God Tells You How to Make Peace.
We’re gonna talk about peacemaking. And you have a handout on that in your syllabus. Also, you should’ve been given these folders which I hope you’ll look at. We’re going through this talk. We buy these by the hundred. I keep them in my Bible. I keep them on my desk. I keep them at home. There’s no counseling tool I use more than this little brochure, Which summarizes these principles. If you really wanna get down on what’s in here however, I would encourage you to go further into the peacemaking material. The place to begin would be to read The Peacemaker by Ken Sande, who was our speaker at our annual conference last year. They now have a lot of other material, Peacemaking for Families, Peacemaking for Women, Peacemaking for Children with comic books, Church Peacemaking, small group studies, so it’s just expanded all over the place. But it’s great biblically based material. I think for me, having read the book and having taught the material, this is just such an excellent summary of the most important parts of the material, something you can hand to the counselee. And I’ll do that along with our audio, which is really what you’re about to hear live on peacemaking, as a homework assignment. And this is material that I have seen the Lord use often and effectively. It’s really a large percentage of counseling is gonna involve peacemaking. Obviously, working with couples will most always involve peacemaking. But usually, even when you’re counseling an individual, anger is because of conflict, depression is because of relationships. So, this is really, really important stuff.
The Bible talks about the nature of peace in two ways. Heb 12:14
Now, peace is kind of a funny thing because everybody says he’s in favor of peace, right? Even the President of Iran will say he’s in favor of peace and yet peace is hard to come by. We live in a world full of conflict, among nations, throughout the world. There are wars, there are revolutions, there are divisions. And among individuals, our courts are full of lawsuits, divorces, people in neighborhoods fighting, couples fighting, abuse taking place, shouting, hitting. Churches have divisions. Conflict sometimes over important doctrine and sometimes over the color to paint a room or the addition of another musical instrument that some people don’t agree with or a different kind of worship. Pair church organizations often have a lot of trouble with divisions that can take place there. Actually, one of our missionaries, I was checking during a break, and he’s teaching in a seminary abroad, and he’s concerned that the seminary, which has been there for many decades, may dissolve because of a conflict taking place right now among the leadership of the seminary. And he’s been teaching there for some years and he may have to go find another place of ministry.
Well, if you think about peace, think about the nature of peace, and there are two different senses in which we can think of peace. One is more objective. Romans 5:1. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God. That’s talking about a status, doesn’t it? You can say in a sense that we’re at peace with our neighbors North and South of us, meaning that we’re not fighting a war. We may not be getting along great, but there’s at least a lack of hostility, kind of a status of peace.
But also the word uses peace in a more subjective way of wellbeing. What’s the Hebrew word for peace? Shalom. That’s like one of three Hebrew words some of us remember from seminary 20 years ago. Shalom. And that goes beyond just a lack of conflict. It’s talking about a sense of wellbeing that all is doing well, all is great. The good news, biblically, is that God tells us how to have peace. A couple of summary verses that deal with that. One is Romans chapter 12, verse 18. It says, “if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Another verse that’s kind of a summary verse, is Hebrews 12:14. It says “Pursue peace with all men “and the sanctification without which “no one will see the Lord.” What kind of sanctification is that? Progressive, yeah.
Christ is the Prince of Peace who has come on a mission of peace.
So, God tells us to have peace, but he also tells us how to have peace. And first, you think of Christ, that Christ has come on a mission of peace. He is the Prince of Peace. He makes peace between God and man. And even he makes peace among men. In Ephesians two, beginning verse 11 it describes how he is even among Jews and Gentiles made peace in his body, breaking down the division, the dividing wall that once separated Jew and Gentile. So he is the Prince of Peace, he is the ultimate peacemaker. Through him we have peace with God.
Our peacemaking flows out of Christ.
And our peacemaking flows out of Christ’s. And in biblical peacemaking, as much as anything else we talk about, is founded on the gospel. And as God has made peace with us, we make peace with one another. And God’s peace is a gracious peace. The effort came on his side, not our side. It was also a costly peace. So if you’re gonna deal with conflict, you’re gonna spend a lot of time talking about the gospel. So, again, everybody agrees that peace is a good idea. They might even appreciate that God likes peace. He’s a God of peace, Christ is the Prince of Peace, but the bible also teaches us how, in terms of method, to be peacemakers. Now, for some believers this may be review. Although, for many of us, in a group this size, I imagine some of us right now are involved in conflicts, unresolved conflicts. And it’s amazing to me how, even though many Christians know what the Bible says about this, that we’re failing to put it into practice. Just like we know the Gospel, but we’re not living the Gospel. You see the kinds of divisions that take place among churches, within churches, within families who claim to be Christian. It is shocking and grieving how Christians fail to follow these principles. I’ve even known people who have taught seven hours in sessions on peacemaking, and then when they get into a conflict, they resort to the flesh and their depravity in how they deal with that. So, these principles will apply in virtually every human relationship. You’ll find it’s in the home, it’s in the church, it’s with family, in a school situation, in a work situation. It’s really valuable. First though, you cannot completely avoid conflict. Romans 12:18 reminds us this. If possible, so far as it depends on you.