Summary: Fifth in a series on shepherding/mentoring in the church.
Sermon for 2/11/2001
A. Once the devil was walking along with one of his demons. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the demon. “A piece of the truth,” the devil replied. “Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the demon. “No,” said the devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”
A. (Eccl 7:18 NIV) It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.
B. This is not found in other versions, translations of the Bible. However, the concept is clearly defined in the context.
1. Avoid extremism in seeking to be righteous and wise, lest you destroy yourself.
2. Do not be so holier than thou.
3. Avoid extremism in wickedness and foolishness, lest you die before your time.
4. Those people who give into their weaknesses and sins end up dead.
5. Don’t refrain from true righteousness and wisdom.
6. Fearing God will help one escape extremism.
7. The Pharisees tithed a tenth of their garden spices but forgot other portions of the Law which where more important.
D. What do we think of when we here the word temperate? Drinking or anger. Both of these apply and so much more.
E. Webster’s Dictionary- Not extreme or excessive; moderate in indulgence of appetite or desire; moderate in the use of intoxicating liquors.
F. Focus in on the first phrase more than the others, the rest modifies the first.
G. NIV uses the word temperate, KJV uses the word vigilant.
H. Paul was describing a person who has a clear focus on life. Practically speaking, a temperate man doesn’t lose his physical, psychological and spiritual orientation. He is stable and steadfast, and his thinking is clear.
I. This person has a correct perspective on life in this world. He/she knows what truly is important.
J. A temperate man doesn’t go to extremes. On the one hand, he doesn’t believe he is responsible to solve all the problems in the world, allowing himself to get sidetracked from his priority as a Christian. On the other hand, he does what he can to solve humankind’s social ills, but again without neglecting his biblical priorities.
K. A temperate man/woman doesn’t go on emotional tangents. He/she has a sense of inner peace and security, no matter what is happening in life generally.
L. Fits of rage do not describe a mature Christian. Not violent. Not quick-tempered.
M. This person is sober and calm in judgment. He is someone who is stable and does not overreact to situations, becoming overwhelmed, nervous, or insecure.
N. Warren Bennis- Effective leaders reward dissent, as well as encourage it. They understand that whatever momentary discomfort they experience as a result of being told from time to time that they are wrong is more than offset by the fact that “reflective back talk” increases a leader’s ability to make good decisions.
O. A person who does not want any constructive criticism is not a mature Christian. Cannot improve if we do not know where we are wrong or weak.