Living Peaceably With All Men

Living Peaceably With All Men

Living Peaceably with all men

Romans 12:18 

 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

The scope of Romans 12 to 15 sets itself as the single most compact set of practical regulations in the Bible for the Christian. Within fifteen minutes you can read the entirety of that which is naturally expected respecting the manner of life of the Christian;

  • how they should live, 
  • what manner of person they should be, 
  • how they are to apply themselves in society, 
  • how they are to consider living in this world.

What we find are sets of the most practical commands in the Bible that provides for both the life and the liberty of those who are known of Christ. To live in the manner described is not only for the blessing of those in Christ, but as a result, the blessing of the entire world.

Romans chapter 12 opens the account with the basic fundamentals for the individual, and then we see with increasing intensity of challenge to our natural state of life in the flesh, a developing progress of understanding about how we should live. 

In other words, chapter twelve is 101 Christian living, Chapter thirteen is 201, chapter fourteen 301 till we get to the midpoint of chapter fifteen where Paul begins his farewell benediction.

Introduction

The verse we are addressing this morning speaks of every effort to be made personally, to be at peace with all people.

Relationships and broken relationships are the single greatest cause of grief in the world and the creation of division among people is the single most effective tool of Satan to bring misery to the world.

God sent his Son, the prince of peace, to reconcile a fallen world to God, to make peace with God. Gods desire is peace between people and his word is the only place where the method of our peace is to be understood.

Satan desires division and war, God desires reconciliation and peace. 

Now, while we state that broken relationships are the greatest cause of Grief to the world, we can also state that loving and peaceful relationships are the greatest cause of blessing to the world.

Those who come together like we do on a regular basis are ALLWAYS the happiest of people and most especially when love and peace is so evident, especially when each individual employs the fifteen words that make up this verse;

Romans 12:18 

 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

The Practicality of The Command

The Particularity of The Command  

The Universality of The Command

The Applicability of The Command

 

The Practicality of The Command

Romans 12:18 

1If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

In this the Lord does not charge Christians to undertake that which is impossible, but possible. Yet there seems to be a limit imposed in the first four words of the verse, ‘If it be possible”. 

The bounds of the instruction to live peaceably with all men is limited ONLY to its possibility to the utmost of our effort, (“as much as lieth in you”). If it is impossible, then we are free from the obligation.

Whatever is within our ability to do respecting living in peace with people, we are to do. Knowing that it is for the benefit of our own lives, we should give it the fullest of our attention.

We should see that to live in peace is health to our lives and brings sleep to our eyes,

 We are to consider it as the thing most needful between people and therefore should be attended to and maintained wherever it is possible.

Hebrews 12:14 

14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 

There the text tells us to “Follow peace with all men”, in that we see an active pursuit of it as the thing that is vitally important, so much so that without which no man shall see the Lord: 

Those who have made peace with God should be the first to know how it is to “follow peace with all men”.

Our desire for peace at all costs has contained within it an eternal weight of glory, it is in the making of peace and following after it that we demonstrate the nature of Christ to the lost.

1 Peter 3:11

11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

In other words, let him turn away from the natural and evil desires that would take away peace, and so we are to “seek peace” and ensue it, or follow after it.

The practicality of the command is related directly to its possibility; and while we know that all things can be possible, we also find ourselves challenged by the flesh to sometimes limit the extent of that possibility. 

There are times that we don’t want to live peaceably with some people and so we force the idea of impossibility. “Its impossible to make live in peace with that person after they did….”

So let me then just give two examples that do not constitute IMPOSSIBILITY.

  • It is not IMMPOSSIBLE live peaceably with those who have wronged you!

This does not provide any excuse in the passage; 

It is not impossible to live in peace with those who have wronged us. If Jesus gave the command to love our enemies and Jesus himself even desired the forgivingness of those who had placed him upon the Cross and mocked him, then it is evidently NOT IMPOSSIBLE to live in peace with those who have wronged you.

It is POSSIBLE to forgive those who have done you wrong, and Jesus is our testimony AND EXAMPLE.

Think of all the wrong you had done to the Lord before you were saved, and yet did he not willingly die for you?

Think of all the wrong you have done to the Lord SINCE you have been saved, and is he not faithful and just to forgive us our sins?

