The Beatitudes - Eight Keys to Joy and Peace, Pt. 3

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12, James 3:17
Date: 11/02/2019 
Everyone wants happiness. How do we find true, lasting happiness? Part 3 of 3

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From Stress to Joy - Paper or Digital Download
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Doug Batchelor: Until the sin problem is dealt with there is going to be war, you just really got to choose whose side you want to be on. You cannot be on both sides, Jesus said, "You're either with Me or against Me." If you are with Him, you're going to be the target of the enemy.

In the beatitudes we've been looking for, I just wanted to reemphasize this was not a smattering of ideas and teachings but it is a progress. First step, of course, is you come to the place where you're poor in spirit, you realize that you're spiritually bankrupt, that we can't do anything without God. The second one is mourning over that. The third one is, then, meekly submitting to God's will. The fourth one is hungering for righteousness that you don't have. That will produce in you an attitude of mercy towards others and a pursuit of purity and becoming peacemaking, which is where we are today, talking about peacemakers and there's really seven beatitudes and this is the seventh one.

The eighth beatitude, because the name of the series is "Eight Keys to Joy and Peace," the eighth one is really the result of living the seven. So if you are being holy you're going to then be a threat to the devil and you're going to encounter resistance. So today, we're getting involved in considering the seventh beatitude. Matthew 5, verse 9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they will be called the sons of God."

So maybe I should have start at telling you what a peacemaker is not because I run into so many misunderstandings about, what does it mean to be a peacemaker and to receive that reward, that promise that you will be called, "The sons," or, "The children of God"? If you work for the Peace Corps, that does not automatically make you a peacemaker. You may work at the United Nations for International Peace and that would be commendable, but you can do that and be an atheist, that doesn't make you a biblical peacemaker. You may be the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and that's good but that doesn't make you a peacemaker. Atheists win the Peace Prize sometimes, they are not going to be the sons of God. And a lot of people think that a peacemaker is somebody who's always trying to concede and reconcile, and they're willing to give in because they just don't like conflict and so they keep the peace by just giving in all the time. Well, that's good and it's commendable to not want unnecessary conflict but that's not the ultimate definition of what a peacekeeper is.

Probably ought to stop at this point and say, why do we need peacemakers? Well yeah, why are people saying, "We need peace"? Only time they're going to say, "We really need peace," is because there's a war. Now, I'd like to suggest there's four different kinds of war that are going on right now. First of all, we need peacemakers because we got war between nations. That is not the one that Jesus is principally concerned with. Jesus said you might be a peacemaker but don't think you're going to settle the world's wars. He said, "You will hear of wars," Matthew 24:6, "And rumors of wars. See that you're not troubled; all these things must come to pass, the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation," He doesn't even identify them, He says this is going to happen everywhere, "Kingdom against kingdom." That's just going to be the way of the world. Now, why? because there's just sin in the world, there's selfishness in the world, and the same kind of selfishness and sin that causes wars in families causes wars in nations. It's usually greed or pride, people wanting to have control and power.

So there's war between nations, and of course, we do need peacemakers but don't hold your breath for world peace. How many counsels and committees and summits have there been for World Peace? And how well has that turned out? So we need peace because there are wars between people. Now, I'm going to spend a moment on this point. James chapter 4, verse 1, "Where do wars and fightings come from among you? Do they not come from the desires for pleasure that war in your members?" We've got something inside, it's sin, it's selfishness and it causes disputes. James 3:17, "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

So one of the characteristics of Christians is we know how to create reconciliation and peace, and that's something about what Jesus came to do. Did Jesus have to deal with that with the apostles? Said, "What exactly was it you were arguing about on your way to the upper room?" Well, they didn't want to say, they all kind of looked at their feet and their fingernails and [murmurs]. He said, "Ah, you were arguing which of you is the greatest. That war came from your pride, which of you is the greatest." And then Jesus washed their feet and they were ashamed they were arguing.

Another time they were arguing about which was the greatest and He put a child in the middle of them and said, "Whoever would be greatest among you must be the servant of all. You must be like a child."

