Summary: A sermon to encourage believers to grow in the area of gentleness and kidness.
pt. 5 - I Will Be Gentle
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Introduction: I want to welcome you this morning to part 5 of a new sermon series based on the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. This series is all about life change and what God wants to do in our lives if we will let Him. Make no mistake my friends; the goal of God in salvation is Christlikeness. God wants to change us into the image (icon -- exact replica) of His Son in character, conduct and personality.
Have you ever walked into the produce section of a grocery store and just examined the different kinds of fruit? When you start to look, you will see a lot of familiar fruits like bananas, strawberries, oranges and apples. If it is a large produce section, you will find some fruits that are not too familiar. I have seen some strange looking kfruits that I am not sure I would ever want to try. I cannot even begin to name them all. There is one fruit that looks like a plastic star, which just does not look good. I have seen some things that kind of looked like bananas but they are not, their called plantains. I remember the first time I ever saw a kiwi and thinking that I would never eat something that looked that. Later on I tried some and found that they are delicious. Today were going to look at a spiritual fruit that is like some of those that we have seen at the store that don't look too appetizing or appealing to us but when we do try them we come to appreciate them far more than we ever thought we would. Gentleness is just such a fruit, fruit of the Spirit that is.
First let's consider:
I. Gentleness Defined
What is gentleness? Gentleness is the same word that is translated kind in 1 Corinthians 13. In the idea of gentleness you have the touch of the ideal mother. It is the opposite of harshness, crabbiness and ill temper. It is translated mildness of temper, calmness of spirit and an unruffled disposition and politeness. All those ideas are found in this word and it should be observed that many of these fruits generally describe the same kind of personality that avoids harshness and is calm and kind.
Let me also remind you that we can translate the first few words of verse 22, "The fruit of the Spirit..." to read "...the fruit that the Spirit produces..." This morning I want to you to ask yourself this question as we begin; "If I was kinder and gentler would it make a difference in my life?" Would it make a difference in my family life? Would it make a difference in my Christian testimony? The answer to all of these is yes it would! Next, I would like us to look at:
II. Gentleness Displayed
Nowhere is gentleness displayed any more than in the life of Jesus when he dealt with the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11. The Jews had caught a woman in the act of adultery and had brought her to the Lord to see what he would do. They declared that Moses law said that she should be stoned which is not quite accurate. In Lev. 20:10 we read "... the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Nevertheless they expected to catch Jesus in a contradiction. He turned the tables on them with the wonderful statement about "...casting the first stone..." The Jews were correct to a degree but displayed not only contempt for the Scripture but a harsh unforgiving spirit. Jesus was just the opposite, in point of fact he responded to the situation with gentleness and kindness, not only to the woman but to the Jews also. Jesus didn't get all angry and "bent out of shape" but displayed gentleness to everyone involved. There is another episode in the life of Jesus that also displays his gentleness. In the garden when he is arrested there is that scene where Peter draws a sword and cuts off the ear of the high priests servant by the name of Malchus. He gently rebukes Peter with the words, "they that live by the sword shall die by the sword," and then proceeds to heal (restore) the ear of Malchus.
III. Gentleness Destroyed
It goes without saying that there are many "killers of kindness" in our lives. The general stress of life leads us to say and do things that prevent us from being gentle and kind. Physical fatigue; to be physically and mentally exhausted is often a killer of kindness. Financial stress, spending that which we do not have for that which we cannot keep has the effect of diminishing our capacity for gentleness. It's hard to be gentle and kind when you have a stack of bills you cannot pay. 90% of all marital disagreements are over money. It is safe in saying that Satan is against you displaying gentleness and kindness. He is an exploiter of situations. Remember that he walks to and fro in the earth seeking to destroy and disrupt and distract. It reminds me of the little girl in the Poltergeist movies who is seated in front of a television staring at a static filled screen when suddenly she exclaims, "Their back!" He is always lurking about. The devil will say, "You're not much of a Christian, look how you treated your wife or look how you treated those poor innocent kids, you might as well go on and do anything.