Summary: It’s time for us to talk about peace: peace with God, peace within ourselves, & peace with one another.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
ILL. If you have had your TV on late at night during the past year you’re probably aware of the fastest growing businesses of 1996 & 97. They have made millionaires many times over of their owners who have saturated the late-night TV advertising market. Can you guess what businesses I’m talking about?
They are the psychic hotlines where you can dial a 900 number & for a few dollars a minute receive personal attention from one who is advertised as a psychic & therefore supernaturally gifted in knowing your deepest needs. If love or happiness or peace of mind are eluding you, then dial a psychic hotline & they advertise that your needs will be met.
People by the thousands have dialed these 900 numbers, spending hundreds & even thousands of dollars each in desperate attempts to fill some void or seek some guidance in their lives.
But sadly, even though their advertisements mention love, happiness, & peace of mind, in most cases they’re offering something they can’t deliver. Yet the psychic industry boasted profits of over $3 billion last year alone.
APPL. Now if you really want love, joy, & peace in your life, then pay particular attention to the 5th chapter of Galatians. It’s a chapter of contrasts, contrasts between freedom & slavery, between law & grace, & between walking in the Spirit & walking in what Paul calls "the sinful nature."
He tells us that if we’re walking in the sinful nature, then we’ll produce the fruit of a sinful nature, & he lists some of them, things like "sexual immorality, impurity, ...hatred, discord, jealousy..." He goes on to say, "I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God" [Vs. 21].
But on the other hand, if we’re walking in the Spirit, then we’ll produce the fruit of the Spirit - "...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control" [Vs. 22].
PROP. Well, we’ve recently talked about love & joy, so let’s now talk about peace - peace with God, peace within ourselves, & peace with one another.
I. A TIME OF PERFECT PEACE
A. Maybe the best thing to do would be to go back to a time of perfect peace & look at it as a lesson for us today. But to what time shall we go?
What about when Jesus was born & the angels sang "Peace on earth, good will toward men"? No, even though the Prince of Peace had come, it was not a time of peace for Rome ruled the world with a cruel & oppressive hand.
B. Well, was there ever a time of perfect peace? Yes, there was. But to see it we’ll have to go all the way back to the book of Genesis, chapters 1, 2 & 3. There we see Adam, created in the image of God & placed in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by all the ingredients that make for perfect peace.
1. First of all, he was in a perfect place, a paradise designed & created by God, Himself. And God gave Adam a perfect body with no flaws or blemishes in it, & provided him with a garden in which there was perfect food to eat.
2. Not only did he live in a perfect place with a perfect body, & had perfect food to eat, but Adam had perfect work to do, perfect because he was doing the work that God told him to do. Here is Adam naming the animals & tilling the soil without any worry about weeds, exploring his new world without any of the dangers of exploration.
3. And to top all that - perfect place, perfect body, perfect food, perfect work - God gave Adam a perfect companion. God saw Adam’s loneliness, & He fashioned Eve just for him. Genesis 2:23 tells us that when Adam saw Eve he said, "This is now bone of my bones & flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman,’ for she was taken out of man."
ILL. Tim Timmons suggests that something must have been left out of the record. He says that he just cannot imagine Adam seeing this perfect woman for the very first time now please don’t misconstrue this because this is before sin entered the world - he just can’t imagine Adam standing there & calmly saying, "She is bone of my bones & flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman,’ for she was taken out of man."
He says, "I picture Adam turning flip-flops, cartwheels, whistling, shouting at the top of his voice, & saying to God, `God, she’s perfect. Wrap her up. I’ll take her home. On second thought, don’t wrap her up, I’ll take her just the way she is!’"