Peacemaking People (Matthew 5:9) by Bro. John Lao

When someone asks you, “What is your wish?” and you answer, “World peace,” they would often say that it is a Miss Universe answer. But that is not to say na yun ang parating sagot ng ating mga Miss Universe candidates. It’s just that they’re expected to become an agent of real change locally and as well as globally. In our text this morning, Christians are also agents. They are promoters of God’s peace because as members of his kingdom, we are called to be peacemaking people. Please turn with me to Matthew chapter 5 — at the Sermon on the Mount. So for this morning we will have our specific focus on verse 9, but let us read again all the way from verse 1 to see the context. Matthew chapter 5 verse 1, I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version, and so hear now the words of our Lord Himself:

“Seeing the crowds who went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Those are the words of our living God, let us come to the Lord in prayer. Our heavenly Father who made peace to us, who brought peace by the blood of Christ, O God we approach you today with boldness knowing that it is not our own merits that we come to You O Lord, and to even claim the right to worship you and to be called as your people. But it’s in your Son to whom we approach you O God and we pray O Lord that we would be reminded of our responsibility to be a people who makes peace; who pursues it. And so Lord we pray that your words would really speak to us and that your Holy Spirit would be our teacher this morning. We pray all these things in the mighty name of your Son, amen.

So for two months we’ve been covering the introductory portion of the Sermon on the Mount which is the King’s inaugural address, and He is talking to the disciples themselves who have given their lives to Him and have followed Him wherever He went. He began by starting the qualities or the marks of the true members of the kingdom, and declares His blessing upon them. These are the qualities that runs contrary to both the world system or the notion of pride and glory that is propagated in the world, the religious system which exalted in external righteousness rather than the internal. It is a kind of blessing that is independent of the external factors. Itong blessing na dineclare ni Christ sa mga disciples. But it is both internal and as well as objective, based on the reality of God’s favor given to sinners through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And this would have come as a shocker to the people who were listening to the sermon of our Lord because their understanding of the kingdom is something physical, political, and it is something that would prevail over the kingdoms of the world. And knowing the essence of Christ’s teaching strikes a blow against the self-righteous attitude of the people of their time. And a lot of people would often — at that time yung mga religious leaders, and even the nations would build walls and build divisions against one another. And this indirectly presses a demand as well for people, that they cannot achieve the perfect righteousness of God if you would look at the Beatitudes and say that, “Oh, I can live that life,” you can be honest to yourself that you cannot. Wala talagang magkaka-achieve nito in their natural state. And this brings us to the reality that no natural man can take these truths and even teach it and say that you can actually live this out, and perfectly apply it in your life and become a child of God himself.

But no, we are sinners, we are fallen human beings, and all these marks are found ultimately fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of these Beatitudes that we have been considering for the past two months. He is the true and the blessed One. And again the Beatitudes comes to us as a bundle — all these marks of a true believer is present in the life of a Christian. Yes, it may vary in degree, but it is there nonetheless, because each of this builds a foundation upon the other. It can be parang nakalink ito sa bawat isa. Like for instance, the one that we will be talking about this morning being a peacemaker comes from having a pure heart. Doon siya nag gagaling. Or if you can even go all the way back from the from the very first Beatitude, you must be humble, you must mourn over the reality of your sin, you must be someone who is meek, who hunger and thirsts for righteousness, be merciful, pure in heart, and thereby that’s the only time that you can be a peacemaker.

We cannot expect someone who is filled with pride, anger, jealousy, selfish desire, strife, and having a quarrelsome attitude to be a peacemaker. Impossible yun, that is not possible. A peacemaker is someone who has peace, first of all. It is true and genuine peace. It is a peace that is divine of origin; it does not come from the world around us. And we would see later what is the distinction between the peace that the world offers, and the one that comes from God Himself. And as we would look at the entire Scripture, peace is one of the most dominant themes in the Bible. It is something we ought to make, pursue, and even to live out in our Christian lives. If there would be anyone in the world right now who are in the best position to become peacemakers, those are the ones who have received God’s peace through Christ. And that is the message I would like to give this morning: Christians are peacemaking children of God. Christians are peacemaking children of God.

Now we want to know what this is all about. What is The Peacemaker? Who is The Peacemaker? That is going to be the first point — What is the essence of our peacemaking. First point: The peace making business, and the dignity of those who are engaged in this business. The second point would be: The peacemaker’s blessedness.

