What is the Meaning of Matthew 5.9

“’Sons of God’ Bestowed on Peacemakers”

Matthew 5:9

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 5.9

Matthew 5. Since the beginning of time, man has been at war. War is defined as a conflict that has claimed more than 1000 lives. It is estimated that of the past 3400 years, only 268 total years have not seen war. It is not saying very much to say that for those small pockets of time, humanity has withheld killing at least 1000 of itself in a given single conflict.[1]

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Over 108 million people were killed in wars last century with upwards of 1 billion throughout all of history. Presently, there are four conflicts that have had 10,000 or more deaths in either this year or last year. The war in Afghanistan, the Syrian Civil War, the war in Iraq, and the Mexican drug war.

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There are 13 other wars of 1000 to up to 10,000 deaths and dozens of smaller conflicts, largely on the continents of Africa and Asia, which includes the Middle East.[2]

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But Canada is not immune to conflicts. The murder capital of Canada for 2016 was Thunder Bay Ontario, with only 8 homicides, yet it boosted the highest homicide rate 6.64 homicides per 100,000 people. Edmonton was second, with 47 homicides for a rate of 3.39 per 100,000.[3]

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But that is nothing compared to many American cities in 2016. New Orleans with a rate of 45.17 homicides per 100,000 people for a total of 176 homicides and Detroit with 302 homicides. But St. Louis Missouri has the highest homicide rate with a 60.37. Capetown South Africa had a rate of 60.77 with 2,434 murders, 52 times more murders than Edmonton. [4]

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And we can go on and on about the domestic violence in Sudan and the Congo, the sexual assaults of India, or the kidnappings for ransom in Mexico.

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The world is totally without peace! Socially, militarily, economically, humans are constantly at war.

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Thus the need for Matt. 5:9…

Matthew 5:9 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

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Well what’s the solution to this lack of peace in the world? Is it that we need to be more like Iceland, who, since the inception of the Global Peace Index in 2008, has been ranked number 1 for what is supposedly called “peace?” That country had a total of 3 murders in all of 2015. Maybe just copy what they are doing.

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Perhaps we need to have more Middle-east-type peace talks, more education about the harm of …. harming others. Is it proclaiming an international day of world peace and just trying to keep the conversation going?

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Is it to form more international organizations like the United Nations, which exists for this very purpose, yet since its inception in 1945, we’ve had war every year?

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TRANS: Are these viable options for world peace? Of course not! That’s because we all know that we don’t want to live in a world where were just not trying to shoot each other all the time. We want more than that! Peace is not simply the absence of conflict.

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  1. Pronouncement: Blessed are the Peacemakers

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    1. Negative

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    EXP: And so peacemaking is not simply a politician arbitrating “peace” between two countries, getting them to sign a peace agreement, only to break it again. It’s not even peace officers who attempt to calm a family dispute.

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    And that’s because they are simply trying to limit conflict. They may even be successful at signing the agreement or of calming the dispute.

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    But they haven’t achieved true biblical peace. Peacemaking is also not peace at all cost, compromise biblical doctrine in order to achieve it. No, true peace costs something. Christ died to make peace between God and man. And so for those who are made in God’s image… to have true peace, there must be a cost as well.

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    And with whatever peacemaking is, it is not always achieved. We are told Ro. 12:18, “If at all possible, live at peace with all men.” That implies that we may not always be able to… but if it is possible with you, do so. Others might not be able to live peaceably with you. Indeed, Jesus’ life did not exactly cause a peaceful response.

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    Biblical peacemaking is not the one who turns a blind eye and overlooks all sin no matter how great. The man who does not want to confront because he doesn’t want to ruffle people’s feathers; he simply wants to let bygones be bygones.

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    The man with a blind eye….This is the man who knows that there is something wrong, say in his family or between others he is close to. He may even believe that something could be or even must be done to solve the problem. But he also may well know that to do so would be difficult or troublesome. Because of this, this is the man who decides to do nothing for the sake of what he calls “peace.” Others may think that this man loves peace or is agreeable, but no one could call him a peacemaker.[5]

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    TRANS: The blessing Jesus pronounces is not on those are peaceful or who may even yearn for peace, but it is for those who make it.

