Matthew 5:9-16 (KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Sunday we began to look at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ message to His Church. The sermon – as we noted – begins with nine “Supreme Blessings” or “Beautitudes” (μακάριος makarios). I want to start where I left off last Sunday:
Matthew 5:9-11 (KJV) Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS: for they shall be called the children of God.  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
The Seventh “Beautitude” seems to be contradicted by the Eighth and Ninth Beatitudes. If those who are the peacemakers shall be called the Children of God then why is persecution and reviling and defaming and false witnessing in the last two beatitudes? If we are “peacemakers” then why would the world be at war with us?
The Greek word translated “peacemaker” is the Adjective εἰρηνοποιός eirēnopoios which means “someone who loves and makes peace”. The verb form of this same word is found in
Colossians 1:20 (KJV) And, HAVING MADE PEACE through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
When you read the context around this verse you see the Apostle Paul draw a picture of how man NATURALLY is with God, and how Christ SUPERNATURALLY offers a solution to our problem. Man is NATURALLY alienated from God, at war with God. The Apostle said:
Colossians 1:21 (KJV) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Man is naturally born a sinner, separated from God by selfishness. In our unsaved state every person walks through this life …
Ephesians 2:2-3 (KJV) …. according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
We are born sinners into this world. We are born in opposition to God. We are born hating righteousness and loving unrighteousness. The Bible says:
Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
How can we get better? Some suggest that we can just try harder. We can work our way toward God. We can do penance. We can go to Church. We can dress up. We can be more religious. But any outward action without an inward change does nothing to draw us closer to God. We read in:
Titus 1:15-16 (ESV) To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). If there has been no supernatural change, no change of the heart, then a lost person doing good works is like one of those circus acts where you see a dog riding a unicycle. The dog looks cute, and is entertaining. The seal may do tricks, and the lion may walk the tightrope. But the dog is still a dog, the seal a seal, and the bear a bear. Nothing has changed. If you lay down with the cute tiger resting on its stomach as a pillow you may wake up in its stomach as a marshmallow!
Born Once, You Are Of This World. You Must Be Born Again.
The Peacemaker is the person who has found peace with God by finding Jesus. When Christ was born in Bethlehem the angels praised God saying:
Luke 2:10-11 (KJV) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD.
Luke 2:14 (KJV) Glory to God in the highest, and ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.
The King of Peace came to earth for us. Jesus tells all who will heed Him:
John 16:33 (KJV) These things I have spoken unto you, that IN ME YE MIGHT HAVE PEACE. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus came to this earth to give us peace with God. He purchased that peace for us with His Blood. He died on Calvary for every person. He paid the penalty of sin so that He could be our Ambassador, our Representative, our Attorney before the Father. The Bible says:
John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Receiving Christ as He is – both Lord and Savior – the Christ follower is changed and being changed from a child of wrath to a Child of God. Because of Christ we have peace with God. Because we are brothers and sisters together in His Kingdom we have peace with one another. The Apostle Paul told the Romans:
Romans 14:17-19 (KJV) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and PEACE, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  Let us therefore FOLLOW AFTER THE THINGS WHICH MAKE FOR PEACE, and things wherewith one may edify another.
We who are His are not at war with our Father, and are not to be at war with ourselves. His is a Kingdom of Love, and every member should edify or build up the other. The God of peace is with us (Romans 15:33) and shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly (Romans 16:20). Because we have grace, we also have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3). One of my favorite verses is:
1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV) For God is NOT the author of confusion, BUT OF PEACE, as in all churches of the saints.
Through the Gospel of salvation we are saved.
Through the Blood of the old Rugged Cross we are redeemed.
Through the Holy Spirit released on us we are set apart from the world.
We are His Children by the Lamb and by the Spirit.
We have peace with God, and peace with one another.
But not peace with a fallen world.
The World Is Fallen Still
Matthew 5:9 (KJV) Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS: for they shall be called the children of God.
We who are not ashamed to come out of the multitudes and to climb up to where Christ is, sitting at His feet, we are peacemakers. We carry His message of peace through faith in Him to a lost and dying world. We are not ashamed of His message.
Romans 1:16-23 (KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The world is at war with God, but we who are saved are the Peacemakers. We share His Gospel with the lost. We stand unashamed to declare Christ alone the Way unto salvation. His Gospel has the power to bring anyone to Peace with God.
But the world does not like the Gospel.
God saves people FROM their sins.
God saves people FROM darkness.
The world hates that message.
