Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
There are several questions we need to look at today, the first has to do with the text, what are the beatitudes, and what does it mean to be blessed. The second is what do the beatitudes have to do with All Saints Day, and why are we celebrating this day. The third question has to do with how all these things have anything to do with missions. So now that you have the road map, lets begin.
There is a lot of misinformation about the beatitudes, most of it revolves around an interpretation that says these are things we do, and the rewards we get for doing them. So, our text would read, by one misinterpretation, if we make peace, we get called by a good name, sons of God. According to most of the misinterpretations, the beatitudes are law, they accuse, they show us our sins, they tell us what is required of us.
But suppose the beatitudes are not law, what if they are gospel, gospel is always what God is doing for us. So blessedness, is not something we do for ourselves, by leading a holy and perfect life, for if that is what it is to be blessed, we all fall short, we all sin, no one is perfect, except Jesus. Rather blessedness is what God does for us in Jesus, when our sins are forgiven, when we are made a new creation. Blessedness is not active, what we do for ourselves, blessedness is passive, God does it for us. So, each one of the beatitudes is something that God does for us.
God makes us humble, so that we can receive eternal life.
God makes us repentant, so we can receive the comfort of forgiveness.
God makes us meek, and gives us each day our daily bread.
God makes us hunger for righteousness, and then gives it to us in Christ.
God makes us merciful, so we can show mercy to others, as God has had mercy upon us.
God makes us pure in heart, so we can see God and know his will.
God makes us peacemakers, for this is what it is to be a child of God.
To understand what it is to be a peacemaker, one needs to think about what it is to have peace with God - that's the center. And our peace with God comes through the forgiveness of sins which is ours in Jesus blood. How did we come to learn about this peace with God in Jesus blood? Someone told us! Probably many people have told us about the peace that comes as the blood of Jesus washes away all our sins. We know that we have been commissioned to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth, that is how you make disciples, and when we are about this, the business of the church, we know that we are children of God. We know this, not because of the things we are doing, we know this because we can see God working in us and through us to bring to the world the peace that passes all understanding, the peace of Jesus.
This brings us to the second point, what does this text have to do with All Saints day, and what is it we are to celebrate? This is the day when we remember all the saints, not just St Peter, & Paul, St John & Matthew, and all the others - but also those people of faith in the OT, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ruth, David and all the rest. This is a day when we also remember the saints of the church, people who from age to age, who brought to good news of salvation in Jesus to the ends of the earth, people like Augustine, Luther, & even CFW Walther. This is a day when we remember our parents, grandparents, our Sunday school teachers, and pastors, and all who have brought to us the good news of salvation in Jesus. And this is the day when we turn to those sitting next to us, in front and behind us, and in all our churches, and remember that here too, are the children of God, people who make peace by bringing the good news of the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name.
We do not journey alone, but God brings believers together in the church, to strengthen and encourage one another, to build each other up in faith, in love and in service, and to work together and with God in the great work of not only bringing the gospel of the forgiveness of sins, and that of making disciples.
And that brings us to the final point, for I hope you have seen, that the work of the church is always mission work. We might not travel to the ends of the earth, but with our offerings, and with our prayers we can certainly support those who do. God has given us the gospel, the gospel makes peace in the forgiveness of sins, and we are the children of God by grace.