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'Peace' - Fruits Of The Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 - The Fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. This evening we’re on our third in the series “The fruit of the Holy Spirit” and we’re looking at peace.

Peace is very much on our minds as we look around the world. We think of the global war on terrorism. The rise of ISIS across parts of the world, civil wars in some countries, religious wars in others. It seems wherever you turn there is war and conflict, destroying countless lives.

Statistics provided by The Society of International Law, say

  • that during the last 4,000 years there have been only 268 years of world peace.
  • 85% of all history concerns itself with WAR.
  • In all the years over 8000 peace treaties were made--and broken.
  • There has never been a single day in the last 100 years where there has not been some conflict somewhere in the world.

Why is this? Why can’t we just get on together?

Perhaps we have to start with ourselves. Isn’t it the case that true peace is found within the heart first, before it can spread anywhere else?

Peace is not a state of mind it is a condition of the heart. It is a fruit of the Spirit. True peace is not to be found outside of the human heart. I would say that within each one of us is a “God shaped” hole that only God can fill and without him, there will never be peace in the soul. Real peace is not about the absence of conflict but the presence of God.

PEACE WITH GOD

The Bible says that God is the God of peace.

“And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Is what Isaiah 9 verse 6 says of Jesus.

John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”

Jesus is saying that when we are in a relationship with him we discover a peace which the world cannot match or offer. We’re no longer estranged from God, no longer separated from him.

Ephesians 2:14 says “For he himself is our peace” and verse 17 “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near”.

The story of John Newton

PEACE OF GOD

Peace to live in any and all circumstances of life.

Do you have that inner peace of God?

John Wesley during his ministry sailed to America. On the journey over there the ship sailed into a violent storm. John Wesley was terrified, and thought he was going to die. But on board were a group of Moravian Christians. While Wesley feared for his life, they sang hymns and prayed. It had a big impact on Wesley’s life. Why did he react the way he did, and they react the way they did? They would all have declared themselves Christians but faced a terrifying situation in completely different frames of mind.

Wesley’s time in America was a disaster. He returned to England some time later and continued his ministry until he came to that moment in his life that the Methodist Church commemorates on 24th May each year “Aldersgate Day”, when John Wesley felt his heart “strangely warmed” as he realised he was “an almost Christian”. He always pointed to this point on the ship as a defining moment in his life. The Moravian Christians had the inner peace of God, John Wesley realised he did not.

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” “Will Guard your hearts and Minds in Christ Jesus.” Do you ever think of Peace as a guard?

What’s so amazing about the letter to the Philippians is that Paul wrote it when he was in prison, not knowing what the future held in store for him. This letter often known as the joyful letter, was written when his circumstances were anything but peaceful.

We’re talking about something that is beyond the touch of humanity.
We’re talking about something that the world can’t comprehend.
We’re talking about something that we don’t always understand.

Do we need to understand it to have it? No.

And is not just for today. Because 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way”.

“All is well with my soul” video clip from YouTube

“When sorrow’s like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”

That is a peace within that passes all understanding. Only God can give it to sustain us, to keep us in the midst of the storm.

PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER

Let there be peace on earth – video from YouTube

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. And how often does it not? My less than peaceful attitude when someone cuts me up on the road! Or tries to push in in a queue! And if this fruit isn’t displayed in my own life, how can I expect it to be displayed in the world?

Peace has to be shown in our closest relationships and within our church families before we will see it anywhere else. The fruit of our relationship with Jesus is shown in the nature of all our other relationships.

Having made my confession on Sunday morning of how I’d wrongly got angry with Les, I’m probably not the best person to speak about living peacefully with someone else, but I’m a practising Christian not a perfect one! But here goes anyway…..

Think before you speak….

A young husband was henpecked by his wife and he turned to his mates for some advice. They told him, "You don’t have to let your wife tell you what to do! Go home and show her who the boss is! So the young man went home, slammed the front door and declared to his wife, "From now on, you’re taking orders from ME! When I get home from work, I want my tea ON the table. I want my clothes laid out each morning. I’ll be going out with my mates and you’ll be staying at home.” “And another thing,” he said. “Do you know who’s going to tie my tie?” “Yes,” she said: “The undertaker!”

Attack the problem, never the person

I really had a problem with someone in the past and I would say “You make me feel so and so…” which I discovered didn’t solve the problem because it felt as though I was attacking him. It was only when I was able to say “This course of action makes me feel so and so…” that we were able to start to iron out our differences.

Seek reconciliation

Reconciliation works to reestablish the relationship. Resolution tries to resolve every issue and in all honesty that is never going to happen. We’re all individuals, we think differently, we see things differently. Not every issue will be resolved, no matter how much we want it. But we can always work toward reconciliation. We can always work towards loving one another.

In Philippians 4, Paul does what is not recommended he washes the churches dirty linen in public, when he writes these words: “I plead with Eulodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal workers, help these women.

Once we know peace through our relationship with God, then we should be people of peace. Paul airs the dirty laundry of the early church to show us how devastating it is when there is disunity and disharmony within the church. We’re not told what these two women were fighting over but it was serious enough for the news to have spread all the way to Paul in a Roman prison and for him to write “stop fighting”.

How many times have you heard someone say: “I’ll never go to church because they are always fighting over something”. Most people don’t leave the church because they’ve fallen out with the Christian faith but because they’ve fallen out with another Christian.

Jesus came as the Prince of peace.
Not the prince of patience.
Not the prince of gentleness.
Not the prince of faithfulness.
Not the prince of kindness,
The prince of peace.

Because peace is all about relationships. The way we treat one another mirrors our relationship with God. Only in relationship with one another is this fruit of the Spirit shown.

'Joy' - Fruits Of The Spirit Gallery

FFF Talk: Joy

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