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    1. Positive

    EXP: The biblical words for peace (eirhnh in Greek and Shalom in Hebrew) lead us to understand biblical peace as a state of total well-being, a complete state of blessedness, prosperity…absence of conflict yes, but also the fullness of harmony between two parties.[6] Safety, ease, well-being, prosperity, completeness; whole in every situation, in every aspect of life.

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    EXP: Now, to make peace means to work for it, to expend energy attempting to get this peace. It is talking about restoring peace between God and people and between man and man, lady and lady, parent to child, husband and wife.

Psalm 34:14 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Romans 14:19 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

2 Timothy 2:22 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue [among others things] peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

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And so the peacemaker is one who is first himself at peace with God, he himself then, on a personal level, pursues peace with others. He then seeks that others may have peace with God and peace between them.

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1. Peace with God

The peacemaker is first of all, at peace with God. He’s come to the place where he has mourned over his poverty of spirit, his sin… and has become meek toward God…seeking diligently that the Lord be his master… And he has hungered and thirsted after righteousness and has been greatly satisfied with the very righteousness of Christ.

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And because of that he’s gone from being an enemy of God (Ro. 5:10) to having peace with God, from being at war with Him, to being reconciled to Him. From deserving capital punishment, to receiving as a gift righteousness… The very righteousness of Christ.

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Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

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From an enemy to total reconciliation, unity, oneness, and harmony with God! A marvellous transformation!

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It was the Father’s good pleasure that through Christ, He might reconcile all things … or bring together all things in harmony… To himself having made peace through the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20).

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And now the peacemaker realizes that though his sins were as scarlet, they are as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they are like wool.

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And he realizes that His Heavenly Father has not dealt with him according to his sins but that as far as the east is from the west so far has He removed my transgressions from me. And he has thrown all of my sins into the depths of the sea.

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All of the lust, the anger, the lies, the cheating, the unkind words, the drunkeness, the drugs, and even the speeding… all of it has been forgiven!

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And that alone is enough to experience what Jesus said, “Peace I give to you, not as the world gives, but My peace I give to you.” And because of this, the peacemaker has himself the peace that passes all understanding a peace that the world has never known and can never take away.

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2. Pursue peace with others (Ro. 12:18)

Now, based on the glorious peace he has with God and from God, he himself pursues peace with others.

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Romans 12:18 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Hebrews 12:14 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  

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He realizes that

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Matthew 5:23–24 23 …. if he is presenting his offering at the altar, and there remembers that his brother has something against him, 24 he leaves his offering there before the altar and goes and is first reconciled to his brother, and then he comes and presents his offering.

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He knows Matt. 18:22, that if someone else sins against him 490 times in a day, he forgives him and yes, delights to do so because of what God has done for him, difficult though it may be.

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And so if an individual comes to him and says “I repent” the peacemaker forgives him. Now, there may be times when he may not feel like it, but he grants the forgiveness out of a joyful obedience to the Lord who has forgiven him of innumerable sins.

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And all the while, even when others sin against him, love is covering a lot of those sins. He doesn’t feel like he has to bring up every little issue.

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TRANS: The peacemaker himself is at peace with God and he is at peace with others. Now, he takes that same peace and works it out in others’ lives.

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3. Seeks others to have peace with God (Eph. 6:15)

He tries to get others to have peace with God.

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Ephesians 6:15, like war boots … he has put on his feet the preparation of the gospel of peace.

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The gospel that gives peace…it gives peace between hostile enemies: God and man.

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The peacemaker realizes that peace needs to be made between God and man. He realizes again Colossians 1:21 that there are people who are alienated and hostile in mind and engaged in evil deeds… against God. The peacemaker understands that people all around him are shaking their fist at God and are wilfully and desiringly rebelling against Him and so he sets out to do something about it.

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And so he preaches the peace-giving gospel to those whom he knows and to those whom he does not know. He tells them that they are sinners and that is the loving peacemaker thing to do.

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ILL: If someone is heading for a cliff, the mean thing to do is not to tell them. And so the peacemaker tells the sinner of his sin and the consequences of bearing God’s image and then dragging it through the manure…however difficult it may be.

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He tells them of the Savior whose died for all their sin, the Lord Jesus Christ. And he tells them of the resurrection and that if they savingly trust in Him and choose to hate their sin, Jesus Christ would save them for all of eternity.

