Friday, December 7, 2012

Fruitful Fridays: His Perfect Peace

We continue our series on the Fruit of the Spirit today. Our main text for Fruitful Fridays will be Galatians 5:13-26 (ESV). In case you missed any Fruitful Friday posts, here's the line-up: 

1. Fruit of the Spirit: Introduction
2. Fruit of the Spirit: Walking With the Spirit
3. Fruit of the Spirit: Acts of the Flesh
4. Fruit of the Spirit: To Love is to Give
5. Fruit of the Spirit: The Command to Love 
6. Fruit of the Spirit: Dying to Love

Let's take a moment to review before we move on to Peace

The Fruit of the Spirit is a singular concept; the nine fruits work together as one. We begin our access to them when we are filled by the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation. He works these characteristics into our hearts as we submit our will to his after believing (giving him Lordship over our lives). We become as putty in his hands, slowly being remade into His image.

Is he your Savior and your Lord?  Lordship doesn't always closely follow salvation for many people. It's when we make him our Lord that the fruit grows ripe and sweet.

Though we're filled with the Holy Spirit upon first believing, we can still grieve the Spirit by having unconfessed sin in our lives. During unconfessed sin we're separated from God until we seek forgiveness. And the Fruit of the Spirit? Its production in our heart ceases during sin. It's not that our salvation is lost, just our fellowship with God until our confession. 

If we never get right with God again, we probably weren't saved in the first place. God is faithful to continue his good work in our sincere hearts. He makes us very uncomfortable until we confess and get back into fellowship with him. He assures that we prevail in our salvation. I will never leave you nor forsake you, saith the Lord.

How quickly our hearts bear fruit and how many detours we take along the way, depends on how closely we walk with the Spirit

We walk with the Spirit by:
  • Praying
  • Reading the Bible
  • Worshiping through songs and Psalms, etc.
  • Confessing sin
Let's move on to peace, of which there are three components.

1. Upward: Peace with God (salvation and continued fellowship)
2. Inward: God's peace in our soul (tranquility within, absence of fear)
3. Outward: Peace with fellow believers (living in harmony with others; being a peacemaker)

Today we will discuss peace with God and inward peace, leaving peace with fellow believers for next week.

1. Peace With God  

God is holy and righteous and cannot fellowship with sinners. For the wages of sin is death. There must be an atonement for sin via blood sacrifice (death). Jesus is the lamb that was slain and for all those who believe on Him there is no death, but reconciliation with God. The Cross bought us fellowship with God directly...beautiful one-on-one fellowship. Instead of needing to kill an animal as atonement for our sins, we simply go before the Father and confess and ask for forgiveness. We're forgiven and all is forgotten, and we're back into fellowship!

It's so easy to take fellowship and peace with God for granted; we must remember it's the greatest gift ever given. Let's preserve our awe and our thankfulness over His gift. To be assured that your Father loves you and approves of you? That's tranquility.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, as these Scriptures teach: 

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." 

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Luke 2:10-14 "...But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'"

2. Inward Peace

As a Christian staying in fellowship with the Lord, we have an inner peace that surpasses all understanding. 

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peaceIn the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 

Jesus has overcome addiction, poverty, brain disorders, physical disorders, disease, chronic pain, broken relationships, materialism, grief over loss, physical and emotional abuse, and unloving parents? All the things that grieve the world, he has overcome? What does this mean? 

Friend, it means these things are temporary. They won't always be with us but He will. His victory for us is eternal life...permanent peace and a sinless soul, a body not subject to emotional or physical pain, permanent communion with Him. 

Our inner peace will remain with us through trials if we dwell on the perfect condition awaiting us. 

I've found that keeping my mind on the eternal is aided by expressing thankfulness for present gifts. Brainstorming a list of everyday graces automatically focuses my mind on Him, and not on my circumstances. Be ye thankful, the Bible commands us. Go through the mental or written exercise of acknowledging His graces.

Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." 

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

John 14:27 promises the disciples, and us, that we have Jesus' peace. We may think of peace as the absence of strife and discord and the absence of troubles. Not so, says Jesus. Instead, it's a tranquility of mind arising from a sense of our justification before God. If God loves us and that can never be taken from us, what legitimate trouble do we really have?

Romans 8:28 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yes, He loves us. He approves us. He's prepared a room for us. Our future is secure and our present is showered with graces.

His peace buys our reconciliation with God; it continues as everyday graces sprinkled over our troubles; it ends in eternity with Him.

Matthew Henry explains it thus, speaking of what Christ gives: “The peace I give is of such a nature that the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away.” “The gifts I give to you are not such as this world gives to its children and votaries, to whom it is kind.” The world’s gifts concern only the body and time; Christ’s gifts enrich the soul for eternity: the world gives lying vanities, and that which will cheat us; Christ gives substantial blessings, which will never fail us: the world gives and takes; Christ gives a good part that shall never be taken away


The big question is: How do we continually walk in Christs' gift of peace? 

  • 1. Bend your knees in prayer 

    Psalm 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

    1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing

    Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Praise is part of prayer.)

    1 Corinthians 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
  • 2. Regard your Bible as your lifeline 

    Romans 10:17 "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

    Psalm 119: 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. 

    Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
  • 3. Remain in humble submission to God.

    Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

  • 4. Keep your thoughts on God

    Isaiah 26:3 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is STAYED on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."

    Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

    Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  • 5. Live a right life

    Psalm 37:37 "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace."

    Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Prayer Time:  Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your perfect peace. We thank you for your approval of our very souls and that nothing can separate us from your love. May we bend our knees in prayer, regard your Word as our lifeline, submit our will to you daily, keep our thoughts on you, and life a right life. Help us to preserve your peace in our lives. Help us to be thankful always in every life circumstance. Help us to examine our hearts and confess our sins, so that fellowship with you remains constant. Help us to serve you and not ourselves. We love you.

In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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