THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – PEACE

INTRODUCTION

Another grace experienced by those whose lives are in tune with the Spirit of God is that of peace (Gal. 5:22).

  1. That the Spirit of God should induce peace in the children of God should be understandable in light of the fact that…
  2. Their heavenly Father is “the God of peace” (1 The. 5:23)
  3. Their Lord Jesus Christ is called “Prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6)

But one might ask…

  1. What is this peace enjoyed by those who walk in the Spirit?
  2. How does one come to have this peace?
  3. How we can be sure to preserve this peace, and enjoy it to its fullest extent?

As we continue our study of “The Flesh and The Spirit,” and especially as we focus on “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23), we now turn our attention to the subject of peace…

DISCUSSION

DEFINING “PEACE”

  1. Peace is sometimes defined in negative terms
    • As though peace were simply the absence of conflict
    • For example:
      • “The only condition of peace in this world is to have no ideas, or, at least, not to express them.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
      • “He knows peace who has forgotten desire” – The Bhagavad Gita
  2. A biblical definition of peace includes positive elements
  3. The Greek word is eirene, which is defined as:
    • “peace between individuals, i.e., harmony, concord” – Thayer
    • “…the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is” – Thayer
  4. So rather than simply an absence of conflict, the peace God provides is…
    • A condition positive in nature
    • In which there is active fellowship, harmony and concord between individuals
  5. Having defined peace as a blessing that ought to be desired and enjoyed by all, let’s consider what the Bible has to say about...

THE SOURCE OF THIS PEACE

  1. It comes from Jesus, who came to bring peace…
    • Isaiah 9:6-7…It was prophesied He would be the “Prince of peace”
    • Acts 10:34-36…When He came, He came preaching peace
  2. Indeed, He offers peace:
    • That the world is not able to give… John 14:27
    • That one can possess even in the midst of tribulation… John 16:33
  3. The peace Jesus brings involves:
  4. Peace with God…Romans 5:1-11
    • Which comes when we are “justified by faith” … Romans 5:1
    • Which is accompanied with rejoicing and love, even in tribulation… Romans 5:2-5
    • Which is made possible by the loving sacrifice of Jesus’ blood… Romans 5:6-9
    • And continues by virtue of His resurrected life
    • Romans 5:10-11
    • Hebrews 7:25
  5. Peace with man…Ephesians 2:11-22
    • Jew and Gentile, once alienated from one another, can be at peace in Jesus Christ… Ephesians 2:11-14
    • Made possible through the same act which makes peace with God: the death of Jesus Christ!… Ephesians 2:15-16
    • Thus, Jesus has come preaching peace to all mankind… Ephesians 2:17
    • The wonders of this peace are described as Paul continues…
    • A peace that allows access by one Spirit to the Father… Ephesians 2:18
    • A peace where all can be fellow-citizens with the saints… Ephesians 2:19a
    • A peace where all can be members of the family of God… Ephesians 2:19b
    • A peace where all can be a temple in the Lord, a habitation of God in the Spirit… Ephesians 2:20-22
  6. Peace with self
    • Peace within one’s own self is mostly a byproduct…
    • Of being at peace with God
    • Of being at peace with those around us
    • So when Jesus brings us peace with God and man – peace within naturally follows!
    • But there is a peace, one that blesses the soul from within…
    • It comes from God
    • It surpasses all understanding
    • It serves as a fortress to guard our hearts and minds – and it comes through Christ Jesus!… Philippians 4:7
    • When one is in Christ Jesus, enjoying the blessings of justification, along with reconciliation with both God and man, peace is a natural byproduct.
  7. But is there anything we can and should be doing to preserve the peace we have from God in Christ Jesus?

PRESERVING OUR PEACE

  1. Maintaining peace with God and self requires…
    • Keeping our minds set on God…Isaiah 26:3
    • Loving God’s word, and heeding His commandments
      • Psalm 119:165
      • Isaiah 48:18
      • John 14:23
    • Being diligent in prayer…Philippians 4:6-7
    • Filling our mind with spiritual thoughts
      • Philippians 4:8-9
      • Romans 8:5-8
  2. Maintaining peace with one another requires…
    • Being at peace with God first…Proverbs 16:7
      • How can we hope to make peace with others when we are not at peace within?
      • Making peace with God gives us the peace within whereby we are in a better position to make peace with others!
    • A concentrated effort to “pursue” peace…1 Peter 3:8-12
      • Peace must be sought and pursued… 1 Peter 3:11
      • Peter mentions some of the qualities necessary… 1 Peter 3:8-9
    • Being of one mind
      • Having compassion for one another
      • Love as brothers, tenderhearted, and courteous
      • Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but responding with a blessing
      • Only then can we expect to “love life and see good days”!… 1 Peter 3:10
    • Please note that the pursuit of peace does not require compromise of truth
      • For the wisdom that is from above is “first pure, then peaceable…” (Jam 3:17)
      • But if we wish to bear the fruit of righteousness, it must be “sown in peace by those who make peace”! (Jam. 3:18)

