rom.12:10, Prov.13:10, Num.16:47-48, 2 Sam.24:17, Gen.13:8-9, Prov.15:1, Ps.34:14, Prov.16:21, Lev.19:16)
  1. Why should we stay away from angry people and those who cause strife?  (I Cor.5:9-13, I Cor.15:33, Titus 3:10, Rom.16:17, I Cor.11:18-19, Gal.5:14-20, Prov.14:1)
  1. What is the happiness or the blessedness of being acknowledged by God of being His child? In this life?  In the next life?  (WCF 16.2, 18.1-3, Mt.25:34, Rom.8:14-23, I Jn.3:2, Rev.1:6, I Cor.6:2, Heb.1:14)
  1. Interact with this Charles Spurgeon quote. Blessed are the peacemakers, and one sure way of peacemaking is to let the fire of contention alone. Neither fan it, nor stir it, nor add fuel to it, but let it go out by itself. Begin your ministry with one blind eye and one deaf ear.

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