Please take your Bible with me and open it to the Book of Romans chapter twelve. Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Is it possible to live peaceably with everyone? With some people it appears, from the words of the NT, that it’s not always possible. At least, that’s what the Apostle Paul admits. He says “if it be possible.”
Today’s topic is peace. Here is what Jesus said in His first sermon to mankind.
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
For as long as men have been on the earth, there has been a need for peace. Go back to the Garden of Eden and see the first family devastated when Cain took brother Abel’s life.
Wars, arguments, legal disputes, international unrest, squabbles, interpersonal conflict; it’s a fact of life. Yet, everywhere you turn, people still want peace. No less than five hundred multi-lateral peace treaties signed and are in the hands of the Secretary-General of the United Nations today. Some of these have been in existence for many, many years.
Here’s a newspaper article announcing one such treaty. This is from the NY Times dated September 16, 1914. The US Secretary of State was William Jennings Bryan. This was the treaty that preceded WWI. [Found on www.nytimes.com]. WWI had already begun on July 28, 1914.
It’s been recorded for us in history that Adolph Hitler violated signed treaties no less than sixty-four times in the twelve years (1933 – 1845) he ruled Germany. Stalin in Russia did the same thing no less than forty times during his thirty-one years over Russia.
And did you know that Syria signed a Peace Treaty on December 19, 2011? It was signed with the twenty-two members of the Arab League and it allowed the members of the Arab League into Syria to find a way to forestall a civil war inside Syria. And if you’ve been at all watching the events of the past six months, there appears to be no peace at all in Middle East, but especially in Syria.
And why? The answer is not complicated. The reason for the creation of peace treaties is the same reason why nations break treaties. It’s the simple fact that mankind has never been able to apply Paul’s simply stated command, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Here’s how the Prophet Isaiah put it some eight hundred years before Christ.
Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21 “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
My heart and my hope today are on the words of Jesus, though. Here’s what He said in His first sermon to mankind. In Matthew 5:9 we read “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
The Apostle Paul can acknowledge that it’s possible, although unlikely that we can live in peace with everyone. But Jesus makes is even simpler. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
I’ve titled today’s sermon “Blessed Are The Peacemakers.” Shall we pray?
I have to frankly admit to you that I did not go to Vietnam when I was eighteen years of age. I had, what was called in the 1970’s a “two-S deferment,” which meant that I was a student at a two-year college in New York.