Summary: Second part of sermon looking at the last three fruits and how they pertain to ourselves.
Began with review of Give Me Some Fruit - Part 1
The next three next three fruits direct our attention toward ourselves. These three produce fruit that we can benefit from more than the others. Those three fruits are faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Let’s look at faithfulness. People can declare faithfulness to a lot of causes. Right now all the Tom Brady fans are declaring their faithfulness to their quarterback and their team.
The word in Greek, as found in the Bible, usually referred to a conviction or belief in respect to God. But it also referred to fidelity, which is faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support. It is being loyal and supportive regardless of the circumstances around us. It is the very character of a person that can be relied upon, one who can be trusted in all aspects. It is sticking with your team no matter what and not being a fair weather fan. However that same faithfulness is lacking in this world today when it comes to our faithfulness toward God and each other.
Proverbs 20:6 “Many will say they are loyal friends,
but who can find one who is truly reliable?” The writer of this Proverb lived in a world much like ours. He lived in a world where loyal friends were anything but loyal. Those he felt he could count on being there were less than reliable. The writer of Psalms 12 declared that the godly were fast disappearing taking their faithfulness with them. Friends were telling flattering lies for selfish gain from deceitful hearts. How like the present are these words. We are to have faithfulness within us. But, just like a plant, there must be some evidence of fruit from this faithfulness.
Revelation 2:10 “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.”
Faithfulness, being loyal and supportive, of the cause of Jesus is essential in receiving the crown of life. It is being faithful in participating in the ministry of the Gospel that all Christians have been called to. It is being faithful in our attendance and financial support of the assembly in which we meet, motivating each other with acts of love and good works. It is being faithful to our families. Spouses are to remain faithful to each other and their families. We are to bring up our children with Godly discipline and instruction. Children are to be faithful in those instructions.
In return, not only will those around us reap from this harvest of faithfulness but we will also. God promises us a rich reward. God promises us his protection. And although his faithfulness to us is not based on our faithfulness to him my desire is to hear Jesus say to me “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The next fruit is gentleness. It is based on humility. Theologian William Barclay described gentleness or meekness as a quality by which “we treat all (others) with perfect courtesy, that we can (be critical) without (bitterness or resentfulness), that we can argue without intolerance, that we can face the truth without resentment, that we can be gentle and yet not weak.” What exactly does this gentleness look like? Let’s read Matthew 11:28-30 28. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
Jesus was never rude in his presentation of the hope He offered. He was critical of sinful lifestyles without casting bitter and resentful words toward the sinner. He was able to shine the light of truth without condemning deep rooted beliefs of those He encountered. He never showed resentment toward those who rejected him. He was gentle in his ways but strong in his convictions. He made it easy to be around him and not unpleasant. This is the gentleness we are to have within us. But, just like a plant, there must be some evidence of fruit from this gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:24-25 “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.”
Kindness, knowledge, patience, gentleness; all qualities exhibited by Jesus. And all qualities that should be exhibited by Christians. If we encounter a fellow believer who is overcome by sin, we should gently help that person back on the right path. But we must be sure that our evaluation of their sin is based on the word and not on our preferences. We should always be prepared to share the hope we have in Jesus at all times. Our gentleness should lead to good works showing Godly wisdom in our lives with the promise of reaping a harvest of righteousness.