The Epistle of James - Godly Values
Part 25 - Peacemakers
19th October 2018
Last time, we studied James 3v17, which says that the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Every aspect of the wisdom that comes from heaven works for peace, and James underlines this by saying:
Having said that godly wisdom is full of... good fruit, James continues with this idea by saying that peacemakers raise a harvest. If you're a peacemaker, your church will be a healthy place because you're in it. If you're a peacemaker, your town will be a better community because you live there. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers because they will be called sons of God" (Matthew 5v9). When we sow in peace we display the character of God our Father.
The wisdom that comes from above wants to make peace between brother and sister, between neighbour and neighbour, between father and son, between Christian and Christian. If your church, or your family, or your place of work, is not at peace, visitors will not feel welcome or comfortable. But if you will be a peacemaker, you will bring the kingdom of God into that environment.
The Good News about Jesus Christ is called the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6v15). The Good News is that God has done everything necessary to enable us to be at peace with God, and to experience the peace of God. To demonstrate the Gospel to others, we must be people of peace. We best begin to bring the Gospel to them by bringing peace to them.
Love everybody. Be considerate towards everybody. You will some people find more difficult than others, but love them just the same. Seek their peace just the same. Raise a harvest of righteousness. If your church is going to reach your town for Jesus, it will be in part because you are a people of peace. When there's no contention within the church, and when you bring peace outside the church, people can see the kingdom of God in you.
Sometimes I worry about how Christians talk about the society God has put us in. We're right to be concerned about the drift in our country further from God's values. We're right to pray about it. But if we're not careful, we can tip over into just being critical and dismissive of our neighbours who see things differently. It's really important to love the people who are getting these things so profoundly wrong, and not alienate ourselves from them, or from anybody else. Otherwise, we're not making peace, we're increasing conflict,and we're giving others the impression that church is not a place or community of peace, but of criticism and arrogance.
I pray, "Lord Jesus, may my brothers and sisters and I never alienate ourselves from each other. May every one of us have a heart that wants to sow peace, one with another. And when there is no peace, may we seek God and find a way to bring peace."
No matter how much people are hurting - no matter how much we're hurting - there is always a way of acting peaceably towards our brothers and sisters that will resolve differences, and the church will then be healthy and fruitful. And we will raise a harvest together, if we will dwell in peace. Are we willing to do this?