External Behavior vs Internal Desires: Being a Peace Keeper vs Being a Peace Maker


In last week’s sermon, Pastor Ken Murphy spoke at Cypress Church about what it means to be pure in heart, about being a peace keeper vs being a peace maker, about external behavior vs internal desires. And even if you’re not a Christian, the message is still applicable.


I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day today to listen to Pastor Ken’s message, even if the Biblical context does not apply to yourself, and contemplate the takeaways you find within the message.


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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Pastor Ken Murphy, Cypress Church


We are continuing our series. We're into week three of our series called “Upside Down”. If you weren't here in week one, I would encourage you go back and listen online, because I kind of set a foundation for the whole thing that we're talking about.


And again, it's really looking at really the first recording, teaching of Jesus, as well as a summary of his teachings in Matthew Chapter 5. And the Bible says that very early on Christ called disciples to himself then you know later Jesus climbed the mountain. His disciples climbed with him. He sat down he began to teach them.


What Jesus was teaching was, basically, a whole new way to think and a whole new way to live. And Christ says you know you've been taught your entire lives for generations, that this is what you should do, and this is how you think, and this is how you should live, and Jesus says but “Nah, I’m telling you there's actually a different way, actually this is how you should think, and this is how you should live, and if you do it this way then you will be Blessed.”


And, in week one, we talked about what does it mean to truly be meek, and what does it mean to you know to be poor in the spirit, as God defines that.


Last week Pastor Jackson talked to us about Wing Wednesday and I know you remember that if you were here. I even ordered wings this past Wednesday, I felt it was duly inspired. But the the Scriptural reference was: “Blessed are those who will hunger and thirst for righteousness”. And Jackson broke down for us two fundamental questions and the first one is: “what do you really want in life? Like what do you really want?” And then the second question is: “And how bad do you want it? What are you willing to do to experience those things?” And again, what Jesus is doing in Matthew 5, he's saying: “I’m going to teach you a new way to think, and a new way to live, right here, right now.”


Serena, my wife, and I, we had a friend who text us something that they had run across in their readings devotional readings this past week, and it says basically that: “In Eternity, and in Heaven, God turns everything upside down, it's in Heaven that grief is turned to joy, it's in Heaven where heartbreak will be turned into shouts of thanksgiving, it's in Heaven where a crown of thorns is exchanged for a crown of gold, and it's in Heaven when that which is dead becomes truly and fully alive.”


And that's what this series is about, is learning what does it mean when God says: “I am here, to turn it upside down, so that you may be Blessed.”


Now, what we're going to do today is, we're going to tackle two verses, two verses. The whole series is on twelve verses. And it's Matthew Chapter 5 Verses Eight and Nine, just the next two verses in the process here.


And Christ is teaching, and he says: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God.”


So: “Blessed are the pure in heart, and Blessed are the peacemakers.” Let's talk about the first one: Blessed are those who are pure in heart, for they will see God. I go into far more detail in the daily devotional, which again you can get the book at Next Steps, or you can download it, it's available online on the website there. But on Monday I break down further the original word that's used for “pure in heart”, but what it basically means is: “Blessed are those, who have unmixed motives, on the inside of who they are. Blessed are those, who are pure in heart.”


Take you back, two analogies. Back in Biblical times, a master potter, someone who would make bowls or cups, or padre, often when they would fire it in the in the kiln, or the furnace, small cracks would form, and what a lot of potters would do, is they would take a wax, to kind of melt down, to fill the cracks, and paint around it, and from the outside, you don't know if it's pure, or if it's had cracks that have been filled, because they look the same. And there's a word that's used is called integrity. You need to check the integrity of the bowl.


I was talking to my son who's an engineer, and again you can have two steel beams, and two steel beams that come from different locations, they look the same on the outside, but an engineer is going to check the integrity of the beam, to see if they can actually bear the same amount of weight, and that's the material makeup, the material composition.


It's that exact same ideology, that exact same concept that Christ is using, when he says: “Blessed are those who have unmixed motives, and are pure in heart, for they are the ones who will truly be able to see God.”


