Summary: A sermon to encourage the development of self-control.
pt. 9 - I Will Be Self-disciplined
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 9 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.
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 a better person and displayed more goodness in my life and testimony 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!
When I started this series I had no idea of the significant effect these messages would have on my own life.
What does the word temperance mean in our text?
To start this message I would like us to look at:
I. Defining Temperance
ILL - The poorest education that teaches self-control is better than the best that neglects it.
Christians in particular need to be educated in the area of self-control.
a. What it means historically
The common usage of the word temperance in our country is from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries and it was connected to the fight to restrict the use and abuse of alcohol in this country that resulted in the 18th and 21st amendments to the US constitution which historians refer to as Prohibition and the repeal of the prohibition. The folks who were involved in this fight against the trafficking of alcohol were called temperance societies. I thank God for every blow that they struck and wish that they were active today. The nearest things we have today is MADD and SADD an I applaud everything they are doing. The only problem with many of these efforts is that in their attempt to teach people to drink responsibly, they are doing the equivalent of playing Russian roulette and saying, "Now you'll be careful; you hear!" The liquor lobby is the most powerful lobby in America today. They exercise great influence in our nation's capital and in every legislature and city council in this country. The encroachment of alcohol sales is steady and relentless, even in dry counties the booze crowd has found friendly judges and now almost any hamlet, town or city within a county can vote itself wet over the objections of the majority in that county. I thank God that FWB's have always been teetotalers historically. Our church covenant states that: "We promise by His grace to love and obey Him in all things, to avoid all appearance of evil, to abstain from all sinful amusements and unholy conformity to the world, from all sanction of the use and sale of intoxicating beverages, and to provide things honest in the sight of all men." Now, let me tell you where your pastor stands on this subject because you have the right to know. There is no good reason for any Christian to use any alcohol at all with the exception of a medical reason. Just a few years ago this didn't need to be said but things have changed dramatically. Back years ago everyone from the oldest grandpa to the tiniest tot knew that Christian's should not have anything to do with alcoholic beverages but that is not the case today. Many evangelicals have compromised and gotten soft on this issue and just recently I read of a church that had a fellowship dinner with the announcement to BYOB! There are several Biblical principles that provide more than enough justification for teetotalism. Christians ought to be total abstainers and here's why: The first is the principle of example. 1 Corinthians 8:13. As a Christian I should be concerned about others, especially those who are weaker in the faith. If it causes a weaker brother to stumble I should abstain. The second principle is the principle of glorification. 1 Corinthians 10:13. There is no way you can chug-a-lug booze to the glory of God. You can rationalize it to yourself but you can never make it right. Third, there is the principle of expediency. 1 Corinthians 10:23. This simply means it is not in my best interest. The consequences of alcohol use and abuse remind us over and over again that it is not in our best interest, it is not what is best for us. I thank God for and support our law enforcement officers who try to keep our roads and highways safe from drunk drivers. I lost an 18 year old cousin in a one-car drunken driving accident and my aunt and uncle asked me to preach his funeral. There was nothing I could to them that would ease the pain that they were feeling. We have even tried to soften the moral aspect of alcohol by using the word "alcoholic" instead of the word the Bible uses. I'm reminded of a story Dr. R. G. Lee told about a man who came to see him and announced that he had a problem with alcohol to which the preacher replied, "Oh, you're and alcoholic!" The man replied, "No. I'm a drunkard, alcoholics have to go to all them meetings." The fourth principle is the principle of enslavement. 1 Corinthians 6:12. Paul says that he resisted those things in life that he found to be addictive. If anything has a tendency to addictive, certainly alcohol would be that substance.