The Fruit of the Spirit is . . . Peace

April 1, 2000 Galatians 5:22

1.  We’ve all been there – though we don’t like to admit it:
-  We’ve blown it – caved into sin – made a very selfish decision
-  But then, by God’s grace and the work of Christ on the cross – we’ve repented and asked forgiveness
-  We got busy working on the thinking process and the heart issues that led up to that particular sinful act and we PUT OFF the “old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful desires.”
-  And then we worked hard to PUT ON the “new man, which is created after God in righteousness and true holiness.”
2.  My question is:  What do you have as a result of this process?  What are you experiencing within after the tears have been shed, confession has been made, and you get back on track to living a life pleasing to God?
Answer:  PEACE
 Peace because of forgiveness
 Peace because God’s Word gave you direction in handling a problem
 Peace because you SETTLED something that was previously “out of sync” (or you have peace because you are trying to settle it in a way that is pleasing to God).
3.  MacArthur quote, Galatians, p. 167:
“If joy speaks of the exhilaration of heart that comes from being right with God, then peace refers to the tranquility of mind that comes from that saving relationship.”
4.  Our study this morning is focused on the “fruit of the Spirit” – the fruit of “peace” (Gal. 5:22)
[Read Gal. 5:16-25]
5.  In our time this morning, I’d like for us to look at 4 ways we can have PEACE . . . the fruit of the Spirit
1.  We can have peace – if we go to the right source
2.  We can have peace – only after the WAR has CEASED
3.  We can have peace – if we REJECT false peace
4.  We can have peace – even in spite of circumstances
1.  We can have peace – if we go to the right SOURCE!
- Remember, the kind of peace we are speaking of is “the fruit of the Spirit”
- Anyone who wants peace (true peace) will have to go to God to get – it’s not manufactured @ some plant – it’s not of mere human efforts!
- I’m convinced the reason some don’t have peace is because they are tying to get it from the wrong source
- The proper source of peace is God Himself:  Because our God is a God of Peace
- There is no question as you study the Word of God that He has communicated to us very clearly that:
 He is a God of peace
 He loves peace and
 He desires peace for you and me
- That is seen several ways:
A.  Present in the Garden of Eden
- As God walked with Adam in the “cool of the day” – there was peace in His relationship with Adam
- As Adam and Eve were both naked and not ashamed – there was peace in their relationship with each other
Point:  In the place that God created for Him and man to have fellowship together, there was great peace – God is a God of peace!
B.  Emphasized in His titles
1.  “God of peace”
- This title is used in several places in the bible:
 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Others: Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:9; Hebrews 13:20]
2.  Jesus – “The Prince of Peace”
 Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
- if you want to know/understand peace, you have to go to the right source – God and His Son, Jesus Christ!
- This is way we’ve tried to emphasize the place of Christianity in the public square
- Christianity brings true tolerance & diversity because God is a ‘God of peace’ and His Son, Jesus Christ is the ‘Prince of peace”
>  The problem the secular world has with Christianity is NOT with the ‘peace’ of Christianity – it’s the TRUTH of Christianity that they really reject!
Note:  John 1:14 refers to Jesus as also being full of “grace and truth” -  while Jesus is the Prince of peace – He’s also the standard of righteousness
Pont:  You can’t have peace with a consistent standard by which to measure peace!
C.  Prophesied for the millennial kingdom
- One of the truths that is repeated over and over in the OT is this:
>  When Christ establishes His 1,000 year reign on this earth, it will be time of PEACE
 Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
- In fact, the peace will be so complete that it will even affect the animal kingdom
 Isaiah 11:6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
Point:  Whether we’re talking about creation in the past, God’s titles today, or the conditions in the coming kingdom – God is a God of peace
>  If we want the kind of peace spoken of in Gal. 5:22 – it comes only from God – you have to go to the right source!
2.  We can have peace – only after the WAR has CEASED!
- We’ll talk more specifically about what war in just a minute
- But let me explain the reason this point is worded this way is because of the definition of peace
A.  Because of the definition of “peace”
- The men who defined “peace” in the Dictionary of NT Theology defined it this way:
1) The antithesis of war
2) A condition resulting from the cessation of war
3) State of law and order that gives rise to the blessings of prosperity
- This is a good definition because of the way the word was used in bible times and also because it fits the way this concept is discussed all throughout the bible
- You can’t have a condition resulting from a cessation of war if the was hasn’t ceased
- You might be thinking:  WHAT WAR?
B.  Where did this war begin?
- You could answer this question a couple of different ways
- Surely in one sense Satan started it:
1.  In heaven, by Satan – Isa. 14:12-15
 Isaiah 14:12 "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! 13 "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' 15 "Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”
Point:  This war started in heaven when Satan rebelled against God – but the God of peace would not be defeated!
2.  In the heart of man (Adam/Eve) – Gen. 3:1-7
- remember what we said earlier about how there was peace in the beginning – from God to man, and man-to-man (Eve)
- but something happened:  Man began to focus on his restrictions and minimize his blessings, and he continued down the path of rebellion
- of course, immediately after Adam & Eve sinned, they ran to God seeking to make peace – crying:
>  “Peace, Lord, we need peace”
>  “Let’s end this war right here and now!”
- OF COURSE NOT – they ran & hide, sewed fig leaves, made excuses, and blame shifted
Q:  Why?  Peace was gone – that’s why the fig leaves, bushes, irrational thinking!
>> Their solution for getting away from God was about as rational and effective as my youngest son Matthew (3yrs.) curling up on the couch and covering himself with a blanket and saying, “You can’t see me daddy!”
- But THANKFULLY God stepped into the picture
 Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. "
- Even though God is a God of peace, and He created a world of peace – He’s the first to declare that peace is not possible until sin has been taken care of properly!
  >  You can’t cover up this war!
- God would later declare:
 Isaiah 48:22 "There is no peace for the wicked," says the LORD.
- You may be asking a question:  How did I get involved?
 Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--
- I hope you wouldn’t be thinking:  THAT SORRY ADAM – HE BLEW IT FOR ALL OF US!
- The truth is, you would have done the same (probably quicker)
Point:  You and I were born in a war (a spiritual war) and we were born on the wrong side!
-  God says that we “come forth from the womb, speaking lies.”
-  “Foolishness (moral depravity) is bound in the heart of a child”
C.  How is this war described?
1.  War with others
- We need to hear Isaiah’s words:
 Isaiah 59:7 Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; devastation and destruction are in their highways. 8 They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked; Whoever treads on them does not know peace.
- I think we have been lulled to sleep in our nation – we think we are at peace (in a certain sense that is true . . . politically)
- But we are a nation at war – war with others
- Sometimes that “war” takes on several forms:
 a CHILD at war with his parents
ILL: Matthew in the store with me – we heard a mother screaming at her child – even Matthew knew that she was sinfully angry
 PARENTS at war with a child
 NEIGHBORS at war with neighbors (murders)
 UNBORN babies/partial birth babies at war with doctors/researchers (sale of fetal tissue – World Magazine, March 27, 2000
 HUSBANDS at war with wives in abusive, degrading, situations
- And we could go on!
- Listen to James 4:1
 James 4:1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?
Q:  Do you think the Galatians needed to hear about this “war”?
>  They were heavily involved in it!
 Galatians 5:15 “But if you bite and devour one another . . .”.
- We are at war with others because we are at . . .
2.  War with ourselves
 Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
- that war inside is the war with the inner man!
- James 4:1 “. . . come they not here, even of your lusts what war in you members?”
- our course, we have the war within because we are at . . .
3.  War with God
 Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
- ultimately, our war is with God – our rebellion is directed at Him
Point:  Biblically, we can’t talk about peace until we have thoroughly addressed how peace was lost and what has to be done to get it back!
  >  Mention “The Passion Play” – this is how the war gets settled!
3.  We can have peace – if we REJECT false peace!
- Did you know that God hates “false peace”
- If you want to talk about something that makes the Lord angry – this is it!  [False Peace]
- People who want to talk about “peace” without addressing the war!
 Jeremiah 6:13 "For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 "And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace.
Point:  Peace pursued apart from righteousness is FALSE PEACE!
- Real peace, biblical peace results when the war has been settled:
>  When sin has been sufficiently address
> When righteousness has been achieved
- God condemns peace that is proposed or sought apart from righteousness
-  A person can’t have peace with God or with others unless the reason for the lack of peace has been settled.
 Matthew 10:34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
- God gives peace to those who are His children – and who “walk in the Spirit and don’t fulfill the desires of the flesh”
- There are those who want all the benefits of peace, but they don’t want it God’s way
- Lastly,
4.  We can have peace – even in spite of circumstances
- There is one side of the peace issue that is conditional (you have to live life God’s way or you will not have true peace)
- There is another side of peace that has no relationship to circumstances:
>  I’m talking about trials and tests of our faith
- Christians knows the truth of Romans 8:28
 Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Quote:  “Because God is in control of all aspects of a believer’s life, how his circumstances may appear from a human perspective makes no ultimate difference.” – MacArthur, Galatians, p. 167
- That’s why Jesus could say to His disciples (without reservation):
 John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe in Me”

