A man tested the strength of a glass container by using it as a hammer to drive a nail successfully into a wooden plank. Next, he took a pea-sized marble and dropped it through the neck of the bottle. When the marble hit bottom, the container shattered. Resistant to blows inflicted from the outside, the bottle fell victim to destruction from within.
What an outstanding example of what can happen to the beautiful bride of Christ, His church. What atheists and enemies of truth could never do from the outside, selfish and shallow church members can accomplish from the inside.
While peace and unity cannot be had at the expense of truth (Proverbs 23:23), it should be a priority of all purchased persons to seek to live in peace with their brethren. Notice God’s words throughout time on this subject:
- “Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
- “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
- “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
- “Let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11).
There is no doubt that it is the responsibility of every child of God to do his best to keep peace in the body of Christ.
Pursue peace because it makes things good and pleasant.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). It is good because it promotes harmony and cooperation. It is pleasant because unity is lovely, charming, and enjoyable. A denominational preacher met with his deacons to discuss an important recommendation to the church. After a lively debate, the deacons brought the issue to a vote. To the preacher’s surprise, the raised hands indicated all but one deacon favored the recommendation. The preacher was so pleased with the balloting that he asked the one dissenting deacon if he would reconsider his vote so they could come to the business meeting with a unanimous agreement. The cantankerous deacon gruffly replied, “Preacher, as long as I’m around, ain’t nothin’ gonna be unanimous.” Do not let that be your legacy.
Pursue peace because Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
We are to “strive for” that harmony (Philippians 1:27). Much of the contention in the world is created and maintained by haughty spirits and unyielding pride. The peacemaker abandons pride and imitates the Prince of Peace who said, “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). We promote peace by being hard to offend. Many are oversensitive and suspicious, lacking patience and forbearance. Do not be thin-skinned like one man who left the church. When someone asked him why, he said, “The preacher did not say ‘brother’ when he called me up to lead a song.”
To be a peacemaker, we must employ the same process Jesus utilized to bring peace to mankind (cf. Ephesians 2:14–18).
- Remove everything that is standing between those who are estranged (Ephesians 2:14–16).
- Think less of ourselves and more of others and the church (Ephesians 2:16; cf. Philippians 2:2–8, 19–21).
- Never be guilty of choosing sides (Ephesians 2:17; cf. Romans 12:16–21; James 2:9).
- Employ the Bible as the only guide to govern all relationships (Ephesians 2:15; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16–17).
Pursue peace because it builds up the church.
Cooperation in the church is imperative. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). Our attitude toward keeping peace in the church extends to diet and drink and every other common scene of life (Romans 14:20–21). The church is a body, and a chief characteristic of a body is cooperation. Just to maintain balance while standing still, one works about three hundred muscles. If it takes that much effort to stand idle, how much more cooperation is needed to move forward!
No one wants to be a part of a bickering, cold, and divided church. However, a pure, peaceful, and pleasant atmosphere is conducive to growth. Further, a united congregation produces an environment conducive to building up, strengthening, and maturing young Christians.
Pursue peace because those who cause divisions are to be marked and avoided.
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). One of the seven things God hates is “one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:19).
Pursue peace because it will one day enable us to see the Lord.
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Pursue peace because it keeps us in fellowship with the God of peace.
“Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
Abraham’s attitude must be ours: “Let there be no strife between you and me . . . for we are brethren” (Genesis 13:8). Ours is a kingdom of peace (Isaiah 2:1–4); we worship the God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and follow the “Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6), who left peace with His disciples (John 14:27).
“Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
 Preacher Talk, Vol. 3 Tape 2, 1995.
 Strive together, sunathleo, “to wrestle in company with, to seek jointly” (Philippians 2:1–3; Ephesians 4:3).
 Wendell Winkler. Heart Diseases and Their Cure.