Self-control is the spirit given ability to control our sinful passions and pursuits.
II Peter 1:5-9
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
Self-control is not some higher form of behavior modification, it is the moment by moment reminder that we are to be living under the control of the Holy Spirit.
I. Self-control Is Activated Through Submission To The Spirit
Self-control does not happen automatically but is an action produced within us as we yield control to the inner working of the Spirit.
“Self-control does involve effort of the will, but it is an effort inspired and empowered by the Spirit of God as His will bears fruit in our will.” C. Wright
II. Essential Areas Of Self-control
The tongue has caused more damage and done untold destruction to the cause of Christ and testimony of the Church.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
For the believer we are to be living for the Lord and under the control of the Spirit.
“God’s purpose is to make us like Christ, and God’s way is to fill us with His Holy Spirit.” John Stott
While it is certain that we are not Christ and can never be Him; we have been given the Holy Spirit and we have all we need to be like Him.
“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.”
*Being unfaithful always causes hurt and pain to yourself and those around you.
*We are not called to compare or cast judgment we are called to be faithful.
1. The faithfulness of God’s character to us.
2. The Spirits work producing faithfulness in and through us.
3. The ever increasing pattern of faithfulness in a person’s life.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
I. FAITHFULNESS DEFINED
*Spiritual fruit is never produced through keeping laws and rules but through loving Jesus and being obedient to the Spirit.
“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”
“Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”
*Faithfulness can never be measured on a short term moment but on a long term pattern.
*A Working Definition: Faithfulness is someone who is trustworthy, dependable, and honest having proved this over a long period of time.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
II. FAITHFULNESS DISPLAYED
A. In the Character of God
“Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.”
“O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”
I Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I Corinthians 10:13
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
I Thessalonians 5:23, 24
“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 our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
*God’s proven faithfulness is what we look to as we seek to set a pattern of faithfulness in our own life.
B. Through The Conduct of God’s People
*Our conduct reveals the character of Christ dwelling in us.
*Faithfulness is all encompassing.
II Timothy 1:12
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
II Timothy 4:7, 8
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
*Faithfulness means knowing what you really believe, who you truly love, and what you’re ultimately committed to.
*Steps To Increasing Your Faithfulness
1. Surrender to the Spirit.
2. Study the Scriptures.
3. Structure your life around living for God’s glory.
4. Seek out spiritual mentors who can help you grow.
II Timothy 2:2
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
5. Surround yourself with other faithful people.
*The pattern of Christianity is faithful people, following a faithful God encouraging others to remain faithful.
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” John Wesley
*Goodness is both a character and a command.
*It’s whose we are and who we are that dictates what we do and why we do it.
“God’s been too good to you for you not to be good and do good.”
I. God Is Good And God Does Good
*When we are challenged to make sense of what is happening to us, always remember to trust God’s character.
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
*Christians are not called to be a bunch of “do-gooders” but “good doers”.
II. God’s People Do Good Because We Have God’s Spirit Within Us
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
*Doing good is one of the external evidences of internal change.
*Christians are to be predictably good in a world of evil!
“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
“The cross and the resurrection are not just proof of God’s goodness, they are also the source and pattern of any and all goodness we can do as Christians”. C Wright
I Thessalonians 5:15
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
II Thessalonians 1:11, 12
“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
*As believers doing good we demonstrate the transforming power of the Gospel and give evidence of God’s goodness.
*The Spirit enables us to tap into an unlimited supply of kindness and gentleness.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”
II Peter 1:7
“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
*To be kind is to be thoughtful of others more than of myself. It carries the idea of wanting to help, comfort, encourage, and do something for somebody else.
*To be gentle is the ability to respond to harsh and difficult situations without anger and aggression. It carries the idea of not retaliating with hostility and sharp words; controlling our tongue and temper.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
*The reason we are kind and gentle toward others is because Jesus has been kind and gentle toward us, He has forgiven us!
I. A PERFECT EXAMPLE
*Being kind and gentle is not just a description of our actions it speaks to our attitude.
Titus 3:4, 5
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
*God showed us what gentleness and kindness looked like, in real life, by giving us His Son Jesus.
II. PRACTICAL APPLICATION
I Thessalonians 2:7
“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:”
*Kindness and gentleness are the hallmarks of people who are filled with the Spirit.
*Kindness and gentleness should govern all our relationships.
“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.”
*Kindness and gentleness are self-sacrificing Spirit filled actions done on the behalf and for the benefit of another person.
*May the fruit of gentleness and kindness ripen in our hearts and relationships as we seek to show a cruel and unkind world the love and grace that we have received from Christ.
*There is not a pill for patience. Patience is something that only the Spirit of God produces in you and through you.
*We miss moments to show Christ because we are so self-consumed.
