GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus – Sermon on Mount (Part 8)
esus pronounced in this His first public discourse and teaching how to be happy and successful in life. This is happy in the deepest sense, not just satisfied from a good meal or a winning business or life event, but a deep settled, blessed, what one author called superlatively blessed life. This is fullness consistent with our design as God’s people and in a manner pleasing to Him.
So far in this first of Jesus’ sermons after selecting the disciples, he sounds like He is putting together less than a winning team. He has lifted up the virtues of poverty, grief, meekness, mercy-giving, purity in heart, and now being a peacemaker. This would not make the top 100 goals in much of any list of career aspirations, but that is the point. The Kingdom of God is not of merit or collections in this world, but a life following God in the Kingdom which is eternal.
Peacemaker! Right! Nothing in our current culture and current events advocates for peacemaking. It seems the ethic of “peace breaking” is more in vogue than peacemaking. This seems like foolishness, like a waste of time, like putting ourselves into vulnerable places by not aggressively defending ourselves. Even in my profession as an attorney, there is an ethical rule requiring “zealous representation.” Of course, that does not rule out compromise and finding reasonable and amicable, even peaceful, solutions, but at first glance or to a newby attorney, not so much. Even at first Google, “peacemaker” brings up guns and pistols.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
1. The What of One Who is a Peacemaker. Understanding one who pursues peace is rooted in the One who is our Master. True peacemakers are those whose leader is the God of Peace. 1 Cor 14:33. It is the pilgrim who attempts to live in peace with all men. Rom 12:18. It is those followers who pattern their lives after the Prince of Peace. John 13:12-15. It is believers who are urged by Jesus to find in Him reconciliation and lasting peace. Matt 11:27-30. We are people of Peace because our God comes to bring reconciliation and peace to all.
2. The Results of One who is a Peacemaker. Blessing and happiness comes to those who pursue peace. Those who are peacemakers receive the honor and dignity of being called “sons of God.” Do you see this? By being peacemakers, you enter into the family and co-working blessings of God himself!We are God’s agents for good and for the gospel in our world. Incredible! These are PEACE CORPS at the highest level and for work that counts for eternity!
So where does that leave us. Time to clean up as needed. If you have wronged others, use the five magic words, and mean them: I’M SORRY. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. If you have been wronged, do not seek vengeance or payback, but return good for evil!
1 Peter 3:8-13 8Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” 13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
Okay, there it is. James 3:18 is correct! But [the] fruit of righteousness in peace is sown for them that make peace.
Are you motivated to make amends, to make peace, to offer forgiveness without counting past offenses? God will honor you if and when you do. And this does lead to the next subject for next week – Instructions on how to act when people act in evil ways toward you. This keeps getting better and better.
— John Moore