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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Making What Everybody Wants

Skip Heitzig - Making What Everybody Wants

Skip Heitzig - Making What Everybody Wants
Skip Heitzig - Making What Everybody Wants
TOPICS: Give Peace a Chance, Christmas, Peace

Good morning. Hey. Would you grab your Bible? Well, not grab it, take your Bible and turn to Matthew, chapter 5 in your New Testament as well as a marker in Genesis, chapter 32. So the first book in the New Testament, first book in the Old Testament are the books we're going to look at today. And it's not going to be a typical kind of a message, following kind of an expository outline. But I'm going to share some thoughts nonetheless on this incredible subject. I'm calling this message, Making What Everybody Wants, which is peace.

There's a great story about a little girl who was doing her homework one night, and her father noticed how diligent she was at getting it done. She really didn't even look up. And so dad said, "Sweetheart, what are you doing?" She said, "Daddy, I'm writing an essay for my class on how to achieve world peace." Well, he was impressed that his little girl was writing an essay on that. And he just sort of remarked, "Well, that's a pretty tall order for one little girl." And she shot back and said, "Oh, no, Daddy, there are three of us in class working on it."

I love the optimism of a girl who thinks that three kids can change the world, that three kids can bring peace on Earth. But given the track record of people in the past, she's not going to do any worse of a job than what has been done by some in the past. The Bible opens with peace. It's a garden of peace. It's the Garden of Eden. And the Bible also closes with peace. It's the eventual peace on Earth that the Messiah is going to bring, so we deal with a book that opens with peace and closes with peace. But between those two points, the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Eternity, there has been anything but peace. It's been a world, it's been a history that is filled with conflict, even though there have been pretty noble attempts to bring peace and to ensure peace.

One of the most notable examples from the New Testament era was called the Pax Romana. And the Pax Romana is a Latin term for the Roman Peace. And the Romans were pretty successful at bringing in a stability around the world by ridding the sea of pirates and ridding roads of thieves and with the iron fist of the Roman army ensuring a peaceful existence for most people that it ruled over. That was the Pax Romana.

In more recent times, there was something called the Pax Brittanica, which is also a Latin term for the British Peace. And that was during the 1800s and 1900s, the early 1800s to the early 1990s, about a century of peace, where, through their efforts, they brought a stability to the more modern world, which enabled economic growth and development. But something happened after that that shattered all of our hopes that any country was going to bring a lasting peace. It was called World War I.

Yeah, when that happened, it's like, all bets are off. And then after World War I came World War II. And as soon as World War II ended in 1945, a group of people got together, October 24, 1945, and decided that they would form finally an agency to bring world peace. It was called the United Nations. Oops, they didn't quite make it, did they? The United Nations mission statement is, "We are about the maintenance of international peace and security." That's a pipe dream. Because from that date, October 24, 1945, until this day, there has not been a single day of peace in the world, not one.

I have a quote from an interesting source in Canada called the Canadian Army Journal, which notes that since 3,600 BC, 3.64 billion people have been killed in conflict. And the value of the property destroyed is equal to a golden belt that would go all the way around the earth, and the measurements of that belt would be 97.2 miles wide, almost 100 miles wide, and 33 feet thick. That's just the value of property that is lost in all of those conflicts.

So what this tells us is that mankind has this endless capacity for conflict, for war, for not experiencing peace. So what can we do? Is there a role for us to play in this crazy world? And the answer, of course, is, yes, there is. It is the role of a peacemaker. It is the role that Jesus addresses in the Sermon on the Mount in the seventh beatitude. A beatitude is the blessings that Jesus gives to His followers. And in Matthew, chapter 5, verse 9, as part of that list, He says, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God."

Now we're going to consider that verse. We're going to consider the concept of peacemaking. And then we're going to look at a really good example of that in Genesis 32 and 33 between two brothers, Jacob and Esau, who had been estranged but made peace. But there's a special word that this beatitude begins with, hence the name beatitude, and it's the word "blessed." It is used in all of the Beatitudes that Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount. And I suppose, if ever there were a Christian word, it would be this one, "blessed" or "bless-ed."

