Summary: Paul teaches us that, "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace," and that’s what we’re going to highlight today, the peace, "patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Let’s talk about p
FRUIT THAT IS NEVER OUT OF SEASON
Today I want to continue my series on Fruit That is Never Out of Season. Let’s look at what Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22,23 about the fruit of the spirit. Let’s begin there.
Paul teaches us that, "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace," and that’s what we’re going to highlight today, the peace, "patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Let’s talk about peace.
I pulled out an old story that perhaps you’ve heard. Back when Jack Kennedy was President and Nikita Khrushchev was over in the Soviet Union and Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel, the three of them got together and decided to pray about the greatest concerns on their hearts. And Nikita Khrushchev asked God if there would ever be peace between Russia and the United States, and God looked at Nikita Khrushchev and said, "Not in your lifetime." Jack Kennedy said, "Well, God, will there be peace in America between the blacks and the whites?" And God, again, said, "Well, not in your lifetime." And finally, Golda Meir asked God, she said, "Well, will there be peace between the Arabs and the Jews?" And God said, "Not in my lifetime."
Let’s talk about peace. Peace on the inside. Peace in relationships. Peace with one another. There are two misconceptions that I want to talk about first before we look at the biblical peace that Paul is talking about.
Misconceptions about peacemaking:
1. It is not avoiding a problem.
Just because you or I have failed to discuss a problem, doesn’t mean that we have peace. Unresolved conflict many times is the very root of marriages disintegrating. And so, just because you and I failed to discuss the issue, doesn’t necessarily mean that we truly have peace.
2. It is not appeasing another person.
It’s not an appeasement. It’s not me just trying to make you feel good or get along with you. It’s not where one person wins and the other person loses, where one person constantly appeases the other, by trying to do anything possible to make some kind of a false peace within the family structure or within a working relationship.
Shalom means order and well-being.
Many times when we think of peace, we think of the word that the Jewish people use: "Shalom," which we think means peace. But what it really means is "order and well-being." So when they say Shalom, what they’re really saying is in your life may you have order and well-being. May you have a sense of security. May you have a sense of a foundation underneath your feet.
Peace is a result of obedience to God and assurance that he is in control.
And both of those ingredients must be there for us to have a sense of peace. One of my favorite passages of Scripture -- and we’re going to look at, literally, dozens this morning -- one of my favorite passages of Scripture about peace is the one in Isaiah 48. Notice these incredible words.
"I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way that you should go." Notice this statement: "If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea."
Now, just take a moment with me as I read the verse one more time, but I want you to underline a couple phrases. He said, "I’m the Lord your God." Underline the phrase "who teaches you." The Lord our God teaches us what is best for us. And then, "who directs you." Underline that phrase. He teaches us, he directs us in the way that we should go. If we follow his teaching and we obey his direction, then he says we’ll have, "peace" that will be "like a river." I’m sure that’s where the song comes from: "I have peace like a river." "We’ll have peace like a river and our righteousness will be like the waves of the sea."
In this passage of Scripture if you’ll go on down about three or four verses down to verse 22, 23, he talks about the fact that there is no peace for the wicked. So the peace that we want to talk about today, the peace that Paul talks about, which is part of the fruit of the spirit in our life, is a direct result of obeying God and giving him control of our life. It gives us a sense of well-being. Let me illustrate.
In the Old Testament is the story of Gideon. We pick up the story where Gideon is in the winepress, threshing wheat. He’s in hiding because the enemy, the Philistines, have constantly, for several years now during the harvest season, come in and plundered the land of Israel. So here’s Gideon. He’s hoping to get enough wheat together for some flour for bread for his family without the Philistines coming and taking it away from him. And all of a sudden, intersecting this story, comes God. He finds Gideon in this hidden place and says to him, "Oh, Gideon, man of valor." It’s kind of amusing. God looks at Gideon and calls him a man of valor, of courage, and here he is hiding.