How can we have Peace at a Time like This?

Dr. Steve Viars February 12, 1991 Galatians 5:22

- tonight we're returning to our study of the Fruit of the
Spirit
- let's remind ourselves of the key verse - Gal. 5:22 (read)

- tonight we're going to look at the third component of the
spirit's fruit - the fruit of peace

- now I realize you might think – that’s a difficult concept
to think about in light of all that is happening in our
world
- our country is at war
- the economic news is unsettling
- we've had to address some church problems tonight

- really, a good question to ask would be - how can we have
peace at a time like this?

- tonight, I'd like us to look at 4 truths that will help us
develop the spiritual fruit of peace

I. God Is A God Of Peace

- there's no question as we study God's Word that He has
communicated to us very clearly that He is a God of
peace, that he loves peace, and that he desires peace
for you and me

A. Seen in the Garden of Eden

INPUT - in what sense was there peace in the garden
of Eden before the fall?

- peaceful relationship with Him (walked together
in the cool of the day)

- peaceful relationship with each other (naked and
not ashamed)

- point is - in the place that God created for He
and man to have fellowship together, there was
great peace

B. Emphasized in His titles

1. "God of Peace"

- this title is used a number of places in the
Scriptures

- I Thes. 5:23 "And the very God of peace
sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your
whole spirit and soul and body be preserved
blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus
Christ."

- cf. also Rom. 15:33, 16:20, Phil. 4:9, Heb. 13:20

- INPUT - in addition to God the Father, what other member of
the trinity has a similar title?

2. "Prince of Peace"

Isa. 9:6 - "For unto us a child is born, unto us
a son is given, and the government shall be
upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called
"Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The
Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace"

3. affirmed in the NT

Because these titles are true, Paul could tell the
Corinthians in I Cor. 14:33, "God is not the
author of confusion, but of peace, as in all
churches of the saints"

- so clearly, in the Bible, God is a God of peace

- that’s also evident because of the conditions that are
prophesied for the millennial kingdom

C. Prophesied for the millennial kingdom

- when Christ establishes his 1000 year reign on this
earth, it will be a time of peace

1. Isa. 9:7 - "Of the increase of his government and
peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of
David and upon his kingdom, to order it and
establish it with justice and righteousness and
righteousness from henceforth even forever"

2. Isa. 2:4 - "...and they shall beat their swords
into plowshares, and their spears into pruning
hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more"

- so the point is - clearly throughout scripture, whether
we're talking about creation in the past, God's titles
today, or the conditions in the coming kingdom - God is a
God of peace

- of course the natural question becomes - "if that’s true,
then why isn't there much peace today?"

- the answer to that is:

II. Men & Women Can't Possess Peace Because of the War

- now we'll discuss what war we're talking about in a
minute - but let me explain here that the reason I
worded this point this way is because of the definition
of peace

A. Definition

- the men who defined peace in the Dictionary of New
Testament Theology defined it this way:

- the antithesis of war
- a condition resulting from the cessation of war
- state of law and order that gives rise to
the blessings of prosperity

- I think that’s a good definition, not just because it fits
the way the word was used in Bible times, but also because
it fits the way this concept is discussed all throughout
the Bible

- men and women can't possess peace because of the war

- now you might say - what war? I didn't start any war.

B. Who started it?

- you could answer this question a couple of different
ways from the Scripture
- surely, in one sense, Satan started it

1. Satan - Isa. 14:12-17, Ez. 28:11-19

- we won't take time to look at these verses, but
they recount the rebellion Satan led against God

- we could also talk about this question from the
perspective of Adam & Eve

2. Adam & Eve - Gen. 3:1-7

- we're not going to take time to look at these
specifically either, but the point I want to
make is this - while Satan rebelled against God,
and when given a choice, both Adam and Eve
rebelled against God, the war we're talking
about was declared by God

C. Who declared it?

- see, here you have this peaceful existence (the
antithesis of war - state of law and order that
gives rise to the blessings of prosperity)

- then man sins - and someone has to say something
- it’s God who speaks - He's the one who declares the
war - he's the one who says there can't be peace
any longer

- He's the One who says - "I'll put enmity between
thee and the woman, and between her seed (Christ)
and your seed. He shall bruise thy head and thou
shalt bruise his heel."
- see, even though God is a God of peace, and He
created a world of peace - He's the first one to
declare that peace is not possible until sin has
been taken care of

- later, he would write - Isa. 48:22 - "there is no
peace to the wicked" (repeated in Isa. 57:21)
- now you might ask:

D. How did I get involved?

the answer is - you were involved by birth
- Paul said in Romans 5:12 - "Wherefore, as by one
man sin entered into the world, and death passed
upon all men, for all have sinned"
- the sin nature is transmitted by birth

- that’s why David said - in sin my mother conceived
me

- that’s why Jesus had to be born of a virgin, to stop
the natural process of the transmission of the sin
nature

- now you might say, "well that’s not fair. Had I
been in the garden of Eden, I wouldn't have chosen
to sin." There's no way that’s true. In fact, the
only difference between what Adam and Eve did and
what we would have done is that we might have
done it a little quicker.