We use it in our conversations, don't we? We say, "What a blessing." Or we say, "Have a blessed day." Or before a meal, we say a blessing for the food. Or down South, they'll look at you and say, "Bless your heart," which I've discovered isn't always a compliment down South. That's sort of a phrase that covers a multitude of sins. They may be talking smack about you. But then they say, after they talk their gossip, they say, "But bless his heart." But it's a common idea, bless or blessing.

The word that Jesus uses in all of these Beatitudes, including in verse 9, "Blessed are the peacemakers", is the Greek word "makarios," and "makarios" is a word that means fortunate, blissful, or happy. Think of it that way, "happy." Happy are the peacemakers. What's interesting about that is if you read the Beatitudes, they don't sound like it's the stuff happiness is made out of. It sounds counterintuitive. For example, in verse 3, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit." Or how about verse 4, "Blessed are those who mourn"? What's so happy about mourning? Or "Blessed are the meek," in verse 5, or how about verse 10, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake"? That does not sound like happiness to most people. That sounds like misery with another name.

But when Jesus uses the term, He's not speaking about the outward bliss or an outward situation as much as an inward condition. I think a better way to translate "blessed" is "satisfied." It's as if to say, no matter what's happening on the outside, you will be satisfied on the inside. That's blessed. It's not a temporary feeling of bliss. It's a deep supernatural contentedness. Now with that, I want to explore this concept of making peace, and I want to give you a four-fold explanation of it.

First, let's begin with the definition, peacemaking defined. There is a single word in verse 9, "peacemaker," that is grabbing our attention for this message. "Blessed are the peacemakers." It's a beautiful word. I'm not going to say it in the Greek language. Because when you hear it, it doesn't sound like a beautiful word, but it is a beautiful concept. It speaks about a person who either brings in a level of peace or restores peace that has been lost. So it's somebody who cultivates peace. It's someone who brings harmony where there was previous hostility.

In classical Greek, a peacemaker was an agent, usually of a government, who would go out and plead for peace between warring parties or warring tribes. Sometimes it was used to describe a strong ruler, who would establish peace by force. Like the Pax Romana, that was peace by force. Or the United Nations, did you know that the United Nations has a group within it called the United Nations Peacekeeping Task Force? Now any time you have to put peace and force in the same title, you know you've got problems, United Nations Peacekeeping Task Force. In other words, the only way to keep peace is to threaten war. We're going to enforce it.

And I don't know if you knew this or not, but there was, in our arsenal up until a few years ago, an ICBM in the American nuclear arsenal called the Peacemaker. Yeah, that'll do it, right? Hey, we got one of these things. You better watch yourself. We got one of these babies, the "Peacemaker," the LGM-18 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Somebody once said, Washington has lots of peace monuments. They build one after every war. We have seen diplomatic peacemakers go all over the world. They go in where there's conflict. They get parties to sign some document so that for three weeks, nobody's killing somebody else. But that's not very lasting because, after a while, they pick up their arms again, and they go at it again. It never lasts.

What they should do is send in the real peacemakers. And the real peacemakers are God's children, who know what it is to be forgiven by a holy God and, based upon that love and forgiveness, have the wherewithal to make peace horizontally. They would do a far better job. They would share the Gospel. They would do evangelism. They would share of God's forgiveness for them and peace for them. We've had enough of worldly peacemakers and their continued failure. Nobody's been able to do it. No one has been able to bring peace. In fact, the Bible even predicts that there is someone who is coming in the future, the ultimate "peacemaker," goes by an interesting title, the Antichrist.

