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The Peacemakers and The Persecuted

• Greg Boyd

Being a peacemaker is more profound than simply being skilled at ending arguments. Our peacemaking is working against the corruption and conflict that pervade this world. In this sermon, Greg shows us how the cycle of conflict and how we can live in a way that breaks the cycle.

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Peacemakers are often thought of as people who are skilled at ending arguments. And while this is a good skill, being a peacemaker is much more profound. Jesus doesn’t tell us to make peace; he calls us peacemakers. Inherent in our Kingdom DNA is being peaceful creatures. We stand at odds with the world that is full of conflict, and we bring peace not because we act peaceful but because we are children of God.

An ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, said “War is father of all, king of all. Some it makes gods, some it makes men, some it makes slaves, some free.” He was saying that war and conflict were the most important things in creation. As Christians, we see the effect of the corrupted world the same way Heraclitus did, but we don’t agree with the principle of it. Jesus is our King and God our Father, and we know that peace is the way to freedom.

Conflict permeates all of creation, but God did not design it that way. In fact, our fallen nature caused creation to be subjected to futility, which in Greek means depravity and frailty. This means noting works quite right and everything decays. We see that everyday as our bodies grow older and the headlines grow bolder. This world is full of futility and depravity. And if we didn’t have Jesus, this world would look very bleak indeed.

Jesus’ work on the cross created peace in the middle of this creation full of conflict. And Jesus’ work fixed the corruption, in principle. While we don’t see it right now, this conflict of good vs. evil has been decided in favor of good. Jesus’ work on the cross destroyed the work of Satan, and while we don’t see its fullness now, we will one day.

So, when we are faced with situations full of conflict, we should react with the peace and grace of Jesus so that we don’t perpetuate the cycle of conflict. The cycle of violence continues when we try to avenge ourselves when we get hurt. But, by avenging ourselves, we create hurt in the other person. The cycle continues until we destroy one another. Jesus says, instead of trying to avenge yourself, create peace through forgiveness and humility. When we do this, we exhibit the child-like faith that God wants to see from us.

Being a peacemaker means that we are children of God. To be a child, we must act like the parent. And when we face persecution and conflict, we should react as Jesus did. Jesus could have avenged himself, and he could have defended himself. But he chose not to because he knew that wouldn’t solve the problems of this world. He offered up his life for something more important than his life. We are called to do the same. To share peace instead of creating conflict, we act like Jesus and look like a child of God.

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Topics: Conflict, Judgment, Peace

Sermon Series: Blessed Revolution


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Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 5:9-10

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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6 thoughts on “The Peacemakers and The Persecuted

  1. kevin says:

    Why must the ‘interval’ take thousands of years to manifest?

  2. Jacob says:

    Being raised in a Mennonite home this has always been a subject that was at the forefront and a personal struggle. My Father preached peace and was jailed for not going to war, but was not a peaceful person.

    Greg stated that we do not let ourselves be abused. I agree! But, what about our wife and children, neighbor…. , do we protect them from abusers and to what level of force do we use to protect?

    Is there a difference between being vengeful or protecting our selves, family, neighborhood,…..country, or the innocent ect…?

    Thanks

  3. Robert W says:

    I’ve found myself in similar situations, with people accusing me of heresy per se and one way I’ve found to defuse the situation is to say let’s pray that if I’m wrong God will reveal it to me. I believe in prayer and if you do too let’s pray. And then I’m not afraid to sincerely pray and ask the Lord to show me His truth. And it’s hard to argue with that.

  4. Thomas says:

    I am in the military (in a non-combatant role) working with someone who is constantly making comments about Christians and the “fairy-tale” of Christianity. He constantly uses GD and makes it a point to antagonize me about my beliefs. He parades himself as being a highly intelligent scientific person. I am more educated than he, but I do not correct him when he makes stupid comments. It is very tempting to put him in his place, but I know that this would only escalate into a possible fight. I pray that his eyes would be open to the truth. I try to exhibit shalom, however it is very difficult to keep my mouth shut. I believe that God will create an opportunity to show him that the reality of God creates life and that his brokenness is Mataiotes, leading to death.

  5. Rick says:

    Just checking first to see if my comment will go through?

  6. Rick says:

    Good , it has 🙂

    I am so grateful for being able to listen to Greg’s view from time to time. My first exposure to Greg was through his book, ‘The Myth of a Christian Nation’. I was encouraged to find I had a similar view on political & governing issues as it relates to those in the Body of Christ. That I was not alone in perceiving or feeling things the way I was. You see, even in the confidential setting of ‘men’s group’ at church, my thoughts & comments were rather unpopular with the crowd if I shared them. Or maybe I was seen as flaky & way out there? I have been on web sites of popular ministries. Some of well respected Apologists & pastors, who haven’t thought so highly of Greg Boyd, but were more than willing to express their negative views of him & his teaching. However, I see Greg as a living example for me on how to make a stand and to still do it with gentle-kindness (in the love of Christ) towards another. I’m not claiming Greg is perfect, (and I’m certainly not), but I am grateful how God uses Greg to encourage someone like me & to help me in my daily walk and in my relationships. With the identity that so much of Christianity has taken on in America & it’s politics today, I fear a secular world see’s it as a threat (that deserves more persecution) rather than a haven. How I was reminded in Greg’s example (Nov. 11, 2012) of the daughter and father’s conversation about her not voting. I live around the influence of media & her fathers thinking, including many who claim to be brothers & sisters in Christ. I take Greg’s emphasis’ on who we are and become seriously. Are we a church that has been led astray? Controlled by fear & debt, focused more on the promise of security & prosperity by men. Or one with compassion towards & sacrifice for those in need no matter what it may cost us personally? Again, thank you for being an example to me of who to sit with and who to invite in. Just like Jesus does…

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