The Spiritual Discipline of Peacemaking (4.10.21)
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
God saves and calls His people to be peacemakers—to keep the unity He has paid a high price for us to have. Today’s Going Deeper helps us better understand the practice of peacemaking.
The Problem: Sin That Causes Disunity
Genesis 3:7-8 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Adam and Eve’s sin, and our sin since then, has caused separation between us and God and between us and each other! It divided Adam from Eve and both from God. There was no more unity. It was just “me, myself, and I.” This separation causes us to try to have what was once united and beautiful. We try to know and have real love, but all we do is selfish.
The Answer: The Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Prince of Peace, or the Sar Shalom, is Hebrew for “Prince of Peace.”
Sar: the one in charge, captain, general, lord, chief
The Romans developed the title “Caesar” out of the origins of the word Sar.
Shalom: rest, tranquility, completeness, wholeness
This was a greeting the Hebrews would give to one another representing holistic peace!
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the Sar Shalom.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) … he [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
In Christ, we are able to live humbly and selflessly with others in a way that we don’t when our sin is fueling us.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The United Body of Christ
Romans 12:4-5 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Paul uses an illustration of a human body to show us just how connected we now are in Christ! Like the members of our body are utterly dependent on, and connected to, each other. So we, too, are members of one another!
Now, notice what is so amazing about the body of Christ.
Diversity: Romans 12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function
Unity: Romans 12:5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
A diverse unity sounds like an oxymoron, right? But that is what is so cool about the body of Christ. Let me take a moment to clarify what unity is not because we often can think about it in a wrong light.
What Unity is Not
Unity is not sameness!
The very oneness of the Godhead is a “diverse unity.” It is not SAMENESS!
If you and I are trying to be united by dressing alike, what happens when we disagree about something?Do our same clothes allow us to be unified through that disagreement? No, we will say, “Fine. You go your way and I’ll go mine, and whatever unity was there is now broken.”
But if we are the “body” of Christ, the issue we disagree on quickly demands a different response. It demands we fight for unity! Why? Because if the left leg says, “I hurt,” and the mind says, “Forget you, it’s time to walk,” then the You-go-your-way-and-I’ll-go-mine answer doesn’t help that body move forward!
It paralyzes the entire body while both parties sit in the corner and pout or avoid each other. The mind is not getting anywhere without the leg, and the leg doesn’t know what to do without the mind. So, together they must unite, talk it out, listen to each other, and resolve their differences. Only in unity does the body move forward!
Do you see the diversity? Do you see the unity?
We have all seen the birds flying together overhead before, right? We have seen them fly in a big V formation. Scientists at Cal Tech have said that 25 geese flying in a V formation can fly 70% farther than one goose alone. That’s the beauty and benefit of unity.
Don’t miss what this means for the body of Christ. It is something awesome God has saved us into—the family of God. It is a joyous, amazing reality. I want you to know this for yourself—to be a member of this body and of one another.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
We are called to one unified body by which one, all-powerful Spirit empowers us to one eternal hope. Not many hopes, not many ends, not many ultimate satisfactions and joys: one hope. One glorious future made possible by one Lord who gives one faith and one baptism to the one God who is Father of all, who is over all, who is at work through all and in all whom He has called.
Fighting for Unity
We are members of one another. The charge before us is to keep the unity in peace.
Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
First of all, noticeit says, “Make every effort …”! That is fight-for-it language! In other words, don’t give up easily—fight! Don’t try once and walk away—fight! Don’t fight for what is self-seeking but fight for what honors God.
Second, notice what it says next.Fight “to keep the unity of the Spirit …”! When we are in Christ, unity is something that we receive; it is not something to be attained!
Only by the grace of God is unity even experienced in this life. We can’t earn our way into unity. We have to simply receive it in Christ, and then value it. Let me say it this way: Our command is to practice unity!
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Jesus calls the sons of God “peacemakers!” What do peacemakers do? They fight for unity! Peacemakers are not people who have no conflict; they are people who fight for peace in, and through, that conflict.
God is doing something eternal in and through us in this that we need not miss. Jesus Christ did not just come to hand out tickets to heaven, and He did not just call His church to point people to the guy handing out tickets to heaven.
He wants us to live out our unity as members of one another so that the testimony of what He has done to restore His people can be out there for others to see. Why? Because more of His people are still to be saved and to join us so that they will be an active and essential part of the local church.
Jesus is not the only one who says this. Paul and Peter go on to say it again and again.
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another …
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) … live in harmony with one another …
Paul says it well in Ephesians 4:31-32: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
We, the church, are the peacemakers! We are the sons of God.
We need each other, and we cannot endure this battlefield alone. We must be united; we must fight for peace and unity. We must talk out our hurts and seek forgiveness and restoration with our brothers and sisters. This is not something we get to set aside when it doesn’t serve our agenda nor our fleshly feelings. It is a priority for our lives if we belong to Christ.
1 John 4:19-20 We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
We tell the truth about Christ and the gospel by practicing peacemaking. We honor Christ by our practice of peacemaking. May it be so.
By His grace and for His glory,
-Joshua “Shepherd” Kirstine
Soldiers For Jesus MC