Therefore, it is not impossible to live in peace with those who have wronged us and it is further POSSIBLE to forgive those who have trespassed against us. 

We will speak more of forgiveness as one way to peace shortly.

The second example of that which often thought impossible, but is false;

  • It is not IMMPOSSIBLE to genuinely desire to live peaceably with all men.

What do I mean?

There are those who say they are happy to live peaceably with all me and yet secretly would feel all the better if their enemies met with some misfortune. They be more than secretly pleased, they may even garnish a smile, if those who had wronged them suffered in the same manner they had afflicted you. 

How many in this Church would confess to having smiled at our Premiers recent mishap?

Beloved this betrays the heart in the most evident manner telling you with certainty that you are not living with the right heart before the Lord. 

It is evil to desire your enemy to fall and be secretly pleased at their calamity.

Job understood this to be true;

 Job 31:28-30

28  This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: For I should have denied the God that is above. 

29      If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, Or lifted up myself when evil found him:  30         Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin By wishing a curse to his soul.

This is not unique, Turn to 

Proverbs 24:17–18 

17  Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, And let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, And he turn away his wrath from him. 

Proverbs 17:5

5   Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: And he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished. 

Kind David is an example when writing of his enemies he stated;

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother. (Ps 35:13-14)

Beloved, there will be a time indeed when we will rejoice in the fall of the wicked, there will indeed be a time that the righteous will sing at Gods vengeance being poured out in full measure upon the evil of this world, we see this in many passages, but that time is not yet.  (See: Ps 58:10, Rev 15:3-4, 18:20, 19:1-6)

While the Church remains on the earth, Jesus commanded a love for an enemy not a pretence of love. He commanded a love that has a genuine sorrow and burden for the trouble that has come upon the enemy of your life. We are called to bless and curse not, we are called to love them and to pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute youand Christ was the prime example.

Beloved let me tell you that your feelings toward an enemy DOES NOT DEFINE THE limit nor the extent of the POSSIBILITY in living peaceably with them!

Not loving as you are called to love, does not limit the possibility for peace, it only demonstrates you lack of trust in the Lord.

Trust in the Lord, and learn to have a burden for those you hate.

Then where is it limited Pastor Edi?

Peace is only limited where it is NOT determined by you!

The Particularity of The Command 

 Romans 12:18 

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

The endeavour is limited by its particularity,

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

You are the one charged to live peaceably and that is the practical limitation of the matter.

We are to endeavour to live peaceably with all men to the utmost of our power. As much as lies in us personally we are to both seek and to maintain peace.

This means that it is not based on the determination of the other person before we can live in peace; it is in us to do so, as much as lieth in you

This does not mean that you can stop them from hating you or warring with you, but it does mean that it can stop you hating them and waring with them. Let the fight be one sided, and wait and see how the Lord brings it about.

The wicked dig a pit and they themselves fall into it. 

You are the one that determines the peace in which you are willing to live. 

Turn to;

Ephesians 4:31–32

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 

And turn to:

Colossians 3:12–15

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 

No doubt this speaks more particularly of relationship between brethren; nevertheless, whether it be a brother or sister, a wrong doer or enemy we are charged to be without bitterness, to forebear each other and to love one another. 

While they strives against you and are without peace, you yourself can be at peace from your end. 

How? This entire sermon is to show you how, and I pray you listen to it more than once. There will be more to the HOW question in the last point.

  1. You can give up a view of any rights you think you have;
  2. You can chose not to be offended by anyone.
  1. GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS! (ie Forego your own private interests , whatever they are, for the sake of peace)

1 Corinthians 6:1–7

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 

Now, take care in how to take this passage beloved, my focus is on the last verse alone. There are implication is this passage that we need to take care of, not least of which is that the disputing brethren MUST be part of the same Church, as is here. 

Only brethren in the same body can be practically and biblically be held to account. Only those in the same fellowship can be brought under the authority of the Church. 

There is more still to deal with in that passage, but only the last verse of it is applicable to our discussion this morning.

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

To clarify;

Why do you insist on your rights rather than suffer the temporal loss of that which the Lord will repay in eternity

There are times when we are so filled in our hearts with the things we think are our rights, we get offended as the slightest curbing of them in this life. We do not suffer the temporal loss of that which we desire and forget that the Lord made clear;

Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord” (The next verse of our text Rom 12:19)

But there are also things that are most important to us that are indeed our rights to which we also suffer the temporal loss for the sake of peace.