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TRANS: The peacemaker himself is at peace with God and others. And he also takes the gospel of peace and gives it to others and he also seeks others to have peace among themselves. But also now … he’s a reconciler … he brings together two people and makes them unified, in harmony, and joyfully working and serving together.

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4. Seeks others to have peace among themselves (Eph. 4:3)

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This is what Paul did in Philippians 4 …

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Philippians 4:1–3 1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

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Euodia and Syntyche are having harmony problems. So Paul deals with the church lovingly, calling them twice “my beloved.” He has a family mindset, calling them “brethren.” He has a heart of compassion saying, “I long to see you.” He glories in them calling them his “crown”… So he is not scolding them, but appreciating them. He’s dealing with them without bias…”I urge Eudia and I urge Synteche.” He’s not taking a side…

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Basically, he’s taking his own advice in Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.

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Paul, as a peacemaker, deals with the problem. He doesn’t gloss over it; he doesn’t neglect it. When it’s a matter of disunity and disharmony in the local church, Paul deals with it on a personal level, calling out specific names.

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That’s for all Christians. All Christians are peacemakers.

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TRANS: Allow me to further give understanding of how the Christian makes peace between other people. Let’s say two immature Christians are at odds with each other and they are not unified. One of them has hurt the other or they have both hurt each other and now they won’t talk to each other.

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Disagreements about finances, different actives in the church, problems between siblings, child to parent, or spouses, or coworkers, or friends.

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Qualities of a peacemaker:

The real peacemaker is upright. They are not like Jeremiah 6:14 which describes the false prophets….

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Jeremiah 6:14 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

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In other words, the true peacemaker does not put a Band-Aid on a compound fracture. He’s not like the unethical doctor who knows the patient has stage IV liver cancer but recommends that he … do nothing about it!

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If there is something that is threatening the spiritual life of that church or individual, it is time for serious action!

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He deals with that situation uprightly and he confronts it. He is honest about what is really going on and hits it straight on. He doesn’t mince words and he doesn’t make it sound like something that it isn’t….like it’s no big deal.

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But of course our tendency is to act like nothing is wrong! It’s so much easier just to ignore the problem. Ezek. 13:10-11 pictures this like when someone builds a wall, instead of using mortar, they just coat it with a lot of paint so no one will notice!

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But of course what happens is that the rains fall and the floods come and the wall is destroyed. But if the problem were to be dealt with head-on, the problem would have been solved and the wall would remain.

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Deal with the problem: if you know that there are members or regular attenders at this church who are not in fellowship with other people, especially other members or attenders of this church, you need to be a peacemaker and seek to reconcile. If they don’t respond, get others involved. You say, “Well, that’s the pastor’s job.” Look, the pastor is the last person to find out about pretty much everything that happens in the church! Disharmony in a church will destroy it. Christians are peacemakers, do something about it.

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2. Risk pain:

The peacemaker is upright about disunity; he seeks to solve it. The peacemaker is also then a risk-taker.

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Those who make peace for those who do not have peace, take risks.

Peacemakers expend time, energy, and risk misunderstanding in order to harmonize unharmonious parties, whether divine or human. Confrontation is not always fun. Most people just want to let it go; let’s just sweep it under the rug and call it good. But the peacemakers knows that just makes things worse…so he takes the risk to solve the problem. He’s not a coward.

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TRANS: And so not only is he upright, honest and he takes risks, he fights for peace.

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3. Fighter:

He, Ephesians 4:3, is “diligent” to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He is diligent. Romans 14:19 he “pursues” peace… It’s his pursuit. When there is disunity, it gnaws on him. It may even keep him up at night. The peacemaker feels like he must restore this relationship immediately. There is an urgency in his spirit.

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4. Humble like Christ,

But he is also humble like Christ. He does nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, including his pursuit of unity, harmony and reconciliation. The peacemaker, like Christ, will empty himself of himself and willingly take the form of a slave…a slave for peace between two parties who are at odds with each other.[7]

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Christ died to establish peace! He died …he spilled his blood and stepped in front of the freight train of God’s wrath that He might reconcile us to God! And shall two of God’s children be in a state of unreconciliation? Shall there be disharmony? That’s a contradiction!

