Happiness is a serious problem.
MAY 12, 2022
Happiness is a serious problem. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Pete Alwinson is a former pastor, founder of ForgeTruth.com and the author of Like Father Like Son. And he’s been teaching all this week.
Hey, thank you Matthew. It’s good to have you all with us on this edition of Key Life. Steve’s taken a week off. My name is Pete Alwinson and I’m sitting in, for just a little bit this week, so he can get a little rest, but it’s good to be talking with you this week, in the Beatitudes. And today we get to the seventh Beatitude in Matthew 5:9.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Wow. There it is, peacemakers. You know, one of the great books that I’ve read recently and I’ve read over again, you ought to get it yourself and listen to it, read it, one way or another. Dennis Prager, the Jewish talk show host wrote a powerful book entitled, Happiness is a Serious Problem. And, in that book, he tells the story about how he was going to go speak at UCLA. And, the pastor who wanted him to come and speak at UCLA in Southern California, was talking about, well, what do we talk about it? And, Prager said, well, I suspect you want to me to talk about religion. And, he said, no, no. I want you to talk about something else. You talk about religion, nobody will come. So he said, well, what about happiness, it’s a serious problem. He goes, there it is. That’s what we’re going to name it. And hence came the book. You know, I like happiness. And what this Beatitude promises is that we will be blessed and we will be happy, if we are peacemakers. You know, happiness really is a moral obligation, I think from a Biblical standpoint. And it’s very, very important to understand, that we need to pursue by God’s grace, that which will make us happy and make other people happy. We’re always looking for happiness anyway, but the Beatitudes are powerful and they give a counter cultural understanding of what happiness really is. And Jesus hits us right between the eyes by saying that the peacemakers, people who learn to make peace are truly the happiest people on the planet. Let me give you four truths about peace. First of all, I want you to note the truth about peace, number one, when Adam ate the fruit in the garden of Eden and rebelled against God, peace was shattered and splintered and fragmented and obliterated. When did he did that, it was like dropping a 25 pound dumbbell on a glass coffee table. I mean, splinters everywhere, sin completely shreds and breaks us. It breaks us within, with others and with God. Sin shatters our life, and so it separates us from ourselves, from God, from others. And so, therefore we have a shocking lack of peace inside. Philosopher, Immanuel Kant once said this, he said.
The state of peace among people living side by side is not the natural state. The natural state is one of war. This does not always mean open hostilities, but at least an unceasing threat of war.
And boy, that’s true. That’s the way it is after sin entered the world, war is the constant state, not peace. And it’s important to understand that. The second truth about peace is that we all want it. I mean, peace is what everybody wants and almost nobody has. I mean, who do you know that you can say, he or she is truly a peaceful person? I mean, I mean, I know quiet people who don’t say a lot, but when you talk to them, they’re not always happy. They’re not always full of peace. Then there’s some people who wear dis-ease on their face, like Florida Gators, where blue and orange on game day. I mean, you know they’re not happy. It’s obvious to everyone around them. And then there are those people who are upbeat and busy and productive. And you can’t really tell that they’re unhappy until you stop them and say, how are you really doing? And they’re depressed. They just stuff it down and keep busy with work. Hey, the reality is that very few people really have peace, but it’s something we all want. The third truth about peace, is that for Jesus to take the role of Messiah and command that his people be peacemakers, went totally against what most people thought the Messiah was here to do. I’ll tell you the people in Jesus’ day, when he sat down on the Sermon on the Mount context and was teaching them, they were looking for a Messiah. They were looking for a King, but they were looking for a King on a white horse with a sword in his hand, that’s the kind of Messiah they were looking for. And so, it was a shocking thing when Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers and that those who follow him, should be peacemakers. I mean, that was a radical thought. And it was really a difficult thing that they didn’t want to hear. They wanted to get rid of the Romans and lower the taxes and get on with their life. And so, to that mentality of killing and finding their own self independence, Jesus says.
Blessed are the peacemakers, they’ll be called sons of God.
And so, wow, it’s important for us to understand number four, that peace is a really complicated subject. In the Bible, peace is found 400 times. The word peace is the Hebrew word Shalom, and it really means a perfect welfare, a serenity, a prosperity in the happiness. And even today in Israel, if you meet with an Israeli, they will greet you with Shalom and they will say goodbye with Shalom. And, it really is a powerful term meaning complete well being. In the New Testament, the word is eirene, which is the female name Irene. It means unity, concord, and it carries this Hebrew idea of Shalom. But it’s a complicated subject because in this life, we heed the words of Ecclesiastes 3:8 that says.
There’s a time for war and a time for peace.
It’s a confusing subject. And so, what I want you to see as we look at this, is that the ultimate peacemaker, the ultimate fighter for peace is God himself. And that’s why in the divine council of the Trinity, in history past, in eternity pass, it was determined that Jesus would become the lamb of God, who would take away our sins. And so, God is the ultimate peacemaker and Jesus has come as the Messiah to be the Redeemer, to take our place on the cross. And that’s why in Ephesians 1, the apostle Paul in this great hymn of praise to the Triune God says.
In him, in Jesus, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us.
Jesus really is the center of all history. And in him, we move and have our very being of peace with God. If you have never come to the point where you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we encourage you at Key Life just to trust him, to be poor in spirit means to come to the end of yourself, to mourn over your sin, means to see yourself and that you can’t fix yourself, to hunger and thirst for righteousness means that you’ve become meek and you’ve seen your real self and you want the gospel of grace in your life. And that Jesus is the ultimate peacemaker in our life. And so, once we accept Jesus Christ as the ultimate peacemaker in our life, and he has established peace with the God of the universe, then we can become peacemakers with other people. What does that look like? Well, to be a peacemaker, demands that we be born again, as we’ve just said, but secondly, it means that it is possible for all of us, not just easy going men, but strong people even, to be peacemakers with other people. It means that all Christians can be those that are not appeasers, but could be those who can sit others down and that we can move into their lives and seek to bring harmony and relationship between other people. It’s an interesting role. We’ve been given the role as ambassadors that can bring reconciliation between people and God, but also we can become people who can bring reconciliation between other people. In the 1930s, Britain bought Hitler’s line that he didn’t want war, that he just wanted to take over a couple of nations and then just leave me alone. And so, the British did at first appease Hitler. But, you know, it was like scratching a crocodile’s head and hoping of making him purr. It wasn’t going to happen. You cannot appease a bully. And so, here there’s an interesting role that we play as peacemakers, understanding that there are some people that cannot be appeased, that peace cannot be brought with some people. Peacemaking is not appeasing a bully. But it is sitting down with people to bring the gospel to other people. And it means to help work out relationships with other people. Ultimately, ultimately to be God’s peacemaker means to be a gospel talker. You know what’s interesting is that I am not responsible to change somebody’s heart, but I am responsible to tell them how their heart can become changed and to tell them the good news of faith in Jesus Christ. You take it to heart.
What a great week of teaching. Thank you Pete, for bringing that to us. Of course, if you missed any episodes, be sure to check those out anytime at keylife.org. And tomorrow, Hey, it’s Friday Q & A, that’s when Steve and Pete Pete answer the challenging questions that you have sent in, hope you’ll join us for that. Well, as we discussed here this week, none of us has our act together. Right? But we often compound that problem by putting up a front, acting like we have it all together. What comes from that? Uh, well, nothing good. That’s for sure. Well, Steve spoke about this in a sermon called When Believing is Hard and Pretending Doesn’t Work. It’s powerful. It’s relevant. It’s gonna really help you, so get your copy on CD for free right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the CD by e-mailing [email protected] If you’re mailing us, send your request to
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