Tag Archives: joy

Why Should Christians Care About the Church?

Today’s message summary of July 2, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The church gets criticized in many different ways.  People who attend will often say that it can be boring.  Please understand that, when you love someone, it is not boring.

Other criticisms include that the church is old-fashioned or not modern enough.  Note that the world who never go to church will offer their own critiques of church that people who do attend church will agree with.  Church is not just for Christians–it is for anyone who desires to know more about Jesus Christ.

The church experience should be one where Christians really love the church.

Ephesians 5:23

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. He is the Savior of the body.

One of the biggest issues about loving the church is missing the fact that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.  We serve a sovereign God.  We have to believe it along with simply stating it.

Ephesians 1:22

And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church.

Colossians 1:18

He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

You are to love the church because Jesus Christ leads it.  It is a place to come to learn and grow, and yes, to be sharpened.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ love the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

The church’s purpose is to help the people of God holy.  It is done through the work of the Holy Spirit, and He is the Teacher within the church about holiness.

If the church does not get involved with you, the relationship between you and the church is only superficial.  Your participation in church allows you to hear the wisdom of others through God’s guidance.

Ephesians 5:29-30

For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.

Another reason to love the church is that Jesus Christ and the church are one.

Ephesians 5:32

This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.

The church is the bride of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with a godly jealously, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband–to present a pure virgin to Christ.

The church is like Eve–Adam’s bride.  Eve came out of Adam (Genesis 2:22).

Romans 11:36

For from Him and through Him

and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.

When it comes to The Trinity, we have to learn to dance with God.  The Church was designed by God to be a dance studio to teach us to stay in step with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father.  We are dancing with all three.

Dancing and relating to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father is no simple thing.  No one gets the hang of it quickly or permanently.  Why?  Because there is always a new step you have to learn and another turn added within the dance.  With all of this, you still will have to follow His leading.

It seems difficult, if not impossible, but the Holy Spirit is a great teacher.

John 14:17

He is the Spirit of truth.  The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

Without God, it seems wrong, or even foolish, and even sometimes downright stupid to dance with Jesus.  But you know better because you know Him and trust in Him.

Do you really know the Holy Spirit and understanding His voice?  His presence?

The church carries us through the pain and darkness of our lives.  It is there to be the light when there is no light.  It is there to provide encouragement.  It is there for us until we learn to dance smoothly with Jesus, and become actively involved in church life.

Once you become more active in church life, then you really will begin to grow.  Not just within the four walls of the building, but when you are living for Christ everywhere you go.

The church is a partial fulfillment of the kingdom of God here on earth.  It serves as a primary agent of the kingdom.

Colossians 1:13

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

It is in the church the inward disciplines with outward expressions of spiritual maturity take place.  The church is where you learn to be sharpened.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.

We begin to grow in the church:

Because one is able to excise the fruit of the Spirit.  It does not mean one is mature, but it is a lifelong process.

Galatians 5:22-23a

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.

True transformation determines our growth, but our desire is to look more like Jesus Christ in our everyday actions.

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The Seven Bowls

A message summary from April 24, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Revelation 16:1-2

Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” The first went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and severely painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

Even in the midst of God’s judgment and wrath, He still does want people to repent from their sin and turn to Him.

Jesus is giving direction through the last of the seven bowls.

A loud voice was coming from the temple.  It belonged to Jesus.

Revelation 15:5-8

After this I looked, and the heavenly sanctuary—the tabernacle of testimony—was opened. Out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, dressed in clean, bright linen, with gold sashes wrapped around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. Then the sanctuary was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from His power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

There was such glory and power that was present where no one could enter.  The great voice that comes out in Rev. 16:1 is that of Jesus Christ.  There is no great joy in what He is taking place, because we must remember that even though He is just and right, He still desired for all to be saved.

Isaiah 66:6

A sound of uproar from the city! A voice from the temple–the voice of the Lord, paying back His enemies what they deserve!

Revelation 11:15

The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!”

Revelation 14:8-10a

A second angel followed, saying: “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, who made all the nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.” And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger.

While there are woes on earth, there is an excitement in heaven.  The excitement is the kingdoms of the earth are becoming part of the kingdom of heaven. God is not joyful in all of what will take place, because He loves even the worst of those who are sinners.

The pouring of the bowls will be a time a great distress.

Matthew 24:21

For at that time there will be great tribulation, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again!

Bowl: a vial with a wide mouth.  A bowl has a wide opening at its top.  A bowl pours out its contents all at one time.  This implies that His wrath will happen very quickly.  I think that the reason God does this is because He knows that this will be so terrible that it is to be done as quickly as possible.

The judgment of sin will move and end quickly. God will take swift action, which also still will reflect His grace and mercy.

God does indeed love everyone He has created.  There is not a person who God hates.

