Sermon – Peace (Galatians 5:13 – 5:26) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Fruit of the Spirit

A New Fight Club Series for 2018

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Sermon 4 of 10


Pete Woodcock, Galatians 5:13 - 5:26, 11 March 2018

Galatians 5:13 - 5:26

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Regulationations 5, beginning at verse 13. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather serve 1 another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this 1 command. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say live by the spirits, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires, what is contrary to spirit, and the spirit, what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do whatever you want, but you are led by the spirit. If you are led by the spirits, you are not under the law. The acts, the flesh are obvious, sexual immorality, impurity, and debauch debauchary, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this, will not inherit the kingdom of god.

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things, there is no law, Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit that has not become conceded, provoking, and envying each other. Let's pray. Father, as we come to this subject, please help us now that you would touch us by your spirit that we wouldn't be here as only but we'd be doers of your word in Jesus name, our man.

Now if you think of a war zone, mean, the trouble is we've we've never lived in a war zone most of us. But if you do live in a war zone, it must be absolutely horrific. All the fears, all the sort of hiding, looking over your shoulder, see if there's a sniper, see if there's a plane coming over to drop a bomb listing out for those those horrible war sort of events that might happen around you. War brings rationing of food. Says never enough food, never enough water.

You never feel safe in your own bed. Just the physical noise of war. It would be extraordinary. But not only the physical noise, the emotional noise that goes on in an anxious, an anxious mind. You know, is my loved 1 gonna come back?

Is he or she, you know, did did they get through? Did the sniper get them? Were they blown up? Did a bomb land on them? Did some, you know, building that's been bombed recently fall on them?

And so there's anxiety there. And then with war goes goes poverty. And then the the devastation of beauty war destroys beauty. The beautiful buildings of the city that you once loved now are in ruins and and actually so in ruins, you're not even sure where you are in the city anymore. There's no reference point because we're in a city that is war torn.

We use that that phrase, war torn torn apart. By war. Now if you live in a war zone, peace must be fabulous. Peace must be the thing that you were really looking forward to. It's 1 of the reasons those of us that have never lived through a war.

We don't quite understand why those that have the older generations that often have lived through a war want to celebrate and commemorate the end of the war all the time. It all seems a bit stuffy and boring to us. But that's because we've never lived through it. If you lived through it and then peace comes, it it is absolutely fabulous. When you're in a war zone, the 1 thing you desire is peace because war tears apart, but it's not only war in nation against nation, country against country.

Think of the the wars that go on in the neighborhoods. I mean, you know, our country has so many different people groups, and there's so much war going on. Between us. I mean, it looks sort of alright on the surface, but only a little thing has to happen before neighbors are grumping or writing letters or complaining or shouting or arguing or where did you park your car there? That's where I parked my car.

It's quite amazing how it goes on. Someone said good fences make good neighbors and that's largely the British way, isn't it? We feel like we're not at war because we have a very large fence up and I just nod at my neighbor and it looks like I'm at peace with them. But I I'm not at all. I don't like them.

I have a big fence. I just nod at them. Or we have a police force. And we talk about them, you know, keeping the peace. Yeah.

We need a police force to keep the peace. Why? Because it's so easy to to be at war or think at war in the families. Apparently, in this country, every 20 seconds in this country, someone is beaten up in in domestic violence. That's in the family.

You're more likely to be killed by your spouse than any other person. That's extraordinary, isn't it? Marriage, which is to to unite to harmonize, to bring union is the very place where there's divorce separation torn apart. So very hard to keep the peace, even in something as good as marriage. We have explosive arguments.

We sniper each other. All those words are words of war, aren't they? Or what about within ourselves? We can be so torn apart, within ourselves. We have unsettled hearts.

There's inner turmoil. There's war going on within us. It's it's like walking around with a constant jaws theme tune sort of going all the time because there's a inner turmoil going on or a psychomuse it going on. All the time, isn't it sort of because there's these vampires of of worry and anxiety that the peace out of us. And there's these habits that we wish we could change, but we can't seem to change.

And we go into self destruct mode. Even with good things like jobs, we become workaholics. And it seems to destroy us. And there's this weight of guilt that's in our souls and and great disappointment within ourselves as we let others down and we wish we hadn't and an uneasiness with our own bodies. We're at war with our own bodies very often.

So there's that going on. And then you could add to that tsunamis and earthquakes and that it seems it's like the earth is at war with us and at war with itself and floods and droughts and all of those sort of things. And then, of course, there's death, isn't there? Which tears our soul from our body. So there's all this sort of ripping apart.

