Weekend Message Takeaway: “Waging Peace”

Continuing our study through the Sermon on the Mount, this past weekend Pastor Doug shared from Matthew 5:9–12. In this message, we explored what it means to be a peacemaker and why this is so important to God, how conflict should be resolved, and we were encouraged regarding the impermanence of persecution.   

Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.

 

FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug's teaching this weekend:

"Blessed are the peacemakers (eirenopoioi)": Pacific, loving peace; a peacemaker, one who bravely declares the Word of God and the harmony of God, which makes someone whole.

A more accurate description of this characteristic may be “lover of peace.” What Jesus is calling us to here is much more than simply being someone who seeks to cultivate peace between people. Instead, it’s being someone who is peaceable, peaceful, and gentle. This person is friendly, considerate, sincere, and full of mercy (James 3:17); they embody peace and goodwill and bring it out of people as they are soothed by his or her presence. He or she is also adept at being quiet, at truly listening to others and diffusing strife and discord.

This beatitude so rightly follows after the pure in heart, as it is the absence of impurity in our heart that allows the Lord to manifest the power to make peace within ourselves and others. It should be no surprise that an impure heart cannot experience peace and inner harmony, let alone promote it successfully in others.

Jesus calls the peacemakers sons of God. You see, when Christ came to earth, His mission was one of peace! He came to make a way for us to have peace with God by tearing down sin and death, allowing us to experience the peace of God and to live in harmony and unity with God. Jesus is the highest founder of peace, the ultimate peacemaking ambassador. And we who share in the work of Christ also share in the sonship, in receiving the inheritance that comes with being given adoption as heirs (Galatians 4).

When God Sees a Breach, He Builds a Bridge (Matthew 5:9): Conflict robs people of joy and vitality. It festers, grows, and eats away at you. But God delights in breathing grace into our lives. You see, when we see problems, Jesus sees possibilities in disguise . . . the possibilities to draw people to Him. And He’s called us, His children, to be peacemakers in our world, to use these possibilities to help people experience the wholeness that can only come from God. He’s called us to dissipate anger, to promote justice, to encourage repentance, and mediate reconciliation. 

"Blessed are those who are persecuted (dediogmenoi)":  To be aggressively chased, like a hunter pursuing a catch (prize); to be zealously persecuted, hunted down; pursued with all haste, earnestly desiring to overtake (apprehend); to harass, trouble, molest one.

As we’ve seen with most of these beatitudes, there is a profound significance in the order Jesus delivered them. You see, the work of the peacemaker is not light and easy work. Often, when we work for peace, there is usually someone looking to wage war (Psalm 120:7). Here, Jesus is speaking about one who is persecuted, not for an opinion or for some manner of societal discrimination or cultural difference, but for living righteously, for embodying the previous seven statements made by Jesus.

Our Lord is reassuring those who will suffer for His name that they will receive their reward when they enter eternity. It’s indicative that the last promise is the same as the first. We end as we began . . . with the kingdom of heaven.

Persecution Is Never Eternal (Matthew 5:10–12): Jesus warns us that we will be persecuted because of righteousness. Our Lord is basically guaranteeing that we will endure persecution, just as Jeremiah, Elijah, Daniel, Amos, Micah, and the other prophets did. But then, Jesus offers a massive, beautiful expectation and hope to this guarantee of persecution: our great reward in heaven. And He encourages us to rejoice and be glad about the persecution we endure because of the amazing reward that awaits us.

"Blessed are you when people insult you (oneidisosin)": To be reproached, reviled, upbraided; to be disgraced, mocked (cursed), shamed; to be viewed as deserving punishment—this can be based on fact (Matthew 11:20) or incorrect assumptions (Matthew 5:11).

If you notice, this verse is the first time a beatitude is spoken directly to the listening disciples, and not just as a general law—instead of saying, “Blessed are,” Jesus says, “Blessed are you.” This was done in preparation for what Jesus knew was to come, as early Christ-followers would all experience persecution in the first few centuries of the movement.

The passage actually contains three forms of persecution and suffering: 1) the vague contempt (insults and mocking), 2) persecution (cultural and physical), and 3) deliberate defaming and slanderous lies about the Christ-follower. For believers in the first two centuries, this included being accused of incest and cannibalism (Thyesteian banquets)—misinformed and completely off-base accusations that were spread throughout the Roman Empire.

As Matthew Poole wrote, “Not of debt, but of grace; for our light and momentary afflictions are not worthy to be compared with an eternal and exceeding weight of glory; where there is no proportion, there can be no merit: especially, when it is given to us on the behalf of Christ to suffer.”

God Will Have the Last Word . . . and It Will Be Good: Even with the looming threat of potential persecution, we are called to fight against injustice and boldly proclaim the kingdom of heaven in the face of opposition. And if we do find ourselves experiencing persecution because of righteousness, we can stand firm as we remember that God suffers with the oppressed and will not tolerate injustice forever.

The glory and the magnificence of spending eternity in the presence of God Almighty, in His kingdom, adopted as His son or daughter far outweighs anything this world can hurl against us!

Quote to Remember: Conflict provides us with a powerful opportunity to glorify God.—Pastor Doug Sauder


ARISE AND GO: MISSIONS WEEK
January 31–February 7 | Various Times and Locations
Missions Week kicks of this Wednesday! Come find out how you can take up the call of God and be part of something amazing and life-changing. Get a closer look at how God is reaching the nations and expanding His kingdom through ordinary people who said “I will go!” Meet missionaries from various countries and hear their stories, learn about the persecuted church, human trafficking, and how to share your faith with the people you encounter every day.

For more info, contact Lysa McMillan or click here.


BEATITUDES DEVOTIONAL READING PLAN
Go in-depth into one of the most famous sermons ever preached by Jesus, the Beatitudes. This passage is filled with practical and profound wisdom that every Christian can benefit from. We pray that as you take the time over the next few weeks to study these ten verses, that you would hear from the Lord and experience a deeper relationship with Him! Click here to subscribe.


A LOOK AHEAD
This Wednesday, come hear special guest speaker Rob Hoskins—president of One Hope, a dynamic global ministry whose mission is to affect destiny by providing God’s Word to all the children and youth of the world.

This weekend we’ll continue our study through the Sermon on the Mount as Pastor Doug explores Matthew 5:13–16. Join us as we explore what it means to be salt and light in the world.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.