Summary: What kind of peace is God’s peace?
Over 20 years ago a retired couple, concerned about the threat of nuclear war, decided to carefully research the safest place on earth to which they could move and live. They studied and traveled, traveled and studied.
Finally they found THE PLACE. And on Christmas they sent their pastor a card from their new home – in the Faulkland Islands – just prior to the war between Argentina and England in the early 1980’s over their control!
Have you heard about the newest gadget to insure peace and quiet at home? It is called a phone less cord!
Peace, could we call it the illusive fruit? We seek it for the world. Millions and millions of people expressed their desire for peace this past winter and spring as we prepared for war in the Middle East.
We seek it at home as we try just about anything – herbal supplements, sleeping aids, and meditation – to relax and find peace.
We seek it in our relationships. We enter counseling to find peace within ourselves and with one another. We read books, and listen to sermons, and ask for advice of close friends and newspaper columnists to help solve relational problems.
But, peace now seems more elusive than ever before. Is peace a possibility?
In a unique devotional on this fruit of the spirit, called Tasting the Fruit of the Spirit, (published by Group Publishing) is this exercise. (Water and cooking oil are mixed together).
(Shake it a couple of times and then set it to separate.)
In a moment, we’ll come back to this bottle and see what has happened.
Alexander Cruden notes that there are three different primary meanings of the word peace in the Bible. They are: (Overhead 1) a. Peace with God b. Submission to God’s plan or will c. peace with others
(Overhead 2) Peace with God has two aspects: a. reconciliation with God b. peace with ourselves because of this reconciliation.
(Overhead 3) Peace involving following God’s plan involves obedience of God’s will or plan.
(Overhead 4) Peace with others also has two aspects: a. Mutual respect b. Deliverance/safety from that which threatens us.
Now, let’s see what has happened to our mixture. They have separated. Oil and water do not mix.
There are many “oil and water” issues in the world today. Some countries and ethnic groups just cannot get along. They would as soon kill the other as live in peace nearby or even next-door. Some families just seem to live at opposite ends of the house. Various political groups are as far apart as they can be on the important issues of the day. They agree on next to nothing and important laws and regulations get tied up because of their agendas and disagreements. Is it any wonder that peace is illusive?
But, is this the kind of peace that Paul speaks of in our series text, Galatians 5:28-29 “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law?”
Let’s return to Cruden’s suggestions and see what turns up. (Overhead 5) As has already been noted, peace with God has two aspects, reconciliation with God and peace with ourselves because of this reconciliation.
Over in chapter 2 we read, “For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us.” Talk about an “oil and water” issue!
As Paul travel throughout the Mediterranean Sea area (modern day Southern Europe) he was in almost continuous conflict with those who believed that there could never be any peace between Jews and non-Jews unless, of course, they all became Jews. But, as we see in Paul’s own life, only when God was in control of Paul’s life, did he experience a peace that allowed him to reach out to those different from him and that was only possible when Paul was reconciled to God.
“As he [that is Paul] was nearing Damascus on this mission [a search for Christians to arrest], a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him! He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, sir?” Paul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Paul was a man with a mission! He was going to rid the faith of this new group of people who claimed some outrageous things regarding the coming of the Messiah! Paul was at war! He was not at peace with anyone who crossed him! And Jesus, in the segment just read from Acts 9, told him in so many words, “You are at war with me Paul!”