*The ability to endure for a long time whatever opposition and suffering may come our way, and to show perseverance without wanting retaliation or revenge. It is, the ability to put up with the weakness and faults of others (including other believers) and to show forbearance toward them, without getting quickly irritated or angry enough to want to fight back.
*We need to be a patient people not only for the glory of God, but for the sake of the Gospel, and so healthy relationships can be developed.
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.”
Micah 7:18, 19
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
A. God’s Patience Revealed
B. Patience Received
A. Patience Required
B. Patience Returned
A. A Word of Warning
Poem: “To live above with the saints we love will certainly be glory, but to live below with the saints we know, well that’s a different story.”
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
*Endurance and patience are qualities we would like to possess, but we would all like to skip the process that produces them.
B. The Worth of Waiting On God
*When we are in awe of God and love Him, waiting on Him does not cause us to become irate or irritated because we know, in the end, God is always worth the wait.
“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.”
“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 same situations and circumstances that can rob us of our joy will also disturb our peace.
*The common denominator to the disturbance of our peace is uncertainty.
*True peace is only found in the person of Jesus Christ.
I. A BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING OF PEACE
*Peace has its roots in the soil of relationship.
*From the soil of a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, peace can be produced in us and through us by the Spirit.
*Peace is the presence and application of God’s righteousness.
*Conflict between mankind will still be present but conflict with God was cured through Jesus.
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in
himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”
Philippians 4:6, 7
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
*The peace of God is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best.
Isaiah 26:3, 4
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”
II. THE UNDENIABLE MARKS OF PEACE
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
*People not at peace with God will tend to be at war with others.
*The issues of Christianity change but the danger of disagreement, division, and disunity do not go away!
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
*The love we live by is more important than the lines we draw!
Quote: "Peace is not just a happy feeling it’s the heart of the Gospel of Christ and the glory of God." - Christopher Wright
*The mission of a Christian is to carry the message of peace to a world in conflict.
*THE HALLMARKS OF A PEACEMAKER
1. I have accepted the peace that God has offered me; I am at peace with God.
2. I strive to live at peace with others.
3. I desire to lead others to know this peace that I have experienced.
TEXT: Galatians 5:16-25; John 14:27; 15:8-11; Romans 14:17
*In a world of misery not only can Christians experience joy, they can and should be a channel of joy to others.
*Joy is based on a person, Jesus Christ and our position in Him!
Definition: Joy is the inevitable overflow of receiving Christ as Saviour and of the believers knowing His continuing presence.
I. JOY IS KNOWING YOUR FORGIVEN
*The world’s joy always rests in circumstances, the believers joy always rests in Christ!
Jeremiah 9:23, 24
“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”
Quote: “If we only knew how bad we are we would welcome chastening because this is God’s way of getting rid of sin and its habits. But chastening is often resented because we cannot believe that we have done anything worthy of it.” J. Sanderson
*Challenging Seasons of Life
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
*Joy is inevitable but not always immediate.
II. JOY IS HAVING A FAMILY
III. JOY IS HAVING A FEAST
*As believers in Christ we reflect the joy of Jesus, feasting in a manner that does not result in us sinning or cause us to regret our actions.
IV. JOY IS HAVING FAITH
Habakkuk 3:17, 18
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will
rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
V. JOY IS HAVING A FUTURE
Romans 8:22, 23
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption,
to wit, the redemption of our body.”
*Joy is not something we work toward, or have to wait forever to experience. Joy has already been given to us and we can increase our joy by walking in the Spirit.
*The secret to our joy is centering our life on Jesus!
*Christ like character is the essence of what it means to be a Christian.
*The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit work together.
Quote: “The fruit of the Spirit is a work of the Spirit and not of human origin. We cannot manufacture them, take pride in them, or lay claim that they were self-generated. They are a work of God and their source is God alone.” John Owen
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
I. FRUITFULNESS IS THE OUTWARD PRODUCTIVITY OF THE SPIRITS INWARD PROCESSES
*The life of tree is seen in the fruit of the vine.
*We can manufacture a product but only the Spirit can produce fruit.
*The Christian life needs a constant and consistent connection to a power greater than ourselves, that power is Christ in us!
II. PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH FRUITFUL PRODUCTIVITY
Quote: “A true Christian is known for his inner peace and his inner warfare.” J.C. Ryle
III. THE WHOLE POINT OF FRUIT BEARING
A. The purpose of bearing fruit is to point people to God.
B. There is a balance of grace and effort in the process.
Philippians 2:12, 13
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
C. Bearing fruit reflects the character and mission of God
*Together as a church growing in community we reflect the glory and grace of God. We display His character and mission to reach a world that is in desperate need of new life!