Dear Friends,

On the side of a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee Jesus taught the multitude in what we call The Sermon on the Mount.  As Jesus begins His teaching He declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).  Christians are called NOT to be peace breakers or peace fakers, but peace makers!

BILLY GRAHAM’S EXAMPLE:  I’ve been reading Billy Graham’s autobiography these past couple of weeks and am struck with how much he modeled what Jesus said about being a peacemaker.  The democrats were convinced he was a democrat, and the republicans were convinced he was a republican.  He was resolved to be non-political, but to simply represent Jesus and the Gospel.  Because of this he was privileged to be a spiritual advisor to 12 American presidents beginning with Harry Truman.  It reminded me how Christ-like peacemaking should be for Christians.  Any time you choose a side you have alienated 50% of Americans.

STORY OF A PEACE MAKER:  Several years ago we were in Jerusalem with Deane and Margaret Woods and were on a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels (also called the Rabbinical Tunnels).  We were provided a Jewish guide who led us underground along the ancient western wall.  At one point we entered a room where people were praying, and our guide explained, “This is the closest we can get to the former Holy of Holies.  I know you are believers so this would be a good place for you to pray.”  We prayed and then ask our Jewish guide to pray for us.  He picked up a Bible and sang in Hebrew Psalm 122, which includes the verse, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”  We concluded our tour several minutes later in a large cistern from Roman times.  He stood above us on stairs and began to tell his story.  “My Jewish mother was rescued as a small girl by some Catholic nuns.  They told her that they knew she was Jewish and didn’t want her to feel she had to become a Christian.”  Our guide went on to say, “I’m here because of the love of Christians.”  Then he offered, “This would be a good place to sing.”  And he led us in singing Amazing Grace.  We were all in amazement at this non-Messianic Jewish rabbi.  Here was definitely a peacemaker!

6 STEPS FOR BEING A PEACEMAKER:

1) BE A PERSON OF PEACE—Are you focusing on your areas of agreement or disagreement?—”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

2) EXAMINE YOURSELF—What is your part in the conflict?—“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Matthew 7:3).

3) APPLY FORGIVENESS GENEROUSLY—Are you truly forgiving and seeking forgiveness?—”Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

4) RESTORE THE RELATIONSHIP—Are you seeking to restore your relationship or prove you’re right?—”Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

5) RECONCILIATION IS GOD’S PLAN—Are you doing all you can to reconcile the relationship?—”All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

3 KINDS OF PEACE:

1) PEACE WITH GOD—”Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

2) PEACE OF GOD—”And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

3) PEACE WITH PEOPLE—”For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).

BECAUSE JESUS IS THE…

1) GIVER OF PEACE—“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid”  (John 14:27).

2) MAKER OF PEACE—”through [Christ] God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Colossians 1:20).

3) LORD OF PEACE—”Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

4) PRINCE OF PEACE—”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Are you a PEACEMAKER?

Onward in His peace,

Pastor Gary