- Watch Video Here: Session 09 – Peacemakers & Persecution
Matthew 5:9 – Before making peace with others, we must first be at peace with God. As we have emptied ourselves of pride, mourned our sin, sought God with meekness, and reached out to others with mercy, our hearts have gone through a purifying process. The failures, anxieties, and powerlessness we have experienced have caused us to seek help. We came to the realization that the only true answer to our situation is through a relationship with Almighty God. As we cast our cares to Him, He continues to strengthen us and fill us with His peace.
1 Corinthians 1:11-13; 3:1-3 – The nature of man is such that he is contentious.
If we are to walk with God, then we must become peacemakers because we will always be confronted with strife. We are commanded to follow peace.
Hebrews 12:14 – Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Ephesians 6: 15 – ….having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace….
The peacemaker is one pure in heart who, having received the peace of God in his own life, brings peace to his neighbor. Showing us the complete opposite of peacemaker and helping us to understand the concept are the following antonyms: the one who disturbs; agitates greatly; stirs up trouble; makes an uproar; causes discord, dissension, division; a contentious, brawling, fighting person.
A peacemaker understands God’s will for peace and is willing to do whatever necessary to ensure peace prevails.
Romans 12:14-21 – If it be possible, live peaceably. We must be willing to allow God to be in control and not try to force others to do what we think.
Romans 14:1-19 – Being loving and yielding is not compromising on your own faith. We must understand that maturing takes time.
Philippians 2:1-3 – Selfishness and vain glory destroy unity and peace.
Verses 4:6 and 7 – Prayer aids in peacemaking.
Colossians 3:12-14 – Some people do not want to live peaceably. Therefore, we must avoid getting caught into their evil.
Matthew 5:25-26 – Contentions have the nature of escalating rapidly, so we must deal immediately with them. If you have issues with someone, use your words in a loving nonjudgmental way to talk with the person, and do not harbor the stuff in your heart because it will grow.
Matthew 18:15-17 – This is a godly format to follow when experiencing difficulties with a brother.
Romans 10:15 – As we speak God’s Word to others, it will bring peace.
Persecution and Tribulation
Matthew 5:10-12 – Everyone (Christian or non-Christian) suffers until Christ returns. Christians are not exempt but are enabled to respond victoriously. God promises that He will always be with us especially through the inevitable struggles of life.
Matthew 13:19-23 – “Persecution” is to be treated cruelly or unfairly especially because of our beliefs, to be constantly annoyed or bothered. “Tribulation” is the distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution. The aim is to rip us away from God’s Word and cause separation from God.
John 15:20 – Persecution is not optional.
John 16:33 – Our response is to be the opposite of what is natural. Cheer is on the other end of the response spectrum. Our response is to be supernatural, above that which is natural.
Throughout history Christians have had varying degrees of persecution, often determined by the society and government within a country. Such is true still today in many parts of the world.
Whether we are outwardly persecuted for our faith or not, Satan is still the god of this age and as such our personal adversary.
We cannot stop the abusive words, acts of enmity, and false, evil communications of others. We can determine our response.
Within Determines Without
To rejoice and be exceedingly glad in persecution, we must have the right attitude of heart. We must permit God to work in us. Pray!
Persecution, on the surface, may seem to be designed to push us away. However, the aim is the opposite.
Persecution is evil, attacking us, tempting us to respond in kind.
Persecution does not separate us from God. The evil with which we respond does.
Matthew 5:44 – The persecutor should receive the blessings of our prayers, not reciprocal persecution.
The pain that the persecutor causes acts as a signal.
Persecution is a Signal to act
To the deceived, it may be a signal to respond in some addicted, obsessive, or compulsive way.
To the sober-minded, pain can be a signal to run to God for His help and comfort. For those who respond in a godly manner, persecution is something in which to rejoice because it draws them closer to God, and He has promised to reward them. Psalm 18:1-3 Prayer is a proper, godly response to persecution.
Romans 12:14 – Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Psalm 31:9-24 – David, when persecuted, ran into the arms of God.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – Paul took pleasure in persecutions because they helped him to realize his weakness and to rely humbly upon God which made him strong.
Great is Your Reward
Romans 5:2-4 – Focus on the hope of the return of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:17-18 – Afflictions or tribulations are light compared to the eternal weight of glory.
2 Corinthians 4:17 and 18 – Persecution is a lever to draw closer to God; therefore, we can indeed rejoice.
1 Peter 2:19-23 – His godly attitude toward the suffering is our example. His concern was not man’s justice but God’s will. When we embrace this concept, we enjoy freedom from the negative attacks of people and the world.
1 Peter 3:12-4:1 – God knows when we are suffering and will help us.
1 Peter 4:12-16 – Have the same mind