He's going to bring peace to a world filled with conflict. And the Bible says, when everybody goes, "Peace, peace," then sudden destruction comes upon them, like a woman in labor. So this man of peace is really just a harbinger of future conflict. So peacemaking is part of our calling because in the list of Beatitudes, blessings that Jesus is describing His followers with, He gets to verse 9 and says, blessed, blissful, fortunate, satisfied, oh, how happy are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Did you know that peacemaking is very important to God? It's an important theme for God's children.

It is not the job of politicians. It is not the job of presidents. It is not the job of diplomats. It is not the job of prime ministers. It is not the job of lawyers. It is not the job of kings. It is not the task of Nobel Peace Prize winners. It is the calling for God's children. Psalm 34, verse 14, says, "Turn away from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it." Romans 14, verse 19, "Let us pursue the things which make for peace and which edify one another." Hebrews 12:14, "Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."

Now I think there is a single word in the New Testament that best describes the idea of peacemaking, and that is the word "reconcile," "reconciliation." It is used for what God has done for us, and it is used as the basis that God expects us to pull off with one another. In 2 Corinthians 5:18, let's put this up on the screen and read it together.

You don't have to read it out loud. I'll read it to you, but you can follow along. "All this is from God, who reconciled", notice the word because he repeats the idea, "who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

You see, that word is all over the place in a single verse, "reconciled." What does it mean? It's the word, "katallasso," which means to change or to alter completely, to change thoroughly. So the idea is, in reconciling, you change the relationship. You bring peace where there was hostility in a relationship. You alter it completely, thoroughly. You turn hostility into friendship. If we were reading the New Living Translation or the Living Bible, the Old Living Bible, it translates the word reconcile in a very different way. It translates it, to clear the path, to clear the path. It says, "God has cleared a path for everything to come to Him." That's got us reconciled. He's cleared the path.

So we could illustrate that, right? Let's say we're walking someplace, and we have a, let's get the path all messed up, shall we, a little bit. These are obstacles in the path. Let's just make a couple more.

Now there's, so there's, I'm getting from there to there, OK? So if I'm walking from here to there, and I'm not looking where I'm going, there are obstacles in the path. I'm going to get hurt.

I'm going to fall down. I'm going to stumble. So if I want to reconcile, if I want to bring two parties together, I clear the path, right? I move these things out of the way, right? I clear it.

And when I clear it, I have reconciled so that this party on this side and this party on this side can come together. That's what it is to make peace, to reconcile, to clear the path so that everything or everyone can come to Him. So God has cleared the path for us. God cleared the path on the cross.

He reconciled us to God. And because He's done that, He's given us a very clear calling. As we just read, He has given us the ministry of reconciliation and the message of reconciliation.

So understand how this works. Vertical reconciliation, God doing it to us, is what produces horizontal reconciliation, us doing it to others, right? It's like everything else. It's like forgiveness. We forgive because we've been forgiven.

"Forgive us our debts as we forgive those who trespassed against us." We love because God loved us. So when we experience that reconciliation, that path clearing experience, we are then equipped to do it and are called to do it for others.

So we are God's diplomats. We're His messengers of peace. That's peacemaking defined.

Let's look at a second, and that is peacemaking demonstrated. For that, I want you to go back to that passage I told you to premark, Genesis, chapter 32, Genesis, chapter 32. In verse 1, it says, "Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, 'This is God's camp.'" It's always good to go camping with God.

"And he called the name of that place, Mahanaim," which means double camp, two camps, God's camp and my camp. "Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, in the country of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, 'Speak thus to my lord Esau, Thus your servant Jacob says: I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.'" Brother, I want to make peace with you. I want to clear the path. I want to let bygones be bygones.

Now I thought of a whole different array of examples that we could look at in scripture about people who made peace. There are some notable examples. One of them is Jonathan, Jonathan, the son of King Saul. King Saul and David were at odds with each other. Jonathan sought to step in between them and bring them together as a peacemaker. That's a good example.

