Being a “peacemaker” is a job that not many wish to take on. Years ago two very godly men became at odds: one was a pastor, the other an older gentleman who had been on a committee helping his church find the right man to fill the pulpit. When the young man applied, he did not get the job, and his pride was hurt that the older man–whom he thought could sway the vote–had not acted in a manner that caused the committee to offer him the position. Months went by and a wide gulf formed between them, even though the younger man got another church. Unfortunately, they were father and son. On a visit to them, my husband knew the situation could not continue. In addressing the young preacher, he laid out in no uncertain terms the bottom line: “As long as you are at odds with your father, you should not be preaching. You cannot be serving God with the root of bitterness in your heart.” The preacher was mature enough to accept his cousin’s upbraiding. Meanwhile, my husband also went to the father and took him to Matthew 18. “There has to be peace between you and your son, or you are not fulfilling the Scripture.” He talked at some length to them separately, and then we left. It was only days later that we heard the son had gone to see the father, and like the prodigal, was welcomed home with joy. It is draining emotionally to subdue conflict, but Romans 10:15 assures us “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace!” Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Peace is one of those words that conjures up different ideas or situations to anyone that hears it. A dear friend sits on her deck, a fresh cup of coffee, watching the sunrise through the wood as it shoots shafts of light onto the pond. The water droplets sparkle as fish jump, and the sun turns them into sequins. She loves this early morning time of peace for her devotions. For another, it might be a walk down a dirt road, with wild strawberries growing along the ditch, no people, houses or worries to spoil the day. What is the ideal situation that brings instant calm to your mind when you think of peace? A place, a person, your home?
Lauren is a college graduate who is very charming, attractive, and had a world of hopes and dreams–just like any young adult person. One short-term missionary trip to a third world country, and her heart was left there when she returned. Now she’s gone back, ministering every day to the little children who need a kind word, a hug, someone to love them, a small piece of candy. She has found her peace: it is in the giving of herself to a very needy people. Would that we all could be so filled with the contentment of doing what would bring us the most happiness as we serve God.
Grab your Bible, your notebook, and coffee (or favorite drink!), and prepare to enjoy the Sunday service from Thomas Road Baptist Church, where Pastor Jonathan Falwell preached on “Living in Peace” on Sunday, October 30, 2016. Click on the link http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and select the last sermon. If you have time, join the Praise Team as they worship in song; if not, fast forward to the sermon, and then follow the study notes below to dig deeper into how to live peaceably in a world full of turmoil. If you have a friend, family or group who can join you, you’ll be able to share more insights! If not, you can stretch it out to last the week, or do it all in one sitting. However you are able, prepare to worship the Lord in His holiness, and may He grant you Peace.
Peace. The very word conjures up different emotions and different ideas in everyone. What are some things you think of when someone says you can “live in peace”? Jot them down in your notebook.
Today, more than ever before, we want to find out how to live peacefully in a world rocked on all sides by chaos. We will look at the instructions given by James as to how we can achieve peace in our lives, and pass it on to those with whom we come in contact.
Focal Passage: James 3:13-18
Think About or Discuss:
Serving and Humility
- In verse 13, James opens the subject of living in peace by laying out the evidence of the life of a person who understands God’s ways. What are they?
- “Proving” that you are wise is an action word, not a thought that crosses your mind. Read James 2:14-17 for a parallel passage. How are you living this honorable life (vs 13)?
- How should your service be carried out? Why?
- There are six actions words in verse 14 that reveal a heart that is full of sin. What are they?
- How do verses 14-16 sound like the world today?
- How is 1 John 2:16 analogous to this passage? Do those sins from verse 14 exist in the passage from John?
Desire to Live as Christ Lived
- Look at the qualities of godly wisdom found in verse 17. Who do these remind you of? Is it possible for you to live like this?
- There is chaos in society because Christians are being silent. Are these traits active choices?
A Changed World
- Read Matt. 5:9. What is a peacemaker? What are the two things that will happen when a peacemaker steps in?
Being a person of peace is so important that it is mentioned in almost every book of the Bible. In 1 Pet. 3:10-12, Peter mentions how important it is that you seek to live in peace. It begins with watching what you say, turning away from evil, and actively seeking peace with others. You cannot help but have a positive impact on those with whom you come into contact if you are a peacemaker, and God promises results (verse 18). It takes a prepared person to have the influence to speak peace so that others listen, however. You must fill your heart with God’s wisdom, pray for His words to be in your mouth, show no favoritism, and be sincere. Turn the work over to God, and let Him produce the results after you have planted the seeds!
Memory Verse: Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.”
Focal Passage: James 3:13-18; 1 John 1:9; Romans 12:18; John 10:10
Photo Copyright by Sandra Day