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Summary: God commands us to bear with even the "difficult" people in our lives.

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In the lat 1800’s there were two deacons in a small Baptist church in Mayfield, Kentucky. The two deacons didn’t get along and always opposed each other in any decision related to the church. On one particular Sunday, one deacon put up a small wooden peg on the back wall of the church so the preacher could have a place to hang up his hat. When the other deacon discovered the peg, he was outraged that he had not been consulted. People in the church took sides and eventually there was a split. To this day, they say you can still find the Anti-Peg Baptist Church in Mayfield, Kentucky. (I’m not sure if this is true.)

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

“Bear with”:

• Greek – anechomai

• Definition – “to endure,” “to put up with,” “to suffer”

• NT usage – occurs 17 times in 14 verses (Matthew 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41; Acts 18:14; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 11:1, 4, 19, 20; Colossians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:3; Hebrews 13:22)

o “‘O unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?’” (Matthew 17:17).

o “We word hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it” (1 Corinthians 4:12).

o “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3).

• Other translations – “forbearing” (KJV), “showing tolerance for” (NASB), “making allowances for each other’s faults” (NLT)

Big Idea: God commands us to love even the “difficult” people in our lives.

Illustration: A “difficult” (irritating) person in my life.

1. Bearing with others is part of living a life WORTHY of our calling.

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1).

“Worthy” = “fitting,” “becoming,” “appropriate”

Illustration: It is not fitting for an 80-year-old man to dress like a 16-year-old.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a).

2. Bearing with others requires HUMILITY, GENTLENESS, and PATIENCE.

a. If you are humble, you will remember that you are far from PERFECT.

“Humility” = “the lowliness of mind which springs from a true estimate of ourselves”

b. If you are gentle, you will be CONSIDERATE of the feelings of others.

“Completely” = in all situations, whoever the person is, never be without it

Illustration: Be humble and gentled even when you’ve had a bad day.

c. If you are patient, you will be SLOW to react when others annoy or anger you.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

3. Bearing with others demands FORGIVENESS.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

4. Bearing with others preserves UNITY among believers.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

“Keep” = “to preserve,” “to hold fast,” “to preserve”

God’s Love Is Our Model

“Bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

God’s love is our model for how we are to bear with one another in love.

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34b).

• God has loved us by being patient with us.

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation” (1 Peter 3:15).

• God has loved us by forgiving us.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Personal Application

Think of one person who sometimes annoys or angers you. Ask God to give you more humility, gentleness, and patience so that you may bear with that person in a loving way.

BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

“Bear with”:

• Greek – anechomai

• Definition – “to endure,” “to put up with,” “to suffer”

• NT usage – occurs 17 times in 14 verses, including Matthew 17:17; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Timothy 4:3

• Other translations – “forbearing” (KJV), “showing tolerance for” (NASB), “making allowances for each other’s faults” (NLT)

Big Idea: God commands us to love even the “difficult” people in our lives.

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