The judgment will be over quickly because:

Jeremiah 6:10

Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen? Look, their ear is uncircumcised, so they cannot pay attention. See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them–they find no pleasure in it.

There comes a time when talking is over.

Ezekiel 18:23, 32

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?

For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!”

Understand that the heart of God will not take pleasure in punishing His children.  Remember that He witnessed His Son dying on the cross for all of mankind.

Ezekiel 33:11

Tell them: As I live” — the declaration of the Lord God — “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.

Even God Himself does not get what He desires.  Some will perish even though He does not want that to happen.

We can’t picture God wrestling over this issue, but you can understand it better if you can see that God does not want any to perish, and that His love for us is measured in how Jesus Christ died for us.

The person born again in Jesus Christ is a completely different individual.  That is His pleasure…to see people get saved, and not be condemned.

He won’t make you do something that you don’t want to do.  His pleasure is to see His children get saved and not to suffer under His condemnation, for He will still act in righteousness. He is true to Himself.

 

 

 


Spring Break 2015 Relationship Seminar Text

Text from this year’s Spring Break 2015 Relationship Conference presented at the Hampton Inn, Stow OH, April 17-18, 2015:

 

Thank you for attending this year’s Spring Break 2015 Relationship Conference presented by Akron Alliance Fellowship Church.  We sincerely hope that you have a great time here this weekend, and that you are inspired and encouraged by what God has to say to you!  A special thanks to the staff at the Hampton Inn for hosting this event.

If you were with us last year, the goal of the seminar, Using your IMAGE to Be A Change Agent for Christ, was to help its participants begin and continue the process of developing a closer, healthier and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.  In order for a believer in Christ to grow in faith, he has to do more than just go beyond the basics.  The seminar provided practical methods for a present believer, and even a potential believer, to reach one’s fullest potential as a child of God living in a manner that brings praise to Jesus Christ!

Our annual Spring Break weekend seminars are devoted to addressing relationships in your life, and this year is no different.  We will take a closer look at an area that is a hindrance to any relationship.  A lack of forgiveness—either for the person who is holding a grudge against someone or for the person who is awaiting some sort of reconciliation that never comes—is a devastating force that destroys relationships.  A lack of forgiveness not only ruins family and interpersonal relationships, but it also hinders, and even damages a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.

We will be presenting this information this weekend with frequent references to your IMAGE, which we presented last year to the group to show how you can develop as a believer who is consistent in obedience to God’s Word and His will for your life.  In maintaining your true IMAGE in Jesus Christ, this will help a person to overcome the lack of forgiveness in one’s life, and even help others who may struggle with this issue.

A lack of forgiveness or receiving forgiveness, as we noted earlier, destroys relationships.  Can a believer in Jesus Christ be effective in Christ as long as a lack of forgiveness is unresolved?  My emphatic answer is “absolutely not.” Why?  There are several reasons, but the most important one is that if forgiveness is unresolved in any way, shape or form, then that means that Jesus Christ cannot possibly be the primary focus of that person.  You may have heard the lyrics of a song that declare “nobody but Jesus,” but the person who lacks forgiveness might as well sing “anything but Jesus.”

Forgiveness, in itself, is impossible to cover in its entirety over your entire lifetime, let alone within a short weekend seminar.  With that in mind, we will focus on areas of personal development and in how we relate to other individuals to help us discover ways in which we can personally grow in our relationships with others and find ways to experience forgiveness and to forgive others.

Psalm 32

The Joy of Forgiveness

Davidic. A Maskil.

1 How joyful is the one

whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered!

2 How joyful is the man

the Lord does not charge with sin

and in whose spirit is no deceit!

3 When I kept silent, my bones became brittle

from my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night Your hand was heavy on me;

my strength was drained

as in the summer’s heat. Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to You

and did not conceal my iniquity.

I said,

“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You

at a time that You may be found.

When great floodwaters come,

they will not reach him.

7 You are my hiding place;

You protect me from trouble.

You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and show you the way to go;

with My eye on you, I will give counsel.

9 Do not be like a horse or mule,

without understanding,

that must be controlled with bit and bridle

or else it will not come near you.

10 Many pains come to the wicked,

but the one who trusts in the Lord

will have faithful love surrounding him.

11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,

you righteous ones;

shout for joy,

all you upright in heart.

 

Segment 1

Characteristics of Your IMAGE

 

Investigate the Word of God

The development of a believer must begin with the appropriate time and effort devoted to bible reading.  Even as you are developing a routine for bible reading each day, the proper development of the image of the believer must have progression in this process—the progression must continue in the achievement of levels to where you are no longer just reading the bible, but you are investigating what scripture has to say to you.

