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Summary: Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

The fruit of the Spirit: a description

The fruit of the Spirit: a strategy

SERMON BODY:

iLL:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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!

Note:

• 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.

Quotes:

• “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.

Question:

• You might ask: “But protects me from what?”

• “Who are the invaders who would seek to take over my life?”

Answer:

• Let’s go back into Galatians 5 where before the fruit of the Spirit is listed.

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