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Text Box: The 7th Step: Pursue Peacemaking!


Text Box: (Matthew 5:9 NIV)  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
(James 3:17-18 NIV)  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.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
(Proverbs 12:20 NIV)  There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.
(Romans 12:18 NIV)  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
(Romans 14:17-19 NIV)  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
(2 Corinthians 13:11-12 NIV)  Finally, brothers, good-by.  Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.
(Colossians 3:15 NIV)  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Text Box: So far, we have drawn two formulas from the beatitudes:
     Poverty of Spirit                     Rightly Placed Desire
                 +                                               +
     Penitent Attitude                   Rightly Placed Motive
          Meekness                                     Purity
The results of these two formulas, meekness and purity, bring about the loftiest beatitude: Peacemaking.  This is the paramount characteristic of God and those who belong to God’s Kingdom.  Jesus says peacemakers are blessed because everyone recognizes them as sons of God (Sons of = nature of).  When we are peacemakers, we emulate God’s main mission in Jesus Christ: to reconcile the world unto Himself.
(Isaiah 57:16-19 NIV)  I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me-- the breath of man that I have created.  I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways.  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the LORD. "And I will heal them."
How sad that this beatitude, which is the core of the mission of God’s established Kingdom on Earth, is not the distinguishing characteristic of Christians in today’s society.  In God’s eyes, a Christian is a Peacemaker – an ambassador in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)!  
Correctness, customs and comfort zones have become the trademarks of so called “Christians”.  Christianity is growing in divisions as opposed to growing in unity.  Personal power and preferences dominate over peacemaking.  “Peace has become an expendable commodity among us.”—Tim Woodroof, The Illustrated Disciple.  
What would have happened to us if God had valued “correctness” over peace?  What if He had stressed moral piety or proper hermeneutics over peace?  I tell you, we would have no hope.  God sent His only Son to purchase peace with His blood:
(Ephesians 2:14-17 NIV)  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
What an amazing and Holy God we serve!  AMEN!!!

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    





Text Box: The 7th Step: Pursue Peacemaking!




The peace Jesus offers us is very different from the peace in the world.  Look up peace in a good dictionary.  Did Jesus come to bring peace on Earth, like many think?   Read Luke 2:13,14.  Who will have peace?  Now look at Matthew 10:34-40.  Have you experienced conflict with your family since turning to Christ?  What will bring peace between you and your family members?  What does “peace” involve (verses 37-39)?  To whom do we need to remain loyal to keep the real peace of Jesus?  Who do you think will be at peace, the one who tries to save his life, or the one who loses it for Jesus’ sake?  Read Romans 3:20-26.  Do you have the power to make peace with God?  How are we made righteous (being right before God) [verse 22]?  How are we justified (verse 24)?  What is it that prevents us from having righteousness of our own (why do we need to be justified)?  If you answered “because we have sin” then you are closer to understanding God as a peacemaker!  Look up atonement in a good dictionary.  Is atonement synonymous with “making peace”?  Jesus Himself was the “peace sacrifice” or “peace offering” for our reconciliation with God.  He gave Himself up that we might have peace.  In Leviticus 4 and 5, God shows Moses how to make peace with Him when the Israelites sinned.  How much more does Christ’s blood cleanse us from our sin, thoroughly (Hebrews 9:12-15)?!



Many people compromise truth because they want peace at any cost.  They think peace means “the absence of conflict”.  Others think that the only way to bring peace, or maintain an appearance of it, is to use force or show superior power.  Read Colossians 1:19-23.  Who is Paul talking about in verses 19 and 20?  What alienated us from God?  How have we been brought near to God?  How do we partake of this peace-making process (look at the parallel between verse 22 and Romans 6:3,4)?  Can we be reconciled to God on our own terms, apart from the message of hope in the gospel (verse 23)?  In what do we need to be firm, unmoved and established?  As you can see, peace can only exist because of truth.  That’s why the truth must be defended (Jude 3)!  Know Jesus, know peace.  No Jesus, no peace!  Read Romans 1:18, 19 and Colossians 3:5,6.  Why is God’s anger coming into the world?  Should we be found partaking of the things that cause God’s wrath to come?  How must we live to be called peacemakers?  List any ways that you recognize in yourself that are not peace-making.  Perhaps your attitude when you drive and someone cuts you off, or when someone at work is being demanding of your time, or if a brother or sister sins against you or you against them in anger or with a bad attitude.  Do you see how important it is to build on the beatitudes?  Being a peace-maker is only possible if we recognize our spiritual poverty, grieve about our sin, give over control of our lives to God, crave for His righteousness, seek to give mercy and purify ourselves.



Our ministry is that of reconciliation—bringing the Gospel of peace to men.  As Christians, we give our lives up so that others may come to have peace with God through our ministry.  Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.  Look up reconcile in the dictionary.  Why does reconciliation need to take place between God and us (Read Isaiah 59:2)?  Did God count our sins against us? Through whom is God making His appeal to mankind?  What is our job description as Christians?  Who became sin for us in order that we may have God’s righteousness (approval) [remember what we talked about on Monday—Jesus being a “peace offering”]?  How are we to tell people they can be reconciled to God (verse 20)?  If you were following the passions of your heart, do you think you could make a proper ambassador for Christ?  Read 1 Timothy 4:16.  If someone is a true ambassador for Jesus, will his/her life show it?



Since God granted us peace, the confession of peace (how we show peace in our speech and actions) in our lives illustrates whether or not that peace exists between God and us.  To be a peacemaker is to be meek and pure, to contend (fight for) for the faith (Jude 3), and to suffer and be wronged for the sake of peace.  In his first letter, Peter has much to say about suffering for doing good.  Check out these passages and hide them in your heart: 1 Peter 1:6-7; 2:19-25; 3:10-17; 4:12-19.



The nature of God is to make peace. If we call ourselves sons of God, wearing His name, we are to be peacemakers; Ambassadors of reconciliation. In everything, the peacemaker seeks to capture his own, as well as other's thoughts, to Christ, the Prince of Peace, as Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 10:1-5.  Here, Paul drops in a hint of the types of weapons peacemakers use to wage the war against the principalities and rulers of this dark world.  They are the weapons of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7): gentleness, kindness, submission and the like.  The fruit of the Spirit is evident in the life of a peacemaker (Galatians 5:22-25).  These weapons are much more powerful than the weapons of the world!  They demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4)! Get into the habit of using the weapons of love and relying on the Spirit to battle sin as opposed to using attitudes, bitterness, lack of trust, lack of hope, etc.; which are the weapons of the world.



We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.2 Corinthians 5:20


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