Is the Character of Peace working in you?
Galatians 5:22-23 and Colossians 3:15-17
Sermon Church of the Foothills 020512
Colossians 3:15-17 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Isa. 26:3; Matthew 5:9; Luke 19:42; John 14:27;16:33; Rom. 5:1; 12:18; Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7)
Peace, is surrendering and yielding ourselves to the Lord to be in His control, for He is our ultimate peace! Allowing tranquility to be our tone and control and our composure. This will be fueled from our harmonious relationship with God to handover control of our heart, will and mind over to Him. Once we make real peace with God we will be able to make and maintain peace with others.
Illustration, A picture of a man outside of the door of a lighthouse during a raging storm! The situation is raging, the tranquility is knowing you are still safe, for a Christian our safety is in Christ when His Holy Spirit is indwelling in and through us.
What happens when I do not have this precious and priceless Fruit working in our daily life? It is not good! Chaos and turmoil will be our lead, these are actually the opposites of the Fruit of the Spirit, which is God’s Holy Spirit working and leading in and within and throughout our lives. This can range from seeking destruction and chaos to being a distrustful and impatient person, all of which will bring you despair, depression and heartache. As well as bring this to others around you. You will be unable to build positive relationships or handle difficult situations. You will have an “I must have control” orientated personality and be unable or unwilling to give yourself to God and others. You or me will not be happy or content, our life will suck, and as a Christian, this will be sad and pathetic.
If you are thinking, HEY, that is how my life is! I know mine can be that way at times. Do not despair! If you are a Christian, you have the ultimate help to overcome and be at peace, at least in attitude and composure.
How do you know if the Character of Peace is working in us?
If you can start the day without caffeine, If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you anytime, If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, If you can conquer tension without medical help, If you can relax without liquor, If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then You Are Probably The Family Dog or Cat!-lol
Or you can look to God’s Word. Here is how you can really find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Peace from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages on peace. Now ask yourself:
1. How do I exhibit Peace in my daily life?
2. What can I do to develop a more Peaceful attitude?
3. What blocks the practice of peace in my life?
4. How can I make Peace function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress?
Allow me to tell you more about peace. Here is a couple classic sayings on peace:
Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
Safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God. (Sources Unknown.)
If you have your Bible open, look at Colossians 3:15-17, this would also make an easy and excellent passage to remember. We are told here what is peace and how to obtain it.
· Peace of God/Christ/bond of perfectness. This means God calls us to salvation and then binds us to Him and to one another. This refers to salvation as well as the practice of unity “among one another” as in the practice of God’s love, reconciliation, grace, and forgiveness that give us eternal rest as well as peace and security for today. This is what He did for us; as Christians, we are to show who we are in Christ—the example being how we are to others. When we practice His precepts, we are modeling Christian community and unity that shows a broken world our Lord and what He can do for them (Rom. 5:1; Phil. 4:6-7; Heb. 6:1)!
As, Christianity is not just the proclamation of the Gospel; it is also the example of the Gospel! Real evangelism is not on a soapbox it is lived out to others can see it.
· Dwell in you richly/rule. This means to have Christ as our “supreme umpire” to live in us. This is the picture of our abundance and unity in Christ and His promise to reside in us. The Colossians had a skewed understanding of the goodness and sufficiency of Christ. Both they and we need to know that it is Christ Himself living in us; we are motivated by Him to bear and bring Christ wherever we go. This is a powerful conviction and motivation and blessing. We are to live out our Christian walk with the responsibly of His power, conviction, clarity, and in truth, because He is not in heaven, aloof, or just watching. He is residing in us now (Psalm 119:11; Matt. 13:9; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; 5:18-19; Phil. 2:16; Col. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:15)!
· Hearts. Means the inner will where one’s desires and conflicts reside. Peace in our hearts makes peace with others and peace in the church that influences the world. Gratitude promotes peace and secures a content heart whereas sin and turmoil become cancerous and adversely affect others around us (Psalm 32; 51).
·Members of one body. A colloquialism for the Church, a “corporate” union in Christ. It is not a building; rather, it is a “spiritual house of people” in relationship of unity, deriving life in and from Him. Being of His membership means our identity is in Him, thus we are affected personally and publicly, synergizing as a community that is formed, indwelt, and empowered by the Spirit. We are all precious, important, and have a job to do as a moving, living temple, reflecting His love and holiness. The Church is God’s dwelling place and legacy, His training and worship center where people are empowered by Him to worship Him (Ex. 19:6; 2 Sam. 7:5-7, 12-16; Matt. 16:18; Mark 12:10-11; John 2:19; Acts 2:33; Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 3:16; 15:45; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb. 3:6; 7:26; 10:10; 1 Pet. 2: 4-10).
