1. Hello, listening friends.
2. It is a joy for us to know that you are listening to this series of messages on the fruit of the Spirit,
3. and we have been talking about peace.
4. In our last message, we left you at the home of Martha and Mary where Jesus was visiting.
5. Martha became preoccupied with the cooking, and keeping a spotless house.
6. That kept her away from Jesus;
7. and, when you stay away from Jesus, even if you are serving, you will get exasperated.
8. Martha was also getting exasperated with her sister, Mary.
10. Because Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him talk.
11. Both sisters loved the Lord Jesus,
12. but Martha was anxious about unimportant things,
13. and she became envious that Mary was not helping.
14. She finally broke down and complained to Jesus.
15. I promised to tell you what the Lord said to Martha;
16. but, before I do that, I want to tell you something about anxiety,
17. especially anxiety about things you cannot change.
18. Remember, anxiety is the preoccupation with the nonessential, or the unimportant.
19. Now, keep my definition in mind.
20. In our last broadcast, we heard Paul say,
21. “I have come to live with much or little, it doesn’t make any difference to me.
22. My eye is on Heaven and Jesus and His Kingdom.
23. Nothing else is going to come between us.”
24. Let us read to you Philippians 4:11 and 12 again.
25. Anxiety is the preoccupation with the nonessentials, or the unimportant.
26. I want you to listen very carefully to what Jesus said to Martha.
27. “Martha, Martha, you are fretting and fussing about so many things and only one thing is necessary.
28. Mary chose what is best.
29. It shall not be taken away from her.”
30. I hope you do this exercise tomorrow morning.
31. Wake up and visualize that everything you have is taken away from you.
32. I mean everything.
33. Just visualize it.
34. Let me tell you something that is going to happen to every one of us,
35. and here is what Jesus is saying:
36. in the final analysis, what you do for God and for His Kingdom is what really matters.
37. Everything else is unimportant.
38. What is Jesus giving us?
39. Jesus is giving you a license and a permission to be anxious about only one thing and one thing only.
40. Are you ready for it?
41. It is your salvation.
42. That is the only thing that you have God’s permission to be concerned and anxious about;
43. because He knows, when you are anxious about your salvation, you’re going to live a life that is pleasing to Him,
44. a life that is in obedience to His Word;
45. and that is why Paul said, in Philippians 2:12,
46. “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,...”
47. Now, some people think, if they make their profession of faith, they don’t have to think about their salvation anymore;
48. but let me tell you something important for those who profess faith in Jesus Christ.
49. Salvation has happened, is happening, and will happen.
50. It is not something that you just took care of back then when you were nine years of age when you walked down the aisle.
52. You commit your life to Christ and, from that moment, you are growing in Christ;
53. and, if you are not growing in Christ, you are not growing at all.
54. In the Christian faith, you cannot stand still.
55. You either go forward, or, you go backward.
56. Jesus said, “…but only one thing is needed...”
57. This is the one thing that cannot be taken away from you.
58. Everything else you will leave behind, and someone else will come and get it.
59. There is only one thing to be anxious about,
60. and that is your salvation,
61. because it will lead you to Christ.
62. It will produce what is lasting and everlasting.
63. Everything else in life is not worth being anxious about.
64. Let me tell you something else about anxiety, and why it destroys your peace.
65. Anxiety either usurps God’s prerogative to provide for you,
66. or, makes you doubt that He cares for you and for your tomorrow.
67. Now, just let me clarify some things.
68. Someone may be sitting there and saying, "Is he telling me I just go back and lie around and wait for Jesus to come back?”
69. That’s not what I’m saying.
70. Of course, God expects us to work hard.
71. God expects us to work diligently.
72. God expects us to work wisely.
73. Of course, God expects us to be faithful with the resources He has given us.
74. God expects us to be faithful with the gifts that He has given us.
75. God expects us to be faithful with the talents that He has given us.
76. God expects us to be faithful with the time that He has given us.
77. Oh, but that’s different from anxiety.
78. Don’t mix the two together,
79. because anxiety is practical atheism.
80. Yes, you heard me right;
81. and there are many people in the church, today, who are practical atheists.
82. They profess Jesus as Lord and Savior; but they are practically atheists,
83. because anxiety is practical atheism,
84. because it counts something more important than God,
85. because it seeks to derive security from things other than God Himself.
