2016-10-30
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

There is no question that our world today is in desperate need of “peacemakers.” This is a role that has been occupied so many times in history by the church, yet in today’s world, there seems to be a conspicuous absence of the church in this area.  Today, I believe it would be encouraging, and challenging, to us all to spend some time in James chapter 3 seeing what our role should be as the church and as Christ followers in world lacking peacemakers.

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

James 3:13-18
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Living in peace

1. Serving and humility

v13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

– “prove” is a critical word here because it encourages action

– “doing good works with the humility…” means serving others with no ulterior motive and no desire for recognition

– this is the kind of service that comes from Godly wisdom and also the kind of service that is so often missing in our world today

2. Pure Heart

v14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

– “don’t cover up the truth” – this is a condemnation against hypocrisy

– the elements of hypocrisy do nothing but lead to disorder and evil

3. Desire to live as Christ lived

v17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

To be pure, (hog-NOS = free from moral defect) believers must separate themselves from the vices of earthly wisdom.

– “peace loving”

Those who work for shālôm (wholeness and harmony rather than strife and discord in all aspects of life) and who reconcile others to God and each other will “be called sons of God.” Others will identify them as God’s true ambassadors, as those who are being conformed to his likeness.

– “no favoritism” indicates that we must see all as Christ sees all

– definition is without partiality AND non-judgmental

The Result

4. A changed world

v18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

– the defining term for all Christ followers

– Acceptance of Christ

– Seeking after Him

– Doing His will

– Changing His world

“A church that is rich in reconciling activities, that is, evangelism, the defense of the poor, counseling the troubled, offering hospitality to the stranger, providing shelter for the battered, sending gospel missionaries throughout the world, and many more, certainly reaps a rich harvest of righteousness. Wherever the church of Christ is doing these things, the kingdom of God is in evidence. This harvest precisely is what Jesus meant by the admonition to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness:”

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