Part 4 – Blessed are the Peacemakers…
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
This is the fourth week we have talked about being peacemakers.
I think it’s about time we actually started to talk about what to do when peace breaks down.
In other words…
What if you have an argument with someone?
What if you have someone that is giving you grief?
What do we do if someone that you know…
Is hurting you repeatedly?
Does is make a difference if that person is a Christian or not?
Is should shouldn’t it.
Well it does.
The Bible tells us that there is a difference.
In Mathew 18 we find Jesus speaking to his disciples about the ministry they are about to peruse without him. Funny they start our by asking “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven”
Then at 18:3 he tells them something that should sound familiar from our last 3 weeks.
I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
As they continue to talk he begins to tell them what to do if a conflict should come up between them.
Matthew 18 (NIV)
15“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Notice Jesus says, “When your brother sins against you.” not “When your brother irritates you.”
Why is this significant?
(So… Need an example.
Imagine a group of men were meeting for breakfast and discussing their lives. As part of the this group they have agreed to keep each others issues confidential and to hold each other accountable for a Christian walk.
One week Jim tells of an issue he has had after a pop up add of a pornography site led him to spend more and more time in such places. He asks for help and they pray over it and suggest way to work through it.
A week later Jim’s wife confronts him with the issue and explains that Joes wife told her he had a problem.
Joe has sinned against Jim, by betraying his confidence and may have destroyed the group.
What doe Jim do? Matthew 18:15-17)
Do you need to confront the brother after every single sin?
How do you feel when someone confronts you with one single, solitary infraction?
What if someone who comes with a trainload of things you have done wrong?
Why “just between the two of you”?
What is the hope, the goal of this encounter?
What kind of attitude should we have as we go?
Why don’t we just start by standing on the Church and exclaiming that Joe keeps telling all of the things I tell him in our prayer time?
Once the words have been spoken in the open crowed like that, the options for the accused become very limited.
Now the person was accused must defend themselves.
Now no matter how much you make up and resolve the issue between you there is no way to put the comments back.
One to one there is the opportunity for the two people to work through the situation with their humanity in place.
Oddly though… Jesus tells us that if we take that time together, allowing each other to be humans and not wretched sinners, we will most likely gain a friend for life.
If that is not working why bring a single friend?
Is it possible that you are wrong?
Bringing along another brother is admitting that you could be wrong.
But it is also allowing the other person to know that it isn’t just you against them. It is us… Trying to work through an issue. Not accusing and calling them a wretched sinner.
Paul sheds some light on this is when he was talking to the Church at Colossians.
Colossians 3 (NIV)
13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
What does this verse teach about who we need to confront and who we don’t?
How do we know which sins to confront and which sins to “bear with in love”?
This brings us back to the last bit of what Jesus tells us regarding how to finally deal with a brother who will not stop hurting you.
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
So first, What would be the value of standing in the middle of the Church an announcing that someone is a sinful scoundrel?
How many of you would be healed by having your sin announced to the congregation?
No. Not even at this point would you or I be healed by that. Please take the time to be careful who you tell. Tell the Board. Tell the Pastor. Be constructive.
Build each other up.
Finally, “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector”
How did Jesus treat pagans and tax collectors?
9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
29Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”
1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”
8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
Friday night we had an event that for DaRhonda and I was like landing on Mars.
We came here on Thursday because we were officiating the funeral on Friday and a going to the showing on Thursday night. When we came over to the Church we marveled at the spider webs and Halloween lights. How weird for us.
This is a CHURCH!
But we are open to learn and we want to be welcoming.
“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
Friday night we had more new people at our Church than we have had since the VBS or 5/10K run.
People saw that Christians are silly, fun, and loving. We talked about movies, raising kids, politics, and food. But we also spoke volumes about our faith.
So, treat your fallen brother like Jesus treated Pagans and Tax Collectors.
Eat with them. Laugh with them. Heal them. Show them your love for God.