Another good example is Abigail, the wife of Nabal, in 1 Samuel 25. Her husband Nabal, nabal means fool, and he lived up to his name. Because one time when David protected his employees, Nabal's employees, and then later on asked for just a little bit of food to sustain David's own troops, Nabal refused. And so David said, let's just attack this guy and wipe him out.

Well, his wife found out about it, Abigail. And she went with a gift, bread, raisin cakes, grain, and presented them to David and humbled herself before David and brought peace. She was the peacemaker. She's a good example of one.

Paul's an example of a peacemaker in the New Testament, when he took a vow of a Nazarite and paid for others to take that vow, just to assuage the feelings of legalistic Jews who were having a hard time with Gentile believers. So all of those are good examples of peacemakers. I would even say an evangelist is a good example of a peacemaker.

Anybody who shares the gospel is a peacemaker because he's bringing the Gospel of peace. Even though by bringing the Gospel of peace, there might be like a little bit of a war thing that happens because unbelievers don't want to hear it, the Gospel can bring a sword. But he is bringing the message of peace, the message of reconciliation.

You might say a peacemaker is somebody who's not content to go to heaven alone. That's evangelism. But I want to consider this example, what we have just read, two brothers, who had been estranged, who had been apart for years, Jacob and Esau.

Jacob stole his brother's blessing years before, dressed himself up like his brother. He even made himself smell bad like his brother, went into his blind old dad, and got dad's blessing, tricked him, and then ran away because Esau, when he found out, said, I'm going to kill Jacob. I'm going to kill my brother.

Well, years have passed since then. Jacob has been with Uncle Laban, and now he's coming back because God told him to go back. But as he's coming back, he hears that Esau is on the move and coming toward him. Jacob immediately wants to make peace with his brother.

And he says in verse 5, here's this gift that I am giving you, these animals. I'll get to that in a minute. But he says, "That I may find favor in your sight," that we can finally make peace, that the bad blood between us can be erased. I want to be a peacemaker.

Did you know it says in Romans, chapter 12, listen to this verse, "If it is possible", I'm glad Paul said that, "if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Listen to that. That's a great verse that you and I should live by. "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." I'm glad Paul wrote it that way because sometimes it's not possible. He said, if it's possible, do it. But sometimes it's not possible.

You know why? Because some people are impossible. And what I mean by that is some people refuse to let it go. Some people will refuse to forgive.

Some people will hold onto their pain and nourish it, water it, fertilize it, stroke it. Pain, resentment, bitterness, don't let, I'm holding onto this. You can't have it. I'm not letting it go.

And so because they refuse to get over their hurt, you can only try your best. And sometimes it doesn't work. So Paul said, "If it's possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."

But this is a great example, Genesis 32 and 33, because it worked. It was successful. And, therefore, it is always worth a try. It's always worth a try.

Listen, peacemakers are people who build bridges, not walls. Anybody can build a wall. Anybody can have a reason, an excuse, to sever a relationship, put up a wall.

But peacemakers build bridges. Put it this way. Peacemakers drain their moats.

You know what I'm referring to? In ancient times, when there was a castle, they would put a moat around it. What was in the moat? What's it made out of? Water.

What was the purpose of a moat? To go swimming in, to sail in, little boats in? No, it was to separate people from you.

It was to keep outsiders outside. It was to keep enemies away. The only reason a person would drain the moat of their castle is if they have no more enemies. Peacemakers drain their moats.

One of the best ways to destroy our enemies is to make them our friends. Make peace. So Jacob approaches Esau and says, I want to make peace.

In Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 14, Paul said, "For He Himself", Christ, "is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility." It's Jesus Christ who makes people one, who brings them together. He's the basis for our peace.

Now I want to take you a little bit deeper into this text, and I want to give you the third component. That is peacemaking detailed. I want to give you some practical steps, practical steps that Jacob used in approaching his brother Esau, five tips for making peace with somebody.

Now you might immediately think, well, why do I need tips. Why do I need to make steps? Didn't Jesus just say, you go to the person that you have something against, who has wronged you? You just go directly to that person, Matthew chapter 18, and deal with it. Yes, He did.

But I think you also know that sometimes relationships can be very complicated. And the steps that I'm going to show you that this man took can help untangle the web and make path clearing just a little bit easier. So think of it this way.

Matthew 18 is the principal, go to your brother. What I'm going to show you are the particulars, so I'm going to give you five tips. Number one, use a third party, use a third party. Not always, but sometimes use a third party.

Jacob did. Notice again in verse 3, "Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom." He sent a mediator to give a statement of intent, probably out of fear, to be honest. He didn't know what's going to happen.

But this was quite common and, by the way, is still common. When nations are going to make peace, they usually send diplomats. It's not like the president and that person's prime minister or king or dictator get together. Diplomats get together, and they discuss terms of peace. They use a third party.

Now most conflicts in your life, you'll be able to handle one-on-one. You'll be able to go directly to that person in Matthew 18. But sometimes it will require outside help. Sometimes you'll need to find a spiritually mature, impartial person, who can sit in the room and observe how these people communicate and how they respond in their communication.

And because in any conflict emotions can be very edgy, a third party can help calm the waters. And remind one party, well, he didn't say it that way. That's not what I heard. You know, this is what I heard and can restore objectivity.

You don't have to turn there. But you may want to just, if you're taking notes and I hope you do take notes because otherwise you'll forget 95% of any message, but 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, go read that sometimes. 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, the whole beginning part of the chapter is this.

Paul is saying, why are you guys taking each other to court as believers in Christ. What are you suing each other for? Can't you find a single mature, spiritual person in your midst, who can be an arbitrator, a mediator, and help resolve this conflict?

So that's the third party. And even Jesus Himself said, when you're going to make peace with somebody and you go to that person alone, if they don't listen to you, you bring one or two others with you. That's the injection of a third party, so use a third party.

Number 2, second tip, bathe the conflict in prayer. Now this almost goes without saying, but because we do forget the simplest things, we state it. Bathe the conflict in prayer.

Go down to verse 9. Jacob said, "O God", he's praying now, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord, who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you.' I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff", not staff of people but like wooden stick, "and I have now become two companies.

Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, 'I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for a multitude.'" OK. So clearly Jacob is scared that Esau is going to make good on his promise years before and kill him.

But what I want you to see is what he does. He prays. He prays.

He realizes peacemaking is impossible in my own strength. I can send a third party, but peacemaking apart from God just won't work. So he includes God in the process.

Did you know that God should be our first response, rather than our last resort? Why is it that He's our last resort? Why is it that we even say stuff like this? There's nothing left to do except pray.

Well, dude, you should have started there, then you wouldn't be so freaked. Bathe it in prayer. Begin in prayer. It should be your first response, not your last resort.

You know what most people do in conflict? They don't talk to God. They talk to others. That's called gossip.

That doesn't resolve the conflict. That just spreads the conflict. Rather than talking to others about others, talk to God about others.

Talking to others about others is gossip. Talking to God about others is prayer, and that works. So he talked to God, bathed in prayer.

Third tip, bring a token, bring a token. Oh, you say, what is a token? Well, a token's a gift.

Now again, not always, but sometimes, let's look at what he does, verse 13. "So he lodged there that same night." This is chapter 32 of Genesis, verse 13. "He lodged there that night, and took what came to his hand as a present", a token, a gift, "for Esau his brother."

Let's see what he gave him. Like did he give him flowers or candy or, no, he gave him 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 ewes and 20 rams, 30 milk camels with their colts, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 foals. He gave his brother 550 animals. He gave him a farm, a zoo.

Now probably he thought by this largesse, he's going to pacify his brother. It's going to be just a great statement of generosity. I am not suggesting that you try to buy a person off. I am not suggesting that you can erase months or years of conflict and resentment by a little gift.