Divorce is the greatest plague of the last fifty years, Satan has skillfully taken away the peace of many relationships and created separation in that which God had put together. 

Children are most often separated from their fathers, this too is Satanic genius to maximise the damage, because it is through the father the child obtains discipline and confidence. And we see its result play out today.

There is no “better” option for the children, other than their parents living in peace.

But there are times when we need to sacrifice our rights in the most delicate of matters for the sake of peace. The Lord is responsible for the recompense.

In Romans, Paul exhorted and reminded the brethren to live practically that which Jesus himself and already taught his disciples;

Matthew 5:39–42

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 

Beloved, the reality is that any true right we have in this world granted by the Lord can temporarily be removed, but nothing can remove your hope of eternal life and no man can take that away. 

Interestingly however, the Lord will repay and that eternally. 

Can it be that what is lost here is gained there? 

You can indeed live peaceably if you are willing to give up any perceived rights you have here.

  • DO NOT TAKE OFFENCE;

Proverbs 19:11

11    The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; And it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Notice that, in complete and perfect opposition to the evident witness of godliness to “pass over a transgression”, this Godless world finds offence in almost everything!

It is always worth noting that almost everything that the mainstream of the population finds acceptable today, the exact opposite is that which is pleasing to the Lord.

The world takes offence at the slightest provocation, but those mature in the Lord are pleased to cover direct offence;

Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: But a prudent man covereth shame.

You do not need to take offence beloved. 

Kind David suffered the slanderous cursing’s of a fool as he fled from Absalom his son, the men around him took offence, but how did David respond?

2 Samuel 16:11–12

11 … let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day. 

Just as God turned the Pursuit of the Cursing of Balaam into a blessing, so too will the Lord bless you when you are willing also to take no offence at the slander of others. This is a great sing of maturity.

But when you take offence at everything and anything, perceived or real, you demonstrate two things;

  1. You remain a child in the faith, and /or
  2. You think too highly of yourself.

Matthew 5:11–12

11      Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 

Beloved, this does not only apply against your enemies, but it also applies with loved ones and brethren even more so. It applies especially in your own marriage.

If you will consider those two keys alone, 

  • Willingness to think little of temporal rights
  • Choosing not to get offended (over look a transgression)

If you consider just those three keys, you will find great truth in that portion of our text;

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

The Universality of The Command

Romans 12:18 

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

 Notice the universality of the Command, it is to all men, yes to ALL WOMEN too. (The feminists among you are, however…. free to take it as it reads.)

live peaceably with ALL MEN

Not only those who love you, but also those who hate you;

Turn to Matthew 5:46

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 

NO, the obligation is to all men.

To the sinner as much as to the sinless, to the wicked man as much as to those who are your brethren in the Lord. There is in this passage no room to discriminate between persons.

Are you only to live in peace with those who agree with your opinions? Really? If that is the case then who will you not be at war with?

There are people in this very Church who I am sure do not share my opinions in all matters and neither do I share theirs, does that mean we are to strive against each other and live without peace?

Should we not be more at peace with one another when we are told to 

forebear one another, and forgiving one another” (Col 3:13), to be “kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:31-32)

Nor are we to consider that peace is limited to those who do the will of God and not to be extended to the Godless, the heathen and pagan in this world. In fact, it is our peace toward them that will draw them to Christ.

Christ did not dine with the righteous, but with publicans and sinners, nor did he “call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mrk 9:13)

Beloved what we can’t do is say that we will only be at peace with those who follow the rules of the Lord and are at peace with us. 

This is completely ridiculous: are we therefore saying that we will not obey the ordinances of God unless others do?

Are we saying we are justified to ignore the command to love our neighbour if our neighbours do not love us?

WHAT REWARD HAVE YE?

  • We are to give that which we have been freely given. 
  • We are to love the unlovable because we were unlovable
  • We freely give because we have freely received, 
  • We have peace with God and are therefore free to live peaceably with all men…and women.

Does this mean we are to be in agreement with all men?

Clearly this cannot be the case.

