Summary: The 8th sermon in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit.
1. When was the last time you heard a sermon on gentleness? That’s what I thought. It doesn’t sound like something you would read about in the Bible. In fact, it doesn’t sound like something that important at all. However, it’s a fruit of the Spirit, so it really is a big deal.
2. The fact is that gentleness is more needed today than perhaps ever before because we live in a violent world. Consider these facts that were reported a few years ago in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. (3-31-97)
According to the CDC, One Million people die in the US each year from violence.
3. Here’s another fact that illustrates how violent the world we live in is. . .
The average TV watcher in the US sees about 18,000 violent events on screen each year.
4. I know those for the most part are fictional and meant for entertainment. However, those 50 violent events per day that many of us see on TV without ever thinking too much about them, do affect people as another statistic suggests.
Each year in the US nearly 2 Million men severely batter their wives.
5. Let’s read the passage that I’ve shared with you at the beginning of each sermon on the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NAS)
6. Each fruit of the Spirit could be put down as strengths on a resume for the most part: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient etc. But that somehow doesn’t seem quite right when it comes to "gentleness."
I. Understanding Gentleness in the Real World
1. It’s hard for us to understand gentleness, because it’s not something we typically think of as being a part of the Christian life. Being faithful, yes. Having love, yes. But being gentle. . . well, that sounds almost wrong doesn’t it? But of course it isn’t. It’s very right the challenge for us is this question. . .
"What does it mean to be Gentle?
2. In our world the word gentle doesn’t mean the same thing as it did when Paul wrote to the church at Galatia. To answer that question you need to know that the Greek word for "gentleness" used here is found a total of nine times in the New Testament. Let’s spend a few minutes looking at exactly how it’s used.
Cell #7-- (prah-ot’-ace)
The Greek word, PRAUTES, is translated Meek in Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 (NIV)
3. Circle the word "meek" in your notes. If we don’t like the word, "gentle" we like the word "meek" even less. Many men hear this word & think of someone who’s wimpy at best or effeminate at worst. Let me assure you, women aren’t the only ones who are to have this Spiritual fruit in their lives. Let’s look at another passage.
This same Greek word, PRAUTES, is translated Humility in Titus 3:2.
2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. (NIV)
4. This time circle the word "humility" in your notes. Humility is a bit more positive word in our culture. No one enjoys being around someone who thinks they are better than everyone else. So this word can be translated, "meek" or "humility." However. . .
This same Greek word, PRAUTES, is translated Gentleness in Galatians 5:23.
5. I hope you are beginning to relate a bit more positively to this word. I want to be very clear that the perception of some people about this word is simply not correct.
Many people think "gentleness" or "meekness" is just another word for Weakness.
6. That is simply not so. In fact, it’s not the meaning of this word at all. It’s certainly not something that the Holy Spirit would work to develop in our lives. Taking all that we’ve looked at so far let me suggest to you that. . .
Gentleness is Strength under Control.
7. Make sure you write that in your notes. "Strength under Control!" It’s having God’s power alive and well in you as a Christian, but also having God’s Spirit showing you how that power is played out in your life. Let me show you one way this word is used in Greek writings. It’s the word used for what a trainer does with a horse. He puts a bit in his mouth, & then directs the horse wherever it needs to go. It’s the idea of "strength under control."