And this concept is not just, that part is actually not new with Christ, but he's emphasizing it, because even back in in the Old Testament, in Psalm 24, there's a question that was posed and the question was: “Well, who's actually going to experience God and see God. Who's, like, worthy to like step into His presence, and really say, ‘Okay God, here I am.’” And the answer was: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by that which is false.”


So, he who has clean hands, and a pure heart. It speaks to our external behavior. But it's not just about our external behavior, it's about our internal desires, and our motivations, of who we truly are.

And Jesus teaches and continues to drive home this concept, all throughout the New Testament.


In the Old Testament, there seemed to be a bit of emphasis on doing certain things to earn a right relationship, or a right standing in the eyes of God.


In the New Testament, Jesus turns the emphasis, he flips it upside down, and he says: “It's not really about the external compliance of behavior, it's really a matter of your heart.” He does take it further though, and says: “But your heart will be revealed, by how you choose to live externally through your behavior.”


That's the reason Jesus was talking when he's even talking about love, and at the core, he goes: “You can't serve two masters. It's not God and money as equals. Or as co-equals, both residing. Someone, or something, has to be the king of your life, and you have to make that choice.”


I'll give you two other examples, where Jesus says, it's not about the external behavior, it's really now about the condition of your heart.


Jesus was the one who was teaching, he says: “In the Old Testament, the bible says do not commit adultery.” Jesus says: “But in the New Testament, I tell you don't even look lustfully at a woman, because if you look lustfully at a woman you've committed the act already.” In your what? In your heart.


Jesus says: In the Old Testament,” Jesus says, “you know, the law says do not murder.” A lot of us hear that, it's like, “I’m good to go, I haven't killed anybody recently.” Jesus says: “But in the New Testament, I’m telling you don't even be angry with another person.” Ooh, that one's a little bit harder.


Jesus he says it's about your heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart, with unmixed motives, for they're the ones who will see God.”


Now you guys can all tell that I’ve brought, today, moonshine. I’m kidding, it's really not; but I do watch that show, I like that show. But I brought a jar. It's mason jar. It's got water in it. And the water represents us, and this is us making our way through life, but the question I’m going to ask is: “When life gets crazy, and it gets going, and then it's just, and I don't know if you can see there or not, but it went further today than it did last night, I'll tell you that much.


The question I’m going to ask you is this: “Why did the water come out of the jar?”


And there's three possible answers.


The first possible answer is, the water came out of the jar because the lid was loose. And that's true, and that's partially true, but that's not that's really not the answer for our time here today.

The second possible answer, some people come up with when I do this illustration, is, well, the water obviously came out of the jar because life got crazy and it was going everywhere. And that's partially true as well, but that's not the real reason and the point of today.


Let me answer to you why the water came out of the jar… because the water was in there already to begin with.


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”


“Well, I don't know, it was just the beer that made me say it… It was that second glass of wine… It was that second bottle of wine… I said it, I don't even know where it came from… I mean, I was really angry… I was really hurting when I said that… I don't know, I mean, I felt alone and, you know, I said it, and I don't know where it came from.”


Let me answer where it came from, it came from your heart. And when I say it, and when I do it, and I say “I don't know where it came from”, let me answer it for myself, it came from my heart. Because if it were not in my heart, it would not have come out of me, amen? Deep down in there somewhere, it had to have been there. Because if it weren't there, it never would have come out.


Again, some of you are looking at me like I’m making this up, these aren't my words, let's go to scripture right here, it's Matthew 12, Jesus is the one who's teaching, and he says: “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit going to be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.” He's actually talking to religious leaders, who have completely lost their way, and he says: “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”

Go back to that one verse right there, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”


Christ said: Blessed is the person, where in their heart, there's unmixed motives.” It's pure. It's without alloy.


Even in James Chapter 4. In James Chapter 4, James poses the question, and he says: “Hey, what is it that causes fights and quarrels and disagreements among you?” And when I read that, I’m like, hey I want to know that too, because we’ve all experienced that. And then he says: “Well, what causes fights and quarrels among you,” he says, “it's your own evil desires that wage war within you.”


And I was like: “Oh, I was kind of hoping it was somebody else's fault that I struggle on occasion in life.”


