True Christians need to live as peacemakers, or as the peacemaking
children of God that Jesus called us to be, who help free creation from its
As we talked about last week, we hear from people all the time who are upset and depressed because of all the cruelty they see in the world around them, particularly when it involves animals who cannot speak for themselves.
These depressing feelings are magnified even more when this cruelty comes from people who claim to be Christian.
And since most proclaiming Christians are also totally indifferent to the suffering of animals, other than their ďpetsĒ, it makes matters even worse, and many of the people we hear from are on the verge of leaving the church, if they havenít done so already, or of losing their faith because of the hardness of heart they see in their fellow Christians.
They see this cruelty and indifference to the suffering of animals as being totally against the heavenly will of God, which should be part of all Christiansí lifestyle here on earth.
In their minds they feel that if this is the way Christians are, they donít want any part of Christianity.
True Christians would not cause physical pain and suffering to any other living being, or emotional stress as they do to people like the ones who write to us, or to us; true Christians seek to bring true peace to the whole of creation.
Through our ministry, and showing them the compassionate side of Christianity, we have helped many of these people hold on to their faith
With these things in mind, letís look at Psalm 27:1-9, and apply its message in todayís world.
1. The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
Since we know these things about God to be true, or at least we should know,
then why do we allow fear and dread to enter our lives?
Itís most likely because all the evil in the world around us can get overpowering at times.
And this is exactly what David addresses next.
2. When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
3. Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.
We believe that the people who abuse and mistreat animals, and kill and eat
over 100 billion of them a year, including those people who are indifferent
to the animalsí suffering and pain, are in fact making war against the
animals and the people who care about them, in the same way that David
And the people we are ministering to are in mourning because of it, just as we are.
However, David is living in the assurance that God is with him all the time, just as we should be.
4. One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to meditate in His temple.
The temple that David refers to no longer exists, but since God created
everything, we can commune with God and meditate on the wonders of His
creation in the great outdoors.
We can also meditate upon Isaiahís prophecy of the peaceable kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9), and change our focus from the horrors of this corrupted world and instead focus on Godís heavenly will for our lives today and in the future.
And in the process, we allow the Holy Spirit to help us chase away the demonic forces that cause so much pain and suffering to millions of our fellow human beings and billions of animals every year.
5. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
6. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me;
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Do you remember that in last weekís sermon, we saw that David wrote that God
does not desire animal sacrifices?
Therefore, the sacrifices he mentions here must not be animal sacrifices, but the letting go of all of the troubles and worries of this world (which we seem to hold on to as valuable possessions that control our lives), and instead, taking upon ourselves Jesus Christ and His peace.
7. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
8. When Thou didst say, "Seek My face," my heart said to Thee,
"Thy face, O LORD, I shall seek."
9. Do not hide Thy face from me,
Do not turn Thy servant away in anger;
Thou hast been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!
David knows that he had done things that are against Godís heavenly will,
but in his repentance he acknowledges who God is, and wants to make sure
that he is not forsaken by Godís anger.
However, from everything weíve learned, God doesnít operate that way. He is faithful to forgive a truly repentant person, and help them to walk with Him on His pathway.
Letís now take a look at Isaiahís prophecy to Israel in Isaiah 9:1-4.
1. But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
Zebulun, one of the tribes of Israel, was established to the west of the Sea
of Galilee, and their brother tribe, Naphtali lay to the north of the Sea,
but because they rebelled against God and had no repentance, they were
carried away into exile by the Assyrians.
Now God is telling them and us, through Isaiah, that glorious times await them, and as we will see, He is referring to Jesus Christ.
2. The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
This great light comes through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and chases
away the spiritual darkness that surrounds us in this corrupted world.
Cruelty, pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death are all part of this spiritual darkness, and they are things that true Christians would never participate in.
With the Holy Spirit this spiritual light of God shines forth within us and all around us bringing peace and joy.
This is what true Christians seek, and they live in the light.
3. Thou shalt multiply the nation,
Thou shalt increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Thy presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4. For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
True Christians seek for this gladness and peace all the time, and they pray
and work for it to happen in the here and now.
Now, as we look at Matthew 4:12-25, we see Jesus fulfilling Isaiahís prophecy.
12. Now when He [Jesus] heard that John [the Baptist] had been taken into
custody, He withdrew into Galilee;
13. and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.
14. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
15. "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles ó
16. "The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light,
And to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a light dawned."
Then Jesusí ministry upon this earth begins in earnest.
17. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
This is also what each and every one of us should be doing.
We need to be calling people not only to repent, but to live in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven, where there is no pain, or mourning, or death.
And, we need to set the example of what it means to live as the peacemaking children of God who work to help free creation from its present corruption, beginning with what we eat and wear.
We need to set the example of what it means to be true Christians.
18. And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was
called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they
19. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
In other words, Jesus is calling them away from being killers of fish, which is living in the darkness of this world, to be His disciples and share the light of the Lord with the world around them.
20. And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him.
We will also find that the more we live as true Christians before the world around us, the more we will find that we are also gathering disciples.
21. And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of
Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father,
mending their nets; and He called them.
22. And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
23. And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
We may not be able to heal every kind of disease that plagues the world
today, but we sure can show the people how Godís original plant food diet
can prevent most of these diseases.
And we may not be able to free the earth from its present corruption by ourselves, but we sure can show the world around us how to begin the process as true Christians.
24. And the news about Him went out into all Syria; and they brought to Him
all who were ill, taken with various diseases and pains, demoniacs,
epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.
25. And great multitudes followed Him from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
And the news about us will also go out into the world around us, and people
will start to think about and question the corrupt ways of this world.
This is how we bring about the continuing of the peacemaking process.
We all need to be witnesses of Godís heavenly will to the people around us.
We all need the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We all need to be true Christians.
We all need to be peacemaking children of God.
We all need to help free this earth from its present corruption.