Monday, 25 October 2021
Title: What Makes for Peace?
By: Ong Hwee Soo

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

According to church history, Telemachus, a monk attempted to stop a gladiatorial fight in a Roman amphitheatre and was stoned to death by the spectators. The Christian Roman Emperor, Honorius was so impressed by the monk’s martyrdom, it moved him to issue a historic ban on gladiatorial combat. The last known Roman gladiatorial fight was on 1 January AD 404, purportedly on the day St Telemachus sacrificed his life in preventing the gladiators from killing each other.

We may not perform a heroic Telemachus act to bring peace between warring parties, but we can certainly do our part in making or maintaining peace in our fellowships, workplaces or communities. First and foremost, we need to be peaceable ourselves. Apostle Paul admonishes “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18) and “let us pursue what makes for peace” (Rom. 14:19). In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul highlights what makes for peace: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” In Colossians 3:12-14, Paul emphasizes, “Put on …compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience…forgiving each other…above all these put on love…” Paul’s exhortation culminates in the ensuing v15, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”

Indeed, Christ Himself “is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).

Just as Telemachus brought peace to warriors through his death, Jesus makes our peace and reconciliation with God possible by His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection. If we believe in Christ, “we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.’ (Romans 5:1). If Jesus is our peace, we need not let our differences become walls that divide us.

It is significant that our text today (the seventh Beatitude), is so well placed. The preceding Beatitudes imply that it is those who are “poor in spirit”, who “mourn”, are “meek”, who “hunger and thirst for righteousness”, the “merciful” and “pure in heart” (v3-8) who are equipped to be peacemakers.

“The meaning of being called the sons of God is that the peacemaker is a child of God and that he is like the Father.” (Martyn Lloyd Jones). Sons are those whose character and life simulate God in closest semblance.

If we practice the Beatitudes (or divine attitudes), we stand in good stead to become peacemakers, the children of God who reflect His image. Apostle John exclaims, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1John 3:1)

We are all included in “so we are”, once we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (Rom. 5:10).

If you have yet to find “peace with God” let me encourage you to believe in Jesus, and through Him, be reconciled to God.

As believers, how do we exemplify being at peace with others? What issues or differences stand in the way of “Be at peace among yourselves” ? (1 Thessalonians 5:13b).

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity” (Rupertus Meldenius, 1627). Church historian, Philip Schaff, termed this quotation “the watchword of Christian peacemakers.

God of peace, help us Live the Life, peaceably among ourselves always. Amen.

标题: 什么导致和睦?

【马太福音 5:9】

根据教会历史,特勒马科斯(Telemachus), 一名修道士曾试图阻止罗马圆形竞技场中的角斗而被观众用石头砸死。基督教罗马皇帝霍诺里乌斯(Honorius)对修道士的殉难印象深刻,这促使他颁布了一项历史性的禁止角斗的禁令。最后一次的罗马角斗士战斗是在公元 404 年 1 月 1 日,据称,在那天圣特勒马科斯(St Telemachus)为了阻止角斗士互相残杀而牺牲了自己的生命。

我们可能不会采取英勇的特勒马科斯 (Telemachus) 行为在交战各方之间带来和平,但我们肯定可以尽自己的一份力量,在我们的团契、工作场所或社区中建立或维持和平。首先,我们自己必须维系和睦。使徒保罗告诫 “若是能行,总要尽力与众人和睦”(罗马书 第12章18节)并且 “我们总要追求 和睦的事”(罗马书 第14章19节)。在腓立比书 2 章 3-4 节,保罗强调了和平的意义: “凡事不可结黨,不可贪图虚浮的荣耀;只要存心谦卑,各人看别人比自己强,各人不要单顾自己的事、也要顾别人的事。” 在歌罗西书 第3章12-14 节中,保罗强调, “要存……怜悯、恩慈、谦虚、温柔和忍耐的心……彼此饶恕……在这一切之外,要存着爱心……” 保罗的劝勉在随后的第 15 节达到高潮, “让基督的平安在你们心中作主。”

事实上,基督自己 “使我们和睦(原文是因他是我们的和睦),将两下合而为一,拆毁了中间隔断的墙”(以弗所书 2:14)。

正如特勒马科斯(Telemachus),通过他的死为战士带来和平一样,耶稣通过祂在十字架上的牺牲和复活使我们与上帝的和平与和解成为可能。如果我们相信基督, “我们已经因信称义,得与上帝相和。”(罗马书 第5章1节)。如果耶稣是我们的平安,我们就不必让我们的分歧成为分隔我们的墙。

重要的是,我们今天的经文(第七福)放置得非常恰当。前面的福暗示那些 “虚心”、 “哀恸”、 “温柔”、 “饥渴慕义”、 “怜恤人” 和 “清心” 的人(3-8节) 才有能力成为和平缔造者。

“被称为上帝之子的意思是,使人和睦的人是上帝的孩子,他就像天父一样。” 马丁·劳埃德·琼斯 (Martyn Lloyd Jones)。儿子是那些性格和生活与上帝最为相似的人。

如果我们实践八福(或神圣的态度),将有利于我们成为使人和睦的人,使人和睦的人乃上帝的儿女,且反映上帝的形象。使徒约翰说: “你看父赐给我们是何等的慈爱,使我们得称为神的儿女;我们也真是他的儿女。”(约翰一书 第3章1节)

一旦我们相信耶稣基督,我们都被包括在 “我们也真是” 中。 “因为我们作仇敌的时候,且藉着神儿子的死,得与神和好;既已和好,就更要因他的生得救了。”(罗马书 第5章10节)。

如果您还没 “与上帝和好”, 让我鼓励您相信耶稣,并通过祂与上帝和好。

作为信徒,我们如何体现与他人和睦相处?什么问题或分歧阻碍了我们 “彼此和睦” ? 

“在基要的事情上,合一;在不重要的事情上,自由;在所有的事情上,爱。” (Rupertus Meldenius 鲁珀图斯·梅尔德纽斯,1627)。教会历史学家菲利普·沙夫(Philip Schaff)将这句话称为 “基督教和平缔造者的口号。