  • Reading the bible daily
  • Scheduled time
  • Use external biblical resources to complement your study (ex. – Greek and Hebrew references and concordances)

Investigate (v.) – to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Meditate on the Word of God

(Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10)

Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God.[1]  Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God. [2]

Meditation is reflection, consistent prayer and practice that promotes greater understanding and wisdom in the application of God’s Word.

 

Act (Application of God’s Word)

The act portion of your IMAGE involves taking action upon what you have learned in your investigation and mediation of God’s Word.  Taking action or applying God’s Word involves four key lifestyle elements of your faith in Jesus Christ:

  1. Repentance upon acknowledgment of sin to restore immediate fellowship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:8; Acts 3:19)
  2. Compliance with God’s will in your life (John 7:17)
  3. A desire to improve and please God (Colossians 3:15)
  4. Greater consistency in Christlike behaviors (Psalm 119:101-106; Romans 12:1-2)

We act upon God’s Word and His will because we are His specially chosen people, and we desire to maintain a special relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 37:23-24, 73:23-24)

 

Grow

Growing in Jesus Christ is the natural progression of a healthy, vibrant relationship with Him (Ephesians 3:17-19, 4:11-15)

Growth is measured in the following:

  1. Continuing achievement of maturity in Christ
  2. Hearing and knowing when God is speaking to you
  3. Increased sensitivity to matters of the Holy Spirit
  4. Greater focus and determination

 

Endure

Bearing all things that occur in the faith with an understanding of the big picture–the love of Christ is exhibited for all to see and that Jesus Christ is glorified (Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 13:7; James 1:2-4).

Jesus wants you to not only persevere but to remain steadfast in your faith and retain a boldness in your faith (in words and in your demeanor before others). It is your steadfastness that makes the boldest statements of Jesus Christ’s presence in your life.

2 Timothy 2:8-12a

Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel.  I suffer for it to the point of being bound like a criminal, but God’s message is not bound. 10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  This saying is trustworthy:

For if we have died with Him,

we will also live with Him;

if we endure, we will also reign with Him.

 

 

1 Christian Meditation for Beginners by Thomas Zanzig, Marilyn Kielbasa 2000, ISBN 0-88489-361-8 page 7

2  An introduction to Christian spirituality by F. Antonisamy, 2000 ISBN 81-7109-429-5 pages 76-77

 

Segment 2

Forgive and Forget?

 

Hardly. It’s difficult to get past the pain and trauma that occurs when someone hurts you. It’s something that each one of us has experienced, and it shapes our view of the world.

When we experience pain, our defense mechanisms kick in.  Everyone responds differently when they have been hurt, but most often the response is proportional to the painful experience.  It is manifested in both emotional and even physical responses, where the physical ailments are often the result of prolonged emotional difficulties.

The response in kind to the stimuli of pain and trauma experienced is similar to that of Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. [1]  While the response may be equal to what a person has done to you, it is how you respond and manage this pain that is very important as you seek the Lord for ways to cope with your experience.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

 

Pain makes it hard to forget the hurts.  It’s hard to let go of the wrongs that you have experienced.  It makes it difficult to conceive the nature of “forgive and forget.”

First, we need to note that forgive and forget is not found in Scripture.  It is a term that comes out of a world view that proclaims a person can indeed forget the hurt upon forgiveness and move on.  There are many verses that discuss forgiveness, and there is a reference to how God sees our sin once a person repents of it:

Isaiah 43:25 HCSB

It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.

 

The concept of forgive and forget means to suck it up and move on with your life.  Sure, you got hurt or you’ve been damaged, but now it’s time to let it go and face the next life challenge.  The reality of this is that we never truly forget.  We may indeed forgive, but we never forget.  In fact, remembering the hurts can help you put the healing process into perspective.

With that in mind, does God truly “remember your sins no more,” or “forget” them as if they never happened?  Well, if we consider the passage of Isaiah 43:25, we need to also note that Jesus Christ made a one-time payment that covered all of mankind’s sins–past, present and future.

Hebrews 10:14-18 ESV

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them

after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws on their hearts,

and write them on their minds,”

then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

God does not forget in the same way that we forget—He doesn’t forget anything.  He is omniscient.  He knows everything and forgets nothing, but, in the case of our sin, because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, He chooses to not remember our sin.  He even provides a visual measuring distance as to how far He removes sin from each of us:

Psalm 103:11-13

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His faithful love

toward those who fear Him.

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has He removed

our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

 

Note that God’s choice to not remember our sins reflects His love for each one of us and how he has patience and compassion for His children.  In order to experience true forgiveness, on either side, there are key elements that must be involved; they include love, compassion and humility (more on this later).

So, when we use the words forgive and forget, we must rely upon the power of God to give grace in forgiveness.  True forgiveness is to move past the pain.  While you don’t forget the sin or its behaviors, you have to choose to overlook them and extend the grace of forgiveness to the other person to move through and out of our pain.  Knowing that Christ forgives us and remembers our sins no more is a reminder that grace does not need to stop with Christ.  He gives you the ability to forgive and, not forget, but to choose to remember the other person’s sins no more.

