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“The Citadel of The Spirit!” Galatians 4: 1-16 Key verse(s): 16 “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth.”
There’s an old proverb that simply states, “Anger begins with folly, and ends with repentance.” I can remember many times in my life when, confronted by someone’s correction, I felt the sting of anger probing the recesses of my heart. Within moments that probe had become a hot poker, piercing the secret stores of pride I had hidden within my heart. When prodded, pride explodes like an unchained dog, lashing out and savaging anyone foolish enough to cross its path. A chained animal is often a foolish beast, not discerning friend from foe, or aggression from kindness. So it is with our anger when motivated by pride. We strike back without thought of what harm we might do. We lash out without discernment and consideration for friend, even a loved one or a spouse.
Clarence Macartney relates a classic story of how anger can come between friends when pride makes us foolish: “Alexander the Great was one of the few men of history who deserved the adjective ‘great.’ His biographer describes him as by nature fervently passionate and impulsive. He was strong in his loves and his loyalties; and, although hatred was foreign to his magnanimous nature, he was often swept by storms of anger. Yet by a magnificent display of will power he held the reins upon is passions. In the midst of the sensuous temptations of the Asiatic courts, where his army passed in conquest, he seems to have held himself in complete mastery and kept himself unspotted from the world.
But to this long chapter of nobel self-control there is one sad and tragic exception. At a banquet given for Dionysus a song was sung comparing Alexander with Castor and Pollux, to his advantage. Then someone disparaged the old Macedonian officers who had fought under Alexander’s father, Philip. This aroused one of Alexander’s generals, Clitus, who commanded the famous Hetairoi. Clitus reminded Alexander how he had saved his life in one of the recent battles, and with the blood of the Macedonian officers. He told Alexander not to associate with boot-licking Persians, who bowed the knee to him and told him only what he wanted to hear. Alexander, stung by this remark of Clitus, reached for his sword, which a discreet officer had hidden away. Then in his anger, falling--as men always do at such a time--into his native idiom, the Macedonian, he ordered the trumpeter to sound the call, and when he delayed, smote him with his fist.
Before he could inflict hurt upon Clitus, the friends of that half-intoxicated officer hurried him out of the banqueting hall. But he soon entered by another door, where he stood under the curtains quoting lines from a Greek poet to the disparagement of Alexander’s conquests. ‘Quick as a flash, Alexander snatched a spear from the hand of the guard and hurled it at the figure beneath the curtain. The deed was done. The friend of his childhood, his life’s companion and rescuer, lay gasping out his life.’
The passion of remorse followed quickly upon the fury of his anger. Alexander himself drew out the fatal spear, and but for his officers he would have fallen upon it himself. All through the night, and for several days, he lay writhing in his remorse, piteously calling Clitus by name and chiding himself as the murderer of his friend. Alexander the Great conquered the world, but he could not conquer himself. In his conquests he stormed and took almost every great city of the ancient world. Yet he was not able to subdue that more important city, to conquer that which is is the greatest of all achievements--the city and citadel of his own spirit.” (Macartney’s Illustrations, pg. 20)
THE PREACHER WHO WOULDN’T DO
A church was in need of a preacher. One of the elders was interested in finding out just what kind of a preacher the church wanted. In order to do this he composed a letter as though it had been received from a preacher and read it to the committee selecting a new preacher.
Understanding that you need a preacher, I would like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications that I think you would appreciate. I have been blessed to preach with power and have some success as a writer. Some say that I am a good organizer. I have been a leader in most places I have gone.
Some folks, however, have some things against me. I am over fifty years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years at a time. In some places I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I have to admit that I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any wrongdoing. My health is not too good, though I still get a good deal done. I have had to work at my trade to help pay my way.
The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities. I have not gotten along too well with the religious leaders in different towns where I have preached, and I am sure that they will not recommend me. In fact, some of them have threatened me, taken me to court, and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known even to forget whom I have baptized...
The apostle Paul wrote about this redemptive work of Christ upon the Cross and victory that is available to the children of God through the resurrection of Christ. He writes, "So you are no longer a slave..." (Galatians 4:7) Jesus said, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (Jn. 8:36)
On the Cross of Christ the price was paid in full for your freedom so you can be freed from the bondage to sin. There is a Biblical term for this freedom that the Lord purchased for those who have Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The term is "redemption." "Redemption" (apolutrosis) here means to let go free for a ransom. There are many forms of this word for "redemption" in the New Testament. "Lutroo," is "The recalling of captives to set them free, referring to sinners set free from captivity, the bondage of sin, by the payment of a ransom for them through Christ's death." It is important to note that in a least four passages of Scripture sin is presented as slavery. (John 8:34; Romans 6:17,20; 2 Peter 2:19) Another form of the Greek word for "redemption" (lutron) means "Deliverance on account of the ransom paid" as spoken of the deliverance from the power and the eternal consequences of sin which Christ purchased by laying down His life as a ransom for those who believe. Redeemed (lutroo) by the highest cost possible, through the shed blood of Christ. Redeemed, (agorazo) literally set free from the slave market of sin, death, and hell. Redeemed, (exagorazo) literally delivered out of the enslavement to sin. In the first century, whenever the Greek Word (lutron) for "redemption" was used, people would naturally know that it was referring to the price being paid to free slaves.
Because of the redemptive work of the true Easter story, the ...
Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of “The Ugly Duckling” illustrates the truth that what you know and believe to be truth determines your behavior. Although hatched in the same nest as the other eggs, this “duckling” looked different. He was big and ugly, not soft and yellow like the other ducklings. No one could understand what was wrong with the ugly duckling – not the Mother Duck, not the Rabbit, not the Turkey . . . not even the ugly Duckling himself!
Can you imagine what the Ugly Duckling might have been thinking about himself? “What’s wrong with me? I’m so worthless! I’m such a failure! I’m not measuring up to the other ducks!” The result of such thinking was: Depression, feelings of worthlessness, a sense of failure, always trying to perform like the other ducks and perhaps feelings of rejection.
But what was the truth? The truth was that the Ugly Duckling wasn’t a duck after all. It was a swan. Over the long winter months the “duckling” had changed. It had become what it really had always been, a swan, beautiful and graceful like all the other swans.
The Ugly Duckling believe...