But don't be don't be surprised that we struggle, I mean it's been happening since the beginning of mankind. The Apostle Paul, one of the great writers of the New Testament, he even wrote in one particular letter, he says: “Man, there's like things, like, I want to do these things in life, but I don't do those things, and then there's other things,” he goes, “I don't want to do those things in life, and those are the things I end up doing,” and he says, “there's just a battle, there's just, there's this, like, this tension deep within me, and I gotta figure out, Lord, how do I…”.


Let's say, can we agree that it's easier to sing the song on occasion, than to live the life? Lord I lay my life down, I surrender to you, to receive from you, I love to sing it, and I love to even raise a hand on occasion, and when that bass beat is going, I'm like yeah, yeah; but then when the rubber hits the road, and it's time to live life, that's where the struggle's real, and I got to figure out, then like… Lord, what am I really wanting in this life? I'm going to be pure in heart.


This question of the purity of motive, is so personal, no other person truly knows you other than you and God.


I was reading one historian talking, who was talking about this concept and he said: “It's a level of self-examination that few have the honesty and the courage to take them or to allow themselves to get to.


And the question to answer is this question: Do I honestly have the will to have but one will, and that be God's? The question of honesty and courage is: Do I honestly have, do I have the will to truly have but one will, and for that will to be God's?


There's been times in my past, where I've said that I want to stop doing something, or I said I want to start doing something, but at the deepest part of my heart, I knew I was lying to myself and the people around me.


I just knew it was the right answer, and I should say it, and I knew that I should want it, but at the very core of my heart, I knew that I really truly didn't want it. Can anyone else relate to that?


Awesome, there's three of us, I'm glad you guys are here. We'll talk about lying and dishonesty next week, because I think we all experience that.


“Blessed are the pure in heart.” “Blessed are the pure in heart.” “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they're the ones who will see God.

Let me answer one more question to that. Will any of us ever completely, fully, 100% get there this side of eternity? No. You'll always have another step to take. But it's a battle worth fighting, every day of your life. Because God says this is the pathway to a Blessed life.


Let me just talk briefly about that next Verse, Verse 9, where Christ says: “Not just Blessed are the pure in heart, but Blessed are those who are peacemakers. For if you're a peacemaker, you'll be known as a child of God.”


Now why is this important?


Partly because conflict in life is unavoidable.


We just got done talking about inner conflict. About competing values. Competing things deep within us. That’s conflict within oneself.

This is about conflict with other people. “Blessed are those who are peacemakers.” Whereas conflict is unavoidable, being contentious is a choice. It doesn't have to become contentious. It doesn't have to become argumentative, and downgrading to other people, the situations of life.


What causes conflict? There's a number of different issues. A lot of conflict in life is the result of bad communication. Something should have been communicated, that wasn't. Or something was communicated it, but it wasn't heard well, wasn't received well. Sometimes conflict is because there are conflicting values, there's conflicting core values at the core.


Syria and I have talked about this many times in different settings. But you know, if you're dating, make sure you have the same core value system before you get married. If you have little kids in the house and you're doing play dates, we always try to look for other families that we share the same core values. Make your values way and more important than common interest. You can all have a common interest but, if at a values system, you're not on the same page, I promise you, you're going to have deep deep conflict, the only question is how is it going to manifest itself, and how are you going to deal with it, or it could be something else.


“Blessed are peace makers, for they're the ones to be called the children of God.”


Now let me go the big board here, and diagram, at least what it kind of looked like in my mind. And I think in order for this to occur, I just want first start…


First of all, this is a bridge, and Dublin, I used the Dublin walk bridge as my inspiration for this bridge. That means Cap City is about right there, which is a favorite of mine. Anyway…


God says that we're to be peacemakers. What a lot of us actually enjoy, though, is we are peace lovers, or we are peacekeepers. And there's a big difference between being a peace lover, or a peacekeeper, and being a peacemaker.