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APP: There are as are supposed “Christian” people and they hop from church to church and part of the reason they do that is because in the wake of their devastation they are leaving the exact opposite of peace…they are division-makers, strife-makers, and they are broken relationships-makers.

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But peacemakers…who are Christians… will live in the church community and be a source of solving problems between others, they will encourage, unify, and diminish any hostility, disregard the rough tones, not take offense at the quirks of others…

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They won’t turn small disagreements into huge disputes, but will play up the one-mindedness and unity where it genuinely exists. Their love will cover a lot of others’ sins, not because they lack the backbone to confront, but because he will have compassion on a fellow sinner. He has the wisdom to know when to confront and when not to. And he won’t just be looking to limit conflict, but he’ll be looking after the complete well-being and spiritual health of others.

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TRANS: A peacemaker isn’t taught this by mere man… no true peacemaker is taught this from the wisdom of men, from their books or their leadership seminars…

But God the Father who is the God of peace, whose throne is encircled by mercy and peace….

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And God the Son, who is the Prince of peace, and the mediator between God and man…. Who, when He came into the world he came with the song “peace on earth, goodwill toward men….” And he left the earth with “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” ….

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And God the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter and who came down on Jesus Christ in the form of a dove, the symbol of peace…and who gives His fruit…love, joy and peace

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No peacemaking is God-taught…the peacemaker is taught of God to make peace…

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TRANS: And so Christ’s pledge to the peacemaker is no wonder…

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  1. The Pledge: They will be called Sons of God

Matthew 5:9 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they [and they alone is the idea] shall be called sons of God.

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They shall be called sons of God. God shall call them His children. Because the Father is the God of peace, the Son is the Prince of Peace, and the Holy Spirit gives His fruit of peace… If someone is a true peacemaker, he is a true child of God.

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Because that is what God came to do! God the Father, the God of peace, sent the Prince of peace to earth to die for peace between God and man. And when Christians exhibit peacemaking, they are therefore putting on the display the apex of God’s mission and therefore, the apex of Christian living. They are displaying the very character of God.

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They are bearing their family resemblance.

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ILL: We’ve all seen children who look like their dad. It doesn’t take a stranger 3 seconds to look at my oldest daughter with her curly hair and then look at me in order to understand where she got her curly hair. The red hair they may wonder, but the curls are obvious.

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Peacemakers too look like our blessed Heavenly Father when our lives are lives that generate peace between God and man and between man and man.

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  1. The Prescription

    In order to press this down into our hearts and to motivate you to be a peacemaker…it’s going to take a work of God in your heart.

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    So, like with anything in the Christian life, the gospel will motivate your godliness.

    If you know the gospel of peace deeply in your own heart, the Holy Spirit will work in you so that you come to appreciate your own peace with God more deeply and so then you will desire to see that play out in the lives of others.

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    All Christians are peacemakers to one degree or another. All true peacemakers are Christians, period. All Christians therefore grow in this area.

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    But someone who says they are Christian and yet they are troublemakers with their words or actions. They gossip and spew hostility like lava from a volcano …if they are critical and able to find faults like a needle in a haystack… They allow for discord and strife to rule their home or their church… If they see others in turmoil and do nothing about it… If they see two Christian people who have been hurt by the other and their heart does not ache…. Does the gospel of peace … does the gospel that brings peace reside in that heart?

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    Do they really understand what Christ has come to do? From King of Kings to slave of slaves to be crucified with criminals so thatyou might be reconciled to God….. And you don’t want to experience a little bit of pain and discomfort in order to see people come to peace, harmony, and unity?

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 5.9

If you need further help with this, I’d be happy to go over how to help you manage conflicts in your home and in your life on a personal level. Because all Christians are peacemakers and all are growing in this. I teach an easy lesson on “Conflicts when Completing” from God’s word and if you’d like personal instruction on how to do that in your life, please let me know.

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We’ll close with Hymn #219 Blest be the tie that binds

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Go to Matthew Main Page

Go To New Testament Books

Go To BibleTrove Home Page

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  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

  3. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/these-are-the-canadian-cities-with-the-highest-homicide-rates-for-2016

  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_murder_rate

  5. Barclay, Beatitudes.

  6. See Ps. 122:6-9; 125:4-5; 128:2

  7. Kent Hughes

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