CONCLUSION

  1. Let us never forget that Jesus, as the Prince of peace…
    • Came preaching peace
    • Died on the cross to make peace possible with God, man, and self
    • Is the conduit through which God now grants peace to man, as pronounced the night He was born… Luke 2:11-14
    • Indeed, the element of peace is a key feature of His kingdom…Romans 14:17-19
  2. We should therefore “let the peace of God rule in our hearts” … Colossians 3:15
  3. And allow Jesus to give us His peace as expressed in this prayer… 2 Thessalonians 3:16
  4. Do you wish to ensure that the Lord is always with you, that you might experience that “peace which surpasses all understanding”?
    • Then heed what Jesus Himself said to His disciples shortly before ascending into heaven
    • Matthew 28:18-20
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THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – JOY

INTRODUCTION

Those who are influenced and directed by the sword of the Spirit will produce “the fruit of the Spirit” in their lives…Galatians 5:22-23

  1. We noted in our previous study that there is not a plurality of fruits, but one fruit
  2. Yes, only one fruit that is made up of several interrelated graces or virtues, all of which will be manifested if one is truly walking in the Spirit

Prominent, of course, will be the virtue of love, which we observed…

  1. Was defined as active good will, that which seeks the highest good of others
  2. It is best exemplified by Jesus Christ, who through His example has taught us what love really is
    • John 15:13
    • 1 John 3:16
  3. Agape must be the “universal motive” for all that we do… 1 Corinthians 16:14

As noted in Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit also involves joy…

  1. It is interesting to note the relationship between the Holy Spirit and joy in several passages:
  2. Romans 14:17… The kingdom of God is “joy in the Holy Spirit”
  3. 1 Thessalonians 1:6… The Thessalonians had received the word “with joy of the Holy Spirit”
  4. And of course, our text in Galatians 5:22
  5. Therefore, one who is led by the Spirit, and walking by the Spirit, will be someone filled with much joy in his or her life!

But what is joy?

  1. How can Christians be filled with joy?
  2. As we seek to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, let’s take a closer look at joy…

DISCUSSION

THE DEFINITION OF JOY

The Greek word is “chara”

  1. Which Thayer defines as chara“joy, gladness”
  2. Vine adds “delight”
  3. By one count the word is used 60 times in the New Testament

The verb form of “chara” is “chairein”

  1. Which is most often translated “to rejoice”
  2. It is used 72 times in the New Testament

Closely related is the word “charis”

  1. Which is the word most often translated as “grace”
  2. Vine defines grace in the objective sense as “that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard”
  3. Therefore grace is what produces joy!

The connection between grace and joy

  1. One’s joy is directly proportional to the grace one has received, or at least to the perception of grace that one has received
  2. Receive a small gift, and your joy might be minimal
  3. Receive a large gift, and your joyous reaction is greater
  4. When Christians’ don’t have much joy in their lives, something is wrong: “If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
  5. Here is one explanation why Christians may be joyless: “The reason why many poor souls have so little heat of joy in their hearts, is that they have so little light of Gospel knowledge in their mind. The further a soul stands from the light of truth, the further he must needs be from the heat of comfort.”

The joy of the Lord is abiding

  1. The Lord certainly does not want Christians to be joyless…John 15:11
  2. The joy He gives is “inexpressible and full of glory,” able to sustain us in the worst of circumstances…1 Peter 1:6-8
  3. Unlike the “passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25) which are fleeting
  4. Even the good things in life eventually prove to be “vanity” (Eccl. 2:10-11)
  5. Therefore He has made it possible for the Christian to say with Paul:Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4)

A failure to remember those things graciously given us which make for joy in our lives can explain why some Christians do not have the degree of joy (gladness, delight) they should have.