And so let’s look at the first one, “The peacemakers business.” As members of our Lord’s kingdom we are called to be makers of peace and that peace is not simply calmness or tranquility, or the absence of noise, but wholeness and overall well-being. In the Hebrew, that is the word Shalom. You might have heard that in the past; it is peace in the truest possible sense. It is the peace that comes from God. And the peacemakers are not people who are avoiding all kinds of conflict, they’re not people who accept whatever comes along their way, na bahala nalang kung ano yung mga nangyayari sa mundo at sa mga ibang tao. They’re not people who just make appeasement just so they could keep disturbance at bay. They’re not people who compromise the truth just so they could not make any offense. And that is the kind of peace that we see in the world, not even today, but even in ages past. In fact there is no real peace if you would advance that kind of notion of peace. There’s no real peace whenever we do that acts.

But rather, peacemakers are the ones who are actively seeking to unite and to pursue harmony. They’re not just there to promote a ceasefire, they’re there to make the fire seize themselves between parties. In other words, the peacemakers get into the root of the problem. They’re not afraid of conflicts, they’re not afraid of dealing with a problem head on. There is earnestness in the part of the peacemakers, and they’re the ones who make and maintain that kind of peace in every possible way, even if it means that it would hurt them for a while. That it would cost them. That they would go through a season of hardship because of their pursuit of peace.

They are peaceable and they are eager to lead others to be in harmony, and such peacemaking can only flow from a heart that is renewed by grace. Therefore this is a uniquely Christian attitude, katulad ng mga ibang Beatitudes na pinag-usapan din natin in the previous weeks. That is to say that only true believers can be peacemakers. Because they have received peace from God in the person of Jesus Christ. It makes an impact in their human relationships, it makes an impact as well in the society around them, it makes a direct impact within the church, and ultimately in their relationship with God and with others. Those who have received God’s peace through Christ can truly work for peace. Those who have received God’s peace through Christ can truly work for peace. We can see that in the gentleness of their speech, the way they use their lips, the way they guard their tongue to use words that is appropriate in that particular season or time, in their impartial and honest judgment between opposing parties, in their earnestness to seek reconciliation, and having received the peace of God, they are concerned for the lost, that they too may receive Jesus Christ and be at peace with God himself.

In most days, if not every day, we see national conflicts, political wars, transactional disagreements, spiritual battles, divisions within the body of Christ — it won’t require you to study intensively to say that there is conflict around the world. And all the division and all the discords we see in the world today can be attributed to one ultimate cause, and that is sin. But the good news is that God has greatly and finally dealt it in the person of Christ. In our Scripture reading earlier in Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11 to 22 — you don’t have to go there masyadong mahaba yung verse, but let me just do a summary so that we could understand what Christ has done in order to bring peace to his people. And so after unpacking the grace of God from the previous verses, Paul reminds the Church of their former state because of sin. Sinabi ni Paul doon that they are separated from Christ, they are alienated from God, they are excluded from God’s people, they are strangers to the covenants of promise, but through faith in Christ they were brought near because of what he has accomplished on the cross. Yun yung na achieve ni Christ on our behalf, on behalf of his people. And as a result of being brought near to God in Christ, the separation between Jews and Gentiles have been taken away, and we have been united in Christ in one body as one people.

And we see here that Christ is the ultimate Peacemaker. And as we carry out our responsibility as peacemakers in the world full of conflicts, we are looking to the ultimate Peacemaker, and that is Christ. Through him we have peace and fellowship with God and with one another. It’s been said in the past that you cannot give what you do not have. In the case of the peacemakers that is true. Unless we are in Christ and unless we have received the peace from him, we cannot work for peace. Hindi natin kaya itong i-work or even to extend the peace that comes from God. And if you are hearing this for the first time, and you know for yourself that you do not have peace with God, the Bible says that there is no peace for the wicked. Isaiah chapter 57 verse 20 — stop looking into all the world in order for you to look for peace, thinking that there is something, somewhere out there, na magbibigay saakin ng kapayapaan, that would keep me secure for as long as I live my days.

Real peace doesn’t come from the world, my friends. If you’re gonna have a realistic look on the earthly hope and aspirations of every people — their job, their wealth, their position, their power — they cannot deliver true and real peace. It only comes from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, who brought peace for his people through his blood. And if you haven’t given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you are listening to this message, He is your only hope. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, turn away from your sins, look not to the peace that the world offers, but look to Christ and the peace — the peace that He guarantees to those who would come to him in repentance and faith. And to my fellow Saints, the peacemakers, take comfort that we have a solid basis on our peacemaking business. The good news is that there is peace found in the Lord Jesus Christ, and knowing that God is a peacemaker Himself, that is a great encouragement. That He is the one who’s pursuing peace to His people.