So peace. Peace is something. That we desperately need. Peace is something that the world desperately needs, and millions and millions of people are looking for peace. You know, even the inner piece, they they they wanna go to a tranquil garden or something in here, the nice little dripping of streams or they go to some kind of herbal remedy to find peace or, you know, you're supposed to go on a big holiday, or you take tranquilizers to help yourself sleep, or there's all kinds of different or just drink alcohol to try and get some kind of peace.

And in our relationships, we seek reconciliation and counseling courses. And so peace is absolutely vital, but it really seems to evade us. It's like an an elusive little butterfly. Flapping around. You try to catch it and it moves all over the place.

That's what peace is. Now we're doing this series in the fruit of the Holy Spirit In other words, those that are following god that have come to trust in Christ have the holy spirit of god in them, and he produces fruit in them. And we're looking at this fruit and how it grows in our hearts. We've looked at different elements of this fruit, love. We've looked at joy, and now we're on peace, peace.

But what is peace? That's my first point. What is peace? Well, I've already sort of talked about ceasefire's. I've talked about tranquil gardens with a nice little running stream in it.

Nice, isn't it with the sun shining down, all that stuff, or a lack of noise? People would sort of define peace like that. But we've gotta have a bigger definition of peace than sitting in a tranquil garden under a tree cross legged. With a little stream and nice rock sort of piled up in in particular ways. It's gotta be more there's gotta be more to piece than that.

Well, in the Bible, the word piece is Irene, actually. The word, the and and and it comes from a root word which which means to join together. Join together. In other words, the opposite to what war does, which tears apart. It means to join together to become whole, a wholeness.

So there's this essential bringing together of all the essential bits to to make a whole. So peace is joining that which is torn apart. So harmony would be quite a quite a good word. Harmony, harmonizing. Peace then is not just ceasefire.

It's much more than that. It's it's relatively easy to have a ceasefire in the world. You can get enemy parties relatively easy to stop firing at each other. Yeah. It's a harder thing to get those 2 enemies come to talk together but that's relatively easy.

It's easy to have or easier to have talking of enemies cease fire. But the piece that this is talking about that the Bible is talking about is not just a ceasefire or a talking together of enemies. It's like we really like each other. You know, it's like America and North Korea saying, wow, we didn't realize we loved each other so much. Let's go on holiday together.

You know, let's really chill out together. Let's have a barbecue together. Let's enjoy each other's company. Now we're not threatening to fire at each other. We've not only got a ceasefire, not only where we might meet together for talks in May, but actually We're gonna go hand in hand as presidents on holiday together and enjoy swimming in a swimming pool together as I bring you some lovely tasty prawn on the Barbie.

You know? So that's that's what peace is. It's it's victory. In the in the in the in the face of war, but victory in the 2 parties that were at war coming into a wholeness, harmony, enjoying, you know, mended All of broken bits amended reconcile, friends. You see that?

So that's what pieces. Now, why then, here's my second point, is the world so torn? Why is the world so broken? Why is the world so war torn? Well, when god created Adam and Eve, we're told that In that garden, or rather we we see in that garden of Eden peace, There was peace.

There was peace on every level when god created man and woman and placed them in the garden. There was peace that Adam and Eve had with god. They walked and talked together. They were friends in the garden. There was a peace amongst the environment.

In creation. There was harmony. They were ruling over the the fish and the birds and the animals and and the whole of creation. There was peace and harmony working together. There was peace between themselves.

They loved each other. They were excited about each other. They worked together. And there was peace, this inner peace that they had. There's peace everywhere.

And then we're told that sin entered into this world and it smashed peace. So Adam and Eve fell for the lie that you can keep the peace without god. You don't need god to keep the peace, and they fell for that lie. And suddenly everything's torn apart now. Everything, the relationship with god is torn.

There was a time where they really enjoyed walking with god naked open before god. That's what it means. Not hiding anything. They're at peace. There was nothing to hide.

There was harmony and joy. And now to be in god's presence is distasteful. We gotta hide. We gotta cover up no peace. They were at peace with each other.

I mean, Eve, had been, Adam's partner, and now he's turning and blaming his partner for all that's gone all is no peace. There was peace in, within themselves, and now there's a sort of loss of integrity. There's a psychological problem. There's a sense of guilt There's a sense of condemnation. There's a sense of their own nakedness.

There's a sense of we've got to replace being open before each other, naked, that's the word that is used. And before god to hide, we've got to hide. There's emotions of fear coming in. It's like it's like a war going on. They're hiding.