  1. But Christians have every reason to be joyful.
  2. We just need to remember what it is that produces joy.
  3. Let’s review just a few…

SOURCES OF JOY FOR THE CHRISTIAN

  1. Joy is a consequence of faith
  2. Joy comes from having a confident trust (faith) in God…Philippians 1:25
  3. Without faith in God and Christ, we cannot experience abiding joy
  4. Why is faith essential to joy?
  5. It dispels the attitudes that prevent joy from occurring
  6. Such as worry (cf. Mt 6:25-30), doubt and fear (cf. Mt 14:27-31)

Since joy is based upon faith, this emphasizes the importance of the Word of God in producing joy…

  1. For faith comes from the Word of God… Romans 10:17
  2. The Word of God produces faith
  3. In turn faith produces joy… Romans 15:13
  4. The very teachings of Jesus are designed to give us joy… John 15:11; 17:13
  5. Thus, we see the need to read and study the Bible daily!

Joy is also the result of obedience

  1. Obedience to the Word of God fosters joy in the hearts of the obedient
  2. Notice the conversion of the Samaritans… Acts 8:5-8
  3. Also, the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch – Acts 8:35-38
  4. And the conversion of the Thessalonians… 1 Thessalonians 1:6
  5. Conversely, disobedience dispels joy and produces fear!… Hebrews 10:26-27
  6. Could lack of joy be an indication of lack of obedience on your part?

Joy is based upon forgiveness

  1. The guilt of sin is a major reason why many people lack joy
  2. Awareness of such guilt causes stress, unhappiness, and worry
  3. Even as Paul illustrated in describing the condition of one struggling with the problem of sin… Romans 7:22-24
  4. But where there is forgiveness, there can be joy!
  5. Consider the 32nd Psalm of David
    • He introduces his theme by speaking of the “blessedness” (or joy) of one whose sins are forgiven…Psalm 32:1-2
    • He describes how the guilt of his sin affected him inwardly… Psalm 32:3-4
    • But at last he confessed his sin and was forgiven… Psalm 32:5
    • He describes the joy that the righteous (i.e., the forgiven) can experience… Psalm 32:10-11
    • The correlation between forgiveness and joy is also seen in Psalm 51:7-12
    • Today, those in Christ can enjoy forgiveness of sins and the joy that follows… Romans 5:1-2, 10-11
  6. If you have not yet received the forgiveness found only in Christ, there is no way to experience the abiding joy that comes only “in the Lord

Joy also comes from Christian fellowship

  1. It is a joy just to “see” such fellowship
  2. Paul experienced joy by witnessing love and fellowship in Philemon… Philemon 7
  3. He also found great joy in learning of the restoration of brethren… 2 Corinthians 7:7
  4. How much more, the joy of “experiencing” such fellowship!
  5. Paul rejoiced in the fellowship he had with the Philippians… Philippians 4:10
  6. John spoke of the joy that comes of Christian fellowship reunited… 2 John 12
  7. Are you developing and nurturing the kind of Christian fellowship that adds to our joy?

Joy comes from Christian service

  1. There is the joy of spreading the gospel
    • Barnabas rejoiced in the conversions at Antioch… Acts 11:20-23
    • The Christian Jews delighted to hear of the conversion of the Gentiles… Acts 15:3
    • There is great joy in seeing the spiritual progress of others
  2. This was a frequent source of joy to Paul
    • Romans 16:19
    • Colossians 2:5
    • 1 Thessalonians 3:6-9
  3. John wrote that this was the highest form of joy… 3 John 4
  4. One reason this is true is that those whom we have brought to Christ…
  5. Will not only be a source of joy for us now
  6. But especially in the day of Christ!… 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
  7. Jesus also spoke of the “blessedness” (i.e., joy) of giving to others…Acts 20:35
  8. All those who are willing to become involved in serving the Lord, whether it be through teaching or the giving of one’s time, energy or money, will experience joy from such service!

CONCLUSION

The wonderful joy of the Lord is open to all who would receive it through such things as:

  1. Faith in Christ
  2. Obedience to His Will
  3. Forgiveness through His blood
  4. Fellowship with His disciples
  5. Service in His Kingdom
  6. And it is the kind of joy that can sustain us through life, as Nehemiah told Israel… Nehemiah 8:10

Certainly those who are born of the Spirit, who are walking in the Spirit, and are being led by the Spirit will be involvedin all these things, and as a consequence will bear the fruit of the Spirit which includes “joy”

Why not begin experiencing this joy today by…

  1. Obeying the gospel of Christ
  2. Receiving the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ
  3. Participate in the fellowship of Christian love as you work toward bringing others to salvation in Christ… Acts 2:38-42
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TWO HORSES

Just up the road is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stopyour car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing….

