Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness
Thank you Matt Those met John of which one of Phoenix finest firefighters we have a few firefighters here in this congregation is great to know that if the the place starts to burn down we're covered we've got some guys that can jump up. What with this being a Memorial Day weekend did anyone here have a hard time kind of keeping track of the days this last week kind of forget a couple of those you know whenever you have this holiday kind of really messes you up I hope everyone had a good day or a good good Memorial Day Whatever you did and a good week I had an eventful week I'm going to tell you a little bit about it for those of you who were in church last Sunday I mention that I was doing a big across for the event called the Murf named after Michael Murphy It's a one mile run one hundred pole ups two hundred pushups three hundred or squats and then another mile and I did that and I did it for the second time and I beat my time from a year ago so I was very pleased with that but that was actually one of the easier things I did this week because I also went in height in the grandest of canyons on Thursday I had another opportunity to do that Pastor Gary Speicher minin soor here along with their daughters Karen Duke and Michelle Loren some of you probably remember Karen Karen and her husband Casey who's now youth pastor up in post falls were here in two thousand and ten so eight years ago doing an internship but anyway Pastor Gary called me things like October November and said Hey I'm doing a wedding in Tucson in late my in May And I'd like to come down early and I'd like to have the Grand Canyon would you like to go with me and it doesn't take much to convince me to go and do that and so I said yeah let's let's go for it let's do it and so they came in on Wednesday and we got in the car riding up there on Wednesday afternoon we're going to hike on Thursday and our Pastor Gary because he's a pastor and he's a pastor up in Holland Michigan he said so I you know how are things that church we talk about church and and he said So are you all ready for the sermon on Sunday and this was Wednesday and I said well no. But I kind of know what I'm doing we're going to the fruit of the Spirit and all kind of wrapping up at the end of the week and I also said I'm hoping that something will happen on this trip that will give me something to talk about because preachers are always looking for sermon illustrations and today sermons on gentleness I was thinking well maybe something will happen but gives me something to talk about and unfortunately something did happen to me and so what happened is we're driving up there and for those of you going up there you know it's about a three and a half four hour ride and we're about a half hour away from the little city of I think I think you pronounce it to C.N.N. So we're almost there it's about five or six o'clock I think on Wednesday and Kristen calls me and that's not too surprising she calls me from time to time but she knows what I'm doing and where I'm going so I was kind of surprised to see that she was calling me and answer the phone and she says I say hello and she says Josh.
I'm like oh no something's something is wrong you know or we have to go but you something maybe something bad happen and she says Josh you forgot to pack all of your stuff it's still in the hallway.
Like you know and you know how you rewind your brain I go to where you can remember I packed the pole I packed my shoes and I didn't pack anything else how do you go get a gun this is so she goes Well what are you going to do what do you want to do you want to meet like halfway you're going to bring your clothes and I had some clothes and food in my my water my camelback I go let me call you back when we think about this and so hung up and I I did this quick inventory I said what do I actually need to do this hike because in twenty four hours from that phone call we're going to be heading back down to Phoenix and so fortunately I had the clothes on that I was wearing I could definitely hike in those I just didn't have a change of clothes I had my hiking shoes I just didn't have a hat with me and I didn't have anything to carry water and I thought up there I can probably get a hat I can get something to carry water and. Get some some different socks or call Chris and said I'm going to I'm going to just get a wing this I'm going to see if I can do it and so we did it and I did it and in the point of all that is not just make fun of myself but as I'm driving for the rest of the trip I'm in the car and I'm like I'm kind of embarrassed like how can you forget to pack your stuff on a trip like this and the people in the car we had Pastor Gary his daughter Michelle and another man named Ryan he flew in just for this trip they could have responded in a couple different ways and I'm really glad that I had that group in the car because it was a different group they were responded to completely different way but they could have mock to me and if the roles were reversed I probably would've mocked somebody so that would have been fine although I was driving so they probably didn't want to do that but instead of making me feel horrible and shamed and embarrassed they said hey we will let you use some of our food I'll do anything that we can to help you what will make sure that this works and it did and we had a great hike and we drove back the next day and we've lived happily ever after.
You know all of us at many times in our lives are going to do something wrong whether we make a simple mistake or we end up sinning and causing different problems and in those moments we're going to find ourselves in a very vulnerable position and it's in those moments that the people in our lives can either tear us down or build us up and the Spirit of God has been given to us as believers and the Holy Spirit is trying to produce an us the fruit of the spirit and whatever who God is is trying to produce that in us and God is someone who likes to build people up not tear them down and this is the quality of gentleness that we're going to talk about. Today and so I want you to open your Bible study Genesis urges you give me Galatians chapter five.
Glacial chapter five look at our our main passage again really quick and so far we've looked at Seven of the nine qualities. We've looked at Seven of the nine qualities of the fruit of the Spirit and so today we're going to look at number eight so we're almost done but if you go to Galatians chapter five let's read verses twenty two and twenty three again.
Glacial chapter five or says twenty two and twenty three it says.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self-control against such things there is no law and I was reading that from the E.S.B. last week I took a break from the fruit of the spirit and I just talked I had a topical sermon for Memorial Day how to how to be a giver in life instead of a taker and as I'm reading this I mention to you that I'm reading from the E.S.P. I'm sure some of you probably use different translations and you've noticed that some of the words a little bit different like for instance if you're reading from the King James version you're thinking wait a second you're a few weeks late gentleness was already in there if you read from the King James version I'll read this for you it translates the Greek words this into English but the further the Spirit is love joy peace longsuffering and then they have gentleness there as the fifth quality then goes to goodness face meekness instead of gentleness temperance against such thing as there is no law and so as I noticed this a while ago and I thought will probably deal with this when I get the gentleness the King James Version translates the word that the S.P. translates into kind it's the Greek word Christ a total this into gentleness and so gentleness is also translate it's kindness in the S.V. but the Greek word means. Moral goodness or integrity and the word for gentleness that we're looking at today is pray Otis the King James Version translates that instead of gentle us into meekness and gentleness and meekness are very synonyms they're very close to meaning the same thing and so you're going back and forth from the King James version to the as he or any other versions which I doubt any of you are doing that you might think that these two words must be very similar that kindness and gentleness are very similar but actually the two words that are very similar are gentleness what we're looking at today and patients gentleness and patients are actually the words that are very similar when we look at patients the definition of patients or the way that we understand it is this when we talk about we are patient It means that you have the ability to endure hostility and criticism without anger someone who is patience is able to maintain control over their emotions they don't allow their anger to destroy the peace that is in their life gentleness is similar but it goes like this gentleness is the ability to handle all of those things those frustrations without aggression towards other people and so when we're talking about gentleness It's how we respond to other people when something in the situ we're little relation ship has broken down. Another thing I think that's worth mentioning when we usually we use the word gentle in the English language we usually mean anything physical sense like handle something gently all right of course I'm sure that can probably be read into this but that's not what it means like for instance when you're handling flowers to where you want to be gentle right a really good situation where you're telling someone to be gentle with another person is anyone that has more than one child I think you'll appreciate this for those of you have a second or third or fourth child you're a member of the first. Time that child number one met child number two and they're probably very interested and said OK I want to see the baby or whatever they did and they you gently take child number two and you put it in Child number one lap and you say to that child you say to a child number one what being a Jen told don't poke the baby's eyes right. That definitely was the case with our kids only one of them is in the service today the other one is helping with the kids but Caleb had wanted nothing to do with another human being in the house and we had to tell him to be gentle with it with baby Kyle and in fact when we used to give them balance together when they were little they don't take bows together anymore but when they were really little. We couldn't leave Kelemen Kyle alone because Caleb probably would have killed Kyle or you might be speaking of them taking ballet as I got a really cute picture of them taking baths together when they're little joy I know I don't have any…. You could feel it was like You better not do this.
I wouldn't do that to you at least not while you're here.
