Conflict is sadly a natural and common part of life. At the same time, not all conflict is bad- some conflicts can even lead to good outcomes and positives changes. However, many relational fights and arguments end in broken hearts and bitterness. That is why Jesus taught His disciples not only to forgive offenses but also to make peace in the midst of conflict. As a result, the world needs the Prince of Peace so much that when Jesus’ disciples make peace with their fellow man they are rightly called children of God.
Matthew 5:1-10, “1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Disciples: Committed learners and students of Jesus Christ.
- Sermon on the Mount: The longest single portion of Jesus’ teaching found in Matthew 5-7 that serves as the foundation of Christian morality and spiritual practice.
- Beatitudes: From the Latin word, “beatitudo,” means, “the blissful, happy, and blessed sayings of Jesus.”
- Blessed: From “beatus” in Latin, means “to be spiritually happy and successful because of God’s favor upon one’s life.” Also, the term “blessed” has to do with God’s divine approval of one’s life resulting in His favor, Numbers 6:24-26.
- Kingdom of Heaven: The active rule and reign of Jesus in one’s life and upon the earth with kingdom blessings, v. 3 & v. 10. Notice that Jesus teaches the kingdom of heaven is currently given to the disciple, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” not, “for they will have the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
- DEFINITION: To be a peacemaker literally means to “make peace” in conflict.
- GOD IS A PEACEMAKER: God is the greatest peacemaker because He made peace through Jesus’ death on the cross with sinners. Colossians 1:19-22, “19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
- THE GOSPEL IS A PEACEMAKER: The gospel itself is also considered a peacemaker because it brings the means of salvation according to Paul in Ephesians 6:15, “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
- TWO REASONS FOR RELATIONAL CONFLICT: (i) Both people are in pride or (ii) One person is in pride. James 3:13-18, “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.”
- SEVEN MAJOR AREAS OF RELATIONAL CONFLICT: (i) Marriage, (ii) Parent/Kids, (iii) Relatives, (iv) Job, (v) Neighbors, (vi) Friends, & (vii) Church.
- FOUR GENERAL GUIDELINES TO BEING A PEACEMAKER: (i) Is the conflict worth it? Proverbs 19:11. (ii) Is the person teachable? Proverbs 9:8 & Matthew 7:6. (iii) Am I in authority or under authority? Romans 13:1. (iv) Can I control myself in this situation? James 1:19.
- FIVE THINGS NEEDED TO MAKE LASTING PEACE: (i) God, (ii) Love, (iii) Wisdom, (iv) Humility, & (v) Forgiveness.
- EXAMPLES MENTIONED IN THE SERMON: (i) Marriage: Try having code words like “Code Yellow” or “Code Red” to express oncoming conflict before it starts. (ii) Parent/Kids: Be consistent in your discipline, make family times a must, and deposit large amounts of love in your kid’s lives so you can make withdrawals of trust in tough times. (iii) Relatives: Consider speaking your mind once or twice on an issue and then leaving it alone- chances are they know how you feel and will come to you when they want to discuss it further. (iv) Job: Ask yourself is the conflict worth it? If not leave it alone. If it is, be willing to live with the results. (v) Neighbors: First, I’d recommend to try to calmly discuss the issue with them. Second, if it doesn’t work- graciously let them have their way in the small stuff (parking spaces, noise, etc). Because fighting over the bird feeder isn’t worth it- trust me! (vi) Friends: If we have a problem relationally let’s try to solve it biblically, if we can’t its because we disagree theologically, and need a person of wisdom to solve it peaceably. In other words, try to work it out on your own but if you can’t get a trusted mediator to help. (vii) Church: For major issues of perversions, bad character, or false doctrine get the elders involved asap. For everything else try to resolve problems in the church with the people you trust and then only if it does’t get resolved ask an elder or deacon to settle it.
CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD
- Because God is the greatest of all peacemakers when we make peace on this earth we are rightly called His children, Isaiah 9:6.
- 1 Peter 3:10-11, “10 Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”
Conflict may be unavoidable in this life but the choice to make and keep your peace is your decision. Decide today to make and live in peace by the power of the Holy Spirit! Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And if people don’t want the peace you offer just F.E.M.O… “Forgive Em’ & Move On!”
We are going to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, be patient with the impatient, and kind to the rude. We will be peacemakers in a world full of trouble makers. Why? Because we are children of God!