Summary: Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The fruit of the Spirit: a description
The fruit of the Spirit: a strategy
• There is a myth that says the Great Wall of China;
• Is the only man made structure that can be seen on the moon.
• But it’s just a myth, you cannot see from the moon this impressive structure.
• The Great Wall of China is great but not that great!
• It is an impressive 3,460 kilometres (2149 miles) long;
• And was built over a period of 2,000 years.
• It was built so high that nobody could climb over it,
• And so thick that nobody could break it down.
• Yet during the first 100 years of the walls existence,
• China was invaded three times.
• Yet not once did the enemy ever break down the wall or climb over it,
• Each time the enemy simply bribed the gatekeeper and they just marched on through.
Now walls are meant to protect us:
• i.e. In ancient times when invaders came to conquer a town,
• The inhabitants all retreated to the castle and defended themselves from behind walls.
• A city whose walls are broken down has no defence.
• Any invader force can march in and take possession of the city.
• None of us would leave our front door wide open and put up a sign which reads:
• “Welcome. Help yourself to whatever you see.”
• Yet that was the situation of any ancient village, town or city without strong walls.
Our topic tonight is ‘The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-control’.
• Proverbs chapter 25 verse 28 says:
• “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”
• This proverb makes a very clear point;
• That a person without self-control is like a city without solid walls.
• It is only a matter of time before our enemies come along and invade!
• Self-control is the ninth and last in the list of the fruit of the Spirit;
• Recorded by the apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 5.
• And it is unique among the nine fruits mentioned;
• Unique because it is the only fruit listed;
• That is not a direct reference to the character of God.
• i.e. ‘The Fruit of the Spirit is love’ & 1 John chapter 4 verse 8: ‘God is love’.
• i.e. ‘The Fruit of the Spirit is peace’ & Hebrews chapter 13 verse 20: ‘May the God of peace’.
• But no-where as far as I know is God called the ‘God of self-control’.
• This may be because the very concept of "self-control";
• Implies a battle between a divided self and God of course is never divided!
• Now the New International Version of the Bible has "self-control,"
• The earlier King James Version of the Bible uses the word "temperance,"
• Meaning: ‘self-restraint’.
• It implies that our "self" produces desires, thoughts and actions;
• That we should not satisfy but instead "control."
• And a holy God does not produce such desires.
We have noted that in the sequential order of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed;
• That love, is clearly the most important in the list.
• In fact there is really only one fruit of the Spirit and that is ‘love’,
• All the other characteristics mentioned are the results of love.
• i.e. For if we love someone then we are joyful with them.
• i.e. For if we love someone then we are patient with them.
• i.e. For if we love someone then we are good towards them.
• i.e. And so on.
• Because there is really only one fruit of the Spirit and that is ‘love’,
• We have noted it is in the singular i.e. ‘fruit’ and not ‘fruits’ plural!
Perhaps self-control is listed last in the list as a bookend;
• Since it takes a lot of self-control to exercise the other eight virtues!
• Maybe Paul was thinking of love and self-control as the two great bookends for the set.
• Clearly these nine qualities work together and support each other.
(1). Self-control a description.
• “Self-control is choosing to do what you should do, not what you want to do”.
• “Self-control is knowing you can but deciding you won’t”
• The Greek word translated into English for self-control literally means “self-mastery.”
• When I practice self-mastery in my life,
• It is like building and strengthening walls that surround my house.
• Self-control protects me.
• You might ask: “But protects me from what?”
• “Who are the invaders who would seek to take over my life?”
• Let’s go back into Galatians 5 where before the fruit of the Spirit is listed.