Summary: 4 traits every believer should cultivate in the life.
FOUR GEMS OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER
INTRODUCTION: Many of us are aware of the five finger plan of salvation. Yet that is not all their is to being a Christian. Paul spends much of the time in his letters telling believers how to live a faithful life. Such is the case as we come to this passage in Ephesians. Here we will find four characteristics that EVERY Christian should be cultivating in his life. The are not elective but essential.
I. A Christian must display humility
In the ancient world, especially Greece, humility was not counted as a virtue but as something to be despised. In the days before Jesus humility was looked upon as a cowering, cringing, servile, ignoble quality. Yet for Paul it is set at the forefront of Christian virtues. Sounds a little like today.
How do we then define humility?
A. Christian Humility comes from self-knowledge.
1. True humility comes when we face ourselves and see our weaknesses, our selfishness, our failure in work and in personal relationships and in achievement. (Romans 3:23)
2. Christ as our example-Philipians 4
It is not knowing who we are but whose we are.
B. Christian humility comes from setting our life beside the life of Christ and the light of the demands of God.
Self-satisfaction depends on the standard with which we compare ourselves. If we compare ourselves with our neighbor, we may well emerge very satisfactorily from the comparison. But the standard is Jesus Christ and the demands of God's perfection and against that standard there is no room for pride.
C. Christian Humility comes from a constant sense of our own creatureliness.
TIS THOU PRESERVEST ME FROM DEATH
AND DANGERS EVERY HOUR
I CANNOUT DRAW ANOTHER BREATH
UNLESS THOU GIVE ME POWER
MY HEALTH, MY FRIENDS, AND PARENTS DEAR
TO ME BY GOD ARE GIVEN
I HAVE NOT ANY BLESSING HERE
BUT WHAT IS SENT FROM HEAVEN
II. A Christian must display meekness
A. Aristotle defines the Greek term as the mean between being too angry and never being angry.
B. The term is also used of domesticated animals. As such, some scholars say that a meek man is one who has every instinct and every passion under perfect control.
Since perfection is out of our human reach, I believe it is safe to say that a meek person is not one who is self- controlled but one who is God controlled.
III. A Christian must display long suffering
A. Describes a spirit that will never give in and as a result will reap a reward.
B. Literally it means patience with men.
Chrystostom- The spirit which has the power to take revenge but never does.
Lightfoot- The spirit that refuses to retaliate.
Unknown- The spirit which bears insult and injury without bitterness.
C. Term used by Paul repeatedly of God.
IV. A Christian must display love
Four Greek terms for love.
A. Eros-Between a man and woman
B. Philia-Warm affection between those very near and dear to each other
C. Storge-Family affection
D. Agape-Unconquerable benevolence
CONCLUSION: These four together will result in true peace and unity. Peace is defined as a right relationship between man and man. These four depend on the total obliteration of self. As self in the center of things, oneness can never be reached.