Summary: This message is one of the fruits of the Spirit. A fruit that all believers should manifest in their lives.
GENTLENESS – FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
In this message I would like to talk about one of the fruit of the Spirit. I would like to ask you this question. Do you know any VDPs. “Very Draining People?” They’re the kind who says things that set you on edge, and you’re convinced that they enjoy doing it.
They come into your home and say, “Where did you find that wall-paper?” And it’s obvious that they’re not asking because they want to go out and buy some. They’re the kind who come right out and ask, “Ooh, how much weight have you gained, dear?” Or they say, “Boy you sure look tired today.”
You see, they are all around us! And we wonder why they act like that? I’ve heard their excuses. “It’s not my fault, that just the way that I am. I got it from my parents, that’s the way they were.
We live in a blame game society where what we do and how we act is never our own fault. Our temperament, our personality or how we deal with people is always someone else’s fault. Or, how about this one, the devil caused me to do that.
The thing they need to do is take responsibility, and allow the Holy Spirit who is able to change their attitudes and actions, and overhaul their personality. Let us look at the text, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
I believe that the work of the Holy Spirit can change and make us into the person God wants us to be. And when that happens, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives. So tonight, I want to consider the fruit of “gentleness”. And we need to define what gentleness means.
When the Greeks developed a word, they not only gave it a definition or meaning, but they almost always illustrated it. Their definition of gentleness was “power under control,” and they illustrated it with the picture of a horse that had been tamed. In other words, gentleness to them was a powerful animal with its power completely under control.
Water that’s under control would be water rushing through a dam turning turbines, generating electricity to light a city. Water out of control would be a flood destroying everything in its path.
So when you think about gentleness, think about power under control, anger under control, our emotions under God’s control.
Jesus displayed gentleness in His life, and He is our perfect example. I want to consider three events in His ministry that demonstrated gentleness. And as we look at these passages, keep in mind this question. “If we had people like these in our church, how would we treat them?”
In the forth chapter of John we have these words “A certain Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, will you give me a drink.” Remember the disciples had gone into town to buy food. And the Samaritan woman said to Him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” For the Jews do not associate with Samaritans.
Well you know the rest of the story, how she taunts Jesus and speaks very unkindly to Him. Yet Jesus responds with patience and kindness and love. Jesus sees in her more than just a woman who has been married five times and is now living with someone who is not her husband.
He sees a thirsty, needy person. And He offers her living water that will quench her thirst, not just for a moment, but forever.
There is a similar story also in the gospel of John. It is the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. She was guilty, and Jesus could have judged her harshly. Her punishment should have been death by stoning, but she received mercy.
Jesus treats her with kindness, He writes in the sand, and shames her accusers and they began to back away. Then He says to here, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go your way and sin no more.”
And then the story recorded in the book of Luke chapter nineteen. It is the story of Zacchaeus, the wee little man who got his self-esteem from taking money from people. He’s rich, He’s dishonest. But Jesus looks at him and says, “Zacchaeus, come down. I am coming you hour house today. We soon see that Zacchaeus is changed and hear Jesus saying, “Today, salvation has come to this house.”
Here is the question for the church world. How will we deal with people like that in the church today? A dishonest business man, immoral women, a woman who has lived with several men, hoping that each one would be the right relationship.