The Peacemakers

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:9

What does it mean to be peacemaker? Think back for a moment to the Christmas story. What did the angles proclaim in Luke 2:14?

Peace in the biblical sense is harmony that brings “warring parties” together to enjoy the full benefits of one another.

How hard is it to be peacemaker? Why?

Look up a couple of these verses on peace and ask what is God telling us?
• 2 Timothy 2:22
• 1 Peter 3:11
• 1 Corinthians 7:15b
• Romans 12:18
• Hebrews 12:14
• James 3:18.

Read together Ephesians 2:14-21 to learn 3 markers of a peacemaker:

1. Peacemakers move toward the conflict, not away. What did Jesus do in verse 17?

2. Peacemakers identify and remove barriers. Discuss what Jesus did in verse 14.

3. Peacemakers recognize that real peace is not of this world. What do verse 16 and 18 reveal about real peace?

Practical Application:

• Mom & Dad – How can you be a peacemaker in your marriage/home?

• Kids – Think about your last fight with your friend or brother/sister. What could you have done differently?

• Pray to have peace with God and to be a peacemaker.

Happiness is Humble

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:5

Many people associate happiness and success with strength, confidence, self-assurance, survival of the fittest, conquest, and power. In contrast, happiness and success, as defined by Christ, is found in humility.

One writer precisely described humility as “… an internal characteristic is a disposition of heart, which through the keen perception of its own misery and the abounding mercy of God, has become so pliant, gentle, mild, flexible, and tractable, that no trace of its original ruggedness, of its wild and untamed nature even remains.”

When Jesus said, “blessed are the humble” He was referencing Psalm 37:11, explaining the practicality in the pursuit for humility. There are at least four key components to it:

1. Trust the Lord. God knows what He is doing. If something is outside our grasp, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to sin just to try to get hold of it. And if something is slipping away, we shouldn’t sin to hold on.

2. Take Delight in the Lord. This requires us to shift our focus away from the good things God created for us to enjoy but which were never designed to bring true fulfillment and shift it towards God. He is the only source of true fulfillment.

3. Commit Your Ways to the Lord. The essence of humility means to “trust God to set the path and determine the destination.” It is submitting your dreams and desire to God and trusting Him to direct your life in the best possible direction.

4. Rest in the Lord. Stop striving, stop thinking that you can do it on your own. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, then sit back and let God be God.

Discussion

• How do you feel when things are getting out of your control? Do you really trust the Lord?

• Are you willing to shift your focus to God? What are some ways that you can delight in the Lord?

• Do you dare to submit your dreams and desires to Him?

• How does your soul respond to “rest”? Are you resting in Him?

Happiness is Sorrowful

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:1-4

Grief is a surprising path God can create to happiness. There are times when God invites us to grieve; we can experience the power of mourning by recognizing the implications of grief found in Matthew 5:4.

1. Grief is a choice. | We often try to avoid grief, but grief is God’s tool for getting us through transitions in life. Grief takes time and we don’t get over grief, we get through grief. Grief is a season, not a day.

2. Grief is the path to comfort. | If we want comfort, we must mourn. If we don’t learn to grieve, we’ll end up managing the pain in unhealthy ways.

3. Grief is designed for community. | We are to carry one another’s burdens. Throughout the Bible are examples of people grieving in community. And not only do people grieve with us, God grieves with us.

Discuss:

• In what ways have you been comforted in community during a time of mourning?

• What are some ways that you can see mourning leads to happiness?

• What is a loss you haven’t grieved over?

• How can you have the courage to lament over that loss this week?

Happiness

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:1-5

You will be happy when you realize the two secrets of happiness.

1. Happiness is a by-product of surrender.  

People pursue happiness through acquisitions, enlightenment, and acceptance. Instead, happiness comes from giving up that individual pursuit and depending on God.

2. Happiness is a by-product of holiness.  

Holiness means to be set apart. You are supposed to be different. There are two critical steps we must take in response to this invitation to happiness through holiness.

A. Embrace the call to holy living. Stop buying the enemy’s lies about the glory, excitement or relief of ignoring God’s law and set your mind on the good things of God.

B. Understand your standing in Jesus. Until you realize you are spiritually bankrupt, you will not be happy. But when you realize you are, you have access to the Kingdom.

Stop chasing happiness. Pursue brokenness. Pursue Jesus.

Discussion Questions 

• What are you pursuing to make you happy? 

• Why is it hard to pursue brokenness?  

• What can you do today to pursue Jesus instead of happiness?