Matthew 6:15

But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.

 

This leads to the discussion about where forgiveness begins.  True forgiveness comes with the understanding that it’s time to get right with God.  It doesn’t matter if you are on the giving or receiving end of forgiveness.  Your relationship with God requires a cleansing.  In order for you to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37), you need to give all of who you are and what you are to Him.

 

1 Article – Newton’s Law of Motion. (n.d.). From Wikipedia. Retrieved March 25, 2015 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion#Newton.27s_3rd_Law

 

Segment 3

He Forgives You

 

For the believer in Jesus Christ, it may seem to be a redundant discussion when considering God’s forgiveness.  I mean, it’s understood that he forgives you, right?  On the surface, yes, but…not so fast.

The moment that you take for granted how God has forgiven you is the very moment that you begin to take your relationship with Jesus Christ for granted, and perhaps even minimize it.  Believers will need to proceed with extreme caution here.  The act of forgiveness was certainly a one-time act when it came to our repentance of sin and acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior (Hebrews 10).  We get that.  What we also need to remember, though, is that we are always in need of His forgiveness.

Why? Even though we have the Holy Spirit as a guide that dwells within us, we still have the flesh present in our hearts and in our thoughts.  Our souls are indeed protected with our eternal salvation, but we still must actively call on the power of God to withstand living in Satan’s domain, and everything that goes with that.

God continues to forgive us if we exhibit the following:

  1. A sincere heart. You can’t fake it with God and expect to make it. Giving Him everything that you’ve got means just that…everything…nothing held back; especially your honest feelings. Come clean the way you know that you should, and don’t pretend to be close to God when you’re not. That’s rooted in the sin of pridefulness.

Matthew 6:5-8 HCSB

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.  Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.

 

1 John 1:8-10

If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

 

Hebrews 10:22 HCSB

…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

  1. A willingness to repel sin. Even when you do sin, our desire to have a healthy relationship with God through Jesus Christ will drive you to make things right with Him sooner rather than later. And He absolutely loves receiving you back in fellowship with Him.  Prayer must be at the forefront of your desire to repel sin.

Psalm 119:10-12

I have sought You with all my heart;

don’t let me wander from Your commands.

I have treasured Your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against You.

Lord, may You be praised;

teach me Your statutes.

 

2 Peter 3:9 HCSB

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

 

Leviticus 26:11-12 HCSB

I will place My residence among you, and I will not reject you.  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.

 

Matthew 26:41 ESV

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

  1. Give God His due in worship and praise. If we take the time to stop and thank God for all that He has done for us, there is little time for sin to occupy our hearts.

Psalm 33:1-5

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones;

praise from the upright is beautiful.

Praise the Lord with the lyre;

make music to Him with a ten-stringed harp.

Sing a new song to Him;

play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout.

For the word of the Lord is right,

and all His work is trustworthy.

He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.

 

A believer who is living for Christ understands the importance of keeping a solid relationship with Him and maintaining a healthy fellowship.

He forgives you as often as you turn to Him asking for forgiveness, and He never refuses you!

We’ll discuss this further as we unpack how you can forgive others and be forgiven because of His loving example of forgiveness within His eternal promise and in how we live each day of our life!

Psalm 73:28 ESV

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

 

Segment 4

Everyone Makes Mistakes

 

To err is human; to forgive, divine.  –Alexander Pope

We know that everyone makes mistakes.  Each of us has blown it sometime, somewhere, and in some way, shape or form.  Some mistakes are honest ones, while others come from deliberate acts of malice or intent.  That’s all part of our human nature.  We make these mistakes because of who we are.

God reminds of this with His Word…

Romans 3:23 (NIV)

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

 

If we know we make mistakes, and we know that God is aware of this, as well, why is it that we don’t cut other people some slack when things go badly?  We need to understand how a lack of forgiveness is harmful to relationships, and the act of harboring resentment keeps people from moving forward in their lives.

When a person drives a car into a large muddy area, it can get stuck.  Unless the car can get traction, it’s not going anywhere.

Relationships can get stuck altogether because of our behavioral responses when there is a lack of forgiveness, and it will stop any progress or can even permanently damage a relationship.

What stops a healthy relationship?

