1) FIRST, WE ARE TO BE AT PEACE WITH EACH OTHER BECAUSE JESUS’ BLOOD HAS BROUGHT US NEAR TO GOD.
i) STEP 1: Peace begins when we realize that God has brought us near to Himself. God Himself has taken those who are far from himself and made them near. They were without God and God revealed Himself to them. If you and I truly understand God’s grace we cannot hold grudges and anger. We cannot without peace and keep people far away because God did not keep the sinner far away.
ii) The temptation when a sinner gets saved is for the Christian church to hold them at a distance until they are sanctified. The way this works out is we tend to wait until people look like us, act like us, and dress like us until we accept their conversion as legitimate. This denies work of God in salvation. When a person is saved by grace through faith they immediately have a status that is “near to God”. We must treat people this way regardless of how they look, dress or talk.
2) SECOND, WE ARE TO BE AT PEACE WITH EACH OTHER BECAUSE JESUS IS OUR PEACE.
Step 2: We must remove barriers. Seeking peace means we must build gospel unity with those who are culturally and sociologically different from us.
(1) 1 Cor. 12 and Ephesians 4, tell us that different people have different gifts and roles in the body of Christ. But in terms of our citizenship, we are all equal before the foot of the cross. The cross destroys barriers both real and imaginary.
(2) Sadly, the church has not always displayed Christ as its peace. Sometimes in fact we know the implications and refuse to follow them. This was no more true than in America’s history with slavery. Slaves would be denied the right of baptism because southern slave owners new that if these men and women were baptized they would be equals. They left barriers so people would not be their equals. The wrongly Lord’s Table was as a barrier in a body that should be one. The Lord’s Table should be a barrier between believers and non-believer but not a barrier within the body of Christ. In South Africa, the Dutch church gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1824. At first the churches were interracial. Then some began to object to sharing the communion cup with black Christians. In 1857, a church Synod (the annual General meeting) decided “as a concession to the prejudice and weakness of a few, it is recommended that the church serve one or more tables to European members after the non-white members have been served.” [source] This soon developed into separate churches, and then a whole philosophy known as apartheid or separatedness. THIS IS REPREHENSIBLE. THIS IS UNGODLY, MOST OF ALL IN A CHURCH!
(3) But how does the American church today respond to the issue of immigration? Would someone who is Hispanic, or maybe Arabic, or maybe with poor English skills really be welcome here? Would you approach them and befriend them or keep them at arm’s length?
(4) In America today, Sunday morning remains the most segregated hour of the entire week. We divide by ethnic, we divide by class barriers. We divide by culture. Now, there is nothing wrong with planting an indigenous church—and so you go into a community and you expect people to come from that community; it reflects area. The problem that is ungodly is when you say: I am going to attract this type of person. Church growth experts now instruct churches to target a particular sociological group and adapt to appeal to them. David Wells writes:
What is truly remarkable about this development is that it is taking place at the very time when, as we have seen, America is becoming a genuinely multi-ethnic society. Churches that market themselves knowing that they will be attracting overwhelmingly white, well-to-do, middle class, the suburban Boomers are churches which, to say the least, are quite out of step with their own world… What Christian faith becomes in these contexts is often a way to satisfy the needs of affluent suburbanites who, in other ways, have everything. Christian faith becomes virtually indistinguishable from the sounds, sights, and habits of white, consuming, affluent, suburbanites who want the best, the most advanced technology, and the most up-to-date nursery facilities, what amuses and entertains…”
[W]hen we set out with a methodology which we know will create churches that will be culturally, generationally, economically, and racially monolithic and monochromatic, something is amiss.
The new doctrine of separatedness is not Jew and Gentile and not even always ethnic—it is politics, class and economics—sometimes it is even youth culture. The church has become a gated community. Are people who walk in who do not look like us or talk like us welcome? For us the question is this: Monroe County as a fast growing Hispanic population. We also have poor and middle class moving out of the city. Are we going to reach these people with the gospel and peaceable worship with them in our church? Are we willing to be multi-ethnic and diverse for the gospel? What will our evangelistic efforts look like in the future?
3) THIRD, WE ARE TO BE AT PEACE WITH EACH OTHER BECAUSE JESUS RECONCILED US TO EACH OTHER.
i) Step 3: We need to go and seek reconciliation with people. Seeking peace and preserving unity is hard work. Will you pursue peace? Sometimes we have to go to people who are angry with us. Sometimes we have to go to people who we are angry at. Sometimes, we have to pray that the stereotypes that we hold in our heart are removed. Only the power of the cross removes them. We have a choice to make, either we pursue peace or we let hatred, anger and bitterness consume us:
Hebrews 12:14-15 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
 Above All Earthly Pow’rs. P.290-292.
 Ibid. 295.