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Juicy Fruit Sermon Series // Part 3

Fruit of the Spirit // Peace

Galatians 5:9
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self- control.

And we've talked about that there's this battle that takes place in us. It’s a battle to follow our own path, or the path of God. We know where our path takes us. That any time we made a rash decision, anytime we've made a decision based on our emotions, our lusts, our anger, or our stress we've made a decision we probably regret.

But Paul says there's a better way - to allow the Spirit to grow fruit in our lives. And growing fruit is not an overnight event. Its a process. It's slow.

And the thing about growing fruits or plants is that the farmer has to work the conditions. They have to till the soil. They have to plant the seed, protect the seed, water the seed, care for it. But the farmer doesn't make it grow. Somehow the seed begins to grow due to what the farmer does to care for it.

The gardener creates the conditions through which the power of the seed flourishes.

We are the like gardeners in our lives. 

WE have to till our hearts, if we want to grow fruit we've got to work at it. 

We've got to make sure we're are watering the seed through connecting to God. 

We've got to create opportunities for the seed to grow. But as we work it, the Spirit works in the seed to grow the fruit.

One of the fruits that Paul says the Spirit wants to grow in us is the fruit of peace.

Peace is best defined as harmony. We might call it inner happiness.

We are constantly looking for how to be happy or how to be at peace.

And what happens for most of us is we've tried everything.

Every commercial that we watch has told us a product that we needed to buy, or a place we needed to visit, or a way we needed to look to be happy.

Every time we scroll through facebook there are photos of people we've never met showing us that if we could just be like their family we'd be happy or at peace. Or if our kids were as perfect as their's we'd be happy, or at peace. If our husband was a nice as her's, or our wife cooked like his we'd be happy or at peace.

If only we had a different job, we'd be happy or at peace.

If only we drove a different car. Or if only we dressed differently we'd be happy or we would find peace.

We've all fallen for this.

So we have this inner desire to be happy or at peace, and we've spent money trying to gain peace. Or we've made decisions that we will forever regret trying to seek happiness or peace. Or we've caused a lot of pain in other people's lives because we were searching for inner happiness or peace.

Or maybe you've bought that thing, or changed jobs, or made a huge life decision and found that it didn't bring you the inner happiness or the peace that you thought it would.

We all want to be happy or at peace, but stress or worry, or guilt chokes out the seed before it can grow.

We're going to take a test to see how stressed you are? Complete the sentence:

I am ready to throw in the : TOWEL

I am at the end of my: ROPE

I am just a bundle of: NERVES

I am at my wits': END

You're an expert on the subject of stress.

Or we worry. We worry about big things like our health, or our kids, or our spouse. We worry if we're enough. We worry if we'll be able to pay the bills or provide for our family. And its difficult to find happiness or peace in the midst of worry.

One theologian said it this way, "In every life you have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double. Don't worry, be happy, man."

And this isn't a new thing. This is something that has gone on since the dawn of time.

But 2000 years ago, Paul who told us about the Fruit would elaborate on what peace means in a letter he wrote to the church in the city of Phillipi. He wrote to this church to teach them and us about where to find inner happiness or peace.

And what we will find is that the way Paul describes it. Peace isn't an object, it’s a place.

Inner happiness peace isn't something you can buy. Its not something you can manipulate. Its not something you you obtain in the world.

Peace isn't about what's happening around you. Some one can have peace going through chaos

Inner happiness, true peace only comes in the presence of God.

Peace isn't an absence of problems, its what holds you steady in the middle of problems.

What's going on in Philipi to write this letter?

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!

Anybody love to rejoice?

My wife is a rejoicer.

There is no one on earth as happy as she is.

She is steady.

She never meets a stranger.

She always has time to sing and dance.

When do I get into rejoicing? When I'm playing a game.

Because I'm competitive. And if you play a game with me I will talk trash. If I'm winning you're gonna know it. Because I love to rejoice when I'm winning.

But if I'm losing. It’s a different story. Its bad.