Let me share with you how a lot of people, in relationships, try to be a peacekeeper, and it's sometimes we try to keep the peace through what I call pretend, and pretend is: let's just pretend that nothing's wrong. I will tell you that is by default, by default, when I'm not doing well, that is my default go-to. It's just like, call it optimism, call it ignorance, whatever you want, I was like: I would rather avoid the issue that needs to be talked about, or needs to be dealt with, and it's, you know, sometimes my wife will say: “Hey, there's something we need to talk about.” “What? We're fine. Nothing, why, why would we talk, everything's good.” And you know, it's just like, let's just pretend that nothing's wrong and it's all going to work out. That never works.


There's some people who try to keep peace by being the rescuer, and even if there's nothing wrong they'll create something that is wrong so they can come in and kind of save the day. That's another form of false pretend peace.


Scripture says, Jesus says: “Blessed are not the peace keepers. Blessed are not the peace lovers. Blessed are the peace makers.”


So to be one who is committed to the cause of peace, and for one who is committed to do their part to make peace, what's required there?


Well first of all, it's the very thing we just got done talking about, it's having a pure heart, with a right desire internally, we are at peace with ourselves, number one, but then second of all, you gotta cross this bridge. If you're gonna go from a peacekeeper or a peace lover to become a peacemaker, you gotta walk across the bridge, and the bridge is called humility. The bridge is called surrender. The bridge is called obedience.


And if we can't be humble enough to say: it's not even about my way, it's not about what I think, it's about what is God's best, what would God have to say in this situation. It's not just singing the song I lay my life down, it's actually laying my life down. It's saying: Lord, I think I know what to do, but I want you to tell me what to do. And Lord, I want you to, I want you to give me a sense of peace, I want you to guide me, and lead me, and walk with me, and way that you have for me. I don't want to just be a peace lover. I don't want to just try to be a peacekeeper. Like, if I have it, I have it. If I don't, I don't. I want to be a peacemaker.


Now what do you actually do to become a peacemaker? There's so many things I could list here. I just, I'm just going to give you two.


Here's the first one I put in my notes: One, is always seek the highest good for the other person. In a relationship, if you want to be a peacemaker, this has to be at the forefront. And it's not what you think, and it's not what the other person thinks. It's really about, what does God think? From God's perspective, what would be of the highest good, for that other person, and Lord, how can I live in obedience to that.


It's Philippians Chapter 2: “If you have an encouragement from being united with Christ, if you have any comfort from his love, then make my make my joy complete, be like-minded, be of one spirit, be of one purpose, be of one mind; don't do anything out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit, but in humility; consider others, better than yourselves, and serve them. We should all look out not just for our own interest, but also be looking out for the interest of others.”


You want to be a peacemaker, start thinking first and foremost: What's best for them? What is the God-honoring thing for them. Lord, give me the heart, give me the motivation, give me the desire to walk and to live in that way.


Let me give you a second thing here, the second thing is: to overlook an offense.


If you want to be a peacemaker you have to learn to overlook an offense. If you're in relationship, you can nitpick until the day is done, but there's certain things you have to learn to overlook. Let me tell you something, I think we live in a culture and a society today that is way too easily offended. People are way too easily offended by things they should not be offended by. Some of you might be offended I said that. That's on you, I promise you, that's not on me. But the rest of that story is, there are also some things in this culture and society, that should be offensive, but we just kind of accept as passive normalcy, and it's not. And then the question is, then, you have to have a wisdom, you have to have people who will love you enough to say, “Hey, is this something you just need to let go, to overlook an offense, or is this something that you should actually lovingly, truthfully confront, and lean into, and have a conversation over?”


The passage of Scripture comes to us from Proverbs 19, and it says: “A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” And that passage “to overlook an offense” means that you, are in relationship, something happens, and you have a choice that says: I'm going to look over that, look past that, or I'm going to look right into it. And scripture says: It's to your glory, that god's wisdom gives you patience to be able to look past that, and to lovingly forgive that, and to move on with it.


But what happens a lot of times is when we say that we're moving past it we're overlooking it, what it really means is we're just not addressing it, but we're harboring it in our heart. And then resentment, and bitterness, and anger, and hurt, and rage, and all the rest gets in there it begins to tear us apart from the inside out.


