Part 3 – Blessed are the Peacemakers
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
So over the last two weeks we have been concerning ourselves with this idea of being a peacemaker.
And last week we established that on the fundamental steps to being a peace maker is not concerning ourselves too much with the speck saw dust in our brother’s eye, until we remove the plank from our own eye.
Pop quiz: What was that plank we have in our eye that we talk about last week. EGO
But what is it about us that really starts the fight?
Why do we as good God fearing people ever have a fight?
When our kids were growing up we would go to the house of this couple we knew just about every Saturday night. We would play cards, eat bread sticks and nachos with cheese. We would have a blast. We did this for about 16 years. Yes really, 16 years.
Well our kids grew up around each other. DaRhonda and I have two kids (Ben and Brittney). Don and Tammy had one (Brian). Brian was an only child and for that reason Brian seldom ever had to share anything he had. So as a kid he really did not understand why it was necessary to share.
About every couple of months, after the boys got to a certain age, we would hear them arguing or banging around in the room. Upon further investigation we would often find out that what had happened was that Brian had demanded a toy back from Ben and Ben had refused to give it up. Their way of resolving it was BANG.
The issue was that Brian was confident in the fact that he toys were all his and he had every right to demand them. Ben had always been made to share and he was sure that he had every right to keep the toy.
Neither child could conceive of the fact that they were not entitled to anything. BANG
James 4:1-3 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
What is James saying caused these fights?
“desires that battle within you”
From the moment in the Garden of Eden when the first two people chose to do the one thing they were forbidden to do there has been these “desires that battle within us”.
Eve stood in Paradise and as she scanned the beauty that surrounded her can you imagine how the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil must have stood out for her.
Genesis 2:15-17 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
It must have darn near glowed for her.
Now imagine the offer of the serpent…
3:4 “You will not surely die,”
This moment of weakness that appears on the surface appears to be a moment of triumph of a tyrannical god that is just trying to keep humans in their place is the launching point or the basis for all sin from that point forward.
But it is not so because it was the first sin…
Satan committed that.
It is so because it is the root of all sin.
What James is telling us is that the reason for our upheaval and our failure to have peace is because we never cease to do what is best for us without regard to others.
Sometimes we will even do it when we really don’t even have a need for the thing we desire.
We covet it, at least partially, because it is forbidden.
Hey wait a minute…. That was one of those $64,000 Christian words. James used it too. What was that all about?
Covet: wish, long, or crave for (something, especially the property of another person)
Is coveting and wishing strictly the same?
No, coveting implies that you crave something or that you obsess about it until your motivations for it become corrupt.
So wishing you had a cookie can be fine within reason. But rising from bed to go to the store to get a bag of Chips Ahoy is coveting the cookie.
If you’re single… Wishing that you had a few moments with that attractive member of the opposite sex is fine within reason. But mentally taking her home from work and imagining yourself in romantic situations for hours at a time is coveting. Repeatedly emailing and/or calling even after being rebuffed is stalking and that is another sermon for another day.
Jesus even talks about this problem specifically:
Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
An example of this from scripture is seen in King David.
2 Samuel 11:1-5
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then [a] she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
At what point did David move from man after God’s own heart to sin?
When he kept looking and covetousness (lust, unchecked desire, sin) took the driver’s seat.
Is seeing something beautiful the issue?
Is knowing that great things exist the problem?
No, The issue is unrealistic desire to have that thing, person, action that is not yours.
Just like Eve, Satan talk to us doesn’t he…
“Surely you will not die…”
“David, you’re the King. Uriah is off to war. She is hot. Come on, being the King has got to have some benefits. Right?”
“I know I told the wife we can’t afford a vacation this year, but I really want that big screen TV.”
“I know she can do better than him…Like me for example.”
James 4:7 & 10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you… Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
What does it mean to resist the devil?
Did you resist the devil this week?
When was the last time you resisted the devil?
What exactly does this mean?
What happens when we come near to God?
If you place His motivations first what happen to your motivations?
Sunday School answer: They go to the back
Real answer: that doesn’t happen long term.
Long term you will learn that your motivations come back
But if you will place His motivations first enough times they will become your
What are we to do if we find ourselves in conflict?
The final answer will come next week, but I bet some of you started to answer the moment I said it.
If you know practice it this week…
If you know have you been practicing it lately?
See you next when we wrap up this series.