INTRODUCTION: This week we study those who make peace. What comes
to mind when I mention peace? Normally, we think of peace as the
absence of conflict. Under that definition, think for a minute
about your life and whether you have been a "peacemaker" or a
"troublemaker." Have you found that in the past your religious
beliefs have gotten you into trouble? Have you also found in the
past that forgetting your religious beliefs for a critical moment
or two has also gotten you into trouble? Let's see what we can
learn about bringing God's peace into our lives!
I. IS PEACE A GOAL?
A. Turn with me to Matthew 5:9. Read.
Should it be out goal
to "make peace?"
1. Why? (Jesus
implies that we should make peace because
this is a characteristic of our Father in Heaven. We are
His children if we are peacemakers.)
B. If this is true, how do you explain what
Jesus says five
chapters later in Matthew 10:34? Read.
1. Jesus says
that He did not come to bring peace. He
came to bring a sword!
2. Can we "make" peace, without "bringing" peace?
3. Are Matthew 5:9 and Matthew 10:34 reconcilable?
4. How can Jesus
be called "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6)
when He says He came to bring a sword and not peace?
5. Is peace merely the absence of conflict?
a. Or can sword carriers bring peace?
6. The United
States has a deadly missile called the
"Peacemaker." Were the people who named that missile on
to something or on to nothing? Let's find out!
II. PEACEFUL TROUBLE?
A. Turn with me to John 14:27. Read.
Does this suggest that
Jesus has a different definition of the word "peace" than the
world's definition of peace?
B. Let's see what we can learn about the context
statement. Turn back a few verses to John 13:36-14:3.
1. What is worrying
Peter? (That Jesus told him He is
leaving -- and He is not taking Peter! (v.36))
2. If Peter is
worried about Jesus leaving, and he cannot
remain with Jesus, what is Peter supposed to do? To what
does he have to look forward? (Jesus tells Peter (14:1-3)
to trust Him that He will get Peter and bring him to live
with Him in the future. This week, for the first time,
our son went on a trip without either of his parents.
Peter was experiencing the kind of anxiety that arises
with a separation from our loved ones.)
3. Jesus continues
in the next verses of John 14 to
discuss His leaving. Let's pick up the dialogue in John
a. Having reviewed the context, what do you think
Jesus means when He uses the word "peace?" (He is
talking about trusting Him during emotional
upheaval. He is talking about the absence of worry
during a difficult time.)
b. Does that differ from the world's definition
of peace? (He says "not ... as the world gives."
C. Let's move a few chapters forward and read
Remember earlier I asked you if peace was the absence of
conflict? Remember that we talked about "troublemakers" and
"peacemakers?" Does this suggest that we can have trouble and
Jesus' brand of "peace" at the very same time? (Jesus predicts
that we will have trouble. But He says that we can have peace
at the same time.)
does He mean when He says, "I have overcome the
world?" (He is giving the same message He gave to Peter.
That He is leaving, but He is coming back to make things
III. PEACEFULLY BRINGING TROUBLE?
A. So far we have established that we can have
trouble at the same time. Let's see if we can take this a step
further. Can we be peacemakers and bring trouble at the same
time? Turn with me to Ephesians 2:1-3. Read.
1. Are sinners at peace with God?
2. If not, why
not? (He is a perfect God, sin is
offensive to Him. Jesus says (v.3) that "we were by
nature objects of wrath.")
B. Read Ephesians 2:13-17. These verses mention
peace a number
of times. How does Jesus bring us peace with God? (By dying
for us, He has reconciled us to God.)
C. If we spread the gospel do we fit the Matthew
definition of "peacemakers?"
D. Let's look at another text. Turn with me
10. In the first few verses of this chapter Jesus is giving
His disciples instructions for their "practice missionary
trip." We want to focus on part of His instructions. Read
1. Jesus tells
them that when they come to a town they
may experience one of three end results. Can you tell me
what are those three possible end results?
(a. Welcomed by a worthy person whose home is
deserving of receiving peace;
b. Welcomed by a worthy person whose home is not
deserving of receiving peace; or,
c. Not welcomed: shake dust off your feet.)
2. What do you
think that Jesus means when he refers to
"peace" that you leave, or "peace" that returns to the
a. Does the context help us to figure this out?
(Yes! These disciples are spreading the message
about Jesus. There are three classes of people.
"Worthy" people who invite the disciple into their
home, but do not accept the gospel. Worthy people
who invite the disciple into their home and accept
the gospel. Or those who reject even listening to
the disciple. The only ones who have peace are
those who accept the gospel. From this I believe
that being a "peacemaker" refers to someone who
shares the gospel message of reconciliation with
God through the blood of Jesus.)
E. Does being a "peacemaker" refer only to
gospel? Do we have a definition of "peace" that is completely
at odds with the world's definition of peace? Is there no
overlap at all?
IV. PEACE AS THE ABSENCE OF CONFLICT
A. Do Romans 12:17-21. Is this the "normal"
peace? Is this how the world would define it?
B. Did you see the last episode of "Seinfeld?"
Is this the
"Seinfeldian" definition of peace? (I do not watch this show,
and did not see all of the final episode, but I saw enough to
realize that "Seinfeld peace" means not getting involved. It
is the absence of conflict. Here we are positively commanded
to do good to others -- even those who are not good to us.)
C. Read Romans 14:15-22. Is this a text about
1. How would you describe this "peace?"
2. Is this the kind of peace the world recognizes?
3. What does
this tell us that we should do about
conflicts in doctrine within the church? (Verse 1 of
chapter 14 is important. It reveals that we need to
understand that certain matters of belief are
"disputable." Therefore, we need to recognize which
beliefs are more important than peace and which are less
important than peace. The burden falls especially upon
the "strong" in faith to be sure that they do not create
unnecessary conflict in the church over "disputable
V. NEXT WEEK: "THE PERSECUTED." Study Matthew 5:10!
Note to teachers: This lesson outline will probably be suspended
during the last three weeks of June and the first two weeks of
July. More details will follow later.