So Jesus was a peacemaker, He tried to bring peace even within the disciples, there were disputes that were happening. And so this is very important, to have this spirit of reconciliation. John 13:35, Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you're My disciples, if you love one another." So part of being a peacemaker is developing peace and helping brethren reconcile.

One of the ways to maintain peace is to know when to keep silent. If someone says something unkind about someone you know, don't be the first one to go tell them that, just keep it to yourself. The Bible says, "A good friend withholds a matter," and sometimes we start wars and there's all kinds of agitation because people repeat bad things. Now, what you want to do as often as possible is repeat the good things that someone says about someone else.

I knew pastor that he was a great reconciler and there were a couple of brethren in the church, they went to the same church, they would not sit on the same side of the church, they would not talk to each other. And the pastor would go visit Brother Brown, and he asked Brother Brown, he said, "So, what do you think of Brother Smith?" "Well, that Brother Smith, he's just a no good, low down," and he had all these terrible things to say about him. He said, "Well, but you need to admit he's got a very nice family." Said, "Well yeah, I would admit that."

So then he goes and he sees Brother Smith, he said, "So, what do you think of Brother Brown?" "Oh, he's a no good, low down," he says, "Well, you know, he says you've got a really nice family." "Did he say that?" Said, "Yeah," he says, "Can you think of anything nice to say about him?" Said, "He's an honest businessman." He goes back and he tells Brother Brown, he said, "Yeah, he says you're an honest businessman." "He said that? He said that?" "Yeah." Next thing you know, they're shaking hands in church. So if you're going to repeat gossip, just repeat the good stuff and compliment. We sometimes drive wedges between people by speaking the wrong kinds of words.

Now, the reason we need peacemakers, there's war between nations, there's war between people, there's war in our heads, in our hearts, and then we're at war with God. Let me talk about the war within for just a moment, Bible has a lot to say about this. Romans 7:23, Paul said, "I see another law in my members, warring," some people have no peace because of a war inside, "Warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin that is in my members."

Why do we need peacemakers? Because there's war. Why is there war? Because there's sin. If there's no sin in the world, there'd be no war and we'd have peace. Until the sin problem is dealt with, there is going to be war in the world. Now, that doesn't mean you can't have peace, because you can have the sin problem dealt with. Again, 1 Peter 2:11, "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul." There's a war going on inside, I don't know if you're ever trying to be a Christian you've felt the battle and there's a struggle and it takes away our peace, because the things that we know we should do we sometimes don't want to do. And this is battle, the Bible calls it, "Between the flesh and the spirit." And if you live according to the flesh you will die, and if you want to live you've got to live according to the spirit, and there's this tug of war that we have between love and selfishness, all of us have it inside.

If I was the sum up the word sin, it would be selfishness. And if I was to coalesce the word of salvation, love is the essence of who God is. And you've got the devil is the epitome of pride and selfishness, and God is love, and we've got these two supreme polar opposite motives that are battling in our hearts and until we surrender to one, there's going to be war. Now, when you finally do surrender, the Bible says, "Jesus reigns in your heart as Lord," there's peace in the kingdom of your heart because you've surrendered your heart to Him, and He gives you peace.

Now, how many of you want to be peacemakers? Well, that's it, do you want that blessing? it's the key to happiness and joy. You can be a mediator, not only by refereeing disputes for Christ and reconciling people, but by mediating through your prayers you are being a peacemaker. The world is separated from God, He wants those who will be prayer warriors that will pray for intercession, that will pray for reconciliation between us and God. This is what Moses did, this is what Christ did. Why did Jesus come? He came as the great peacekeeper, peacemaker, I get them mixed up, He came to reconcile us to God, we've been separated by sin.

So this is I think one of the most important things that Jesus was talking about when He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." You start out poor in spirit and then, as you mature through the Christian experience, you come to the place where your big mission in life is bringing other people to God. People have been separated from God, there's a war between them and God, and you're a great peacekeeper. And this is the work of the believer. You've got friends and everybody, they don't know the Lord. If we go out and we tell them about how they can live forever, how they can have better lives now and eternal life, what could be more important than that? You become a peacemaker, and what does He declare of you? You are the children of God, that means even the world will identify you as His sons. And those are the ones when God says, "Pray, 'Our Father,'" Jesus said, "Pray, 'Our Father,'" it's because we are His children because we've made peace with Him.

