How can we have Peace at a Time like This?

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."

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

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