Sermon on the Mount 8
- I mentioned this in the beginning of our study on the Sermon on the Mount - people have politicized this sermon more than any other sermon in the Bible. One of the chief verses that is often politicized is:
Matthew 5:9KJV 1900
Blessed arethe peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Political groups who are in opposition to war of any kind often use this verse to express their God-approved position, disagreeing with war.
The two main problems with groups of people that have politicize this sermon are:
- They are not saved - This book is a spiritual book. Even though people can understand the stories of the Bible, they are unable to gain spiritual insight in their relationship with God without being saved. Therefore, the issue is not a lack of intellectualizing this book; instead, the inability to connect the dots in a meaningful and spiritual way that enhances our relationship with God. Paul wrote that the natural man can never understand the spiritual truth contained in this book. The lost man will always view the words in this book from a material perspective; not a divine perspective.
- There is not a stand-alone verse in the Bible. Let me put this in context: It is not that God cannot save people with one verse (John 3:16 or Romans 10:9) because He can. The Holy Spirit can open the eyes of the sinner to see the force, value and truth in the verse. In other words, God can use a verse as a mirror reflecting the wickedness of the person and the holiness of God. But how do we know if John 3:16 really happened in a saving and not intellectual way? We need other verses:
2 Corinthians 5:17KJV 1900
Therefore if any man bein Christ, he isa new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Keep in mind, God did not just give us one verse, chapter or book. He gave us 66 books, almost 1200 chapters, over 31,000 verses and more than 807,000 words. This book was not put together to have stand-alone verses. God designed this book to have supporting verses from a variety of books, in both Testaments, so there is no confusion over His words.
Therefore, “blessed are the pacemakers” is not a stand-alone verse. This verse must be taking into context with the beatitudes and the rest of the Bible.
- Secondly, this evening, as I introduce this lesson, let’s put this verse in Biblical context in one particular area so that we do not make this a stand-alone verse.
- God is no more anti-war than He is pro-war. I challenge any pacifist who thinks Matthew 5:9 is a call to pacifism to read parts of Numbers, Joshua and Judges. In those books, God commands Israel to fight the enemy, and utterly and completely destroy them - from the oldest to the youngest.
- David’s fall with Bathsheba took place when he should have been out fighting the sworn enemies of Israel; just like all the other kings.
2 Samuel 11:1KJV 1900
And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
iii. One day Jesus will arrive and engage in conflict at the battle of Armageddon. In this gruesome battle, Jesus will destroy the anti-Christ, False-Prophet, and all the armies allied against Israel. The slaughter will be so devastating. Millions upon millions (perhaps billions) of soldiers dead, the blood will rise to the horses bridle, and the span approximately 200 miles (Revelations 14:20).
Therefore, when we take a quick view of the Bible, we can clearly see that God will bring about world peace through the bloodiest of all wars combined. This means, Matthew 5:9 cannot support the pacifist movement.
- There is a spiritual component to the beatitudes. These beatitudes are not material, earthly, or fleshly. Poor in spirit, mourn, hunger and thirst after righteousness, merciful and pure heart are all spiritual qualities of a person. This is who the disciple of Jesus Christ looks like on the inside.
Martyn Lloyd Jones said:
As we come to consider this further characteristic of the Christian man, we are once more constrained to suggest that there is nothing in the whole range of scripture which so tests and examines, and humbles us as these beatitudes.
When I was a transportation manager, one of the jobs I had to do annually was to do a driver review. There were aspects of this job that I liked and disliked. I enjoyed doing this with employees who wanted to develop and grow professionally. However, I disliked this job with drivers who did not want to grow or develop professionally. Within this process there was a series of categories that each driver was graded. The process determined their pay raise, growth in the company or demotion. This is how the beatitudes should be viewed for the Christian. Jesus gives us eight categories and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can determine where we are in the discipleship process. This process is enjoyable and productive if the Christian wants to continue to grow and develop; however, if he or she does not want to grow or develop than the process will be difficult and unenjoyable.
