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Beautiful Choices // Sermon 7

Beautiful Choices (Sermon Seven)
The Beatitudes

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Matthew 5:3-9 NLT
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”

1. I love this Beatitude. God honors and blesses those who live their lives bringing peace into their world.

2. Conflict and war all the time everywhere.

- Friends and family strife-ridden and driven.
- Husbands and wives have gone from loving to feuding.
- Parents and children fussing and fighting.
- Employees despise employers and employers grapple with employees.
- Half the country hated the former President and the other half now hate this one.

3. We are constantly facing contentious and explosive situations. And it is wearisome and tiring and draining.

- But Jesus comes along and says: "Blessed are the peacemakers..."

4. Now, peacemaking may be difficult, but it isn't optional for us. Because we have been transformed and redeemed...

- Because we have been born again and made anew...
- Because we live by a new set of values and standards...
- And because we do, we are at peace with God and with ourselves; then we are called by our Lord to peddle peace wherever we go and wherever we are.

5. So, how do we do that?

- I often tell folks in conflict that we all carry two buckets. One has gas and one has water. What we throw on a fire determines how intense and how big it gets.

A) We all know people who carry a bucket of gas. There's always conflict and strife.

- If Larry and Fred have a problem, and Larry and Barney have a problem, and Larry and Myrtle have a problem...

B) And then there are those who thrive in conflict. They aren't happy unless they are fussing. Nothing is ever enough. They focus on the negative and rarely see the good in anything or anyone.

- And we're supposed to live in peace and create peace!

6. The Word of God says:

Ephesians 4:1-3 NLT
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Because you are a Christian you are called - you are set apart - you've been marked and mandated to be a person of peace. And Paul tells us how.

A) Live with humility and gentleness.

(1) See yourself in a healthy manner - good self-image but not arrogant and prideful.

(2) Pride generates envy and strife.

(3) Humility is as the Scriptures teach, preferring others and putting them first.

Philippians 2:3-4 NLT
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

(4) Selfishness, as I said weeks ago, is at the core of our conflicts, destroying our marriages, killing our families and repelling what could have been.

- And it ought not be how Christ-followers live.

B) Live with patience, bearing with one another in love, making allowance for each other's faults.

(1) How many arguments and conflicts have been caused by our impatience?

- And isn't impatience the fruit of self-centeredness and arrogance?

- I know this isn't easy for most of us. I know it is kind of in our face. But we have to choose sooner or later how we want to live our lives. And the choice here is rather simple, in peace or conflict? And the Word of God pulls no punches. It is direct and plain. To live a life blessed we must adhere to the principles of God's Word.

(2) And what about this "making allowance for each other's faults"?

- I am learning that it is just as easy to give someone the benefit of the doubt as it is to assume the worst. Most conflicts I've been a part of have come about because the worst was assumed and intentions misunderstood.

- How amazing would it be and what a difference it would make if we gave others the slack and latitude that we would expect!

- And how helpful would it be if we assumed the best, not the worst? Assumed the good, not the bad? If we just took a deep breath from our stressed out lives and remembered that not everyone is out to get us or take advantage of us.

- And maybe people mean well, they just struggle expressing it.

- Or maybe they are having a bad day or a bad life and just needing someone to throw a little warm water on them, not a bucket of gas!

What a difference we could make if we walked in peace and shared that peace everywhere every day!

And sad to say, we aren't immune to it even here in church. Because we don't always practice the faith, brothers live in contempt of brothers and sisters with sisters. And we have a broken world in which many are wounded by those who profess the faith but don't practice it. And I say to you, we are better than that! We live by a higher standard than that! Paul says in this Ephesians passage:

C) "Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

(1) YOU - ME make EVERY effort to keep united...

- To walk in unity
- To live in harmony
- To bury the hatchet
- To not hold grudges
- To cut some slack
- Assume the very best

(2) There's enough tension in the world. There's enough pain in the world. There's enough hatred in the world.

But here, right here, the WCOG is a house of prayer and healing and grace. You are safe here. We assume the best in you and for you here. None of us are qualified to be beating up on you or pushing you down or aside.

We're in this life together. We are many people and many ideas and many differences, but we have this common bond; Jesus is our Savior. Jesus is our Lord. He has redeemed us. Made us equals. And together we are going to hold hands and hearts and run to the finish line together.

No one on their own. No one left behind. No one forgotten and no one better than the other!

Church, the devil would like nothing more than to stop our church. Defeat our efforts. Get our eyes off the mission. But we will fight for our unity. We will fight for our brothers and sisters. We will resist the gossip and the bitter words and racism and bigotry and arrogance. And we will love one another. Pick each other up when we fall. We will believe in each other and trust each other and forgive each other and care for one another. For the Blood of Jesus makes us one.

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God."

You and I are called the sons of God. Why? 

- Because we are at peace with God, with ourselves, and with others.
- And at peace we look like Jesus.

Worship Set

Our God 

- Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin

Verse 1

Water You turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There's no one like You
None like You

Verse 2

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You

Chorus 1

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power our God our God

Misc 1 (Bridge)

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against
(Then) what could stand against

How Great Is Our God 

- Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin

Verse 1

The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

Chorus 1

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

Verse 2

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

The Lord's Prayer

- Lowell Mason

Our Father who art in heav’n
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heav’n
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom
And the power and the glory
Forever and ever

I Never Lost My Praise 

- Kurt Carr

I've lost some good friends along life's way
Some loved ones departed in Heaven to stay
But thank God I didn't lose everything
I've lost faith in people who said they cared
In the time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment
In my season of pain
One thing never wavered
One thing never changed

I never lost my hope
I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith
Most of all I never lost my praise

My praise still here
My praise still here

I let some blessings slip away
And I lost my focus and went astray
But thank God I didn't lose everything
I lost possessions that were so dear
And I've lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggles
In my season of pain
One thing never wavered
One thing never changed
Praise praise praise
Most of all I never lost my praise
My praise still here
My praise still here