A sermon for the Watford church of Christ

Watford church of Christ 15 October 2023

What Does Jesus Think About War?

QUESTION: What do you think his answer would be?
God’s people involved in war in OT
God’s people not involved in war in NT
What changed?

Violence from the start
“Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8 NRSV)
OT – time when the lion will lie down the lamb; peace-bringer will come; peace between humans and God – “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them…. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25 NIV11)
Matthew 5:9 (NIV):** “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44 NIV11)
Matthew 26:52 (NIV):** “Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Later NT
Romans 12:18 (NIV):** “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV):** “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.”
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV):** “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
1 Peter 3:9 (NIV):** “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Revelation 21:4 (NIV):** “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Jesus can ‘use’ war to open up hearts, but he does not desire it
Jesus wants peace, and we can be his peace-bringers

Questions and Issues
Is self-defence, or national defence the same as going to war?
What would we say to the argument that there is a greater good when we resist evil?
What would we say if we were Jewish?
What would we say if we were Ukrainian?

What this means for us…..
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7 NIV11)
Pray for authorities
Live peaceful life
Invite others into the peace we have

Lord’s Supper
Jesus gave himself to violence to spare us the violence we deserve

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm