Summary: Gentlesness is a beautiful fruit to behold
• SLIDE #1
• Have you ever walked into the produce section of the store and just glanced at some of the various fruits.
• When you start to look, you will see a lot of the familiar fruits like bananas, strawberries, oranges, and apples.
• If you are in one of the stores with a big produce section, you will find some fruits that are not too familiar.
• I have seen some strange looking fruits 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 little rotten looking bananas; it is some fruit from Honduras I think.
• If you are like me, I have a hard time trying new foods, especially it they do not look very appetizing to the eye.
• Have you ever decided how something was going to taste even before you took a bite? You looked at something and from what you saw; you already had in your mind what it was going to taste like?
• I can remember looking at Kiwi fruit in the store at one time thinking it would not taste very good. It is a fruit that is not very appealing to the eye, but when I tried it I really liked it.
• I love blueberries, but one time I purchased some blueberries at the store. I took them home and washed a few and then took a few to eat, I bit into them only to find out they were sour tasting. I found out they need a lot of sugar to taste good to me.
• Today we are going to look at a fruit that is one of those that as we look at it in the store, it may not look too appealing to us. It is a fruit that does not have outstanding color, or a great smell, it is one that may be hard for us to take our first bite of because we do not know what to expect.
• Let us take a look at the fruit of gentleness as we continue on our examination of the Fruit of The Spirit. I hope that after we look at the fruit of gentleness, it will be a fruit that we become eager to use in our lives!
I. WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF GENTLENESS?
• Our starting point for all the fruit of the spirit messages seems a bit redundant, but it is the place from which we need to start.
• I bet we all have our own ideas as to what gentleness means.
• I am going to start us off with a definition that will at first make the fruit of gentleness lose some of its appeal.
• This word association may turn many of us off to wanting to obtain this fruit, but stick with me and we will see it is not as bad as it sounds.
• SLIDE #3
1. Gentleness can be defined as meekness.
• Do you want to be meek? What image does that conjure up? Meekness is defined as “showing mildness or quietness of nature.”
• The KJV by translating the word as “meek” has led many people to an unfortunate misunderstanding of this virtue. Paul meant “the fruit of power,” but the English word “meekness” depicts someone who is weak and wimpy. Paul’s concept was a person who has strength under control; “meekness” implies a weak person who acts timidly because he cannot help himself. If we switch from “meek” to “gentle” we have improved the situation, but we still have not caught the real force of the word.
• The Greeks used this word to describe strong animals that were brought under control.
• Aristotle spoke of the “easy-tempered and easily domesticated” elephant; and Plato described a mighty and strong beast which could be tamed and fed by a man who learned how to handle it. Barclay says the best illustration is the watchdog “who is bravely hostile to strangers and gently friendly with familiars whom he knows and loves.” (College Press Commentary)
• There is something we need to understand when we speak of gentleness or meekness.
• SLIDE #4
2. Meekness is not weakness.
• When I think of someone who is meek, I think of someone cowering in the corner, afraid of their own shadow.
• That is not what gentleness or meekness is all about.
• There are only two individuals in the Bible who are described by this word, Jesus (three times) in Matthew 11:29; Matthew 21:5; and in 2 Corinthians 10:1, and in the Old Testament, Moses in Numbers 12:3 is described as meek.