- This verse is not dealing with peace treaty between nations; rather, where we are spiritually in the economy of grace.
The last few weeks in our Sunday morning services, we have seen Peter command these scattered Christians how they are to respond to the government, employer, husband and wife. Do you know how we are going to respond in a biblical manner, as God mandated through Peter? By being a peacemaker.
Consider the flow of the text: blessed are the poor in spirit opens up the remaining beatitudes for us. Even though the remaining beatitudes are coequal, they do have an order. Meaning that we cannot become peace makers in the way God wants us to be unless we mourn over sin, hunger and thirst after righteousness, desire to be merciful and are pure in heart. We cannot be peacemakers without being the previous four beatitudes.
Today, there are a lot of combative Christians that enjoy being angry and always fighting or picking a fight. They are the ones that will aggressively complain about everything, by drawing a line in the sand and name call if you disagree. They are not the kind of person that can bring people together - they are divisive.
I come from Cincinnati, Ohio, in which there are a lot of Independent Baptist Churches or sister churches. Within these churches there are a couple of pastors or church members that you stay away from. It is not because of the truth they preach or teach but the personality or arrogance in how they proclaim the truth. They are just combative. Do you know why they are combative? They are not meek and instead of having a pure heart in a practical way, they have a heart filled with bitterness.
- Even though we are not talking about world peace there is a serious component to this beatitude. The peacemakers of this verse are invested in the peace process between God and man.
John 15:18KJV 1900
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hatedyou.
Even though the verse opens up with the word “if,” this verse assumes the condition of hatred already exist between the world and God. The good news is this hatred is not bilateral.
John 3:16KJV 1900
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:8KJV 1900
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Therefore, the Prince of Peace came to be the bridge that brings peace between God and man. Jesus did this through the cross. The only hope that people have with God is the cross. And the only way the cross can be hope for people is if they hear. They cannot confess and believe a message they have never heard. This is why it is so important to support missionaries. People are dying and going to Hell for their sinfulness, without ever hearing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. THEY NEED TO HEAR!
Romans 10:14–15KJV 1900
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
The only way they will hear is through the peacemakers of God.
2 Corinthians 5:18KJV 1900
And all things areof God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
Romans 5:1KJV 1900
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Justification by faith does not take place without us.
1 Corinthians 1:21KJV 1900
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
God does not need us but He chose us to be vessels of peace.
- Being a peacemaker is bringing peace where peace does not exist. We are not bringing the Gospel message of hope to a neutral crowd but a crowd decidedly against Christianity.
Earlier, I read Romans 10:14-15, Paul concluded that with verses 16 and 17.
Romans 10:16–17KJV 1900
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faithcomethby hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We are preaching and preaching and preaching but no one is believing, coming to faith, and have decidedly rejected your offer of peace. They desire to stay at war with You. What is the hope then in being a peacemaker? The answer is verse 17. Even though they are rejecting the message, their only hope is to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If we are going to be this person to whom Jesus preached then several things must happen:
Jeremiah 1:5–8KJV 1900
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, andI ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I ama child. But the Lordsaid unto me, Say not, I ama child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I amwith thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord
Psalm 86:15KJV 1900
But thou, O Lord, arta God full of compassion, and gracious,Longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Philippians 1:27KJV 1900
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
There is success in our text
- There is success in that those who invest in peacemaking will be peacemakers.
Psalm 126:6KJV 1900
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
- We are the children of God. There are just two families that matter. Every single person has been linked to one of two fathers: Satan or God. One day, there will be just one family. Satan’s family will all be cast into the Lake of Fire. On one hand, this is not a happy day. There is nothing joyous about billions upon billions of people being forever cast into the Lake of Fire. After all, God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Ezekiel 33:11KJV 1900
Say unto them, AsI live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
On the other hand, God’s family will be forever established in peace. There will be no more sorrow, pain, suffering, arguing, bitterness, complaints, death, defeats, or sin. There will be peace.