 

STOP

  • Stubbornness
  • Tension
  • Obstinance
  • Pride

What will a person see in you when you are stuck in unforgiveness:

 

STUCK

  • sluggishness (unforgiveness has a debilitating effect on your mind and spirit)
  • turbulence (drama is a by-product of an unforgiving spirit–it follows you everywhere)
  • unchangeable (no one can give you any advice, let alone good advice)
  • confusion (where there is no peace, there is confusion and bewilderment)
  • killjoy (a person who deliberately spoils the enjoyment of others through resentfulness)

Hopefully you can see that you can’t keep an unforgiving spirit to yourself.  It won’t be a secret, because, sooner or later, everyone you know will see signs of it in your behavior at one time or another.  It definitely has a negative effect on others, and it certainly will have a negative effect on you.  One day, you may even find yourself all alone because no one will want to be around you.  Stubbornness, tension, obstinance and pride are all relationship-killers.  They kill human relationships, and they are absolute hindrances to any relationship that you will have with God.

 

Segment 5

The Road to Complete Forgiveness

A direct flight from Akron-Canton Regional Airport to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.

If I were to drive from my house in northern Summit County to the Savannah airport, it would take just a few minutes under 11 hours.

If I wanted to take transit, I would have to walk 48 minutes to the bus stop on Highland Road and catch the 102 bus to downtown Akron, transfer to three other buses that will take me to the Alliance Amtrak station, catch the Capitol Limited to Washington DC and transfer to either the Silver Meteor or Silver Star to downtown Savannah GA.  The total time for the trip–1 day and 16 hours.

If I wanted to travel by bicycle via the Great Allegheny Passage to Savannah, which loops through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, it would consist of 969 miles of biking through elevations as high as 2,359 feet above sea level.  If I keep going without food or water or without losing consciousness, it would take me 84 hours.  I could shave six hours off of that with a trip through the New River Trail State Park and US Route 321, but the mountains near Roanoke, Virginia cap off at 3,753 feet above sea level, and I would also have to take a ferry boat.  If I want to walk the entire distance, I would only need to walk 767 miles, but it would take 254 hours, or the equivalent of just over 10 1/2 days. Of course, it would take longer than that if you decide to eat something or get some sleep every now and then.

The same starting point and destination can take one hour and 45 minutes, 11 hours or 10 1/2 days.  The method of travel is different, and the roads are different, but they lead to the same place.  The healing process within forgiveness is much the same as this travel scenario.  Different people may have different paths to get to the same place, which is a place of rest through the healing.  The differences will lie in the amount of time it takes to heal.  Just as no persons are alike, people will heal and respond differently based upon where they have come from and where they have traveled on the journey.  It’s also important to note that healing in the process of forgiveness is seldom accomplished in the same way one can get on a plane from one place to the other.  If you were to take a poll, I’m confident that the majority of people would say it takes a long, long time.

The road to complete forgiveness is paved with opportunities for healing.  God grants us immunity when we ask for His forgiveness, and He does it right away.  Our greatest challenge is to recognize that we are guiltless before Him.  Many people struggle with this issue in that there is still a form of guilt over what has happened.  This is why people must heal from the wounds of their transgressions.  God is aware that people suffer from these feelings and emotions (Psalm 147:3), and He is aware of them because He bore all of our sins on the cross.  He relates to each and every one of us.  He is a God who is relational and wants us to cast our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 11:28-30).

In the same way that God gives us grace in forgiveness, He desires that we treat others in kind with grace and mercy in forgiving others.  Easier said than done?  Most certainly, but that doesn’t change God’s will for us.  It remains the same as it always has been—to forgive others and show mercy to them.  That is the best (and only real way) for the light of Christ to shine before others.  Anything else is nothing more than a worldly approach of forgiveness with man-made conditions behind it.

The road to complete forgiveness is a message of hope.  In order to make the journey, it requires these attributes in order to experience the power of God’s healing:

H – Humility

Note that humility is acquired as we grow in God’s wisdom and understanding.  We develop humble hearts as we become Christlike in our actions.  Humility does not come naturally.  It comes from a series of learning experiences that God orchestrates in our lives.  Humility is what allows us to draw nearer to God.

2 Chronicles 7:14

…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

 

James 4:8 HCSB

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!

 

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 HCSB

Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

 

God humbles us in order for each of us to see the Lord as we need to see Him.  With this realization, we understand the importance of humbling ourselves before Him and, as a result, reflecting this same grace before others.

A humble approach involves using a kinder, gentler approach when dealing with others.

Philippians 2:3 ESV

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

 

O – Overlook shortcomings

Because we reside in the flesh, we often encounter people when they are at their best, but sometimes when they are not at their best.  In the spirit of recognizing that we are all in the human race and that everyone does fall short at one time or another (see Romans 3:23), then there are times when a person who falls short needs to be cut a break.  It is prudent to address issues as they come up, but sometimes we need to take the humble approach and overlook some transgressions for the sake of keeping the peace.  If we are being honest with ourselves, other people we have dealt with have cut us some slack even when it was undeserved.  God has cut each of us some slack–not because he is letting you off the hook for your sin, but because of His love for us.  He extends His grace to you.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

Titus 3:5-7 ESV

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 

P – Patience

Humility and overlooking one’s shortcomings is an exercise in patience.  You will do none of this, including forgive someone, without patience.  Patience is indeed an act of love.