Can I remind us that in Galatians 5, it teaches us that self-control and patience is one of the fruits of the spirit, it's the gift of God, it's the result of a close relationship with Jesus.


James Chapter 1: “Be quick to listen, be slow to become angry.”


First Corinthians 13: “Love is not easily angered.”


Proverbs 22: “Don't become close friends with people who are easily angered.”


And Godly wisdom is what tells us, if it’s something I should just let go of and move on and overlook the offense, or if it's something, you know, I say, you know what, there's a loving, healthy boundary that's been put in place, and we need to talk about this. There's something that needs to be addressed.


Romans Chapter 12 tells us, the reality, it’s you're not going to live at peace with all people at all times. But what Romans 12 also tells us, is your responsibility, and it's my responsibility, to make sure that we have a pure clean heart, and we've done everything within our power to be at peace, and to be a peace maker.


“Blessed are the pure in heart. Unmixed motives. Blessed are the peacemakers, they're the ones who truly see God.”


I’m going to leave you in just a moment here, I’m going to leave you with what I think is one of the most dangerous and courageous prayers in all of scripture. I’ve read it for many years, I’ve studied it, the whole Bible, for many years. I’m telling you, I think this is, this right here, this is, this is a big one, it could be one of the most dangerous, one of the most courageous prayers, ever recorded in Scripture. And it comes from a guy named David.


It's in Psalm 139 and here's what he says, he says: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”


Mercy, oh my goodness.


Here's what I know to be true. I promise you. If I would sincerely, that's with integrity, without mixed motives, if I would sincerely, and if you would sincerely pray this prayer every day for the next week, I promise you, you're either going to draw closer to Jesus Christ, or your life's going to be more miserable than you can even imagine.


I promise you, you won't just stay the same. Because if we sincerely pray this prayer, God is faithful, and He will answer it. And the dangerous part is, I’m saying, like, like I know me, you guys, and I know that you know you, and we say here's my whole heart… he already knows it anyway… but if you say, here's my whole heart, all right God, I’m laying everything in here out there for you. Search me. Try me. Lord, I want you to point out anything… Oh man, that's a big prayer to pray, I’m just being serious, don't pray it if you're not serious… But if you pray, Lord point out anything in me, that is offensive to you, my hands, my behavior, my speech, how I live, or even beyond that, anything in here, Lord.


Because if anything is coming out, that means it was here to begin with. And some of us say: Well I got a tight, I got a tight reign on my tongue, and I don't say it… but who cares, if it's in here it will come out, it's just a powder keg waiting to explode.


What Jesus says: I want to make you new from the inside out. I want to give you a new heart. I want to transform your mind, and your thoughts, and your values.


But then don't forget the second part of this here, he says: “…and then lead me along the path of everlasting life.”


You know what Christianity is, you got to work it out, man, day by day. You take steps. You do certain things. Being a Christian is not some cognitive, psychological experiment, where you sit in a chair and meditate, and just think about this. You actually go live different. You take steps of obedience. You take steps of surrender. You walk that bridge called humility.


Now, here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to do…


It's the best thing in the world I could ever do for you. I'm just gonna give you to God.


Because there's no sermon, there's no song in the world that can do for you what God can do. He knows everything. He loves us. He wants what's best for us. He says: You just got to have a pure heart. Perfect, no. But pure, and walking in that direction.


So I'm going to do across every location here, I just want you to bow your heads right now, and I want you to sit with the stuff that we've talked about. Offer your heart to God. Ask Him the question: Lord, is there anything in me that's offensive to you. Not just this moment, but every moment, for the next week. And ask Him to show you what your next right step would be, because we all got a journey to live.


After a few moments of just you and God being together, the worship team's going to come back out, and they're going to lead us in one more song of worship. But I don't want it just to be another song that you sing, I want it to be a Spiritual response, I want to be a Spiritual commitment to whatever it is you and God have to talk about, or whatever it is that God has to say, and for you to listen, and in an honest sincere way without alloy, without mixed motives, say: Lord, here I am, I'm ready to go to work, I'm ready to stay faithful in that journey. You and God just talk together.


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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHvfk-Esy9A


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