Lesson notes

An abbreviated set of Richard Van Vels notes from Sunday.

Many things can cause worry and a lack of peace in your life.  Here are some Richard Van Vels shared from his life. 

  • When Star Wars comes out with another garbage TV show/movie
  • When my Amazon delivery isn't on time
  • When my kids act out in public
  • When the news comes on, and I see a report of death and destruction
  • When I hear of the deaths of those close to me
  • When I see my fellow believers wrestling with deep heart struggles (e.g., Resurgence of a hidden sin, am I saved, where is God?  Does God love me?  Does God see me?
  • When I get into conflict
  • When I think about where I will pastor, Lord willing, in the future
  • When I see the direction of our nation and how that will affect my children
  • When I consider whether my kids will grow up to know the Lord.
  • When I have to carry the person who carried me as a child because she was too weak to walk.
Caring for a loved or lost one is not against this fruit of the Spirit.
The burden of caring for another is a way that we can reflect the living God who created us.
But when this becomes an inordinate desire and consumes or tears apart, then there is danger.  

What brings peace?  How can one grow in peace?

  • Growing in knowing who God is
  • Growing in an understanding of where God is
  • Growing in understanding what God's desire is for me
  • Knowing who your enemies are.

There are 6 significant usages of the word Peace throughout Scripture:

  1. A national state of tranquility  (Lack of War)
  2. Peace Between individuals (harmony)
  3. Security, Safety, Prosperity, felicity  (Prosperity is a sign of peace)
  4. Of the Messiah's Peace  (The way that leads to eternal peace, that is, salvation)
  5. Of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatever sort that is.
  6. The blessed state of devout and upright men/women after death.

Philippians 4:4 - 9 is filled with peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

This passage reminds me of the following.

  • Joy is in the Lord: vs. 4
  • Let your gentle Spirit be known to all people: vs. 5
  • The Lord is NEAR(vs 5) 
  • we don't need to be anxious vs. 6
  • But!... Let your request be known to Go.  (He already knows, but he wants you to ask!)
  • Prayer is humbly approaching the throne of mercy.
  • In prayer, Plead because God wants to hear what you have to say, and this heartfelt pleading shows what we believe about God. 
  • We pray, with thanksgiving, because of who God is and His secure promises.

Do you know who your enemy/enemies is/are?

Is your enemy God?

If you are saved, N   He is not your enemy.  God is perfectly just and can be trusted.

If you are saved, your enemies are the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and they will not fight fair.

The Devil, your enemy, is a prowling lion.

The world will turn against you.  Read through the Bible.  You will see that nations will fight against one another.

Your flesh fights against you.

Who is Go ?  Who am    Philippians 4:9 states He is the God of Peace (vs. 9).

Where is Go   Philippians 4:4 states His is nea   He goes with his childre   He sees all.

What is God's desire for me?  

God desires to see His children transformed into the image of His Son, bear fruit, and flourish.

Who is your enemy?  

The world, the flesh, and the Devil are against you.

Book Notes:

From The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges

"Peace should be a hallmark of the godly person, first because it is a godlike trait: God is called the God of peace several times in the New Testament.  He took the initiative to establish peace with rebellious men, and He is the author of personal peace as well as peace among men."

"Peace should be part of our character also because God has promised us His peace, because He has commanded us to let peace rule in our lives and relationships, and because peace is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore an evidence of His working in our lives."

Bridges writes about the threefold nature of this peace we are talking about.
  • Peace with God
  • Peace within ourselves
  • Peace with other people
"These are not three parallel but unrelated types of peace; rather, they are three different expressions of one peace - the peace that God gives, called the fruit of the Spirit.  These facets complement and reinforce one another, producing an overall character trait.  Each aspect has unique characteristics that contribute in varying ways to the life of a man or woman of peace."


"The basis of our peace with God is our justification by faith in Jesus Christ.  Scripture says, 'Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Christ. (Romans 5:1)"

"Peace with God, then, is the foundation of peace within ourselves and peace with other people.  This foundation does not guarantee, of course, that these other aspects of peace occur automatically."

"The result promised to us when we come to God in prayer with thanksgiving is not deliverance but the peace of God."

"First, we must remember that we are fellow members of the same body.  Paul says, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12)."

"Not only must we remember that we are fellow members of one body, but we must also remember that it is Christ's body of which we are members.  His glory and the honor of His church are at stake in our relationships with one another.  Few things are as dishonoring to the cause of Christ as Christians quarreling among themselves."

"Third, we must recognize that the cause of discord often lies wholly or partly with u.  We must seek a genuine humility about our responsibility rather than entirely blaming the other person."

"Finally, we must take the initiative to restore peace.  Jesus taught that it makes no difference whether you have wronged or been wronged."

"Because peace is a fruit of the Spirit, we depend upon the Spirit's work to produce the desire and means to pursue peace.  But we are also responsible for using the means he has given us and taking all practical steps to attain peace within and with others."

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