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					                                   The Fruit of the Spirit Is …
                                            PEACE

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ and choose to follow Him, the Holy Spirit of
God enters into our lives and begins a work to make us more like Jesus. Part of that work
involves eliminating the deeds of the flesh that we read about in Galatians chapter 5 a few
weeks ago.

If you review that list in Galatians 5:19-21, you’ll notice that many of the deeds of our
sinful nature show up visibly in our behavior – for example, things like outbursts of anger
and drunkenness … those are sins that everyone can easily see. But then there are other
sins that are hidden below the surface, and they’re not so easy to see.

       Now, some of those sins can be the hardest to deal with. Since other people don’t
       see those sins on the surface of our lives, it’s easy for us to let them continue
       without addressing them. One of those sins that most of us allow ourselves to get
       away with on a regular basis is worrying.

       In fact, worrying is so much a part of our everyday lives that it never occurs to
       most of us that there’s anything wrong with worrying.

                But even though the problem with worrying doesn’t usually occur to us, it
                did occur to Jesus.

In his devotional entitled My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers comments on
what Jesus said about worrying in Matthew chapter 6. Here’s part of what Chambers
wrote:

       “It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that
       God can look after the practical details of our lives.”

                That’s what Jesus taught. Jesus taught that at its root, all worrying is a
                failure to trust God to do for us what He has said He will do for us.

Now, because worrying is sin – because it’s unfaithfulness to God – the Holy Spirit is at
work to produce fruit in our lives that will help us to overcome worry.

       So the next character quality in Paul’s list in Galatians 5 help us put to death the
       deed of the flesh called worry. Let’s review Galatians 5:22-23 together…

                “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience …”

This week we’re going to look at how we can partner with the Holy Spirit to grow in
peace. Let’s start by defining peace.


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WHAT IS PEACE?

I like this definition of peace.

       Peace is living life undisturbed.

When you study what the Bible says about peace, you learn that the basic concept of
peace throughout the Bible has to do with living an undisturbed life.

       Obviously, there are many things in life that naturally bother us in one way or
       another. Peace is the God-given ability to not be disturbed by those things.

For example, the night before Jesus went to the cross, the Lord told his disciples what
was going to happen to Him and to them. Now the things that Jesus told them were the
kind of things that would naturally disturb anybody, so the Lord talked to them about
peace:

       “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not
       your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

       “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have
       tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

In this second comment (John 16:33), the word translated tribulation could also be
literally translated with the word pressure. The word that’s used here is talking about the
things that press in against us, either literally or figuratively.

       So, when you consider what the Lord said to His disciples here, you see that
       peace is what God gives us to overcome the fears or troubled feelings that we
       naturally have as a result of the various stresses that we face in life.

                Peace is the God-given ability to live an undisturbed life.

Now, as you study what the apostles taught about peace in the rest of the New Testament,
you see that God’s peace is available for every arena of life.

                                  Peace in Every Arena of Life
        “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.”
                                        (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
        Spiritual Arena         “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God
        (you and God)           through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:1)
       Relational Arena          “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
       (you and others)         (Romans 12:18)
        Personal Arena          “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and
    (you and your worries)      supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to
                                God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will
                                guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)


                                                   2
2 THESSALONIANS 3:16

       So, God has peace for every area of life.

For example, God creates peace in our relationship with Himself. As you know, sin
disturbs our relationship with God. Because of our sinfulness, the Bible says that we all
start out as God’s enemies – we’re in conflict with God. But Romans 5:1 tells us that
because of what Jesus did for us, we have peace with God: ROMANS 5:1

       So, God gives us peace in our relationship with Him.

Secondly, as we all know, sin also causes problems between us and other people, but God
wants peace to rule our relationships with other people. That’s why the Bible says things
like this: ROMANS 12:18

       So, God also gives us the ability to live in peace with other people.

Then in addition to helping us have relational peace between us and God and relational
peace between us and other people, the Lord also wants to give us personal peace that
overcomes the things that we are prone to worry about: PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

So, when the Bible talks about peace, it is talking about the God-given ability to
overcome the stress in our lives, either internally or relationally.

       Now, how do we partner with the Holy Spirit to experience that kind of peace?

HOW TO GROW IN PEACE

Well, here are two places to start. Remember these two key words: Trust & Talk.

       For the past three weeks I’ve been reminding you that walking by the Spirit is a
       partnership between us and the Holy Spirit.

               So, there is a part that we play and a part that the Holy Spirit plays in order
               for the Spirit to produce peace in our lives.

                       Our part is to first trust God to be and do what He says in His word
                       and then secondly, we need to talk with God about the things that
                       seem to be pressing in around us.

If you think back to the quote from Oswald Chambers at the beginning of our study this
morning, it reminds us that lack of peace within or lack of relational peace always
involves an issue of trusting God. Remember, Chambers said that “worrying means that
we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives.” In other
words, we don’t trust that God will do and be what He says in His word.

                                             3
When I first introduced Oswald Chambers’ comment, I mentioned that his comment was
sparked by something that Jesus said in Matthew 6. Let’s turn to Matthew 6 and look at
what Jesus said.

MATTHEW 6:24-34

       Now, the Lord reminds us here that anxiety, or lack of peace, is a lack of faith.
       Look at verse 30 again:

               MATTHEW 6:30

                       So, the main issue here is faith. The reason we worry is because
                       we don’t trust God. We don’t believe that God will do and be
                       what He has said in His word.

Now, let’s look over these verses together and pick out the things that Jesus says here
about God. What does Jesus say about what our Father in heaven is like and what does
Jesus say about what our Father will do? [Get their input.]