Knowing this, let the gospel that gives true peace encourage you to promote peace in every opportunity. Let the gospel that gives true peace encourage you to promote peace in every opportunity. The gospel tells us that the kindness of God in extending His grace to undeserving sinners like you and I, is something that — ito yung parang titignan natin na napakabait ng Panginoon, in really giving us His grace and if we have received so great of a peace and have been entrusted with the gospel of peace, it would be unbecoming of a believer to withhold peace — and by the way that can be a struggle for each of us. You may have seen conflict within your family and didn’t want to involve yourself into it thinking na: “Isa nanaman ‘to sa aking alalahanin.” You yourself are probably in one and you would like to just sweep it under the rug para lang hindi na tayo magkaroon ng conflict — everybody happy. That won’t do you any good. What we have to do friends, brothers, and sisters, we have to trust God and face… Face it head on.

And so do you find yourself in such situation? Has anyone offended you? Has anyone hurt you? Greatly disappointed you because of the actions that they did against you? But are you eager to reconcile? Are you eager to forgive? Are you willing to humble yourself and give that peace, and to pursue peace and make peace with the person that offended you? That has wronged you? And in fact even sa church, mga kapatid, hindi tayo exempted in experiencing quarrels, disagreements, and conflicts, but we actively seek reconciliation.

If you’re struggling to be a maker of peace, if you’re struggling to pursue peace with your brethren, or even with the people around you, look to the ultimate Peacemaker Jesus Christ. Who knew the depths of our sin, but He did not just wink upon it, He truly gave us peace by humbling Himself, suffering and dying on our stead, so that we who are in enmity with God can be reconciled to Him and be in amity with Him. In a task of being a peacemaker, be encouraged that we have the gospel of peace! Take it to your families, take it to the people around you who do not know the Lord. May God cause us to be faithful as we guard the pulpit as well, and the church from the false teaching that are promising, “peace, peace!” but there is no peace. True peace comes from the ultimate Peacemaker, and it is the peacemakers’ business to work towards it.

And so what is the blessedness of this peacemaking business? That would be the second point that we will be looking at: The peacemakers’ blessedness. And it must be said on the outset that we cannot work our way to become the children of God. The Lord doesn’t say that, “Be a peacemaker, maging peacemaker ka so that you can become a son of God.” Rather, it is what marks the true disciple of Christ himself and He Himself pronounces blessedness upon them. They are blessed because first of all, they are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. That we were given a new nature, that we have peace with God, that we have been justified by His grace, that we have the Holy Spirit in us which is the spirit of adoption. Romans chapter 8 verse 15, we call upon God as our “Abba! Father!” and God calls us and looks upon us as His sons. And second, the second reason is that — the reason why it is a blessed responsibility — is because peacemakers emulate God. Iniimitate namin ang Panginoon when we are actively pursuing peace. We are then brought to the reality that there are only two kinds of people in this world: the children of wrath — the sons of Disobedience — and the children of God, or the sons of God. The children of wrath are the unregenerate ones, they are separated from Christ, they are marked by wickedness and unrighteousness. The sons of God have been given a new life, God chose them, redeems them in Christ, and seals them by His Spirit, and they are marked by the Beatitude attitudes that the Lord has listed here in His sermon, which includes being a peacemaker.

And when we actively pursue and make peace, we do what God Himself is doing. And so the blessedness of peacemaking is that it identifies us closely with our peacemaking Father. Why? Because thanks to His grace, we have been adopted childrens of God, and it’s because we reflect the character of our Father, who himself is a Peacemaker. And to work for peace and seeking harmony of others, and with one another, and most especially with God Himself, is acting in a way that imitates the character of God in the way that He had made peace with sinners like you and I. And we know that because he has revealed Himself as the God of peace. He created the peaceful world until sin entered the world. Despite the ungodliness and the wickedness of man, we see God’s goodness in pursuing peace with His people, giving them great and irrevocable promises that is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Not by military conquest, not by power, but through his humiliation. By His perfect and sinless life, by taking our place and dying as a substitute for sinners, He resurrected from the dead after the third day, He has procured and assured true and genuine peace for those who will believe in Him. And therefore if we are engaged in the business of peacemaking, there is indeed blessedness. The blessedness is the honor and dignity that God Himself would call you as His son. Brethren there’s no title, no description that is more desirable for each of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ than this: to be called a child of God.