And some of us live as if we're losing at life. We're struggling.

We've had one bad situation get thrown at us after another.

And Paul comes along in our lives and says "Rejoice in the Lord."

And most of us ignore him the first time so he has to say it again.

And we think its easy for you to say that Paul. You wrote half the NT. You are the superstar apostle. You had everything going right for you.

But what we don't see is that when Paul wrote this he was sitting in prison. He was arrested for doing the right thing. He was in prison because he had done everything God had told him to do and still he finds himself in jail.

And 2000 years ago prisons weren't the same.

And in the midst of Paul's situation he says, "Rejoice."

Because Paul knew, Peace isn't about what happens to you, it comes from what happens in you. 

Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Gentleness is controlled strength. Its knowing you have the power but you won't use it to hurt others.

Paul says that part of peace is knowing you have the power to give peace away.

You can choose to give peace to others.

When people see us, or are around us do they see one who is at peace? Do they leave feeling more at peace?

Paul is saying that you have the power to…

Give Peace Away -

Peace is something you can give away. Its something you can let in. And its something that you can give away.

But it takes effort .

It takes acting in a way that you may not feel like, but the way you know is helpful for those around you.

Peace affects those around you. This is a fruit that if you cultivated it, if you work it, if you care for it, it has some affect on everyone around you.

There's a battle in everyone of us to choose to follow the Spirit.

Because we can be compulsive. We can make decisions based on our regrets, or on our hurts.

Someone hurts us we want to hurt them. Someone says a nasty thing to us, we get on FB and make sure everyone knows we won't put up with it.

But Paul is teaching us a new fruit, that when fed, when grown, will choose peace.

That when someone hurts us, we lean into peace and respond differently.

Peace affects those around us.

We've got to pour peace into our lives, but if we want peace to grow we've got to pour it out into others.

Philippians 4:6-7 
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we're stressed, when we're broken, when things are going right we often think God is so far away.

But Paul says, "The Lord is near." He's just there. Waiting. Watching. Wondering when we are going to turn to Him.

And what many of need to do is

Accept God's Peace - Take a step towards God.

Paul said peace is a fruit God grows in you. Which means that we can't fully find peace outside of God.

We might have peaceful moments. But true peace is found only in God.

Paul said God will give you a peace that is beyond knowledge.

He's not gonna press himself on us. He's going to wait.

But when we do turn to Him, He does something incredible. He gives us a peace that is beyond knowledge. Its beyond something you'll find in a book. Its beyond everything you can google. It’s a peace that only grows in his presence.

Philippians 4:8-9 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Sometimes we've got to:

Let Peace in -

How - He says to fill your mind with things that are true, noble, right, pure. To allow our minds to think upon things that are good.

What goes in comes out.

If we want peace to grow in our lives it starts with working the ground of our hearts. It starts with letting the negativity die. It starts with letting the positive bloom.

We can't always choose our situation in life. But we can choose how we let that situation affect us. We can choose what we allow our eyes to see, we can choose what we allow our ears to hear, we can choose what we allow to enter into our lives.

Every farmer knows that he or she can’t make that vegetable grow. They can't cause the miracle to happen. But what they can do is give it the best shot to grow. They can till the ground. They can water it when it needs to. They can feed it when it needs.

Peace is the same. We may not have control over when it comes. But we have control over how we prepare our lives to hold peace.

There's gates to our mind.

The farmer can’t control the amount of rain or sun. But they can control the area and how many weeds they let in.

And often we want that inner peace, that inner happiness but we allow so many damaging things in our lives.

Paul said be careful what you allow in your life.

Because the movies you watch can come right in and plant weeds in aroudn that seed of peace and smother it.

Because the songs you listen to can come drown out the peace you've worked for.

Sometimes for me I've got to turn off my phone and and remember how peaceful it was when phones didn't exist.

We think Peace is an object. If I could only get to that job I'll have peace. If I could only get a bigger house I'll have peace.

Peace isn't a dollar amount.

It’s a place. Its in the presence of God.