Matthew 5:10 (KJV) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If you are saved from a world of darkness and into His Kingdom of light then your lifestyle and beliefs will be persecuted. You will be persecuted for righteousness sake. For calling sin “sin” the world will brand you:
Jesus was “persecuted for righteousness sake” by Pharisees, Sadducees, and Roman Authorities. Persecution will come. This is why the eighth and ninth beatitudes are so similar. The ninth beatitude is the longest:
Matthew 5:9-11 (KJV) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The Christian who is indeed a Christian can expect to be:
Reviled or Insulted
Slandered for Christ’s sake
The world attacked the Prophets that came before us. Herod beheaded John the Baptist. Jeremiah was sawn in two. Ambassadors of light will always be attacked by the darkness. Be light anyway.
You Are The Salt Of The Earth, Dear Christian
Matthew 5:13 (KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Billy Graham once wrote: “Many churches of all persuasions are hiring research agencies to poll neighborhoods, asking what kind of church they prefer. Then the local churches design themselves to fit the desires of the people. True faith in God that demands selflessness is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish.”
The Church of Christ is “the salt of the earth”. When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount there were no refrigerators or freezers in the land. Food was both seasoned and preserved by SALT. Armies fought over salt mines. Salt was a precious thing. Soldiers in the Roman Army were paid not coins nor gold but SALT for their service. That’s where the phrase:
“He’s not worth his salt”
came from. When Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth” He wanted His Church to understand that THE ONLY THING THAT STOPPED GOD FROM DESTROYING THE WORLD WAS US. We are His Peacemakers. We are His Kingdom on the earth. When did God destroy the world by a Great Flood in Noah’s Day? The Bible says:
Genesis 6:2 (NASB) …. the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, WHOMEVER THEY CHOSE.
Righteousness blended with unrighteousness, light blended with dark. And as righteousness and light died out on the earth …
Genesis 6:5-6 (NASB) … the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
There was no Light, or very little Light. So God Who causes Light to spring out of darkness decided to purify the earth. Had Noah not been a man of faith God would have destroyed all of Creation.
Beloved, you who are Christ’s are the salt of the earth.
Do not lose your saltiness.
Church after Church has lost its saltiness. It has blended with the world. “It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be TRODDEN UNDER FOOT OF MEN”. The world is preserved as long as God’s Church is in it. When will the Great Tribulation come? When God’s Church leaves this earth. You are God’s Preservative, God’s Peacemakers, God’s People.
Matthew 5:14 (KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
We are the “Light of the World” because God lit us up. A candle does not light itself. The match must be put to the wick and held until the flame catches. God starts the Bible by saying “let there be light”. It is He Who gives us light when we call on Jesus.
Psalm 119:130 (KJV) The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple
Psalm 27:1 (KJV) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the Gospel is received we who “were sometimes darkness” are now made “light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). Christ has given us life and light.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (KJV) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Darkness cannot create light. Christ created us. We are His Church. We focus on Him. We praise Him. We climb the mountain to Him and sit at His feet. Jesus did not say to the multitudes “You are the Light of the world” but those Disciples who sat at His feet. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not. We are His city on His hill and cannot be hid. Let His light shine.
Matthew 5:15 (KJV) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
No one lights a candle and then covers it up. That is foolish! When the candle is lit it is held high so all can benefit by its light. God lit us up, brought us into His Kingdom, to light the world. As we shine for Him we do so without shame. God divided the light from the darkness, and called the light “Day” and the darkness “Night”. The darkness and the light are at war with one another.
Spurgeon said “Conflict is expected but conquest is assured”.
Matthew 5:16 (KJV) Let YOUR light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
If you have been born again you are to let YOUR light shine before men. People must see the difference. The Church must not blend with the world. Jesus said:
John 13:35 (KJV) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Our light shines when we show love for one another. Our light shines when we do good works for Jesus. The purpose of a lamp is to be seen. God did not save us and leave us on this earth for nothing. We are here to serve Him, to be members of His Kingdom. We are not to hide our Christianity, but to shine. If you are saved, be baptized. If you are born again, cherish His Word. Let others see Jesus in you.
Let YOUR Light SO Shine.
Not just a little, but a bunch. Spurgeon said “Good works are works of love, unselfish works, works done for the benefit of others and the glory of God. Deeds of charity, kindness, and brotherly love are good works. As also careful attendance to duty, and all service honestly done; together with all courses which promote the moral and spiritual good of our fellow men”.
Letting our light shine does not mean blending with the darkness, but to confess sin and turn fully to Christ. This is where power is – in Jesus. Draw near to Him, and SHINE!
May God touch your hearts with His Word.