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Doug Batchelor: Now, those are the seven beatitudes, but there's really eight beatitudes because it adds one more. This beatitude is the result, it will be the result of living this Christian life in a hostile world. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And then He goes on, He expands on this, "Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." So this beatitude is explaining the result: peacemakers will be persecuted. Are you hoping that you could have the ideal situation? "Lord, I want to be a Christian and I want to have Christian family and I want to live in a Christian country and I want the people where I work to be Christians so I won't encounter any resistance."

How many of you think that's likely? That's not going to happen. The Bible tells us, "All who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." How many? Again, it says in Psalm 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of all of them." Are there few or many afflictions of the righteous? Now, it is better to be a Christian. I mean, just sum it up this way, life is tough, it's a lot tougher to be lost than to be saved, but if you're thinking that being a Christian means you're not going to have problems you just have problems with a different power. Before you are Christian, you are the enemy of God. And by the way, He wins in the end, did you know that? The devil, he'll support you, but you are the enemy of God. Once you become a Christian, now you the enemy of the devil, so you just really got to choose who you want, whose side you want to be on. You cannot be on both sides.

I've seen pastors that thought that they would bring healing into their church by trying to accommodate two bad views and they ended up angering everybody. You got to know what you stand for and preach what you stand for. And if you're trying to, you know, make everybody happy, that's not what it means to be a peacemaker, you need to stand for principles of truth. If you do that, you're going to be persecuted. And Jesus said don't be shocked, you're going to get resistance. John 15:18, "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."

So if you're getting along with everybody in the world do you think that's a good sign for a Christian? You're probably not living in such a way that your religion is a threat to the devil. I remember hearing one time, you know, Wesley and Whitfield, when they went around preaching they got a lot of opposition because the church said you had to be an authorized preacher and had to be in a church. Well, they ignored this law and they were going through the countryside preaching and they got, you can read it in the book "Great Controversy," they got harassed, they got beat by mobs and they'd escape with their lives by the skin of their teeth several times.

And Wesley was riding along one day on his horse by himself and he thought, "Boy, I haven't had any harassment or trouble or persecution in two weeks." And then a horrifying thought came and he thought, "Maybe I'm no longer a threat to the devil, maybe I'm not living righteously." And he dropped off his horse right there and he knelt by the side of the road and he said, "Lord, am I being faithful?" And a neighbor that was living in the house saw him, recognized him, and hurled a brick at him and said, "You Methodist, there goes John Wesley, that Methodist preacher." He missed him and Wesley got on his horse, runaway praising the Lord for the evidence of God's blessing. So if you're living godly, you will suffer persecution.

Now, where does it come from? It will come from, it might be government, you know, at some point they will persecute you. Right now, there are places in the world where if you convert a person from Christianity they can be killed. Karen and I traveled to a country I'll not name right now that you couldn't freely give out literature and if you did give out any literature you had to put a stamp on it that said, "This literature is not approved Muslim literature." I mean, we have such religious freedom here in America, we think it's everywhere, it's not. So if you think, "Well, we're living in a world with no persecution," that's not true, there's a lot of places in the world where there's persecution. And prophecy says someday there's going to be global persecution, yes, even here in our country.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth." You know, didn't the angel say, "Peace on earth and goodwill towards men"? Yes. Jesus came to bring peace in that respect but it's not global political peace. "I didn't come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and a man's enemies will be those of his own household." That's not only seen in families when you've got some Pagans that won't accept Christ, the other members of the family will persecute that person. I know people that they come from a Hindu family or they come from a Muslim family and they accepted Christ, their whole family now shuns them. They just say it's like they said, "You're dead," they're going to completely cut them off. And so, yeah, there's persecution even from within.

Now, when it says it might even be in your own house, it can even be in your own church. Who was it that turned Jesus over? Who was it that tried to kill David? His son, his own king. Who was it that sold Joseph? His brothers. Now, sometimes there will be persecution that may spring from even within. Are you to rejoice at times like that? It's hard but you're sharing in the sufferings of Jesus. One of the reasons we might rejoice in persecution, one reason is because God has made a promise; the Lord promised that all things can be worked together by the Lord for good. You don't always know it right away.