But when it's part of the total package, the total plan, the using the third party, the bathing it in prayer, and some of the other things, it will show the earnest attitude that you have to be a blessing to that person. You're there not to take. You're there to give. You're there to be a blessing to them and to make amends.

Proverbs 18:16 says, "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men." The idea of making room is it opens that person's heart up. It makes room in that person's heart for you.

It provides access that has been shut up up to this point. It takes them off guard. They don't expect that gift.

Jesus said, "If somebody wants to sue you to take your shirt", what do you do? Do you countersue them? Is that what Jesus said?

If somebody wants to sue you to take your shirt, countersue him. No, he said, give him your cloak also. Give him a gift.

Give him more than he's trying to get. That'll flip him out. That'll take him off guard, so bring a token.

Number 4, fourth tip, making peace. When you make peace, walk with a limp. Walk with a limp. So we don't have time to go through the whole story, but while he's going on to meet his brother Laban, he meets the angel of the Lord. He's called the angel of the Lord by one of the other prophets.

The angel of the Lord meets with him, and Jacob and the angel get into a wrestling match that lasts all night. Let's just, let me take you down to verse 24. So "Jacob is left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day." Verse 25, "Now when he saw", that is the angel of the Lord saw, "that he did not prevail against him", in other words, this Jacob guy is just, he is a fighter, he just won't let go, "He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him."

So Jacob gets into a wrestling match with an angel. By the end of it, probably toward morning, his hip is out of joint, which means that when he sees Laban later on that day, number one, he's really tired because he'd been wrestling all night. Number two, when he saw his brother Laban, he's probably walking like this if it's out of joint, right?

He's walking with a limp. He's walking with a limp. So he's not filled with strength and power. He's walking with a limp.

Why is that significant? Because it's so appropriate. You remember what Jacob means, the name Jacob? It means "heel catcher."

Because when those two boys were born, Esau came out first. Jacob came out second. They were twins. Jacob came out grabbing the heel of Esau, so they called him heel-catcher.

That's his name, one who grabs the heel. And it proved to be prophetic because he tripped his brother by stealing his blessing later on. So I love the fact that heel-catcher is caught, and heel-catcher is walking with a limp.

So he comes in not with hubris but with humility because he's walking with a limp. So in conflict, follow this advice. Be humble, go low because pride, arrogance, smugness, desire for revenge, all of these are the enemies of peace.

Remember, you forgive because you've been forgiven. You love because you've been loved by God. You clear the path because the path has been cleared for you. Be humble, or you'll stumble. That's number four.

Number 5, fifth little tip in the details here, let down your guard. Let down your guard. You know, typically when people go into the room to make peace, whether it's a husband and wife or whether it's people who are at business and at odds with each other, and you have an arbitrator, a mediator, usually things begin very formal. And they can stay that way. But real healing takes place when the parties let their guard down.

So I want you to watch this in verse 3 of chapter 33. Genesis 33, verse 3, "Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother." Now this was all formality. This is how they did it in those days.

So I'm Jacob. Esau's down at the other end of the platform, except he's way, way, way, way far away. As soon as he sees me, I stop, and I bow down. I do my little formality like that, right?

And then so he knows, that guy just bowed down way, way out there, so that must be Jacob. He gets a little bit closer. Now he can sort of make me out a little easier.

And I do the same thing again. I bow down. And I get a little bit closer. I keep doing that seven times. All of that was just formal peacemaking strategy.

But verse 4, "But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him", and watch this, "and they wept." Two grown men, one swore to kill the other, one deathly afraid that he is going to be dead by nighttime, they both wept. That's letting your guard down.

There's no Macho Man here. There's no brave face they put on here. This is just authentic stuff, that touch, that embrace.

They'd been away so long, and there's a willingness between them to make things right. This is authentic emotion. Let your guard down.