Romans 12:12 ESV

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:9 ESV

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

 

1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

 

In order for you to exercise patience, it requires the assistance of the Holy Spirit, at times, to give you more than you believe you have the capability of doing.  How patient was Jesus Christ when He suffered on the cross for each of us?  Just when we think we’re going to lose our patience, take the time to remove the flesh from your thought process and rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to move you beyond mere fleshly responses.

 

E – Empathy

The road to forgiveness also needs a strong dose of empathy.  Empathy allows you to see people in the same way that God sees those same people.  It may well be the most challenging element of a person’s Christlike development.  Empathy allows you to go deeper than the surface elements of one’s personality and, through the Holy Spirit, gain insight into what a person is experiencing from within.  Jesus Christ shows empathy for each of us.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

Empathy allows you to be human before other people.

Romans 12:15 ESV

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

 

Matthew 7:12 ESV

So  whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

 

Love is the root of empathy, and Christ is the example.

John 15:12 ESV

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

 

The acronym HOPE is exactly what a person needs to see from a person who is sincere in forgiveness:  Humility, overlooking shortcomings, patience and empathy.  A person should experience relief because of these steps that are being taken in forgiveness.

Now, for one to truly forgive someone there must be an attitude that what happened in the past must remain in the past.

When a governor or a head of state gives a prisoner a “full, complete and absolute pardon,” it means that the person is released from any and all previous transgressions.

Forgiveness requires extending a pardon to another individual, and that means a full, complete and absolute pardon–without conditions.

 

PARDON

pray

absolve (free from guilt)

release (free from debt)

deliver (free from captivity)

optimize (enhance, improve relationship)

no memory of wrong (nomow)

 

NOMOW

No memory of wrong is the Christlike example as God has declared He would remember your sins no more (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12).

There is hope for the recipient of complete forgiveness.  It restores relationships and moves the person to a place to begin to move forward in life.  Hope conveys to the other person that it is time to live in freedom, and Christ is where that freedom comes from.  A person who forgives is also free to move on from the past, get on with life and focus on what is important—obedience to Jesus Christ and a desire to live according to His will.

Is there someone in your life that needs your hope and a pardon?

  • Read, study and meditate on God’s Word
  • Get some quiet time
  • Get right before God (in order to hear Him speak to you)
  • List who you need to forgive
  • List why you need to forgive
  • Bring it all before God and let Him do the rest

He is the Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.  If you ask for His help, He is faithful to provide it to you.

God forgives you and provides the example for you to forgive someone else.

 

 

All seminar content written and presented by Melvin Gaines.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Gentleness

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Gentleness, also referred to as meekness, is our study for today.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

You’ll notice that ministry to others must have all of the fruits of The Spirit in use.  If anything is missing, it makes ministry much more difficult.  God calls you to come along side a person to help bring them to recognize the need for the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  It must be done, however, in kindness–in gentleness.

When people are in pain, it is important to be gentle with others.  Christians should understand this more than anyone.  We need to prepare to minister to others in humility.

Matthew 11:29

All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.

 

Jesus wants us to use Him as the example in how to minister to others.  He is gentle and humble and compassionate for the lost.  When you encounter someone who is willing to learn and listen to you, he will have rest in his heart and soul.  While the Word will challenge the heart, they will acknowledge that the instruction is good for him.

 

1 Corinthians 10:32

Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God.

 

2 Corinthians 10:1-5

10 Now I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you by the gentleness and graciousness of Christ—I who am humble among you in person but bold toward you when absent. 2 I beg you that when I am present I will not need to be bold with the confidence by which I plan to challenge certain people who think we are behaving in an unspiritual way. 3 For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

 

The Holy Spirit provides the power to minister effectively in gentleness.  The Spirit helps one choose their words wisely.

Galatians 6:1

Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted.

 

When you minister to people, you have two choices–to minister in the power of the flesh or in the power of The Holy Spirit.  The evidence of either one will be the underpinning of the testimony.  There should be something taking place inside of you that will reflect the Spirit working and a closeness to God as you minister to others.

Ephesians 4:15

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.

 

Care should be given to speak to person in gentleness and love and at the appropriate time.  It will often require developing a relationship with a person to the point where one is ready to share his story.  Speak the truth in love, but do so with steps that are well within the pace of the listener.

James 1:19

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

 

We are to be good listeners.  A gentle person takes the time to listen to others and be patient before offering feedback or a response.

1 Corinthians 10:15

I am speaking as to wise people. Judge for yourselves what I say.

 

Your words are best spoken to people who are sensible, reasonable and rational.

It’s important to take the lead in gentleness because of the type of world that we are living in.  Today’s world have a different view of God’s truth.