Our young children would often want to be like their parents, and there is no greater honor for the child than for someone to tell them that, “you know you’re like your father,” “you’re like your mother.” And here’s the thing, it is not just others who calls you that “you are like your father” but it is the Father Himself who calls you that “you are my child.” And for the Saints, this is, if not the greatest, but one of the greatest honor that we would receive from our Father in heaven. But for you O friend who are with us this morning, if you are listening to this message, this should be the greatest horror that you would be hearing if you don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have been made to believe that you are a child of God, but let me break it into you that apart from Christ, you are not a child of God. But you can be! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; Romans chapter 10.

And having this great encouragement before us, brethren, be imitators of God as His beloved children. Be imitators of Him. However, there are some of us, instead of becoming imitators of God, we make ourselves misrepresentations of God Himself. We have a life that is contrary to the gospel, we look like the world, we act like the world, we are not the cause of peace, but instead we are the cause of trouble in the people around us. We put forward our own interests and disregard the interests of others, we are careless about the souls of the unbelieving people, and don’t even share the peace that we have received from God Himself. Be encouraged of what the Apostle John said in 1 John chapter 3, “See what kind of love that the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” And so at present, we could see that believers are already called, have already been adopted, we are already part of God’s household. We are children of God in Christ. And he goes on to say, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

With a glorious honor that He graciously give us, let us be encouraged to do what constantly imitates Our Father, dear brethren. Not only in working for peace, but as well as being conformed in His likeness. to be holy as He is holy, in all purity training yourself in the Word of God by the power of His Spirit who is in us. Daily subduing our sinful inclination as we look into the mirror of the Word which clearly unveils to us the glory of the gospel found in Jesus Christ. And this calls each and every one of us to continually bring ourselves where the Word is heard and seen in the church. Where God is glorified, when God is praised, where God is worshiped, so that you as the people of God may be reminded of His peace, that we may regularly receive encouragement to be workers of peace. To be enabled by His grace with all humility and seeking the unity and harmony in the church. Regularly fixing our eyes to the hope that in the great and wonderful promises, that one day He would call us His sons.

There is a master who used to have a slave, and I think this slave, nakasala sa kanya, umalis, tumakas. But when he met the Apostle Paul in prison, this person ay kinommend niya sa kanyang master na pangalan ay Philemon. Isa ito sa mga letters na sinulat ni Paul while in prison. So, sinabi dito ni Paul, “receive him not just a slave, but more than a slave, as a brother.” And kung meron siyang pag kautang sayo sinisabi ni Paul kay Philemon, “i-charge mo sa aking account.” And in fact, “Philemon, you owe to me yourself,” sabi niya. So walang kawala si Philemon doon. But you can see what the Apostle Paul is doing there: he’s doing the task of a peacemaker. He’s trying to be a peacemaker by reconciling these two people, the master and the slave, to be in harmony with each other.

And as we look to the example of the Apostle Paul, we also are driven to the example of Christ Himself, who paid for the penalty of our sin to become a substitute so that we can be reconciled to God. And so brothers, sisters, continually look back to the peace that we have in Christ. Be a peacemaker. Recognize that as peacemakers there’s a great blessing; that God Himself looks at us as His own beloved children, emulating, imitating, His holiness and the way He does his peacemaking towards people. Peacemaking gives us the glorious privilege of being called the Sons of the most high God, who Himself has granted His peace through His son Jesus Christ.

Let us come before the Lord in prayer. Our merciful and most gracious God in heaven, O God, we thank you for the peace that comes to us through our Lord Jesus Christ. What great reminder of the gospel, O Lord, that we are people who are in enmity with you, who are reconciled to you by the blood that you have shed on the cross 2,000 years ago. And O Lord we have great assurance that this is indeed true, because you rose from the dead, and now you are seated at the right hand the Father, interceding for us, giving us comfort through your spirit, assuring us that we are your beloved sons. And O God we pray that knowing this peace, we would be peacemakers, that we would pursue it in the lives, in the circles, in the relationships that we are maintaining and are part of. Wherever that you have placed us O Lord, may such be the mark of our lives. Maraming salamat Panginoon, we pray all these things in the mighty name of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.

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