·Peace. This means God-given tranquility, which comes from the surrendering and yielding of ourselves to our Lord. When Christ is in control, we have peace because He is the source of ultimate peace! This is achieved when we allow tranquility from our harmonious relationship with Christ be our attitude, control, and composure. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to contentment and what is really important in life. Because peace allows for wisdom and peace, it promotes virtue and love and forgiveness. Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit that comes from the tree of love that is fruited with wisdom, pruned with virtue, watered with forgiveness, and produces the sweet fruits of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Isa. 26:3; Matt. 5:9; Luke 19:42; John 14:27; 16:33; Rom. 5:1; 12:18; Gal. 5:19-23; Col. 3:15; Phil. 4:7).
·Thankful. This comes from our enjoyment in Christ. When we realize who and what He is, we respond. The opposite is being a complainer, grumbling as the Israelites did in the desert, which only leads to bitterness and anxiety both personally and collectively and no change in one’s situation (Phil. 4:6; Col. 1:12; 3)
·Word of Christ/Word of God. Meaning Christ’s teachings, the clarified and uncompromised true Truth of His Word now found in Scripture (At this time, it was oral and in letterform; now we have it in the Old and New Testaments.) as well as the words, character, and precepts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How He lived and what He taught must also infuse and affect us—what He taught and modeled and how we are learning and responding to Him. We are to learn and employ what He has for us. It is not just enough to know; we must also be. Learn it, know it, be it, and do it. This is study, internalization, transformation, and application (John 14:16; 16:13; 20:31; Col.1:15-20; Eph. 5:14; Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:16).
·Dwell. That little allen screw with under your disturber that harmonizes your cars timing.. or Meaning what controls and rules you. Here, it means to be directed by God’s principles and Christ’s character and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Being led by the Word of God will enable us to be more filled with the Spirit of God; they go together. One cannot be effective without the other. You cannot say the Spirit fills you by being emotionally ecstatic while you ignore God’s Word. What gives you hope, reason, purpose, meaning, and motivation will be what is planted, cultivated, and growing in your mindset that influences your attitude, outlook, and actions. This will either fill your life with hope or despair, joy or discontent, gratitude or ingratitude, contentment or dissatisfaction, all dependent upon being truly “Spirit Filled.” This is not a “charismatic” thing; rather, it is a real Christian thing, being controlled and filled by Christ and not by apprehension, selfishness, turmoil, damaged past, or uncertainty (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:8-6:9, Col. 3:19-4:1).
·Teaching/admonish. This means to allow the Word to touch our thinking, our conduct, and us so we can touch others by our word and example. This is an imperative! We are called not to just sit in a church, but to learn all we can, to keep learning, and make sure we are teaching. We may not have to be actively teaching a class, but teaching by our lifestyle and counsel, which is more powerful than we can do with a good PowerPoint presentation. Also, the Church is called to teach and guide its flock. We are never to be rude or tactless or lazy or forsake this great, needed, and important ministry (Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9, 28; 2:3; 4:5)!
·Psalms. Possibly referring to the “Psalter.” The reciting of the Psalms, blessings and worshipful knowledge of our Lord, were also sung with or without music in the local churches and homes. When we are filled with God’s Word, we will have gratitude that will be manifested in our nature, temperament, and attitude. We will want to sing the song that He has planted in our hearts—the songs from His Word the Bible (Luke 20:42; 24:44; Acts 1:20; 13:33; 1 Cor. 14:26).
·Hymns/songs. This means the praise and celebration of our Lord in unity with willing, loving hearts. In context, this also means that significant doctrines and truths are articulated in hymns written by authentic Christians from the beliefs in Scripture. Real worship and music are never a show; rather, they are responses of our love giving praise. We as a congregation are the performers, and Christ is the audience. Real, authentic worship is to be inspired by who Christ is and what He is doing in us. It is not about form or function or type; it is about our hearts showing our love to Him (Mark 14:26; Acts 16:25; Eph. 5:19; Heb. 2:12).
·Spiritual songs…giving thanks. Means being inspired by the Spirit for worship, thanking God and recounting the deeds of God in Scripture and in one’s life that inspires holy living. In contrast are secular, worldly songs, like bar songs and sports chants (1 Chron. 16:29; 25:1-6; 1 Cor. 14:15; Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3).
·Gratitude. Here, this means graciousness and tact as in acting with and in grace that brings glory to our Lord and a positive prime testimony to our community (Eph. 5:18-19).