So we have peacemaking defined. We have peacemaking demonstrated, and we have peacemaking detailed. Let's go back and close this thing off in Matthew, chapter 5, verse 9. Let me give you peacemaking detected.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Notice He doesn't say, blessed are the peacemakers for they shall become sons of God. You don't become a child of God by being a peacemaker. You become a child of God by receiving Jesus Christ. That's how you become a child of God.

John, chapter 1, verse 12, "As many as received Him, to them, He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." That's how you become a child of God. But having become a child of God, you will be called a child of God when you make peace.

That is, people will be able to say, you must be related to God. You remind me of God because God is a God who likes to make peace. God likes to clear the path, and you're doing that. You must know him.

You must be related to him. You must be a child of Him. There's a family resemblance that I see. That's the idea. "They will be called sons of God."

You know what? Peacemaking is a great advertisement for the God of Peace and the Prince of Peace. A person who says, man, I want to make peace. I'm a peacemaker. If that's your general attitude, you are a great ad for God.

Let me tell you what's not a great ad for God, grumbling, complaining, being disruptive, being divisive, quarrelsome. Anybody who lives that way, we have a doubt to question that person's walk with the Lord. But blessed, oh, how happy, to be envied, blissful, satisfied are the peacemakers, they will be called, we can detect, that they are children of God.

So peacemakers solutions, not arguments. Peacemakers calm the waters. They don't stir them up. Peacemakers work for reconciliation, not division.

Peacemakers lower their voices, rather than raise their voices. And peacemakers generate more light than they do heat. That's a peacemaker. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Now as we close, just remember where the peace initiative began. The peace initiative from God began at the cross. At the cross, God was building a bridge so that God and humanity could come together, could be reconciled.

Romans, chapter 5, verse 10, "We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son." There was a husband and wife who had the worst possible experience, and that is the death of a child. Their only son died. They buried him and tried to work through it.

But as is so often the case, the relationship was so utterly strained after that that they broke up. They were estranged from one another, and he, the husband, moved to another side of the country. The wife stayed in town.

Years passed after that son's death, and the husband was back in town for business. And what was the first place he did? Where was the first place he would visit? The grave of his son, he went to the cemetery.

He stood there for hours, wept, had memories of the past. It was a very difficult moment. It was a healing moment at the same time.

And as he was about to leave, he heard footsteps behind him. And he turned around, and he saw guess who, his estranged wife, who was also visiting the cemetery that morning. Their first response in seeing each other was to be repulsed, to pull away, to turn away.

But they didn't because they had a mutual interest in that one grave. So instead they clasped hands and began a reconciliation process. They were reconciled over the death of their only son.

We are reconciled to God over the death of His only Son. As painful as that was for the Father, it brought you and I to Him. We are reconciled to God through the death of His Son.

We'd like to have peace internationally. There will not be peace among the nations of the world until there is peace in the individual nations themselves. There will not be peace in the individual nations themselves until there's peace in the communities within the nations themselves. And there will not be peace in the communities of those nations until there's peace dwelling in the hearts of the people that live in those communities.

And there will not be peace in the hearts of those people until the Prince of Peace occupies stage center, the throne of a life. I wonder if you've done that? I wonder if you've allowed Him to occupy the throne of you, where He is your Lord, your Savior, your Master. If not, this is a perfect day to do it.

Let's bow our hearts together, shall we? And if you've not received Christ as Savior, as Lord, do that. Do it now. Be humble, go low. Say this to God. You could say it out loud, if you like. You could say it in your heart, but say this to him. Say:

Lord, I admit I'm a sinner. I know I am. I admit it. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe He came. I believe He died. I believe He shed His blood for me. And I believe He rose again from the dead. I believe He's alive right now. And so I turn from my sin. I repent of my sin, and I turn to Christ as Savior, as Lord. I pray you will fill me with your Holy Spirit, as I seek to follow You every day. Take me just as I am. Thank You for Your willingness to make peace with me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Are you Human?:*