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Beatitudes: Beatitude Sermon Series Concludes

The world reserves its highest honors not for peacemakers, but for warmongers. Westminster Abbey is crammed with memorials to warriors. However, Jesus blessed the peacemakers and their ministry of reconciliation.

Prayer is an effective tool of the peacemaker, along with work. I preached in a church in South America through an interpreter and, during the sermon, I mentioned the biblical admonition to pray for those who govern. This proved to be a helpful word for Christians in a land where there is great resentment toward the government.

VI. The Peacemaker's Reward

Jesus said that peacemakers shall be called the sons of God. Division is the devil's work, but unity is God's work. The word Jesus used for son (huiroi) was used in place of an adjective. A peaceful man was called a son of peace and a comforting person was called a son of consolation (Barnabas). Therefore, we are like our heavenly Father if we are sons of God.

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, and He has given us this ministry of reconciliation. Peace is positive and peacemakers are the sons of God. What a title!

How do we take the first step in becoming peacemakers? We begin with the civil war in our own lives. First, surrender it to God and receive His gift of peace. Then reach out to people and institutions with the ministry of peacemaking.

The last word is shalom, peace; God's peace to you.

Persecution

(Scripture: Matthew 5:10-11)

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." (Psalms 1)

Note that the Psalms begin with the word "blessed," which means "O How Happy!"

"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake ..." (Philippians 1:29).

You may think, "Well, the eighth Beatitude leaves me out. I've never been persecuted for my faith. I wonder what a preacher will do with this text?"

The Greek word for parable is hallo, from which we get the word ballistics. Jesus threw His teachings like a ball, expecting His hearers to catch them and get the point. He seldom explained the teachings, and the Beatitudes are like that. They have a timeless quality.

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