·Whatever you do… name of the Lord. Means actions reflect faith. With our lips and lives, all we do must have as a focus the glorifying of Christ and the furthering of His Kingdom. This is also a reminder that God is Sovereign; He is our hope and reason, so we must line up our lives to Him. This is an attack on the pagan religious services that were influencing them; they emphasized ritual observances and negated personal holiness. Paul turns this phrase around to admonish the Colossians to “shape up.” All aspects of our lives must reflect His Lordship over us! (1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Thess. 5:8)!
Now let me paraphrase all this to you, what Christ is saying to us is this,
The peace of Christ is His salvation moving in and through us by the Holy Spirit that passes all understanding and is synergized by our gratitude. Thus, our salvation and our attitude of gratitude will produce the peace that supports our spiritual growth along with the church’s health, hope, and connectedness.
How to make this so? We must allow the Word of God to impact us, live in us, and referee us so we can live joyfully, worship God, and love others more effectively. Paul’s mission was to rightly instruct the Colossians, warn them about the false teachers and their distortions, as well as woo them back to the Lord—the Real Lord—not the half-baked Greek philosophical hybrid they had.
Christ is the One who has to empower us—not only to save us but also so that we can trust in Him for holy living. With the understanding of what Christ did for us, we can have the hope and confidence to trust and obey Him. These are the attributes that produce character and spiritual maturity that in turn show that we are representatives of Christ. This total life transformation will not only change us from the inside out, but also allow us to have an impact on others for the Kingdom!
Peace can be maintained for a time out of ignorance or denial, but when the realities of life come upon us, peace can be impossible unless we let His peace rein in us! When we do not let go we will blame God and lose our unity and serenity in Him. Peace is learning to let go of our will, desires and plans, as well as our hurts and fears.
Now let me make this clear, as a product of the 60’s, Peace is not the peace of the hippie movement or even between nations, although those things can be applied from it. Peace is serenity from the realization that God is in charge and we can relax because He is in control.
Peace is the recognition that our biggest problem has been solved! It is the stillness we have when our trust is upon Christ as Lord (Psalm 46:10). Peace will also enable us to yield our will over to Him. Peace enables us to be moved from the stronghold of fear and trepidations into a life of harmony (Isa. 26:3; II Tim. 1:7). When we are on the verge of giving up, or losing our hope, peace can be the anchor to keep us on His path, to see His hope, to let it give you the confidence to keep moving on His path.
How can I make this more so, having a greater peace in me? John tells us that He, Christ, must increase and we, us, me, must decrease (John 3:29-30). If we refuse this vital call, God just may allow those hardships to come our way, breaking us down so we will yield and grow as His child.
Colossians makes the definition clear: “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”, then says they are put together with, forgiveness and love, and that they operate in the parameters of peace and wisdom. Because wisdom and peace promote virtue and love and forgiveness demonstrates this virtue we all need to have (Col. 3:12-17).
So, Peace is a fruit that comes from the tree of love that Christ gives and pays for us that is fruited with wisdom, pruned with virtue, watered with forgiveness producing the sweet fruits of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”.
Do you have peace in your church? If not, remember those who seed strife and make divisions in the Church are not doing Christ’s work, but are attempting to gratify their own selves. They cause people to follow a person and not the Person of Christ! Contentious, divisive people will cause others to stumble, so they must be avoided, and disciplined, which means removing them from fellowship if they persist (Rom. 16: 17-24; 1 Cor. 5:9–13; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 3:10)!
Remember the Fruits of the Spirit are codependent entities, neither one can stand or work by itself as they are designed to work all together synergistically to build us up for His service.
Illustration: SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE
* A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
* An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
* A loss of interest in judging other people.
* A loss of interest in judging self.
* A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
* A loss of interest in conflict.
* A loss of ability to worry (this is a very serious symptom).
* Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
* Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
* Frequent attacks of smiling.
* An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
* An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
— Author Unknown
Let us pray,……
For Bible Study:
Here are positive examples from Scripture (Psalm 27:1-6; Luke 1:26-38; 2:25-32; John 14:25-31; Acts 27:21-25)
Here is are negative examples from Scripture (II Sam. 15:1-13; Matt. 2:13-18; 26:69-75; 27:1-7; Luke 8:22-25)
Bible Study Questions
- How would you define Peace?
- What are the things that cause despair for you?
- How does despair counteract Peace?
- Do you cooperate with Christ as your Lord; to allow His peace to rein in you, if not what is in the way?
- When have you been filled with Peace the most?
- In what situation did you fail to have Peace in which you should have?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Peace?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Peace into action in a specific instance. Such as a counteracting the attitude of despair or hopelessness, or not letting your circumstances get in the way of your peace?
© 2002, 2012 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com