Summary: A look at the last of the 9 manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer.
The Fruit of The Spirit - Temperance
Scripture: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affectionsb and lusts.
This mornings message is the concluding message in the series on the Fruit of the Spirit. We have looked at the Fruit of the Spirit and each of it’s manifestations in the life of the maturing believer.
Today we will look at “Temperance”.
This is the last of the nine manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit but it is far from being the least. Perhaps it has been placed last in the list for it is the most difficult to manifest on any consistent basis in our lives.
There are times when our conduct is quite exemplary and other times when it can be deplorable. At times we are exemplify the epitomy of control and at other times we are like erupting vulcano’s.
Listen to how the prophet of God describes it for us .
Isa. 5:1,2 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved aregarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.
God has planted his vineyard with the choicest vine.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
If we are to to bear “much fruit” for him we must abide constantly in Him.
1. TEMPERANCE DEFINED
What then is this thing the bible calls “Temperance.”
The dictionary refers to it as:
1. moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control.
2. habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, esp. in the use of alcoholic liquors.
3. total abstinence from alcoholic liquors.
The word temperance became associated with total abstinence of alcohol during what was know as the temperance movement in the early 19th century. During those days it was not uncommon for preachers to preach against drinking alcohol with strong conviction.
“During this time period a preacher was winding up his temperance sermon with great fervor: "If I had all the beer in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river."
The congregation cried, "Amen!"
"And if I had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and throw it in the river."
The congregation cried, "Amen!"
"And if I had all the whiskey and the rum in the world, I’d take it all and throw it in the river."
And the congregation cried, "Amen!"
After the sermon the preacher sat down. The deacon stood up: "For our closing hymn," he announced, "let us turn to page 126 and sing, ’We Shall Gather at the River.’"
Some have translated it self control but this can be most misleading. It leads one to think that all one needs to do is steel his will. Be stronger. More determined. It is the product of one’s being. But if that were true it would not be the fruit of the Spirit rather the fruit of one’s self.
It is true that Temperance means self-control. It is control over the whole man (spirit, soul, and body) which enables us to live a victorious life. As 1Cor. 9:25 implies And everyone who competes for the prize 1is temperate in all things.
Ned H. Holmgren said "Temperance means the abstinence from all that is evil, and the moderate use of all that is good." (www.sermoncentral.com)
But it is much more than mere self discipline. Eph. 5:18 tells us “ And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, It is not the mere exercise of self discipline to remove or control our lives, it is the voluntary submission of our will to the will of the Holy Spirit within us, born out of “Love” for God
Discipline and temperance can often look very much a like but they do not necessarily produce the same end results. For instance two men walking by a book store in the airport both notice pornography books on the shelf. The first man says to himself, I shouldn’t look at that stuff. It’s wrong. So while he feels the strong pull of his carnal man he steels himself and continues walking away.
Now the second man he sees the same books and immediately feels a prick in his heart. He feels the old man’s desire but his heart responds with, ‘I don’t want to go there, I love the Lord and not only is this not be good for me, but it will break God’s heart.’