- but the point is - you and I were born in a war. And we
were born on the wrong side. Peace is not possible until
something is done about the cause for the war.

- let me just mention that the Scripture describes this war
on several fronts.

E. How is this war described?

1. war with others

Isa. 59:7-8 - "their feet run to evil, and they
make haste to shed innocent blood; Their
thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and
destruction are in their paths. The way of
peace they know not; and their is no justice in
their goings..."

James 4:1 - "From whence come wars and fightings
among you...?"

Gal. 5:15 - "But if you bite and devour one
another..."

2. war with self

Gal. 5:17 - "For the flesh lusts against the
spirit..."

James 4:1 - "...come they not here, even of your
lusts that war in your members?"

3. war with God

Jer. 16:5 - "...I have taken away my peace from
this people..."
James 4:4 - "...whosoever, therefore, will be a
friend of the world is an enemy of God"
- point simply is this - biblically, we can't talk about
peace, until we have thoroughly addressed how peace was
lost, and what has to be done for it to be regained

- we need to make that point strongly, because:

III. God Condemns False Peace

A. Examples

Jer. 6:13-14 (read)

I Thes. 5:3 - "For when they shall say 'peace and
safety', then sudden destruction cometh upon
them..."

cf. also Ez. 7:25, 13:10, 13:16

- point is - God despises false peace

- that leads to this question:

B. What makes peace false?

- When peace is pursued apart from righteousness

- always in the Bible - real peace, biblical peace
results when the war has been settled (when sin has
been addressed, and righteousness has been
achieved)

1. Psalm 85:10 - (speaking of our Lord) -
"...righteousness and peace have kissed..."

2. James 3:17 - "But the wisdom that is from above is
first pure, then peaceable..."

3. James 3:18 - "And the fruit of righteousness is
sown in peace..."

4. Isa. 32:17 - "And the work of righteousness shall
be peace; and the effect of righteousness,
quietness and assurance forever."

5. Heb. 12:11 - "...the peaceable fruit of
righteousness..."

6. cf. also Mal. 2:5-6 & Zech. 8:16, 19


- point is that God condemns peace that is proposed or
sought apart from righteousness
- a person can't have peace with God or with others
unless the reason for the lack of peace has been
addressed

- in fact that’s so true that Jesus said - (Matt. 10:34)
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I
came not to send peace..."

- in other words, if it comes to a choice between being
honest about the war (being honest about the causes of
the war and therefore not having peace in the process
or having some sort of superficial peace - Jesus will
choose no peace every time

- now we need to stop here and talk about some applications

- central question needs to be - "Is the way you think about
peace, and the way you go about seeking peace - the same
as the way God thinks about the subject?"

- is that evident in the way you seek peace in your
relationship with Him? ...in the way you seek peace
in your own inner man? ... in the way you seek peace
with others?

- first, let's talk about how you seek peace in your
relationship with the Lord.

- read Presby. Layman article

- here's the point - this is exactly the opposite of what
we're talking about tonight
- these folks want to discuss those who are in a right
relationship to God - those who have peace with Him -
those who are qualified to serve as church leaders
- but its not based on righteousness
- nothing has been done about the war
- its false peace

- a lot of folks want to talk about "everything's OK
between God and I" when in fact the war hasn't been
addressed

- the same is true with folks who talk about having peace
with self

- INPUT - can you think of an example of how the principle
we've been talking about tonight in the area of "peace
with self?"

- the greatest need of mankind is greater self-esteem
- if people would just feel better about themselves,
everything would be OK

- instead of the greatest need of mankind today is to
settle what caused the war in the first place

- peace comes after the war has been settled

- This is true in our relationships with others as well

INPUT - how could this be violated in our relationships
with others?

- Delbert illus

- peace at any price (worshipping peace even if its
false peace)


- now, of course the answer to all of this is:

IV. Peace Is Available In Christ

A. Peace with God

Rom. 5:1 - Therefore, being justified by faith, we
have peace with God."

Col. 1:20-22 - "And, having made peace through the
blood of his cross, by Him to reconcile all things
unto himself-by him, I say, whether they be things
in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were
once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked
works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of
His flesh through death, to present holy and
unblamible in His sight."

Isa. 53:5 - "The chastisement of our peace was upon
Him..."

Luke 1:79 - "To give light to them that sit in
darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our
feet in the way of peace."

B. Peace with self (inner man)

John 14:27 - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give
unto you. I give unto you, not as the world
giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid."

John 16:33 - "These things have I spoken unto you
that in me ye might have peace..."

C. Peace with others

Rom. 14:19 - "Let us, therefore, follow after the
things which make for peace, and things with which
one may edify each other."

Eph. 2:14 - "For he is our peace, who hath made both
one, and hath broken down the middle wall of
partition between us."

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video