86. When God is at the center of your life, your priorities will be turned upside-down.
87. When God is in control, you will cast your anxiety on Him.
88. When God is at His proper place, you will rest like a baby.
89. Let me illustrate what I am trying so desperately to communicate to you.
90. Years ago, the captain of a large vessel set sail with his family from Liverpool, England, to New York, in the United States.
91. His entire family was with him on the voyage.
92. One night, when everyone was asleep, a sudden squall arose.
93. The wind came sweeping over the waters, striking the vessel, almost capsizing it.
94. Everything movable was sent tumbling and crashing down,
95. and the passengers became aware that they were in imminent danger.
96. Everyone was alarmed,
97. and many sprung from their berths and began to dress.
98. The captain’s little girl, just eight years of age, was awakened and cried with a fright,
99. “What is the matter?” she asked.
100. When she was told about the storm, she asked another question,
101. “Is father on deck?”
102. Assured that he was, the little girl dropped back into her pillow and she was fast asleep in the midst of the crushing waves and the bellowing winds.
103. That’s what I mean by not having anxiety
104. Next time you are tempted to be anxious,
105. next time you begin to lose your peace,
106. next time you begin fretting,
107. ask the question, “Is my Father on deck?...”
108. and the Word of God will tell you, “Yes, He most assuredly is on deck,”
109. and Jesus said, “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
110. Envy and anxiety are dangerous weeds that threaten to choke off the fruit of the Spirit, especially peace.
111. Let me give you some of the pitfalls of trying to have peace that is not the peace of God.
112. I have heard these comments through the years of my life.
113. There are some people who would say, “If I only have a certain amount of money, I will have peace.”
114. There are some people who would say, “If I only get married, I will have peace.”
115. There are some people who would say, “If I only accomplish certain things in life, I will have peace.”
116. There are some people who would say, “If only I could spend my life on a beach, or a remote, quiet island, I will have peace."
117. All of these are pitfalls.
119. Because they will lead to false peace.
120. Oh, yes, there is false peace, a temporary peace;
121. but false peace is even more dangerous than no peace at all.
122. It’s not because God is against peace,
123. but He is a holy God,
124. and will grant His peace only on the basis of His righteousness.
125. That is why peace is a fruit, and as we saw in the last message,
126. fruit comes from the inside of the Spirit-filled life, not from the external events and circumstances.
127. In the days of the Prophets, Jeremiah and Micah, false preachers were preaching false peace,
128. a peace without God.
129. In fact, they made a slogan out of it.
130. Jeremiah 6:14 tells us,
131. “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”
133. Because, like in our day, people were making a god out of peace;
134. and they were trying to heal the hurts of the nation superficially or callously.
135. Isaiah puts it even more bluntly.
136. In Chapter 48, verse 22, he said,
137. “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
138. You can try to escape anywhere in the world.
139. Try any tranquilizers.
140. Seek new experiences.
141. Buy new things.
142. Accumulate more money,
143. but you will not have peace apart from being daily filled with the Spirit of God, and daily walking in the Spirit.
144. First, you have to have peace with God before you can have the peace of God;
145. and, if you have never committed your life to Jesus Christ,
146. you will not have the peace of God, because you do not have peace with God.
147. Until you come in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ,
148. you cannot have peace with God.
149. Problems are part of life.
150. You are at war with God and with yourself until you die;
151. but, when you have the peace of God, your life will be peaceful in the midst of turmoil.
152. Your life will be peaceful in the midst of the storms of life.
153. Your life will be peaceful in the midst of trouble and grief and pain.
154. We all have them.
155. I have been there.
156. Let me tell you some story.
157. A couple who were so alarmed at the condition of society,
158. they undertook a serious study of all the inhabited places on the globe.
159. Their goal was to find the most peaceful place of uttermost serenity on the face of the earth.
160. Finally, they found it,
161. and they moved and built their dream house.
162. One day, they sent their pastor a picture of their house.
163. It was in the Falkland Islands.
164. A few months later, that most peaceful place became a war zone by the war between Great Britain and Argentina.
165. Jesus said,
166. “Peace I leave with you;
167. my peace I give to you.
168. I don’t give to you as the world gives.
169. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
170. Do you have peace with God?
171. If you do not, you can do that today.
172. Until we meet again, I wish you God’s richest blessing.