Summary: A sermon on patience as one of the fruits of the Spirit. (Sermon 4 in the series)
1. Patience, just the word is enough to remind most of us that we haven’t arrived. I don’t care who you are, I know that you sometimes struggle with being patient. It doesn’t matter whether you are a kid or a senior adult, there are times when other people get to you.
2. I had to chuckle when I read the story of a man whose car stalled in heavy traffic just as the light turned green. All his efforts to start the engine failed. You know what happened, he was trying frantically to start the car and a hundred other cars behind him were laying on their horns. In spite of his best efforts the car wouldn’t start through the entire time the light was green. The people behind him never slacked off the horn. He finally got out of his car and walked back to the driver right behind him who had been laying on the horn even though he could hear the man trying to start the engine. He politely said to the man, "I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to get my car started. Would you mind to try starting my car and I’ll blow the horn for you this time." (--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 396.)
3. We are very impatient. If you don’t believe it consider this statistic.
The annual cost of people running red lights in the United States is. . .
The average amount of time saved by running a red light is. . .
4. We are always trying to figure out how to cram more and more things that need to be done into less and less time. We allow less and less time for things. We don’t want to waste time because we feel the pressure of all we think we have to get done. The time crunch is felt by nearly everyone. There is even a church in Florida that advertises a 22 minute service. That’s right. They promise that 22 minutes after the service begins you will be dismissed. The music is fast. . . The prayers are quick. . . The sermons are only 8 minutes long. Now don’t get your hopes up, it’s not going to happen here!
5. In the opening of my sermon this morning I’ve tried to touch on the fact that patience is especially difficult in our culture, because we all feel like we have so many things to do. Think about it with me for a moment. Don’t you get the most impatient when you are feeling the most pressure? I know that I do and I suspect you probably experience the same emotions & struggle.
6. There may be a few people who haven’t been able to relate to the first three fruits of the Spirit. You may feel like you have no problem with being loving. You may be convinced that for the most part you experience joy in your life. It’s possible that you rarely struggle with a lack of harmony, but I dare say there’s not a person here who doesn’t wish they had more patience.
7. I want to begin this sermon where I always do, God’s word, Galatians 5:22-23. As you find the passage let me share an observation that well known Bible scholar John Stott made about the fruits of the Spirit. He has observed that the fruits of the Spirit can be divided into 3 groups. He suggests that the first three: love, joy and peace, speak of our attitude to God. The second set of three relate primarily to our attitudes toward others: patience, kindness, goodness. The final three fruits of the Spirit he suggests reflect attitudes toward self: faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control.
8. I don’t know that his categories capture the fruits of the Spirit exactly, but nevertheless, his thinking may help you get your mind around this very practical list of spiritual traits. In an attempt to help us do that I’m going to suggests three questions that I think will help us with our understanding of patience. Let’s read the passage together. . .
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NASB updated)
TS- Let’s begin with a question that is foundational to understanding this topic. . .
I. What Is Patience?
1. There are a number of very interesting definitions that people have come up with that may help us understand what patience is. Let’s look at several of them. Perhaps some of them will help you. The first one is a bit humorous, although I think each of us will be able to relate to it.