Saturday, February 19, 2011

How Does a Christian Prove That's What He Is To Others?

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Are you showing or manifesting the fruit? Do you even know what it is? The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When someone I loved with a great deal of my heart died they left a message that they loved God and that He knew that they loved Him. I stared at that statement in writing and was stunned. I was saved. I believed. I followed almost all of the Bible’s requirements for salvation. I believed, I trusted, I depended on God, the Lord Jesus Christ, but I had never experienced feeling love for my creator and sustainer. The last thing my little girl did before she left this earth was to tell me that I didn’t love God. I remember ten years before not long after she got saved herself that she showed me how weak my commitment to Christ was by thumping on my chest one day and looking grimly into my face and saying, “how come you don’t have Jesus in your heart?” I wasn’t listening. I know now it is possible to be saved and to stay an infant, not growing in the Lord and being useless to His purposes. It becomes a miserable condition.

God taught me how to love Him by teaching me to love His word. By teaching me to love His every word He then taught me to love Him. It took a year and a half after my seventeen year old daughter’s death and the ministry of a grouchy old preacher named Peter Ruckman, who had been an Army hand to hand combat instructor and officer during World War II, a dance band drummer, and a radio deejay, who very nearly died just like my daughter before God reached out to him and saved him. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I don’t have to for him to teach me to love God’s word. It also took my wife’s consistent, faithful love in spite of the pain I caused her to teach me to love God, as she showed me how patient God was being with me even though I grieved Him every day.

God, in His book, also says that loving your brothers and sisters in Christ is extremely important. The word, charity, is love in action, the kind of love that walks the walk and not just talks the talk. Many old commentators of the Bible say that the entire chapter written about charity in 1 Corinthians 13 is about our active love toward other Christians. I subscribed to the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language for a few months online with over a million English words and their origins and I found that one of the old definitions of charity was Christian love for fellow Christians.

Jesus said that it was so important that it was how people would know that we were His disciples In John 13:34,35. Paul links it to caring for the brethren in 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; and 2 Timothy 2:22. Peter refers to it in 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 5:14.

The first fruit of the Spirit is love, and I believe that it is loving God and loving the brethren, at the very least, then your neighbor. Do you love God? Do you love each other?

The second fruit of the spirit is joy. Now, this is something I never knew before God put the Book in my heart so I would love Him. Beth could tell you that when I would read about “joy” in the Bible I would scratch my head. Just what is that like? I rarely sang a hymn. We’d get up in church to sing and I’d mumble through a few words but she knew I did not like to sing. I knew the French Foreign Legion forced its trainees to sing because it created a bond, a sense of unity. I saw films of their miserably tough training and thought it was odd to see them sing at the top of their lungs as a group after having just been put through absolute misery.

But, when God gave me His Book, He gave me joy, too. I started singing, and loud. I looked forward to opening the Bible. I looked forward to coming to church. I’m still not a real sociable person, having always been pretty introverted and shy as a young person, but I feel the joy and gladness that comes from belonging to the God of Genesis through Revelation.

In Matthew 2:10 joy is linked with rejoicing. In Luke 1:14 it is linked with gladness while in verse 44 it is linked with leaping as it is in 6:23. In James 4:9 joy is linked with laughter. Joy is a gift and over and over again it is talked about as in “that your joy may be full”. Joy is excitement in the Lord, what comes when you can feel the fullness of the Holy Spirit in you. Joy allowed Christ to willingly go to the cross as per Hebrews 12:2.

Its joy that allowed one martyr to go through the stake the Catholics chained him to without screaming in pain as the fires consumed him. It was joy that let the blind girl, Joan Waste, go to the stake after she had spent her young life paying people from her meager resources to read Bible verses for her to memorize. It was joy that made Mitsuo Fuchida, the lead Japanese pilot of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the one who shouted “Tora! Tora! Tora! To announce the victory, the only officer to survive, after being converted by the testimony of an American prisoner of war, a survivor of Doolittle’s raid of retaliation for Pearl Harbor, to spend the rest of his life evangelizing for Christ.

It was joy that let Pastor Richard Wurmbrand to spend 14 years in communist prisons being tortured almost daily to end up his life leading the Voice of the Martyrs organization and helping persecuted Christians around the world.

It is joy that allowed the Sudanese boy I recently read about to refuse to renounce Christ and be taken into slavery in a country. the only spot in the world where a loin cloth around the groin is a luxury, where an aspirin is as hard to obtain as a heart transplant, where the only roads are those excavated by bare human feet, where piped water is a miracle that has never occurred, where pencils are unfamiliar objects to children, and where being a Christian means you are fair game for target practice.

