Be At Peace with One Another

Mark 9:42-50

Psalm 34:11-22; Isaiah 32:14-18; Acts 10:34-43; Mark 9:42-50

Why this on Good Friday, talking about peace? Reflecting on that Friday nearly 2000 years ago, was not a peaceful day. Harsh treatment (and unjust) of Lord Jesus by Temple guards and Sanhedrin. Next best thing to a riot when Pilate resisted religious leaders’ evil designs on Jesus’ life. The violence of public executions accompanied by taunts of by-standers. Even the earth itself rebelled against the unthinkable – that the God-Man could die!

Matt. 27:50-54And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

The bigger conflict hidden from view – spiritual conflict Jesus waged on our behalf and won, victory over sin and Satan and eventually death. Is hard to see in a whole lot of life how any victory has been won. Seems to be one conflict after another, at every level of society. And, sad to say, even the church is not immune.

Would anyone deny the need for peace? How about the promise of peace (Luke)? Did the proclamation of the angel host mean anything? And how does peace fit into the “one another” paradigm? Sure, Jesus commanded it, but seriously? Is it possible? Many profess a desire for peace, some even write songs about it…

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony… “I’d like to see the world for once, / All standing hand in hand / And hear them echo through the hills / For peace through out the land.”

The need for peace is obvious; the obstacle to peace is also clear from God’s word, so is the solution. And the answer to our need was given on Good Friday.

A. the need

blame game: figure it started between Adam and Eve Gen. 3:12; really came before that, “has God indeed said…?”

seeds of conflict, planted and watered by sinful action, immediately bore fruit – no longer at peace

–within themselves: “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked”

–with one another: “they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings”

–with God: “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God”

continued on through OT: Psa 34:14, Psa 133:1(so much for evolution!)

exhorted to seek peace and pursue it; “how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

first family ravaged by brother murdering brother, thousands of years later brothers still didn’t / don’t live at peace

picked up by Jesus…in our text – addressing disciples’ arguing over who would be first in the kingdom (Mark 9:34)

wasn’t like disciples didn’t know their arguing was wrong – if was so right, why didn’t they answer Jesus’ question?!

knew it was wrong, were ashamed because they got caught, not ashamed enough to give up on the idea

also “high priestly prayer” – John 17:11, 21-23

“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

“that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

two different groups of people targeted in Jesus’ prayer: his disciples (11), “those who will believe in Me through their word” (20)

Jesus knew wasn’t only 1st generation who would struggle, succeeding generations in the church would experience conflict and division, lack of unity with one another

Jesus also identified serious fallout because of that: would contribute to further unbelief on part of the world

wonder why more people aren’t coming to faith in Christ? why the church is small and weak?

That the world, so full of animosities and fightings, may see the power of Christian principle in overcoming the sources of contention and producing love, and may thus see that a religion that could produce this must be from heaven.” Barnes

then carried on by Paul: Rom. 12:18; 2 Cor. 13:11

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” “be of one mind, live in peace” – 25 years later still an issue

B. the obstacle

hindrances to peace are not:

weapons of any kind of destruction – nuclear warheads, unregulated firearms, abortionist’s instruments

unjust distribution of resources – answer to ISIS not more jobs, poverty not cause of inner-city violence

religious ideologies – 11-13th century Crusades, 17th century 30-Years War, 1948 Arab-Israeli War, 20th century Cold War

use or misuse of all those things not the problem…are symptoms of the real issue – “heart of the problem is it is a problem of the heart” Krabbendam

slavery to sin, self, Satan

prophet Isaiah: thorns & briers, forsaken palaces, deserted cities “untilthe Spirit is poured upon us from high”

something else had to come first: the heart problem needed fixing –

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel a nd the house of Judah,not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34)

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezek. 36:25-27)

Jesus told his disciples, recorded in 3 of 4 Gospels: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)

problem is…never get to part of taking up our cross and following; on our own, just can’t bring self to give up self

hardest thing Jesus told us to do: we love our self, like our sin, listen to Satan’s lies and guess what happens to peace

let’s be careful, not give Satan more credit than he deserves!! Remember why humanity is “fallen” – true, Eve listened to serpent, but what did she really do? put self before God and her husband, did what was right in her own opinion

C. the solution

already considered some of world’s solutions – remove hindrances to peace; can add meditation, big government, church committed to social justice and overcoming poverty

as you might expect, none of that is effective; read the history books – there has been an illusion of peace at times

but only temporary, and only on certain level – nation may not be at war but what about co-workers, neighbors, family members

God’s solution: remove the source of hostility, refocus attention of his people

source of mankind’s hostility, lack of peace with one another – not environmental (prisons would be safe); not economic (rich would get along); not political (Congress would actually work)

doesn’t mean we ignore any of these issues – should make sure laws are just, tyrants are held accountable; vote and work and be a good neighbor, encourage others to do the same; but….don’t count on those means to fix the problem; they will help keep symptoms in check

at it’s deepest point, conflict with others is outward evidence of conflict with God; so long as we are enemies of God, will be enemies of one another

only one means to that end – the cross: we talk about the cross, nothing sacred about some ancient lumber and hardware; were many of them lining the roads around Jerusalem and other major cities in Roman Empire, estimate thousands of people executed that way

not even anything magical about the symbol in itself, whether worn or made by gesture or on display

significance of the cross is wrapped up totally and completely in the one person who by dying in that way changed the world

see Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:17-20; Eph. 2:14-18; Col 1:19-23

“while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (10)

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (19)

“that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, ​and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross” (15-16)

“reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (20)

reconciled man to God; made Jew and Gentile one, new – Christian; Jesus the common denominator, reconciling all things

reconciling required removing the source of hostility: sin, and with it, the penalty for sin; the “cross of Christ” then has supreme significance: listen to what apostle Paul declared –

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col. 2:13-14)

is your faith, your confidence of your acceptance before God in Christ alone? not works, not church membership, not what Jesus did plus something else, but in Christ only? if so, then…

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1)

if we are at peace with God, we must live at peace with God’s people – one another, fellow Christians, brothers and sisters

something will help us do that: staying near the cross of Christ – reminds us of who we are, who we belong to, who is not only Savior but Lord as well

we don’t remember Jesus on the cross, he finished all his work there; we remember what sent him there (our sin), what he accomplished there (our redemption)

if Jesus loved us enough to take our punishment for us on the cross, can’t we love him enough to do as he said?

love one another, live at peace with one another, show the world by our relationships with one another what it means to follow Christ, then trust him for themselves

 

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