Cultivating Peace - Pastor, Cody Lytton

 
 

Special Note: Pastor Cody wasn't able to finish his message on Sunday, January 22, 2017, due to one of our congregation suddenly becoming ill and needing assistance. Here is the finish of his message for those who took the time to hear his message online and were confused by the abrupt ending.

Cultivating Peace

What a great day to be in worship on Sunday!  It’s always a privilege to teach God’s Word, and frankly, I’m humbled that he would use me to send forth his message.

With our service being cut slightly short on Sunday, Pastor Paul thought it would be a good idea to add some closing thoughts to the message and I’m happy to oblige.

As we continued in our sermon series on “Living the Fruit-Full Life”, we tackled the topic of peace and asked – why do some people have peace while others seem to be going to pieces?

We looked at the three areas where we desperately need peace – within ourselves, with others, and with God, and with each area we focused on the main reason why peace eludes us and how we can remove the weeds to find peace.

As we neared the end of Sunday’s message we asked the question – how do I find the missing peace in my life?

The answer is simple – it’s Jesus.  Colossians 3:15 tells us, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”  In other words, peace is a heart issue.  It’s not until you have the peace of God that you’ll have peace with God.  

Often, the primary reason why we struggle to find peace is the issue of control.  For many of us, the reason why we find ourselves living in turmoil and filled with anxiety is because we’re fighting a war with God.

Every day we wake up with a decision to make – who’s going to control my life today?  Me or God?  Who’s going to call the shots? 

And often, even if we would never verbally say the words, our actions speak loud and clear.  “God – I’m in control.  I know what’s best for my life.”

Even when we know what God’s Word says we often choose to ignore it and go our own way, and when we do, the result is always a lack of peace.  The truth is that we never find peace in the midst of disobedience to God.

If we want to be people that are characterized by a deep, satisfying, and lasting peace of mind in our heart and soul, there’s only one option, and it’s surrender.

It begins with surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus.  Colossians 1:20 says, “By him [Jesus] God reconciled everything to himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross.” 

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, I can have peace.  I don’t have to live at war with myself; I don’t have to live at odds with others, and I don’t have to fear the future; all because of what Jesus did on the cross.

As you’re reading this, I don’t know your situation, and I don’t where you’re lacking peace, but I do know that there is only one way to peace.  Through complete and total surrender to Jesus. 

Even as followers of Jesus we often find ourselves dealing with an area of our life where we struggle with giving up control.  And when we do, it robs us of peace.

You might be in an uncontrollable circumstance.  You may be in an unchangeable situation.  You may be experiencing an unexplainable problem.  But the good news is that you can have peace. 

You can have the peace of God in your life.  But first you’ve got to make peace with God.  You can’t have the peace of God until you first make peace with God.  What area of your life needs to be surrendered to Jesus? 

When I’m surrendered to His control, when I listen to His word and follow His direction, what is the result of that?  It is always the same.  Peace.  Psalm 199 tells us “Those who love Your teachings will find true peace and nothing will defeat them.” 

It might be that as you’re reading this, the single greatest source in your life is simply that you got up today and said, “I’m going to be the Lord of my life today, not God.”

What’s often the result of that decision? Worry, guilt, bitterness, resentment, anxiety, fear, fatigue, depression, despair. 

And many of you are familiar with those emotions.  What is the result of having Jesus Christ being number one in my life and being fully surrendered to whatever He wants? 

Well, that’s the purpose of our current sermon series on the fruit of the Spirit – the result of having Jesus as most important in my life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

There’s power, there’s strength, there’s wisdom, there’s purpose, there’s significance, and oh yeah, not to mention eternal life with Jesus.

I want to say that if you’re one of those people that is falling to pieces rather than living with peace, maybe when you dig a little deeper inside where you’ve got some fear. 

Maybe you’ve got some anger.  Maybe you’ve got some guilt.  You’re not addressing the fear, anger, and guilt because you’re over here playing games with God or trying to be the god of your life. 

You’ve spent your whole life playing games and it’s not leading you to peace.  You’re losing.  You’re losing the war with peace. 

Maybe you need to grasp some of what I call cowboy theology that goes like this:  If the horse is dead get off!  It ain’t moving.  It’s not working.  You’re losing. 

You know, I meet a lot of people who think they have the peace of God, but really all they have is a truce – and there’s a big difference.

They say, “God, you stay on your side of the fence and I’ll stay on my side of the fence.  You stay up there in heaven and do your thing and let me run my life down here.”

That’s not peace with God – that’s a truce – and it won’t last.  The bible says that until you invite Christ into your life and let him fill you with His peace, you’re at war with God.

But the good news – because of what Jesus has done on the cross, I don’t have to fear the future.  God has given me hope for the future. 

Because of His death on the cross, my sins can be forgiven, because of what he’s done on the cross I don’t have to live with guilt over my past.

Because of what Jesus has done for us, I can live with peace.  I can stand in the face of battles that I will face in this life and I don’t have to be controlled by worry and conflict.

That’s the peace that helps us understand that God is in control; that this life is not all there is, that our sins are forgiven, and there is eternal life for the believer that comes only through Jesus.

I don’t know every situation, and I don’t where it is that you’re lacking peace, but I do know that there is only one way to peace.  Through complete and total surrender to Jesus.  

(To hear this message online click here)

Wed, Nov 18, 2015

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