Philippians 2:14-15

14 Do everything without grumbling and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.

 

A person can fall over and over again.  Until a person is ready to acknowledge the errors of his ways, he will continue in this way until he sees God’s Word as beneficial to him.  He still needs your love, patience and gentleness during this time until he is ready to learn and follow Christ.

Ephesians 4:1-2

1 Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love.

 

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

 

2 Timothy 2:24

The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient.

 

A Lord’s servant must not be cruel.  He is to be kind to everyone.  He has to be able to teach, and teach effectively.

People who oppose the teaching still need gentle instruction and correction.

1 Thessalonians 2:7

Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children.

 

God must change the heart.  God will grant repentance.  You are to pursue gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:11

But you, man of God, run from these things,

and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,

love, endurance, and gentleness.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Kindness

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

In order to minister to other people, you must yield to the Spirit of God to be effective in your ministries.  We have discussed love, joy, peace and patience over the past few weeks, but now we will look at kindness.  Kindness must indeed be a part of your ministry.

Kindness is something people have to learn to do because it requires one to extend oneself–to go that extra mile and do what is necessary.  What we need to realize is that kindness truly reflects the love of God to those who receive it.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”

 

People will often use appearances of a person’s life to make a decision about who one really is, but is it really true?  We have to look underneath the surface to see a person for who he or she is.

If you go deeper, you may see the following:

  • Abuse and/or neglect
  • Family issues/divorce
  • Substance abuse
  • Parent unwilling to participate
  • Truancy/grades/trouble at school
  • Lying/not telling the whole story
  • Gang involvement

What is hidden for these people that has a profound effect on life?  A person in ministry is to study the person and their behaviors in order to perform in the best way as God speaks to you about that person.  We want to see a person grow from these negative experiences and mature into someone who can overcome these issues and, eventually, grow in Christ as his or her life is being transformed.

We don’t fight with God about forgiveness or healing in our lives.  We wind up fighting with Him about the transformation of our lives.  The fight is about the uncertainty of what we will be become.  It can be frightening to some people.

In Galatians 5:22, kindness and goodness is being beneficial for others.  Kindness is responding in love to a person.  It produces benefits, advantages and favors to others.  It is not about whether someone deserves it or is worthy to receive it.  That needs to be removed from any consideration.  If you want to be a blessing to someone else, then there should be a benefit received by the other person from your acts of kindness.

Kindness is the act of contributing to the improvement of a person’s life or condition.

Kindness does not mean you should expect to receive something in return, for sometimes you will not even receive a “thank you” for your actions.  Not receiving something should never keep you from being kind to others.

People do not want to acknowledge this, but you ar either a blessing to others or a curse to others.  Either you build people up or you tear them down.  Consider that your inaction in another person’s life makes no appreciable impact, as well.

God can always make life better, but as Christians, we are also to make life better for others in our ministry; otherwise, there is no room for the Spirit to work in a person’s life.  They must see your kindness in order to see the true presence of Christ and gravitate towards Him.  Jesus came in order for people to not just have life, but the true life–an abundant life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real.

 

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

 

Psalm 25:8

The Lord is good and upright;

therefore He shows sinners the way.

God sets the pace for believers and even for sinners as to the way one is to go.  Your kindness to strangers or to people who may or may not appreciate your actions still have a guideline for instruction.

 

Psalm 25:12

Who is the man who fears the Lord?

He will show him the way he should choose.

 

Luke 6:35

But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.

 

God is kind and even merciful to the ungrateful and the wicked.  This is why you should never stop being kind to others in order that they can see God’s grace and mercy extended to them.  God wants you to see them the way that He sees them–as people who need Jesus Christ in order that they can live the abundant life.  It is up to the person to repent and make a decision, but your kindness leads them towards repentance.

Romans 2:4

Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

 

God’s grace is visible through His kindness.  It is agape love for us.  Our kindness, in turn, is to also come from an agape love for others.

Ephesians 2:6-7

6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

 

We are instructed to put on kindness.

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

 

We are to allow the Holy Spirit to clothe us in kindness, as we are unable to do so on our own.

The flesh can bring forth kindness, but it has limitations because that kindness is bound by the flesh and does not have a lasting effect.  Our true response to the Holy Spirit in kindness will have a positive effect and influence that goes far beyond what the flesh can accomplish.

We are to practice our kindness in-house before we go outside.

Ephesians 4:32

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

 

This command was to the Ephesians church, which was made up of different groups of people, including Jews and Romans, who were normally very hostile to each other.  This was for people within the church to see where there peace was to come from.  We’re all in the same family through the blood of Christ.  We need to see this and practice it in our church today.

Ephesians 2:14a

For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3, 27

1 Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, 3 diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.

 

If you are going to be a minister of God’s saving grace and be a servant of His, you must be kind to all people.