Note:  There is a direct connection between PEACE and FAITH;  a direct connection between PEACE and your VIEW OF GOD
- Let’s close by taking a look at Phil. 4:6-9
 Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
- The answer in times of worry – stress – anxiety is simply this:
- While “peace” is the fruit of the Spirit – God has also arranged that the fruit cannot be produced apart from our obedience and “walking in the Spirit” and “being filled (controlled) by the Spirit”
- Remember, Paul said, “Practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you”
Ill:  In April of 1970, the great novelist George Simenon finished his 408th novel, according to his customary and astonishing schedule of finishing a book in a mere nine days.  Simenon wrote;  I have only one ambition lift, to be completely at peace with myself.  I doubt if I shall ever manage it.  I do not think it is possible for anyone.”
- My friend:
 The bad news is:  There is a war!
 The good news:  Jesus fought the battle and won, and He will fight for us and give us His peace!
1.  Apply this to salvation – the first step in the peace process is the recognition of your sin
>  Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
>  Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Quote:  Verse of How Great Thou Art
And when I think, that God His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearding
He bled and died to take away my sin.
>  Romans 5:1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2.  Christian, are you developing the fruit of peace because you are walking in the Spirit more and more?
>  Would people or God say of your life – He/she is growing in peace – because they are more and more handling life God’s way?
3.  God’s peace is a lasting peace that satisfies – not like the false peace of man:
Average Treaty:  Two Years
“Since 1919, the nations of Europe have signed more than 200 treaties of peace.  Each treaty, simply another scrap of paper, was broken more easily than consummated.  From the year 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1860 more than 8,000 treaties of peace, meant to remain in force forever, were concluded. The average time they remained in force was two years.” – Ency. Of 7,000 Illustration, p. 991