Another result of having this Book revealed to me as being God’s word in power was that I was given peace, something which I had never known as either an infidel or a believer. The Bible says;

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Here, it seems evident that peace comes from trusting in God. Jesus says in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Are you troubled? Are you afraid?

Again, in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

The Bible makes quite a few promises to us. We can’t have peace unless we believe what God has said, trust in Him, and rest on His word. Beth’s favorite Bible book is Philippians.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Do you believe God?

Now, don’t make a mistake. If you are going to willfully sin and disregard the Holy Spirit’s clear guidance in your life, you’ll have no peace. That’s one of the proofs that a person who is living like the devil is a backslidden Christian and not lost. I know all about it. He has no peace. His life is a train wreck. He has no clue how to get back on the track. Peace and obedience to Christ are linked. Look at this.

2Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Peter also says.

1Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

James 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Paul says to Timothy in 2Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Isaiah says it twice.

Isaiah 48:22 and again in 57:21 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Peace is essential to the kingdom of God, which you entered into when you were born again.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Bringing God’s peace to others is a sign that God is blessing you.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

And God’s peace is to rule in our hearts with thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

There is no peace with God without the new birth in Christ.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

The one thing that characterizes the unsaved world is that they are constantly talking about peace and have no idea how to obtain it. Jesus made that peace possible because nothing is right until its right with God.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Do you have peace?

Are you longsuffering? I’m starting to have some trouble here. My father was short tempered and I, in my human nature, am extremely short tempered and impatient. In this era of gadgets that work faster and faster I have less and less patience with slow phones, slow computers, and slow people.
I want people to get it, as in right now. And when I don’t see something immediately when I think I should I get very frustrated. I read a magazine called The Biblical Astronomer, edited by a PH.D. physicist who believes the Bible literally, unlike most Christians even fundamentalists. He is a King James Bible believer who is sure that the sun, moon, and stars revolve around the earth just like the great astronomer Tycho Brahe believed and he is certain he can prove it. Unfortunately, I don’t understand much of physics and I get angry reading his work because I – don’t- get-it. So, I went on a tear to find scientific experiments that would prove that the earth revolved around the sun. I searched the Apollo moon landings and Nasa and Cornell University’s website loaded with thousands of scientific papers each month. What I found was that no one has proven that the earth is revolving around the sun and the only scientific experiments I could find seemed to prove that the earth doesn’t even move, much less revolve. So, I just accept I can’t understand how the models I grew up with a big yellow styrofoam ball for the sun and all the different colored but much smaller balls attached to the sun with pipe cleaners are fantasy based on mathematical calculations and theory.

I’m not very longsuffering.

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

I’m glad that God is.

Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

One of the fruits of the spirit is longsuffering. Here is something Paul relates to us.

2Corinthians 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Being longsuffering allows us to endure. In your life you will have to endure something or you will go through it screaming, crying, and begging for mercy. God can force you to be longsuffering. He can take someone you love dearly away from you and leave it so you can do nothing else but patiently go through the process of grieving because there is nothing else you can do. But longsuffering is more than patience. The fruit of longsuffering is more than merely going through something for which you have no other option.

We are called to be longsuffering and without the Holy Spirit we have no hope of obeying that command.

Ephesians 4:1 ¶ I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 ¶ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There are things you need to put up with in regard to each other. How longsuffering are you with your fellow Christians? Is there someone not quick in the mind enough for you? Someone who isn’t fast enough or coordinated enough for you to forbear them in love? Can you resist condemnation? Can you resist joking at them at their expense? When they say something awkward or wear something strange can you resist the desire to mock or make fun? Do you have any idea how fragile some of your schoolmates might be? Do you have any idea of how close to giving up someone here might be?

Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

2Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

2Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Longsuffering is patience when all excuse for being patient is gone and when forbearing might be thought of as weakness. Longsuffering is when others might refer to you as a doormat. Remember what Paul said;

1Corinthians 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

It would be better for you to allow yourself to be cheated by a brother or sister than to take your claim against them before a heathen judge.

I have prayed for patience. My wife doesn’t think that’s a good idea. She says every time she prayed for patience she got another child.

You forbear one another in love. Turn your back on vengeance. Change your brother or sister with prayer and love. That’s tough. But, it’s the cost of being a Christian. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. If you have the Spirit of Christ in you. If you don’t, you’re none of his. We need to pray for it.
Now, it’s getting tougher. Your true nature, your true relationship with Christ is revealed.

Gentleness was a trait that Christ manifested.

Psalm 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

2Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

God has been very gentle with you and me.

Psalm 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

And you are to be gentle to others, as well.

1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Tit 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Men have an image of what it means to be a man. We like to talk tough and we respect the tough guy more than we consider the gentle man. In fact, the gentle man is considered weak. But, one characteristic of Jesus Christ was His gentleness, as in incredible power under restraint.

Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

Gentleness is not doing what you could do, perhaps what others feel you should do in response to the wickedness or insensitivity of others.

Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Even today, down South, among the black culture, one man might slap another and call it “takin’ his manhood”. Because, if the other person doesn’t respond violently it’s assumed he’s weak. Christ’s example is not of this world. Christ presents the other side. Don’t forget that one. Can you handle that? It goes against our grain, particularly if we know how to hit back really hard.

When the law tells you to do something obnoxious and insulting like the Roman right to force a Jew to carry his gear a mile can you go the extra mile?

Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Do you have the guts to be gentle? I’m not talking about resigning yourself to being weaker than someone who is stronger. I’m talking about being gentle with someone weaker than you, even if only verbally. How about your little brother or sister? How about someone who is lost and just doesn’t know what you know or rather, who you know?

Now, we’re getting down to brass tacks, where the Christian is being pruned and trimmed. Now, the things that the Holy Spirit impresses upon you are not just about what you feel but how you act toward others. Are you resisting the Spirit? Does it make you sick to think about being longsuffering and gentle? Can you stomach it?

Oh, here we go. Goodness, a fruit I haven’t been given or I haven’t received. Something, I’ve strived for and pleaded for but my flesh, the Devil, and the world are having their way with me.

Goodness is a fruit of the spirit to be desired.

2Chronicles 6:41 Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.

I am totally dependent upon God’s goodness.

Psalm 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness‘ sake, O LORD.

See how God’s goodness here is connected with truth, righteousness, and judgment.

Psalm 33:1 ¶ Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. 2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. 3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. 4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Look what His goodness resulted in for us.

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
See Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

The first time the word goodness is used it refers to the great miracle of deliverance which God performed for the Jews.

Exodus 18:9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.

I’m not good, not by any stretch. Paul says in Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Many people will tell you they are not good but you know they think they are. They’ll tell they’re wicked but you know they don’t believe that. I am. Without God’s mercy, the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the restraining power of the Holy Spirit I would have long ago ended my life in some electric chair or under a needle after having spent time on death row. I have nothing, even now, to commend myself to God but the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve done nothing. I have nothing to show for 55 years of life but broken hearts, disappointments, and the one thing I can guarantee the people I love, that I will eventually let them down. And anyone who knows me really well and is honest will tell you that’s true.

I begin every day on my knees and end every night on my face praying for mercy and for victory through God’s word over the wickedness that’s eating my heart.

God has given us clear and strict conditions for goodness. It’s not rocket science.

2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Every thought? Have you?


Hebrews 11:1 ¶ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It’s one thing to say that you believe that chair can hold your weight. It’s another thing to sit down in it. Do you really have faith? Do you really believe God? Do you even believe in Him, really? Most people in America who call themselves Christians are practicing atheists. They have no more faith in God than they do in Mickey Mouse. God is an idea, being a Christian is a social or a political philosophy. Jesus Christ isn’t real to them.

If we truly had faith, if we truly believed how could we sin so carelessly. If you really, really deep in your heart believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again for your justification (Romans 4:25) how could you sin so carelessly and easily? How could you not be excited and tell everyone you meet what’s happened to you?

Romans 5:1 tells us that we are justified by faith and that we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.

Romans 4:5 says your faith is counted for righteousness. Do you have faith? Faith is belief in action whether that action be praying without ceasing or being a living sacrifice to God.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The question is, do you really trust Christ, not just to get to heaven, a place you’ve never seen, but to get you through this day? Do you trust Him? Do you have faith?

Christians who still want to cling desperately to the Law which they can see in writing don’t really believe in Christ whom they can’t see. The less faith a Christian has, if he does not fall away completely, the more legalistic he or she becomes. They make up for their lack of faith with a show of spirituality and fake Godliness. The next step after legalism is outright turning one’s back on Christ.

Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Faith if a gift, a fruit of the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Meekness is a really much maligned word. It’s taken to mean a wimp, a fop, a Caspar Milquetoast. I have a problem with that. Let’s look at Moses. The first mention of the word, “meek”, is found in

Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

Whoa! Here’s a guy who is raised as a prince in one of the world’s foremost superpowers, kills a man and buries him, was a fugitive, and is leading two million people roughly, across a desert. He talks to God and God talks back to him. How is that meek by our understanding of meek as in a doormat for a bully to wipe his feet on? It’s not.

Meekness in the Bible is meekness toward’s God’s will and His authority, who He is. It is abasing yourself and being truly and honestly humble under the will of God looking to His direction of your life. Does the following sound like someone who has dirt kicked in their face?