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing.

If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to the horse’s halter is a small bell.

It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse, trusts that he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, it stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses,God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.

He watches over us and even brings others into our livesto help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.

Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way….

Good friends are like that… you may not always see them, but you knowthey are always there.

Please listen for my bell and I’ll listen for yours. And remember…be kinder than necessary-everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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PROFESSOR BUM

Two businessmen were traveling by train to an important business meeting. In the seat opposite them was an old man with a shaggy beard, dressed in a tattered sweater and jeans. Throughout the ride the two told each other crude jokes about bums and tramps, with particular reference to the chap in the next seat. When they arrived at the meeting they discovered this “tramp”was a world-class scholar and the meeting’s keynote speaker. Realizing he had heard everything they said on route, they apologized. “It is not my forgiveness you need,” he responded, “but the forgiveness of all the common people you hold in such disdain.”

Sadly, many are disrespectful to their fellowman based on outward appearances. I attended a Lectureship once and as the speaker of the hour was about to take the platform, I said to myself, “He looks like a country bumkin – this is sure to be a boring sermon.” To my great surprise it was one the most powerful sermons I can remember hearing. You can’t always judge a book by its cover! Perhaps we should heed the following words, “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovahlooketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Perhaps, the following exhortation should be heeded as well, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mt. 7:12).

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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SELF HELP

It is always the longest, most solidly stocked stacks in any bookstore – the “self help” nonfiction section. Maybe it’s a holdover from the old American adage of “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.” We will use some “self-help” suggestions offered by others only as long as we get to pick and choose what kind of help we will consider acceptable, only as long as we are still ultimately in charge of the direction and duration that the “help” we seek takes.

“Self help” books, whether they are focused on helping us learn to navigate the tax code, or the web, or an emotional difficulty brought on by an illness or unemployment, a death or depression, still many only selectively embrace the advice they offer. We can avoid some topics, or even skip whole chapters, if we find them too challenging or uncomfortable. “Self help” manuals let us selectively focus on only those parts of our self that we want to prune and clean up – other areas we conveniently ignore.

Friends, we have the greatest “self help” book of all – the Bible. The Bible has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3) and “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The Bible is – by far – the greatest “self help” book. But here is the key to success with this great book: Study all its counsel (Acts 20:27) – skipping no chapters, or direction –  and apply all its principles to all of your life – even when it gets uncomfortable. Beloved we must love God with every ounce of our being (Mk. 12:30) to truly receive the help that we so desperately desire – and remember, Jesus said “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).

Think About It!

Have A Great Day!

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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FREEDOM

Humans are always declaring their freedom, wishing for more “space,” announcing that they belong only to “themselves.” We want to be free from the enslavement of the kitchen, or from confinement of a job we don’t like. Airplane companies claim to set us free, and medical companies says the same. There are deodorant companies that promise to set us free from the worry of underarm wetness and odor; a certain toothpaste declares we can be set free from dull teeth. Then we are promised freedom from pain by Tylenol, Excedrin, Bayer, and others. Other products play on our desperation for freedom by telling us we can be free from “ring-around-the-collar,” and Lysol sets us free from germs.

What we should want most is freedom from sin. Paul said, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me freefrom the law of sin and of death” (Rom. 8:2). “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). This most important freedom can only be found in our obedience to Christ. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). Are you free from the law of sin and death?

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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OIL YOUR BIBLES

An old Bible salesman with whom we once worked related this story: In his visiting a home to demonstrate a Bible, and upon selling it, the lady asked him this  question:“How can I keep my Bible cover from becoming dry and brittle, thus causing cracks and breaks in the binding? The salesman replied. “Use PALM OIL my lady.”The lady, not knowing of such an oil, replied, “But what is palm oil?”The man replied: “Lady, in the palm of the hand is to be found an oil, which, when applied daily to the covers of your book, will prevent deterioration of the covers caused by dryness.”This lady was able to understand this. David knew the principle, evidently, for he said: “In His law doeth he meditate day and night.”WE NEED MORE BIBLES WITH “PALM OIL”signs upon the covers. 

“But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; and in his law doth he meditate day and night”(Psa. 1:2). “Give diligence [study, KJV] to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth”(2 Tim. 2:15). “Till I come, give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching[doctrine, KJV]” (1 Tim 4:13).

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”
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