2 Corinthians 6:4-6

4 But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:

 

by great endurance, by afflictions,

by hardship, by difficulties,

5 by beatings, by imprisonments,

by riots, by labors,

by sleepless nights, by times of hunger,

6 by purity, by knowledge,

by patience, by kindness,

by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,

 

Prove who you are in Jesus Christ to others.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Godly Patience

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

These are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit that He manifests and produces within us as we live for Jesus Christ.  It is a happiness that is derived from Jesus Christ, and you won’t find it in the world.  Without love, joy and peace, you will not be effective in ministry.  It is all about presenting the agape love that God represents to each of us.

Now we will look at a difficult fruit for many of us…patience.  If you are going to be in ministry, it will require patience.  It will not be about your timing; instead, it is about God’s timing.

God is patient with us, of course.  He knows that we need to learn from Him and how to be patient with others.  God wants us to see how He is working within our acts of patience.

The patience of God reveals to us that God is more concerned about the worker than the work.  The people that we are sharing with who need to be ministered to are more important to Him than the work itself.

God could have delivered the people of Israel just by speaking.  Instead, He took time to build the people up and work with Moses (in training) for 80 years.

God could have fed Jacob by providing for him without a Joseph.

The issue is not getting the job done so much as it is about building character.  You don’t build character by taking short cuts.

In order to build godly men or godly women, there are no short cuts.  To be a servant of God, there are no short cuts.  To be obedient to God’s will, there are no short cuts.

We miss the best that God has to offer when we act impatiently.

James 5:7-11

7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. 

9 Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!

10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

 

Consider that Job’s patience was blessed by God.  Job’s faithfulness and loyalty to God was rewarded because he saw the God that he served in all righteousness.

Patience is built within ministry.  It is one of the first lessons learned, and it is all about God’s timing and not your own.

Patience is being willing to be serviceable to others.  It has to be developed from within and reflect true godliness.  A patient person does not lack anything in Christ.

James 1:2-4

2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

 

1 Timothy 1:16

But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

 

2 Corinthians 6:4

But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:

by great endurance, by afflictions,

by hardship, by difficulties.

 

2 Corinthians 12:12

The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you—not only signs but also wonders and miracles.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

Your patience will be tested (Psalm 78).

People will rebel against teaching or learning (Psalm 78:1, 8, 17, 40, 56).

He sees them as useless (unreliable) as a crooked bow (v. 57).

People will forget what you have done for them.

Psalm 78:9-18

9 The Ephraimite archers turned back

on the day of battle.

10 They did not keep God’s covenant

and refused to live by His law.

11 They forgot what He had done,

the wonderful works He had shown them.

12 He worked wonders in the sight of their fathers

in the land of Egypt, the region of Zoan.

13 He split the sea and brought them across;

the water stood firm like a wall.

14 He led them with a cloud by day

and with a fiery light throughout the night.

15 He split rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink as abundant as the depths.

16 He brought streams out of the stone

and made water flow down like rivers.

17 But they continued to sin against Him,

rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

18 They deliberately tested God,

demanding the food they craved.

 

God was patient with Israel.

 

Psalm 78:70-72

70 He chose David His servant

and took him from the sheepfolds;

71 He brought him from tending ewes

to be shepherd over His people Jacob—

over Israel, His inheritance.

72 He shepherded them with a pure heart

and guided them with his skillful hands.

 

Patience allows for a person to grow in Christ while they are bouncing around in life.  Sometimes people will put you through the test to see how you will respond, including to your own teaching.

God’s desire for us is to walk with Him.  He wants us to be obedient to Him and to His Word.

God’s patience does have a limit as He is holy and righteous, and He deals with prolonged unrighteousness.

 

Psalm 78:31-34

31 God’s anger flared up against them,

and He killed some of their best men.

He struck down Israel’s choice young men.

32 Despite all this, they kept sinning

and did not believe His wonderful works.

33 He made their days end in futility,

their years in sudden disaster.

34 When He killed some of them,

the rest began to seek Him;

they repented and searched for God.

 

Even with all of the rebellion, God remains long-suffering.  When God’s patience runs out:

 

Psalm 95:11

So I swore in My anger,

“They will not enter My rest.”

 

Hebrews 3:7-11

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

Today, if you hear His voice,

8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

on the day of testing in the wilderness,

9 where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,

and saw My works 10 for 40 years.

Therefore I was provoked with that generation

and said, “They always go astray in their hearts,

and they have not known My ways.”

11 So I swore in My anger,

“They will not enter My rest.”

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, no one can take away from you how you respond to their behavior.  Your patience is to remain in God’s agape love for that other person.  God has the right to do whatever He pleases, yet He has remained patient with us.

 

Romans 9:22-24

22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? 23 And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— 24 on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

 

Luke 8:15

But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.