But going back to gentleness in the fruit of the spirit I'm going to read for you just a couple sentences from the book that I'm using to kind of help me as I'm starting for this and so this is a great way for us to understand gentleness and how you and I are gentle so it says this. Gentleness shows itself when I've learned the Christ like way to respond to conflicts quarrels rejection unfairness or harsh words against me is not with bluster and self defense not with harsh or aggressive words not with angry gestures or facial expressions but rather with softness controlling my tongue and my temper and so gentleness is how we respond to another person when something in the relationship has gone poorly. Recently Have you ever. Ariens conflict with another person it could be a spouse children parents maybe coworkers and you felt inside of you this building rage and you wanted to spill it out on the other person because they deserved it have you ever felt that and all this kind of feel that at some point but but when we do that we want to make the other person feel worthless you know feel feel pathetic feel bad about themselves what we do we want to destroy that person really tear them down that is obviously the opposite of gentleness and that is the opposite of what God is trying to cultivate in our lives if you're still hearing Galatians chapter five before it talks about the fruit of the spirit it says what the works of the flesh are the fruit of the flesh look at five nineteen says now the works of the flesh are evident sexual morality and purity sensuality idolatry sorcery enmity strife jealousy and fits of anger that would be the exact opposite of gentleness and so gentleness is how we treat another person when something is gone wrong. Gentleness when we act with gentlest gentleness is not weakness and gentleness is not just ignoring the situation OK we can still be gentle in our response to somebody can be very firm and clear and strong it's just that without vicious rage and anger. When we looked at peace several weeks ago I use this phrase a few times just to get us to kind of all understand what it means to be a peacemaker. I said when it comes to the peace of the Holy Spirit the for the spirit with peace Don't be a peace destroyer don't destroy the peace that is in your relationships with gentleness with the quality of gentleness we should think don't be a soul destroyer because sometimes we. Have the power to do that but a gentle person will not crush or destroy the soul of another person so for this morning what I want to do is look at a few verses and a couple stories there really show us the power of gentleness because this is one of the great things about gentleness there's a few times when you and I can respond or act towards another person in a very godlike way and when we get it right it can be very powerful in that person's life and gentleness fits that description and so let's look at three things that gentleness can do to another person when we treat them with gentleness and the first thing is this in some situations when we treat period people with gentleness it can lead to truth the way that we respond to another person in a difficult situation if we respond with gentleness it can lead to them possibly coming to the knowledge of the truth let me read for you the first verse I'm going to read I'll just read this myself it's from Proverbs fifteen one now we all know what it's like when you get into an argument with another person is it helpful to add insults and raise your voice in an argument as I'm very productive or proverbs fifteen one says a soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger and so if you've ever been in a disagreement with another person then you're both keeping insults on each other is a very productive not at all and are you going to listen to the main point that another person is telling you if they're using harsh and angry words with you we're probably not going to do that I want you to turn your Bibles now to second Timothy Chapter two.
Second term of the chapter two. And here Paul is instructing Timothy on how he should on communicate with others and this is dealing with his role as a pastor but obviously it applies to lots of different relationships as well.
But second some of the Chapter Two beginning in verse twenty four.
Second Timothy Chapter two. Beginning in verse twenty four. It says. In the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone able to teach patiently enduring evil correcting his opponents with gentleness why continues God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do His will you know when people are in a position of vulnerability and they are treated with kindness and dignity many many times they will listen they will listen to the point that you're trying to make anger will keep our eyes blind to the truth who are angry we don't want the truth we just want vengeance or we want fairness but I think this is also something the parents need to understand when disciplining their children sometimes they need punishment and sometimes it's physical punishment but sometimes when a child knows that they are wrong a gentle response can help them to realize what the truth of the situation is well there's several different examples in the Bible of them someone treating another person with gentleness but one that kind of came to my mind which led to this person coming to a knowledge of the truth is the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well that's found in John chapter four so let's go ahead and turn to that passage and that's read this story John chapter four beginning in verse seven
and so Jesus is traveling through some area and he stops at a well and he talks with this woman and as you read in the story you notice right away that Jews do not associate with Samaritans and assume Marion's and also definitely men do not speak to women like this but here's what Jesus did in notice if you can possibly understand picture Jesus interacting with her he can either do interact with her in a way that's going to shame her or with gentleness and hopefully lead to a knowledge of the truth so John chapter four beginning in verse seven.
