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Series: Peacemakers; Finished Works
Sun am 20 January 2014 – Kobus Swart
2 Pet. 1:1-12; Matt. 5:1-13; (Isa. 9:6-7); (Matt. 10:34); (Mark 4:39 KJV); James 3:18;
Col. 1:15-20; Luke 9:58; John 1:11-12; Isa. 66:1-2
For many years now, this household has heard the message about the “finished works” of Jesus, taken from the last words of Jesus on the cross “It is finished!” (John. 19:30). Over the centuries the church in general, has grappled with what it means. What is finished, what is not finished?
We do not have to labour to earn the favour of God; the price was fully paid 2000 years ago, that is a clear fact. But have we overlooked something that needs to be done from our side? His side is finished but what about our responsibility? Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things … (2 Pet. 1:12). I am going to remind you of basic Christian truths. Peter reminds the believers of the finished works of Jesus: To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness (Godlikeness), through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Usually the teachings of the finished works of Jesus stopped at verse 4.
But then Peter points to certain responsibilities upon the shoulders of believers. Jesus has done His part now we must do ours : Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities, is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you (2 Pet. 1:1-11). He has given us everything pertaining to life and god-likeness, but there is a responsibility on everybody on their Christian journey. There is a certain discipling that needs to come back to the church. Jesus Himself had to learn obedience by the things He suffered. If we lack these qualities we will miss out on something.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:13). Who is this ‘You’ Jesus was referring to? Let’s take a closer look!
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them (= His disciples – not the multitudes), saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:1-12). These are the qualities that you – which include us, His disciples in the world today – the salt and light of the earth, should manifest.
Ask yourself when you read every one of these verses, “does it describe me?” We look, for example, at the peacemakers. I have a conviction that the kingdom of God will not be manifested fully in this earth without kingdom peacemakers. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end (Isa. 9:6-7). True government brings peace, not compromise. Jesus was also called “The Price of peace” but when He walked the earth He said, “I have not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34) It is not a contradiction. There could be conditions that look peacefully, but sometimes a “sword” has to come to expose things and bring real peace. Before real peace can come, root problems need to be exposed. Jesus was a true peacemaker. One of the best illustrations is in the boat amidst the storm when He was sleeping. When He was awakened, all He did was to stand up and then He said: “Peace, be still!” (Mark. 4:39 KJV). He carried inner peace in the midst of the storm!
It is so easy to walk with inner conflicts (financial pressure, health, job, relationship issues). We need to become true peacemakers. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James. 3:18). A family must be a place where true peace reigns. These are some unfinished works from our side.
Who was this Jesus – King, Prince of Peace, Mighty God – really? (Isa.9) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities… For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…(Col.1: 15-20). Look what happened to this Man?
“The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58).
- Born in a stable. No room for Him.
- Hunted down by Herod – killing all 2-year old boys…
- His own did not receive Him (Jn 1:12)
- Rejected by His own hometown Nazareth
- Put to death by the Romans!
AND HE WAS EARTH’S CREATOR!
BUT HE DID FIND A HOME IN BETHANY – a home where peace was found (a tiny village some 3 kilometers from Jerusalem)! It was the home of Lazarus and his two sisters.
- He came to His own and they did not receive him (John 1:11-12). Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:1-2).
The only place Jesus was welcomed was in Bethany at Lazarus and his sisters’ home. It was humble people who loved His presence! My wish is that Jesus by His Spirit will feel welcome not only in our meetings because of true peace in every heart but also in the wider corporate Body.