They're sowing fig leaves together to cover up. There's a sense of brokenness within themselves. Then the world suddenly have thorns and thistles and it's hard work. And, there's no peace and harmony between work and fruit. Now it's very hard to produce fruit.

And all of that's going on. So there's no peace there. So that's the world we're all born in. That's the world we're all born in. We've seen what peace is.

It's harmony. It's coming together. It's a wholeness. We've seen why this world is torn, but so, therefore, how do we get peace? How do we get peace?

When I when I was younger, I'm surprised they haven't remade this program, and I'm very surprised they they may have. They haven't made a film out of this because they seem to make films out of everything that was old. When I was a kid on TV is now a film. But some of you will remember, TV series called the 6000000 dollar man. Do you remember that?

That? Anybody? The old ones do. 6000000 I mean, 6000000 dollars doesn't sound that much now. You could buy a house in Kingston for that, but a 6000000 dollar 6000000 dollar man.

He he was an astronaut that was sort of blown to bits in some kind of accident and he was. He was torn apart, but they had the technology to put him together again. And this is how it went. I always love this bit at the beginning of the of the program. Steve Austin, because that was his name.

You know, they're all those Americans are always called Austin or osteen or something like that. Steve Austin, a man barely alive. That would be true of another Austin. Steve Austin, a man barely alive but we can rebuild him. We have the technology better than he was before, better, stronger faster.

It's brilliant, isn't it? I love it. We can rebuild the bloke who was blown apart. We can make peace with his body and make him a lot better. So that's the sort of thing that was going on.

But the truth is we can't. We can spend 6000000 pounds on you or whatever the equivalent is now, and we can't make you peace. We can't rebuild you. We just can't do it. We just can't do it.

You can't stop the war. So take, for example, inner peace. This is how people try to do it. This is the human way of trying to to find an inner peace. They try to do it by sort of meditation or trying to remove turmoil from their lives and the way that you try to do that Some people have said is is, for instance, get rid of emotions.

You know, if you can get rid of emotions, you'll you'll you'll you'll get rid of the turmoil. So that you're not upset and broken inside. So the stoics in the first century, the Greek stoics, were good at this. They believed you you achieved inner peace by becoming totally indifferent. Now I'm trying to show you this is just a false man made piece.

It's it's it's it's it's a counterfeit fruit. It's not real. But you become indifferent. If you can become indifferent, you can be content, you know, It's that sort of thing. So you've gotta have this sort of, or I don't care attitude.

There used to be a song that of the older ones to remember is, yeah, whatever. There was a song called whatever. Does anybody remember that? It was a typical teenage sort of it was it's based on a teenager. You were over, you know, because there were periods in teenage lives, especially bloke where they were not to show any emotion because it was just uncool.

So he'd say, Why do you want an ice cream? Don't care, whatever. You know, when they really wanted it but it was whatever, you know, because you had to be sort of cool and the way you walked sort of like this, you had no you can't you couldn't walk with a vigor and a joy in your step and I've got a purpose. I'm walking with purpose, but it would be No, I don't care. Like this sort of stuff.

When they cared a lot and they looked in the mirror every spot, but no, I don't care on all this this sort of stuff. Well, that's the attitude that the stoics were basically saying, if you want peace, then you've got to not care. So here's 1 ancient stoic. He said this. Begin with a cup or a household utensil.

If it breaks, say, I don't care. Go on to a horse or a pet dog. If anything happens to it, say, I don't care. Yeah? Go on to yourself.

And if you're hurt or injured in any way, say, I don't care. Here we go. And if you go on long enough, and if you try hard enough, you'll come to a state when you can see your nearest and dearest suffer and die and you can say, I don't care. It's brilliant, isn't it? Because they're not your nearest and dearest now because there's nothing dear to you.

Now that isn't real peace. That is counterfeit, pretend, unreal. That's not real peace. That's the pretend piece of Buddha. That's the pretend piece of Buddhism.

It's not real. It it's just nonsense to become indifference, and it's not what the Bible is saying. In other words, what I'm trying to show you is that we could go through a whole lot of philosophies, a whole lot of ideologies of how people try to rebuild themselves and make peace, but there's only 1 that built us in the first place that can rebuild us. The only 1 that can bring us back together is god, the god of peace, our only hope for peace in this torn broken world is god because god is in the business of rebuilding Steve Austin or you. He can regrow us.

