Matthew 10:34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."
People want peace. Peace at home and abroad. Peace of mind, peace and security, peace and quiet. Parents want their children to be at peace – but often what happens is that children quarrel, and often it is not long until for the sake of peace, parents let their children do what they want. The net result is that we live in an age where anyone can do what they want just so long as they don’t threaten our peace and security.
And that is how we went from a Christian nation to a heathen nation – we made gods of peace and prosperity. After all, if we are doing OK, then God must be on our side, right? Christ did not come to bring peace – not the way the world uses the term. Perhaps that’s why Christ doesn’t fit much into Christmas anymore – we want peace on earth – but we don’t want to hear that this peace is only for those who are doing God’s will. But the simple truth of our text is that Christ plainly says – "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword".
Its not rocket science, we learned it in the creed, for the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies and keeps us in true faith. All of these things separate us from the world. Swords divide, they are able to divide join from marrow, and soul from spirit. When we are called, we are called to be the children of God, we are called out of the world – so that Christians are in the world but not of the world, because God has separated us to be his people. If we return to the world, we are rejecting the call of God, rejecting the peace of God, rejecting the forgiveness of sins in Christ, and rejecting eternal life. Its that simple.
Let us be even more specific. There seems to be a policy of don’t ask, don’t tell, or mind your own business, or don’t judge – and these seem to be principles that many live by. Its as though we can wink our eye at most sins. And yet the scriptures warn us against this saying:Proverbs 10:10 Whoever winks the eye causes trouble, but the one who rebukes boldly makes peace. Kind of amazing, isn’t it – the very thing most people think of as keeping peace, is actually, and this is God’s Word, causes trouble. You see, as soon as we come to salvation, as soon as we become part of the people of God, what other people do becomes our business – and it is our business because Jesus died for their sins too, and they must hear the message repent – so that by the grace of God they too may turn from their sins and be saved. The wicked may prosper for a season, but they will may for it for all eternity. Therefore, for Christ’s sake we must speak the words he has given us, calling all to repent, that all might be saved in Christ – for there is no other salvation.
While the word of our text need to be heard – that there may well be divisions – and yet there is a peace which comes from being in Christ. It is the peace of God, and in the peace of God our sins are forgiven, we are declared righteous, and we are made a new creation. And this is the peace of God – that nothing is able to separate us from his love – for our God is God almighty – the god of armies – and no enemy can stand against him – not death, not the devil, not the world. And it is the God of Armies, the Almighty, who protects us – who is our mighty fortress, our strength and tower, our rock of ages – our refuge and great reward.
And this peace in Christ, is a peace that can be shared – there is room for all. And it is in Christ that we become a family again, and find peace – the real peace, the everlasting peace. It may not always be easy – it may well involve sacrifice. And on this day when we remember the sacrifice made on behalf of life and liberty – isn’t it time that we dedicate ourselves to bringing the rest of the story to the lost and perishing – that we live our lives in Christ, and present our bodies as a living sacrifice, for the advance of the gospel – and the good news of salvation which is in Christ.