Summary: Do you know any "Very Draining People" who say things that set you on edge, & you’re convinced that they enjoy doing it?
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE
A. Do you know any VDPs, "Very Draining People?" They’re the kind who say things that set you on edge, & you’re convinced that they enjoy doing it? They come into your home & say, "Where did you find that wall-paper?" And it’s obvious that they’re not asking because they want to go out & buy some for themselves.
They’re the kind who come right out & ask, "Ooh, how much weight have you gained, dear?" Or they say, "Boy, you sure look tired today." Deep down inside, we know that we don’t need comments like that.
They’re all around us! And why are they like that? I’ve heard their excuses. "It’s not my fault. That’s just the way I am. It’s in my genes. I inherited it from my mother or my father. That’s the way they were, too."
You see, we live in a "blame game" society where what we do & how we act are never our own fault. Our temperament, our personality, how we deal with people are always somebody else’s fault.
At times I just want to shake people like that & ask them, "What about God? What about the Holy Spirit? Why don’t you let Him into your life, to change your attitudes & actions, your life & your personality?"
B. You may remember that a few weeks ago I suggested that some people need a personality transplant. And that’s when we began looking at Galatians 5:22 which says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control."
Now I hope that you have not interpreted these sermons to be a kind of "try harder" seminar. I’m not saying to you, "Just try harder to be patient, or try harder to be more loving, or try harder to be more gentle."
PROP. What I’m hoping for is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in you, changing & making you into the kind of person God wants you to be. And when that happens, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in your life.
I. DEFINITION OF GENTLENESS
This morning we’re going to consider the fruit of "gentleness." And once again, we need to define it. What is "gentleness?"
The Greek language in which the N.T. was originally written, was a precise & expressive language. When the Greeks developed a word, they not only gave it a careful definition, but they almost always illustrated it.
Their definition of gentleness was "power under control," & they illustrated it with the picture of a horse that had been tamed. Gentleness to them was a powerful animal with its power completely under control.
ILL. 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.
ILL. A disease out of control can devastate the body & kill its victim. But a disease under control can produce vaccines & save thousands of lives.
SUM. So when you think about gentleness, think about power under control, anger under control, our emotions under God’s control.
II. JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF GENTLENESS
A. Now let’s look at some demonstrations of gentleness in the Bible. Once again, Jesus is our perfect example.
So let’s consider 3 events in His life that demonstrate the gentleness of Jesus. But as we do, I want you to keep in mind this question: "If we had people like these people in our church, how would we treat them?"
1. With that in mind, in the 4th chapter of the Gospel of John, we see His gentleness in the familiar story about the woman at the well.
Vs. 7 says. "When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, `Will you give me a drink?’" And in parentheses it says, "His disciples had gone into town to buy food." If the disciples had been there, this would have been a very complicated situation.
Vs. 9 says, "The Samaritan woman said to Him, `You are a Jew & I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’" Then it says in parentheses, "For Jews do not associate with Samaritans."
Now again, remember the culture. In that day a man didn’t talk publicly to a woman, & a Jew certainly didn’t talk to a Samaritan. So if Jesus were a normal Jewish man, He would never have spoken to her. But Jesus is deliberately trying to break down the barriers between them.
Well, you know the rest of the story - how she taunts Jesus & speaks very unkindly to Him. Yet Jesus responds with patience & kindness & love. Then it turns out that she has been married 5 times, & is now living with a man who is not her husband. She’s guilty, there’s no question about that.