He's the only 1 that's got the technology to do it. Yeah, and the finance, if you like. That wonderful song that we've been reminded of, fairly recently, Psalm 23. The lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. Here we go. He restores. He restores my soul.

He restores Yeah. That's the piece word, really. He he he's the 1 that can he's got the technology to restore the depth of our being. Yes, what he does. And it's his spirit.

This is the fruit of the spirit piece. This isn't some natural thing that we can find or work up ourselves. This is god restoring us restoring us. Psalm 86 is a song in the Bible. Listen to this.

Verse 11. Teach me your ways, oh lord, and I walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart, an undivided heart that I may fear your name. Undivided. Undivided means peace brought together not torn apart.

I mean, literally, that word means unite my heart to fear your name. Unite my heart to fear your name. See, it's interesting, isn't it? Peace comes by god, but fearing his name. Peace comes by fearing god.

By listening to him, by taking god in to our very lives. So our our own sin, and other people sin do terrible, terrible things to us. They smash us. They break us. They divide us.

But god is about restoration. God is about restoring us. So we've seen what pieces We've seen why we're in this torn world. We've seen that actually, how do we get peace in this torn world only by god? Only by god.

And that restoration starts with us having peace with god first. We need to have peace with god. That's my fourth point. Because actually, we're at war with god. We're told.

We're at war with god, and god is at war with us. That's the problem with this world. We've set ourselves up as god. We've said, god, I don't wanna listen. God, I wanna be god.

We've challenged god. We've walked away from god, and we've become enemies of god. And god has become our enemy. It's it's it's a disastrous situation The only 1 that can bring peace is god, but now we're enemies with him. And that is where the Christian message comes in.

This is where Christianity is so amazingly different because that god who's at war with us and that we're we're at war with comes with a peace treaty. He's the god that comes to bring reconciliation, even though he's been the the offended 1. God comes to us who've offended him and have belittled him and ignored god taken all his gifts and life and absolutely ignored him. But god comes to us. This is what the word gospel means.

Good news, the word gospel means, god's spiel, god's message, god's good news. When Jesus remember Christmas? We're nearly there. It'll be coming round soon. It'll probably be in the shops just after Easter.

But, but this is a very famous sentence. This this is a sentence. Glory to god in the highest when when Jesus is born. Glory to god in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. Peace, glory to god.

Peace is the message. Just before that announcement, it says this, don't be afraid I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you. He is Christ the lord. This will be assigned to you. You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.

Baby, savior, Jesus, glory to god, peace. God has come. Into our broken sinful rebellious world to us and said, hey, peace. Here's here's a a a sentence from Paul writing to the colossians. So we're looking at Galatians, and they wrote another letter called colossians, colossians chapter 1.

Listen carefully. For god was pleased to have all his fullness well in him, that's Jesus. All the fullness of god dwells in Jesus. And through him to you ready? Recon exile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood.

Shed on the cross. He goes on in that letter, Paul, once you were alienated, yeah, from god. And where enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior, but now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you wholly in his sight without blemish and free from accusation. So here is the peace bringer Jesus, god's gift, god has come. Peace.

The prince of peace has come into our war torn, revolting rebellious hearts to bring us peace, and he's done it. By violently being massacred and torn apart on the cross. God brings peace and men's us brings us by the price of not 6000000 pounds. It's not silver and gold. This is death on the cross that can rebuild us and remake us.

That's what's going on. So if you're a Christian, you have peace with god. You have peace with the living god. It's extraordinary. God It's not just how to cease it's not just a ceasefire.

It's peace. It's not just like, okay. Yeah. I can get on with my neighbors, but we've got some big fences up. No.

It's interesting, isn't it? When Jesus died on the cross, the big fence which was a curtain of the temple, massive curtain was ripped in 2. The fence was knocked down. It's like you got 1 garden. You know?

And we're constantly repairing our friends so we don't have to see our neighbor, and it stops a smelly cat coming in. I'm not at peace with my neighbor's cat or the cat that's trying to get in here, by the way. You know, but so I have a fence. I have ammunition to attack the cat. You know, but but now The the whole thing's been knocked down.

The temple curtain has been knocked down. That which was saying you can't come to God is now saying come on. Welcome. Yeah? We don't need a front door anymore.

Just come in. We're friends. We we have that with god. And the spirit of god lives in us to teach us that stuff, that we are at harmony, that we are friends, that we are children of the living god that we're not just ceasefire. We're we're in the family.