But it takes effort.

Remember we are the farmers, God is the miracle working seed grower.

And part of our job in finding peace is preparing our lives to enter this place of peace. 

That's why Paul said be careful what you allow in your mind.

But Paul said peace is also comes in consistently following Jesus.

He said whatever you've learned from him - which he learned from Jesus. Make sure you put it into practice.

Peace is a place that we reach as we attempt to be more like Christ.

And Paul said, what you'll find as you Allow peace in, As you Give Peace Away and as you search for the peace of God that you'll find your self in the place called peace.

Peace isn't an object, it’s a place.

Why do we need this?

Emotional Peace - Peace with yourself -

You may have read another verse that Paul wrote -

Colossians 3:15
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since …you were called to peace."

There's a funny thing happening to in this verse with the word "rule"

It means to umpire.

What does an umpire do? Keeps the peace.

Let the peace of God umpire your lives.

Some of us can't find peace with ourselves. We worry, we stress, we think negatively of ourselves, we look in the mirror and don't like what we see. When no one's around our minds don't stop. We try to control every situation because we're worried about the outcome.

I'm hard on myself. In fact I'm harder on myself than I am on anyone else in my life.

Jeremy you could do this better. Jeremy you need to change that. Jeremy why is your yard not as beautiful as the neighbor's? Jeremy you should be a better dad, or a better husband…And the list goes on.

Anyone else like this?

The world is so much bigger than our minds, but we haven't learned to live outside of it. We are held by our negative thoughts and views of ourselves. When God has so much to say and show us.

Train your mind to see the good in everything.

What does it look like to have peace with ourselves? Where is the place of peace?

Pour in peace

Pour out peace - Don't make rash decisions

Let God pour His peace in you - Take a step towards God

I'm not judging you. I'm not telling you that you are wrong if you struggling to find emotional peace. Or that you're wrong for worrying.

I'm just saying that God wants to offer you a peace that you can't comprehend. A peace where you could finally be ok with who you are. A peace knowing that you are exactly how God created you. A peace that says despite that I'm in a a bad financial place, God is with me. Despite the fact that my job isn't going well, God will take care of me. Despite that bad things are happening all around me, I'm grateful for God's presence.

Because peace isn't an object that you can obtain, it’s a place. Its being in His presence. Its knowing that you are wonderfully made. And that God loves you.

A peace of God that doesn't pick you apart naming all the things that you see that need to change about you.

A peace that is comfortable in your own skin.

But it takes consistency.

Practice thankfulness.

Stop making rash decisions.

Take a step towards God.

Relational Peace - Peace with other people

One of the greatest causes of stress is relationships.

Paul says, "let your gentleness be evident to all." It's nearly impossible to be gentle when you're stressed. Because if you're like me when I'm stressed I stop thinking clearly.

And the majority of our stress comes from dealing with people. Most of the time its dealing with people we're close to.

Because no one can run your stress level up like your husband. Your wife, your son, daughter, your mom, dad.

So how do you work on having peace in your relationships?

Jesus said it best in Matthew 5:23,24:
"If---you remember that your brother has something against you…go at once to make peace."

The best way to handle relationship problems is to search for peace immediately. Don't hide it. Don't let it grow. Don't let the flame burn hotter.

Take initiative - Don't wait for them to approach you. If you want peace go to them.

Don't hold a grudge until they get the hint. Go in peace.

I know it wasn't your fault, but go to them and make peace.

I know they need to apologize, but you go to them and make peace.

Work hard to keep the peace.

Attack the problem, not the person.

Peace isn't the absence of problems, its what holds you steady.

Spiritual Peace - Peace with God

Paul says, "present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. "

Have you ever felt like you didn't have peace w/ God?

Maybe you didn't know where you stood with God?

Maybe you sensed that you and God were somehow disconnected?

That You were here and was somewhere far away.

Paul encouraged us to take a step towards God. That when you find yourself stressed, worried, overwhelmed take a step toward God.