Living in peace does not mean we are to accept as true that which is evident contradiction.

We are not called to UNITE IN ERROR, but to live peaceably with all men.

Having no fellowship with sin, does not contradict living peaceably with men. 

We see in the scriptures that we are to  “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11), nor are we to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness” (2 Cor 6:14).

Clearly then this peace spoken of in the text is distinct from fellowship and communion. 

To be at peace does NOT mean to be in agreement. 

If perfect agreement is the only condition for peace, all people would be at war with one another.

Incredibly, this lack of understanding the difference is being made evident today. Peace is contingent upon perfect agreement with the woke evil of the day in all its madness.

We are seeing the manifestation of Prophecy before our eyes, when a time comes when peace is taken from the earth, and men will kill one another. 

This during the reign of the dreadful forth Kingdom Written of by the prophet Daniel.

As the world moves further away from the truth of the Bible, we should expect to see greater strife and division between the people of the world. 

But this need not be the case for you

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

When the world is at war with itself, you can live peaceably with the world.

The Applicability of The Command

Romans 12:18 

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

The application of living in peace with all people begins first the recognition that this is what we are called to do and it is first our responsibility. “as much as lieth in you” says the text. If that be the case then these six short items that follow are vital;

One: We must forgive one another. Even when we believe the other is to blame, we ought to forgive them, to bury the damage, to suffer the loss and not to suffer love to be broken and hatred to prevail. This is what the devil loves the most, he loves division.

Will there be lessons learned in this relationship? Yes, learn them, suffer the loss, forgive the account, and move on having learned what ever lesson may have needed to be applied to ensure you do not suffer the loss again.

Two: We are to bare one another’s infirmities, and we all have them. Galatians 6:2 says “bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ”. Bear with one another, do not moan and complain, do not speak wickedly of a brother or sister in the Lord simply because their infirmities seem in your eyes, greater than yours.

Be patient, longsuffering, forgiving and determining to take no offence. Trust in the Lord who has the rain fall on the just and the unjust.

Three:  Be willing to forego your private interests. In other words, your rights as we mentioned earlier.

All that you have you have been given, God suffers no man to have anything more nor less than what the Lord has given him. It is the reason we tithe our income to the Lord, we give back to him a small portion of all he has blessed us with. 

Beloved, if you are not in the practice of giving of your increase to the Lord, then the matter of forsaking your private interests is going to be almost impossible for you, for you have not yet even begun to see that it is the Lord who has given you what you have. This being so, when difficulties come, you may suffer more than Job, who knew clearly saying;

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Jb 1:21)

Three; Be willing to forsake your private interests.

Four: Be willing to condescend to one another. In other words, be willing to accept a person where they are at and not to lift yourself up over them. None of us are to stand in judgment over another persons standing.

Philippians 2:3–4 

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 

1 Corinthians 10:24 

24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. 

Turn to Romans 14 as the prime example of this doctrine.

Romans 14:1–8

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 

Five: Give place to wrath. The next verse speaks to it, but vengeance belongs to the Lord. When a person rages against you, be mild and gentle toward them. 

Beloved, as a hot headed Italian I make no bones as to the difficulty of it, but if we are trusting in the Lord and recall this simple verse to Give place unto wrath, let the Lord deal with the matter, but you yourself, gentle as a dove.

Six: Be transparent always. If we are all to live peaceably with all men, do not conceal yourself through a veneer, be plain, free and open one to another.

One of the most difficult things that face those who have been hurt in love is to open their hearts again to the potential of a new pain. But beloved, there is simply NO OTHER WAY TO LOVE!

Closing yourself off and building a wall to guard your heart is the surest way to deny access to your heart. 

Love CANNOT climb walls!!!!

Being perfectly vulnerable is the only way true love and peace between people can exist.

Close

All this avails nothing however if you are yet to have peace with God.

The only way to do so is through the Gospel of Christ. Jesus died for you to be able to have peace with God. Without Jesus paying for your sins upon that Cross, there would never have been a way to peace.

But God TOOK IT APON HIMSELF, “as much as lieth in him” “to live peaceably with all men”. Jesus put himself upon the cross to be sin crucified, that all who believe can have peace with God.

Admit you are a sinner

Believe Jesus69 Died for your sins

Call upon his name to save you.

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