Says a woman from some area came to draw water and Jesus said to her Give me a drink for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food the Samaritan woman said to him How is it that you a Jew ask for a drink from me a woman of some area for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans and so she knows that at least in her own mind that she is inferior to this Jewish man and now we see Jesus speak to her in a gentle way he treats her with dignity verse ten Jesus answered her if you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you give me a drink you would have asked him and he would have given you living water the woman said to him Syria is nothing to draw water with in the well is deep Where do you get that living water Are you greater than our father Jacob he gave us the well and drank from it himself as did his sons and his livestock and Jesus said to her everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be source again the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life the woman said to him serve give me this water so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water so Jesus is teaching her something he's trying to get her to understand some true. But in order for her to understand truth he needs to kind of get to her heart and this is where we see Jesus dealing with her gently verse sixteen Jesus said to her Go call your husband and come here and the woman answered him I have a husband and Jesus said to her You are right in saying I have no husband for you have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your husband what you have said is true now could you just imagine being that woman like Who are you and how do you know this about me the woman said to him Sir I perceive that you are a prophet our father is worshiped on this mountain but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship Jesus said to her Woman believe me the hour is coming when neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem will you worship the Father you worship what you do not know we worship what we know for salvation is from the Jews but the hour is coming in is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth the woman said to him I know that Messiah is coming he who is called Christ and when he comes he will tell us all things and Jesus said to her I who speak to you and he. You know this encounter that Jesus had with this woman was was pretty remarkable and Jesus ultimately wanted her to know truths that could save for and so he brought up something in her life that was probably very personal and painful and probably very sensitive now as we read this story we cannot hear the tone in Jesus' voice we can't read body language we can't see facial expressions but the way that this goes he obviously did not shame her but he treated her with dignity he treated her in such a way that she. Was gentle with her so that she wanted to know what Jesus was talking about and so I think this is such a great example of gentleness being displayed to a person who is vulnerable and this gentleness led to her understanding the truth and when you skip down to verse thirty nine not only did she understand the truth but everyone in her village did too verse thirty nine many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony he told me all that I ever did but it Jesus did this with gentleness he did this to build her up and not to tear her down and so gentleness in some situations can lead to truth second thing gentleness can lead to is this not only can it lead to truth in certain situations but when we treat people with gentleness it can lead to restoration it can lead to a restoration of relationships and when a person finds themselves in a vulnerable position because of something that they did whether it's a mistake or a sin two things can happen the problem can get worse the relationships can just continue to deteriorate and get worse or the person who's in a position of power can forgive and treat that person with gentleness and that's what leads to restoration of relationships I go back to go lation chapter six.
Elations Chapter six verse one
and one just look at this briefly today and we'll look at this little bit more in just a few weeks when we get out of Chapter five but English is Chapter six verse one.
It says brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness keep watch on yourself lest you to be tempted.
Restoration happens best when the people around that person who needs to be restored treat them with gentleness meaning they treat them with dignity and they recognize that they are made in the image of God just like us can you think of a time in your life you might have to think all the way back to childhood maybe where you you really messed up any person in your life who had the authority and the power and maybe in that moment the right to just crush you and bring you low Instead they treated you with gentleness and you see how it made a difference in your life I can think of a couple of those times Fortunately there when I was younger you know hopefully that doesn't happen too often in life but no one likes to be in that position of vulnerability but it's probably good for all of us to go through situations like that and really learn the power of gentleness and it what it can do to us Well I don't want to spend too much time on this this passage or even THIS THE some point because we're going to get into this in a couple more weeks so let's move on to point number three and so so far we've seen the gentleness can lead to someone coming to a realization of the truth it can also lead to restoration but also when you treat someone with gentleness it can lead to greatness when you treat someone with gentleness you are helping them become the best person that they can possibly be King David said something interesting and kind of recognize this as a way that God made him great I'll read this for you this is from Psalm eighteen. Psalm eighteen thirty four and thirty five David says this about God He says he trains my hands for war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze you have given me the shield of your celebration and your right hand supported me and your gentleness has made me great.
