Blessed are the Peacemakers!
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
We looked last week at how Jesus is God’s great gift of peace to us. Peace on earth to people on whom His favor rests.
Jesus Himself is our peace between us and God, and as we follow Him He brings peace to our relationships. He makes us lie down in green pastures, He leads us beside quiet waters. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us, He comforts us, He protects us, He provides for us.
Today I want us to see that the gift of peace is just like the gift of love. We are given the gift of love and also the pathway of love.
We are given the gift of peace and also are bearers of that gift to others. Blessed are the peacemakers for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
*If we are to be bearers of peace to others, we will need to first of all be peaceful people ourselves.
*Secondly we will need to accept the mantle of being a peace maker
*and we will need to see that that peace begins with showing others how they can receive the gift of peace from Jesus and then that they also are to be makers of peace!
- Are You Living in Peace?
How can you live as a peaceful person?
- Recognizing the power of your response
Be more grateful than complaining. You are acknowledging God’s power, love, wisdom and goodness when you do. God is sovereign in your life, that means that whatever troubles you encounter, He allows. The devil (the name means accuser) is constantly undercutting these characteristics of God in your life so that he might steal life from you.
So, two things you are grateful for for every complaint. You need to pay for your complaints!
Psalms 115 Look at what is repeated!
9 All you Israelites, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield.
10 House of Aaron, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield.
12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike.
14 May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
You have no power over other people.
You have very little power over circumstances.
You have power over your responses to people and circumstances! Chaotic people bring trouble with them. You are not obligated to allow the chaos of others into your life. You can set boundaries.
Romans 13: 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Bless those that persecute you, bless and curse not. Use your words to bless others, not to curse them. This is especially true of your enemies!
I Corinthians 4: 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
We have power over our responses toward others.
Do not give them your peace.
Do not feed on anger, exasperation or offenses.
- Guard your thinking and desires
Luke 9: 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Be prepared to have to endure unequal relationships. Do not court them, do not walk into them on purpose! But do not demand that life be fair before you will be peaceful!!
Focus your mind on Christ. Be like Him. How did He respond? Do not say that you cannot be like Christ. He is the image of the invisible God. Therefore He is our standard.
Colossians 3: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
- Pray at all times in the Spirit
If you see that you are not peaceful, ask God to show you what the issue is.
See worry as an indicator of having our desire focused on the wrong things. In my life worry comes from a desire to control things and my pride. Those are issues of unbelief and idolatry in me. They lead to a lack of peace.
Matthew 6: 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Help Others Find Peace with God
- Demonstrate a peaceful life
Each of us has a testimony. We have this story because of the testimony of the shepherds.
Each of us has an example.
Salt and light!
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
John 8:12 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 9: 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
What does it mean to use Jesus as our light?
I Cor 11: 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
- Share how to know Jesus
Jesus said, “Follow Me…”
- God has plans for our good in life. He delights to bless.
- It is our bad behavior which comes from twisted desires that keeps us from God.
- We cannot behave well enough to get to God regardless of our effort.
- Jesus brings us to God and gives us life as a gift. Jesus lived as an example of how to walk out a peaceful life.
- Jesus gives the Spirit to energize our obedience.
- Do not be surprised by rejection
Some people are feeding on conflict. They like it, they are energized by it and they stir it up.
People are often offended by the discussion about sin. It’s not an us vs. you situation as it relates to sin. It’s only people here.
The Bible heroes are sinful men. God shows their warts.
III. Be a Carrier of Peace
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- Emphasize responsibility for healthy relationships
“Each one must carry his own load.”
Do not be a promoter of chaos. Don’t gossip. Don’t try and make others hate another person or disrespect another person.
Don’t compete with others and celebrate their successes.
James 3 Godly wisdom.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
- Emphasize forgiveness to heal relationships
“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Love covers a multitude of sins.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love is not easily angered.
- Trust God to give peace
“Walk humbly with God.” After doing justly and loving mercy.
We need to keep on loving and allow God to decrease the chaos around us. He will act!!!