       26 – God feeds animals
       26 – God values us much more than animals
       28 – God covers the plant word in beauty
       30 – God will do much more for us than He does for flowers
       32 – God knows what we need
       33 – Jesus promises that our needs will be met if we seek God’s kingdom and His
            righteousness first

So, these are things that Jesus has told us about God. Now, if we believe these things,
what will we do?

       34 – Do not be anxious about tomorrow

Ultimately peace is all about trust.

       Isaiah 26:3 says this:

               “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts
               in You.” Isaiah 26:3

                       Trusting God leads to peace.

Now, that’s the issue whether we’re talking about worrying about food and clothing like
Jesus talks about here or if we’re talking about relational conflict. If we are experiencing
conflict within or without, there is probably something about God that we are not
trusting.

                                             4
For example, whenever other people bother me, one of the things I usually have to trust
God for is the grace to die to self. Over the years I’ve found that most of my problems
with people get resolved pretty fast when I just trust God with my pride.

       A.W. Tozer made this observation about the relationship between pride and
       peace:

               “As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal, there will always
               be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have
               peace?”

       Tozer’s point is that our pride often prevents our peace – both our inner peace and
       our relational peace. So, we need to trust that God will take care of us if we just
       die to self and refuse to go in the direction that our pride wants to lead us.

Now, one of the things that helps us to trust God like I’ve been talking about is to talk to
God about the things that bother us and let Him talk to us.

       The first key word is trust, and the second key word to remember is talk.

Look again at Philippians 4:6-7:

       “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
       thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all
       understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Instead of worrying, what are we supposed to do? [Pray] Talk to God about it. Prayer is
one of the keys to peace.

The old hymn, What A Friend We Have in Jesus has this line in it:

       “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, every
       thing to God in prayer.”

Worry is supposed to be a catalyst for prayer.

       If you prayed every time something or someone bothered you, what do you think
       would happen? Think about that … what if …

              every time you thought about a financial need, you paused and prayed
              every time you thought about a conflict with another person, you stopped
               and prayed
              every time you thought about one of your kids who was going through a
               tough time, you bowed and prayed for a minute.

       If you did that every time something bothered you, what do you think would
       happen?
                                            5
Well, I know one thing that would happen. … The peace of God which surpasses all
understanding would guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

       Of course, the problem is that we don’t do that … we don’t pray every time
       something bothers us. Most of us worry far more than we pray, and as a result …
       “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do
       not carry, every thing to God in prayer.”

       … But what if every time a worry popped into your mind … what if you saw that
       worry as a call to prayer … Well, if we did that, we would experience what Paul
       wrote about in Philippians 4:6-7.

So, when worry starts to flood our hearts and minds … talk … talk to God about it.

       But also let God talk to you.

Look at Psalms 94:19:

       “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.”

Consolations are words of comfort.

       Whenever you wrestle with worry or conflict, wouldn’t it be nice if you could sit
       down with God and let Him talk to you about whatever is bothering you?
       Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do that? Well, the fact is, you can.

One way God speaks His words of consolation to us is through His written word.

Psalms 119:165 says this …

       “Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to
       stumble.”

               So, there is a connection between loving God’s word and peace.

                        What’s the connection?

Where else can you go and be guaranteed to find God’s words of consolation and hope?

      When I read the Bible I’m reminded of what God is like (loving, faithful, in
       control, powerful, forgiving, gracious, good)

      I’m also reminded of what God has promised (“The Lord will accomplish what
       concerns me” – Psalm 138:8; Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:28)


                                                6
When situations press in around me and I look at the circumstances, I tend to worry …
but when I listen to what God’s word says about what God is like and what He has
promised, it brings peace into the troubles of my world. I t will do the same for you.

So, talk to God and let Him talk to you.

       I want to do that with you for a bit right now.

CLOSING PRAYER

My guess is that all of us have some things that we are worrying about this morning …
things that bother us. … Worry is a call to pray.

At the bottom of your outline, write down what you are worrying about this morning.

I want to take some time to talk to God about these things and to let our Father talk to us.

      The first thing I’d like us to do is to silently acknowledge to God that He is in
       control of everything on our lists. Silently, go down the list, and identify each of
       your concerns and say, “Lord, I know that you are in control of this.” Do that for
       each concern on your list.”

      This morning I reminded us that for everything we worry about, there is something
       to trust God for. Next to each of the worries on your list, make a note of what God
       has said in His word about what He is like, or what He has done, or what He will do
       regarding the things on your list. So for example, if one of the things you are
       worrying about is loneliness, then you would want to note that God has promised to
       never leave us or forsake us … that God has said that He is a God who is near, and
       not a God far off. So, go down your list and write down what God has said about
       Himself that relates to each thing you are worrying about.

               Once you have written those things, then spend some time talking with God
               about what you wrote and tell Him that you want to trust Him to be and do
               what you need Him to be and do in the situations you have listed.

      Psalm 94:19 says …“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your
       consolations delight my soul.” Consolations are words of comfort. Ask God to
       speak words of comfort to you about the things you have listed. If the Lord
       brings a verse of Scripture to mind, read it. The Spirit of God may just speak to
       you. If He does, listen. … The Lord may also speak words of comfort to you that
       you sense He would have you share with the rest of us. If you hear the Lord
       telling you to do that, then just speak out what the Lord has asked you to speak.




                                              7
      1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “[cast] all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”

       If you wrote out your list, draw a circle around your list and figuratively put them
       all together in one bundle – if you didn’t write your list, do the same thing in your
       mind’s eye – now put the bundle on Jesus’ back – and leave it there..


Now, may “The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you
peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)




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