King David says that the god your gentleness to me has made me great you know I think a great example story in the Bible of great gentleness making someone great is found when Jesus responded to Peter after Peter had denied him three times before the crucifixion so let's go to John Chapter twenty one and let's look at the story. It's kind of nice to have Jesus you know giving us these good examples of the fruit of the spirit a kind of no fair because he's God but John Chapter twenty one beginning in verse fifteen and for those of you are familiar I don't want to sue everyone is familiar with this before the crucifixion Jesus said to Peter before the rooster crows you will deny me three times when Peter says there's no way I'm doing that I am loyal and faithful to you and guess what Peter does three times he denies knowing Christ and I'm sure Peter obviously is thrilled that Christ came back to life that he is the prove himself to be the Messiah but there is still this issue between Jesus and Peter that needs to be resolved they need to have a conversation Peter deny Christ three times and Peter knows Jesus knew this because he looked at him right after he did it and so there's this the trouble in this relationship but watch how Jesus treats Peter and will notice he's firm he's clear but there is some gentleness involved John Chapter twenty one verse fifteen. When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter Simon son of John do you love me more than these I'm sure in that moment Peter is probably nervous and he's probably thinking I figured that we'd probably get around to this eventually we we needed to have this talk. But he said to him Peter said to Jesus yes Lord you know that I love you he said to him feed my lamb. He said I am a second time sign. When son of John do you love me he said to him Yes Lord you know that I love you he said to him ten my sheep he said to him the third time Simon son of John do you love me and Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time do you love me and he said to him Lord you know everything you know that I love you and Jesus said to him feed my sheep you know again like with the woman at the well we can't hear the tone in Jesus' voice or read the body language but this interaction needed to take place between Christ and Peter and from a human perspective Jesus had every right to just crush Peter he could have said Peter I was depending on you and you failed me you let me down I can't depend on you I'm not going to give you any responsibility or authority you totally let me down but he doesn't do that in fact he does the opposite and what we see is the result of this conversation was that Peter became one of the greatest and most influential followers of Christ that the world has ever seen and because Jesus restored him gently he didn't bring him down he didn't crush a spirit but he showed him dignity in his response.
You know whenever I do a wedding I always tell the couple don't worry if something goes wrong during the ceremony in fact you should probably smile because it's going to be a memory you know it's going to be something that you can look back on in years from now and say oh remember when this happened in the wedding and so I always kind of say that.
When something happens in a relationship we need to remember we don't need to worry about it in fact we should look at it from another perspective if a relationship that you have with another person gets broken for whatever reason instead of. Throwing that relationship away instead what you can do is say. I now have an opportunity I have an opportunity to treat this person the way that God would treat me I have an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit the dwells within me to make me an able me to respond to this person with gentleness because that's how God responds to us. On your bulletin you'll notice on the front cover it has Psalm one hundred three verses thirteen or fourteen all read that for you you can look at your bolts are just listen it says As a father shows compassion to his children so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame he remembers that we are dust and we need to remember that about each other as well we need to cut each other some slack if that's what it is and the key to making the best of those situations is with gentleness now it's when we choose to respond in such a way that we don't crush the person's soul but instead we treat them with gentleness in the hopes that it can help that person come to a realization of the truth it can possibly lead to restoration or it can also help them become the best person they can be and help them become great well let's close in prayer on this ask God to produce within all of us the spirit of gentleness when the time comes.
Dear Father I thank you so much for being a gentle God. Not just physically gentle as we often think about when we use the word gentleness the Lord you you don't crush our spirit you don't crush our souls when we make mistakes and when we sin instead you treat us with gentleness and thank you for the examples that we see in scripture the couple that we look at today the Lord I'm right now my prayer is for anyone in this room this morning that is dealing with a situation where they're tempted to have a fit of rage they're tempted to crush the soul of the person that. Maybe I'm treated them unfairly that has sinned against them or made a mistake Lord you want us to bear your image you want us to be like you and so father if there's anyone here this morning that is dealing with a difficult situation for another with another person allow the Holy Spirit to empower them to treat that person with gentleness Lord I pray that you always remind us the gentleness is always the best way to handle these kinds of situations as opposed to fits of anger and rage and Lord again we thank you for treating us this way help us to treat others the way that you treated us we pray this now in Christ most holy name Amen.