Psalm 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. 3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. 4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Will you surrender yourself completely to God’s will? Will you accept God’s will? Is God your Lord and Sovereign? Are you meek toward your Creator? If you have this fruit God’s word says a few things about you.

Psalm 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

Psalm 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalm 76:9 When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.

Psalm 147:6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

Psalm 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

And follow Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

1Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

One fruit of the Spirit is meekness. Our example is Jesus Christ whose obedience to God the Father was perfect.

2Corinthians 10:1 says Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

There is a condition of meekness around other Christians. Of us not being puffed up or trying to dominate each other like the world.

Jesus said in Matthew 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

1Corinthians 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

And, of course, there is Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Meekness is truly being humble, humble before God. It’s not about accepting what someone’s opinion about God’s will is for your life but seeking His will and obeying Him. There are too many people ready to tell you how you should live and what God’s will is for your life who haven’t got a clue about God’s will for their own lives much less someone elses.

2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

We have proceeded onto dangerous ground, uncertain ground for the carnal Christian who keeps surrendering to the flesh, which includes not only the body’s wickedness but the mind’s subtle excuses. I can only keep praying for God’s victory in my life and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to pray earnestly for the fruits of the Spirit.

Now, we come to temperance, which you will find, is something the world and probably your fellow Christians will not tolerate in you when the Spirit realizes this gift in your person.

Temperance is self-control or better, yielding yourself completely and totally to the Holy Spirit, to Christ, to God the Father. It is the restraint or holding back of your sensuous desires or desires of the flesh.

Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Baptists are known for abstaining from alcohol but overeating, even the sin of gluttony, to compensate for their sinful lust.

Deuteronomy 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

The ancient Egyptians had a saying, “We live on a third of what we eat and our doctors live on the other 2/3rds.” Many diseases come from our lack of self-control. But temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. A truly Spirit filled person or a person who is completely yielded to the Holy Spirit will be temperate in all things.

Colossians 3:5 ¶ Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

Pray that you not give in to excess.

1Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

The Pharisees, the most outwardly pious and moral people of His day, received Christ’s condemnation for this. I think this is surprising in light of their supposed holiness.

Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Here is where I’ve fallen down completely. Here is where I’ve let God down the most. God has given us good things but when we depend on them in a way which they were not designed to be used we sin and we don’t manifest temperance or self-control. Gluttony you can see. It can’t be hid for long. The spiritual failures of a glutton are all too apparent and then those unfortunate people who have medical reasons for being overweight are maligned or lumped in with gluttons even though they are innocent and can’t help themselves for their weight. I speak of thyroid conditions and the like.

Many people use food sinfully for comfort and because they’re bored. This doesn’t glorify God or present a good testimony to the unsaved.

But, there are things you don’t see, sins that we hide. People are drug addicts, drunkards, and sexually immoral. Bob Jones, Sr. said that every bad thing is a good thing twisted.

1Corinthians 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

I have it on one authority that the early Christians combined the Lord’s Supper with their love feast, shared together. Church early on was before dawn on Sunday morning with scripture reading and hymn singing and prayer, then it was off to work, and returning at the end of the day for a meal and the Lord’s Supper. Poorer brethren might not be able to eat well otherwise, it has been said. But, there was always a potential for excess in these fellowships.

1Corinthians 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

And then verse 34.

34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

The last part of our index verses says;

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

It also says that there are no laws against these fruits. A Christian can’t complain that the gubmint is holding him back. There aren’t any laws against these fruits. These things are essential to our Christian walk and are evidences of our belief and trust in God and the fact that we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us.

Can you claim these fruits? Do you have them in the fullness that the Bible says? I confess that I fall very short in manifesting the fruits of the Spirits. I have addictions, weaknesses, crutches, and attitudes that are sinful and I am constantly begging, not only for forgiveness, but for God’s power through His word and His Holy Spirit to overcome these things.

I have damaged my testimony, brought shame on the cause of Christ, and hurt people I love because of my deficiency in the fruits of the Spirit. As Dr. Ruckman has said, “most Christians aren’t worth the shot and powder it would take to blow them into the lake of fire.”

I am not an example, of goodness, at least, and can only tell what I know to be true from the Bible. I can’t tell you about a life well lived or how I triumphed over darkness or how well I raised my children or what a good husband I’ve been. Because I have failed in all of those things. I can only say that I am trusting and am completely helpless and lost without Christ’s righteousness. As I see it, the most wicked drug addict, the most terrible sinner, is no worse than me because if there is a sin I haven’t done, it’s certain I’ve at least thought it. For this I am much ashamed.

Please, seek after the fruit of the Spirit. Let your life shine with them. Follow Christ’s admonition. Just because you won’t doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in your life, now.

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

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