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Summary: Fruit of the Spirit.

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Longsuffering

February 25, 2001

Intro: Read Readers Digest article - (read a recent issue on the section about unbelievable injustice)

Doesn’t that just burn you? The thought of how criminals like this can slip through legal loopholes and get away with their crimes just makes my blood boil.

As I was reading an article like this during the week, I was struck with the thought - I wonder if that is how God feels when we create loopholes to try to escape responsibility for the sins in our lives. Our fruit of the Spirit for this week is longsuffering and I have been convicted that this is one area that I create loopholes to escape God’s expectations.

If you knew the issues I had to deal with.

If you knew how tired I get.

They needed a good old-fashion rebuke.

My mother had a terrible temper.

I’m Irish.

Yet we have addressed the fact that all of these qualities are fruit of the Spirit - that is that they all will be produced in a life in which God’s Spirit resides.

1. What do we mean when we say longsuffering?

I like the word that the King James uses for this particular fruit of the Spirit. The KJV translates it as longsuffering. Most of the other translations us the more generic "patience." Patience is too vanilla a word for this Greek word. There are a number of words in Greek that can all fall under the English word Patience.

Endurance - speaks to the idea of surviving through whatever trial has come our way

Perseverance - the determination to make it through

Longsuffering - literally - long to boil over - Describes an ability to endure a massive amount of heat from trials and people’s mistreatment without boiling over in anger - without venting

It describes one willing to put up with whatever comes his way.

The best Biblical illustration: Matt. 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, ’Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’

39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 "You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’

44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

First stanza of Kipling’s IF

2. Why should we be longsuffering?

a. It is the character of God toward us:

Matthew 18:21-35

NIV Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

b. It is indispensable to the task of the Gospel

NIV 2 Timothy 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-- with great patience and careful instruction.

3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

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