Now, hope you're with me because we're coming on to my fifth point. Because we have peace with God, We now can know the peace of god in our heart because our relationship with god is sorted and we're children We now can know the peace of god. That's the fifth point. In John chapter 14, The followers of Jesus are troubled. In fact, they don't have peace.

They're troubled in their heart They're unsettled. That word troubled is un united, unsettled. They're torn apart inside. We're told. Jesus says this.

Do not let your hearts be troubled, torn apart. Unpeaceful. Trust in god. Trust also in me. Trust in god.

Don't be troubled. Don't be broken. Trust in god. Then he goes on and says, peace. I leave with you.

My peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Here's the lord Jesus Christ, saying to his disciples, I've come to bring you the opposite to a divided troubled heart. Are you troubled? Well, trusting god and trusting me.

I bring you peace. The peace of god is the fruit of the spirit, and it's based on the fact that we have peace with god. You can know a peaceful heart because you have peace with god. So how does this fruit grow? How how does this this tender fruit and this part of the fruit piece How does it grow by what Jesus says, trusting in god and trusting in Christ.

Do you see that? Trusting that I have peace with god. Flippy is chapter 4. You can turn to this if you want to. I know there's quite a lot of verses, so do do.

Turn to it. Let's wake ourselves up. Philippians chapter 4 verse 6. Have a look at this. Philippians 4 verse 6.

Don't know what page it's on, if you find it, shout it out. 1 1 8 1. Philipp 4 0 6. Look, here's Paul writing again. Do not be anxious about anything.

See, being anxious is that divided heart. Do not be anxious about everything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to god. And the peace of god which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. How do you get the peace of God? How do you grow this part of the fruit of the spirit?

Peace. Well, by not being anxious. Anxious anxiety throttles you. It it chokes you and it chokes out the truth. You can't think because you're choking.

When you're choking, it's hard to think, isn't it? Someone's coughing there. You will go, well, you can't really think very clearly, you know? And so you're being throttled, you're being choked, and you're unable to bear fruit. And so there's this mental harassment, this emotional, instability that's coming on you.

And it's strangling you spiritually. It's worry. It's anxiety. It's it's that vampire that's sucking peace out of you. And it's that sort of worry.

In fact, the word worry comes from the word to draw in opposite directions. That's word worry, anxiety, to draw in opposite directions. You see that? Like you're being hung, drawn, and courted, you're being drawn apart. Yeah?

Drawn in opposite directions divide into parts So here you are someone who has peace with god because Christ has bought that peace. You're a child of god But now what's under threat is that I don't feel or sense the peace of god. There's anxiety coming in. I'm being divided and separated. So how do I grow peace?

By prayer, by prayer, pray, by praying. There's 6 words you need to get into your head. Wor about nothing. Prey about everything. Prey.

Stop worrying. Take that which is on your worry list and move it to your prayer list. Yeah? Trouble is worrying is it's constantly putting us in control, us at the center. How am I gonna work this out?

The great thing about prayer is it's over to you god. So that's yours. Yeah? Worrying is no. I think I'll take that back.

I think I might be able to do a better job than you. I think I'll just churn it over in my mind rather than praying, which is to give it over to god. Do you see that? So we pray the peace of god. We pray and it transcends understanding.

You see, you can understand someone at peace sitting on a beach, nice ice cream, beautiful blue water, you know, nice warm sun. You can sort of understand that. But someone who's in a war torn world where bombs are blasting off all over the place, and we're having a sort of is a rough time who's at peace in that situation. Well, that's past his understanding, isn't it? So there's something major about prayer, pray.

Bring it to god, pray. How do we grow peace? How do we understand peace? We come to god of peace. We speak to god of peace.

This is why the the prayer meeting is not a it's not, you know, The trouble is when these things are they always I know I've said this before, but when when when you start saying come to the prayer meeting with no legalism, what do you talking about? What are you talking about? No, it's not legalism. It's it's a beautiful thing where we pray together to the god of peace. Don't you want peace?

And if you find prayer on your own, which most of us do very difficult, then come together. Let's pray. Let's pray together. Wor, you see, is a sort of worldly idea of I can take it over. It's me centered, actually, and it's unbelief, of course, in that sense.

So the peace with god leads to the peace of god, which in turn, and this is how the fruit grows, leads to peace with people. That's my sixth point. Peace with people. We have peace with people. We are to be at peace with Christians in the local church.

It's a big thing. It's a very, very easy thing to destroy. Paul writes this in colossians chapter 3. Listen to this. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of 1 body, you were called to peace and be thankful.