One of the reasons we sometimes feel so far away from God is because we've given out attention to other things. We've given it to destructive behaviors. We've given our attention, our time, to things that in the end only hurt us. And we've all felt this way.

It happened when called her back. Or when we called him back. Even though we knew

It happened when we took that extra drink trying to quiet the stress. Even though we knew.

It happened when you gave them a piece of your mind. Even though you knew.

It happened when you got violent. Even though you knew.

It happened when we logged on to the computer or onto our phone. But we knew.

It happened when we pulled the credit card out shopping thinking that would bring the peace. But we knew.

And what happened is it only reinforced to us that the peace we want isn't an object it’s a place. And that place is in the presence of God.

So why not give it to god? Because you'll never have peace with your spouse until you have peace with god. You'll never have peace on that job until you have peace with god. You'll never have peace with with yourself until you have peace with god.

What is robbing you of your peace? Is it guilt?

Is it worry?

Is it a job change?

Is it Finances?

Is it surgery?

Is it a difficult person?

Is it a family member?

What if you finally found inner happiness? What if you finally found peace? If guilt is robbing you of inner happiness what would it be like to let it go and find forgiveness and love?

Is it worry - What if you could enter into the place of peace?

Imagine if you could finally find inner happiness. If you knew that its not an object, its not a dollar amount, its not the right job, its not the right spouse, its not the right stuff, it’s a place. And that place is in the presence of God.

And when you're in His presence, when you walk in His presence, when you live in His presence, it doesn't mean problems will stop, it doesn't mean everything will be fine, it doesn't mean stress won't return. What it does mean is that you can anchor yourself down in the hardest of life's storms and know you're not alone. God is with you!

Worship Set

Open Up Our Eyes 

- Mack Brock, Chris Brown, Stuart Garrard, London Gatch, and Wade Joye

Verse 1

Greater is the One who's in us
Greater is the One who calls our name
He will never fail
Stronger is the One within us
Stronger is the One who fights for us
He will never fail
You will never fail

Chorus 1

For Your love endures forever
Oh Your love endures forever
Open up our eyes surround us with Your light
Your love endures forever

Verse 2

Mighty is the One who's for us
Mighty is the One who's strong to save
He will make a way You will make a way

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Our God is fighting for us always
Our God is fighting for us all
Our God is fighting for us always
We are not alone we are not alone (yeah)

Death Was Arrested 

- Adam Kersh, Brandon Coker, Heath Balltzglier, and Paul Taylor

Verse 1

Alone in my sorrow and dead in my sin
Lost without hope with no place to begin
Your love made a way to let mercy come in
When death was arrested and my life began

Verse 2

Ash was redeemed only beauty remains
My orphan heart was given a name
My mourning grew quiet my feet rose to dance
When death was arrested and my life began

Chorus 1

Oh Your grace so free washes over me
You have made me new now life begins with You

Verse 3

Released from my chains I'm a prisoner no more
My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore
He cancelled my debt and He called me His friend Oh
When death was arrested and my life began

Chorus 2

Oh Your grace so free washes over me
You have made me new now life begins with You
It's Your endless love pouring down on us
You have made us new now life begins with You
Oh yes it does

Verse 4

Our Savior displayed on a criminal's cross
Darkness rejoiced as though Heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That's when death was arrested and my life began
That's when death was arrested and my life began

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Oh we're free free forever we're free
Come join the song of all the redeemed
Yes we're free free forever amen
When death was arrested and my life began

Misc 2 (Ending)

When death was arrested and my life began
That's when death was arrested and my life began

The Lord's Prayer (Hymn) 

- Lowell Mason

Our Father who art in heav’n
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heav’n

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors

And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil

For Thine is the kingdom
And the power and the glory
Forever and ever


Lord, I Need You

- Daniel Carson, Matt Maher, Christy Nockels, and Jesse Reeves

Verse 1

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You're the one that guides my heart

Chorus 1

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev'ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Verse 2

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Misc 1 (Bridge)

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay

Chorus 2

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev'ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You