How many of you remember the story in the Bible where Samson wrestled with a lion? He had a fight with a lion, he killed the Lion. Well it's no fun to fight lions. A few weeks later, he came back to the lion and there were bees that had made honey in the lion. He got honey out of the lion. He probably never knew that day he was fighting that lion that he would end up getting honey out of it later. Sometimes when you're going through trials and persecution and battles, you don't know why but you'll get honey out of it later, God can somehow turn it into a blessing later. So one of the ways we share our faith is say, "Oh, I'm going to rejoice in this persecution. I don't know why I'm rejoicing now, but I trust that You will work all things together for good. And somehow, I may not understand or see it now, You're going to bring something good out of this someday."

I always thought it was the most amazing example of faith when you read about Daniel. He's about to go to the lion's den, he goes to his upper room and he gets on his knees to pray and the Bible says that, "He gave thanks." Last thing in the world on my mind if I was about to be cat food is to thank the Lord, I probably couldn't think of anything to be thankful for. But the Bible says, "In all things, give thanks." And Daniel, thanking the Lord for this coming trial since it was a habit, he prayed, he gave God thanks, he knew that God was going to somehow work it out to His glory. And did He ever work it out for His glory? We're talking about it still today. Look at what a witness Daniel was because he was faithful through his persecutions. The whole world got the decree from the king because of that.

Now, finally, in conclusion, you know this is our third and final message on the beatitudes, I think the most important thing I can say is those eight beatitudes exemplify the life of Jesus. When we're called to model those beatitudes, we're really being called to follow Christ. Just look at it for a moment, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Was Jesus poor? 2 Corinthians 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty you might become rich." Jesus became poor in spirit. "Blessed are those who mourn." Isaiah 53, says, "He is despised and rejected of men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

And you can read where Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, there He wept, He wept over Jerusalem, Jesus mourned but He'll rejoice someday when He sees the New Jerusalem. Meek, "Blessed are the meek." Was Jesus meek? Isaiah 53, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, He opened not His mouth." Was He meek? The Bible tells us, "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me," Matthew 11, "I am gentle and lowly," I am meek and lowly, "And you will find rest for your souls." "Blessed are the meek." "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." Was Jesus hungry? He fasted in the wilderness for 40 days, He was hungrier than you've probably ever been.

And, "Blessed are the merciful." Was Jesus merciful? The Lord is very compassionate and merciful. John 8:11, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." And then said, "Blessed are the pure," Christ is the essence of purity, He was without sin. Psalm 119, verse 140, "Your word is very pure," and Jesus is the Word made flesh. Even Pilate said, "I find no fault in Him."

Was Christ a peacemaker? He's called the Prince of Peace, He is the King of Peace, and you know what? He's taking us to the New Jerusalem. And what does the word Jeru Shalom mean? City of Peace. He came to help us make peace with God. Colossians 1:20, "And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." Jesus is the Great Peacemaker. Was Christ persecuted? Well, that's sort of a rhetorical question, isn't it? He was persecuted for righteousness' sake. They didn't want to destroy Jesus because of His badness but because of His goodness, His goodness made their badness stand out. Christ's was persecuted. And in spite of that, when He was persecuted, Jesus thanked the Father through it all. So what do you get when you follow the beatitudes. It says, "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven... They shall be comforted... They will inherit the earth... They will be filled... They will obtain mercy... They will see God... They will be called the sons of God."

What beautiful promises all summed up in this simple sermon of the beatitudes, a simple message that Jesus gave in just 12 verses. You know, I'm looking forward to being in that kingdom. I think there are days of persecution ahead but, you know, it's hard to come to the place where you can rejoice in persecution until you take the previous steps of recognizing our poverty of spirit, mourning over our failures, then accepting His forgiveness. And then, as you go from there you become meek in heart and you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you want that purity of heart, you want to be a soul-winner. And don't worry, the persecution will come, and those days you'll be able to even rejoice through persecution. But it begins with first coming to Jesus and accepting Him as our Lord and our Savior.

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