Let the peace of Christ rule. In other words, that's the word, umpire. Referee. Referee. Yeah?

That's what we should be shouting. Refery. What is that? Let the peace of Christ referee. Yeah.

Now you notice this stuff in Galatians. You see what's going on. The fruit of the spirit has this this context that it's in, you know, the acts of the flesh are obvious verse 19. Sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, fractions, the war envy, drunkenness, orges, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Or you go back you go back and you see that, we're not to indulge the flesh. Look at verse 13. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the fre flesh rather serve 1 another. Humbly in love for the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this 1 commandment. Love your neighbor as yourself.

If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you'll be destroyed by each other. That that's not peace. Keep the peace referee. Yeah? Let peace referee umpire.

Yeah? Don't fight. Watch it. Be careful. Well, there's another picture in Ephesians chapter 4 and other letter Paul writes.

Where he says this. Listen. Make every effort. Make every effort. It's gonna take a bit of effort.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. This fruit is gonna take a bit of effort to grow. Make every effort to have that unity. And and it's this sort of bond this cord. I think old versions talk about a cord of peace.

1 old commentator, used to say that it's a bit the the church is like a lotus, you know, you go out into the woods to gather sticks. For kindling. And you've got some long ones and they're all sort of gnarled and different shapes and, you know, short sticks and long sticks and They're all going different ways and they've all got different little bits of branches coming off them. And the way you bundle those sticks together, you bundle them all together, they don't seem to sort of work. But then you put a a cord around them, the bond accord, the bond of peace, the lord Jesus Christ, you put that caught around them.

And that cord around them just it's amazingly keeps them all together. And you can carry them. So all these different length things, different looking things, they're all held together by this cord this bond. Don't cut the cord. All falls apart.

Don't cut the cord. It all falls apart. Yeah. We jab each other. We jabbing into each other and a bit uncomfortable, and why are you so long?

You know? What's up with you? Where are you sticking that up in my armpit for? And that's all going here, but there's this bond, this cord of peace that is around us. And we're to keep that, we're to grow that.

We're to look out as we serve each other. It brings this bond of peace. So this is, in fact, is a spiritual battle as Galatians is telling us, remember if we've been seeing in this series, that this is in the context of a spiritual battle. We grow fruit in the context of a spiritual battle. Look at verse 16 of Galatians 5.

So I say live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. You have to live by it. You have to walk by the spirit. This is a walking battling, and there's these contrasts that we've seen already in this passage. So we've gotta work at it.

So the peace with god brings the peace of god which makes leads to peace with people, Christians, but also peace with non Christians. We're trying to make the peace, and we're definitely trying to bring the message of peace. To a broken world that doesn't wanna hear it. It may mean that as we try to bring peace to people, they're violent towards us. They try to rip us apart as they do.

Christians in many parts of the world. They try to kill Christians, but there's a peace that passes all understanding. The peace with god brings the peace of god as we take the peace of the gospel to people and they hate us for it. And it's a massive witness to the world this piece. Massive.

1 of the first books I ever read as a Christian was called, a little book called, forgive me Natasha. It's deeply moving little little book. And it was about a girl who was a Christian called Natasha in, in, communist, Russia. And it it was about a police a policeman, who arrested her and slammed her against the wall. And thoroughly beat her up.

And if I remember rightly, she died, but it was the peace that she had with god and the peace of god in that violent situation that brought this bloke to Christ to write the book. Forgive me Natasha. That wonderful. It's just amazing. So that's the gospel we bring.

So there we are. Part of the fruit of the spirit is peace. Do you see? The definition that the real fruit, the definition is togetherness, harmony, joy, enjoying each other. That starts with knowing god first, peace with god, then the peace of god comes.

The opposite The opposite to this fruit is some decaying nasty war. No surrender to god. It's hatred That's the opposite to this fruit. The counterfeit fruit is you're on your own. Sitting sort of like buddha under a tree, listening to little trickles of water coming out.

If he sat under a tree long enough, I guess that would happen. And then or quiet or trying to be quiet or finding inner peace by being indifferent to everything. And not not not in the world, really, sort of in some kind of monastery or something, in some kind of religious thing Yeah. That's a counterfeit fruit. That's not real.

That's plastic. That's a plastic banana, you know? And then how do you cultivate this fruit by prayer, by knowing the Christian message, the gospel? By letting that peace rule in your heart and by working at it in the church. We need the church to be able to produce this fruit.

So there's the fruit. Let's pray. Father, help us to have peace to know peace and to cultivate this peace, we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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