ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL DIET
By Neal Pollard
A. Gal 5:19-6:1-Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, & things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions & desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
B. There Are No Less Than 17 Specific Acts & 1 Broad Term Paul Calls Sinful & Which He Condemns In These First Three Verses.
1. They range from envy to murder,
from hatred to adultery.
2. They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
C. He Then Flips Over The Coin & Shows Us An Equally Important Side Of Christianity.
1. Beginning in Galatians 5:22, Paul
lays out several qualities he calls "F.O.S."
2. There's no way I could adequately preach about all nine of these traits in one sermon.
D. But, It's Essential For Us To Comprehend That We Cannot Effectively Represent Christ Or Christianity Unless These Traits Are Demonstrated By Us.
1. You can know what the Bible teaches inside & out, be faithful in church attendance, in liberal giving, & in doing good works, & still be a spiritual failure before God, if you do not exhibit the F.O.S.
E. It's Not Possible For Me To Deal W/All 9 Of These Fruits In 1 Sermon, Or To Deal W/A Multitude Of Them In-Depth.
1.But I want to deal w/five of the
middle fruits (PKGFG).
2.The first three fruits are love, joy & peace.
a. Love-Selfless, giving affection acting in interest of others.
1) It's the greatest attribute of all (1 Co 13:13).
b. Joy-A cheerfulness that's not
dependent on your crcmstances that comes from doing for others & serving God;
apparent to all.
c. Peace-Originally coined to refer to the interlude in the everlasting state of war.
1) It's the antonym of battling or war (lit. or fig.); can refer to how we relate in our home or church life, inner self, or w/God.
d. All 3 of these are qualities governing how we relate to & w/i ourselves.
F. The Next Five
Qualities Effect How We Relate To Others.
G. The Last Quality Is A Summary Of All The Other Qualities.
1. Self-control deals w/how effectively we do the first eight things.
H. I Think CHR's Future Has Never Looked Brighter & I Think Satan Can't Be Pleased W/That.
1. If we can be tempted into not bearing these fruits, it will hurt our future as a congregation.
I. LS: We Need To Bear The Fruit Of...
A. 1 Thing That Helps Us Understand What Patience Is, Is To See What It's Not:
1. Not indulgence-Going along to get
along, tolerating sin & compromising, isn't patience; it's cowardice.
2.Not endurance-Endurance is admirable & necessary (Mt 10:22; Js 1:12), but it's not patience; Patience involves not just what you can take, but how you take it.
3.Not negligence-We may confuse failing to act w/patience; But in fact failing to act & do right isn't patience, its sin (Js 4:17).
B. So What Is This Quality Paul Admonishes All Christians To Possess?
1. It's bearing w/the weaknesses &
offensiveness of others, keeping in mind how much more God does this for us.
2. In a parable about forgiveness, Christ teaches patience as the motive.
a. Mt 18:24-30-Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 & when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him 10K talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, & his wife, & children, & all that he had, & payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, & worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, & I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved w/compassion, & loosed him, & forgave him the debt 28 But the same servant went out, & found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an 100 pence: & he laid hands on him, & took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 & his fellowservant fell down at his feet, & besought him, saying, Have patience with me, & I will pay thee all. 30 & he would not: but went & cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
1)This parable contrasts a debt of
billions w/a debt of a $100.
2)& while it includes forgiving those who ask us, the idea is of not being harsh & unfair in handling others' faults especially as we understand how patient God has been w/us, not just in saving us but w/regard to our many faults.
b. That doesn't mean excusing bad behavior or failing to correct or rebuke when necessary, but it means handle others w/care.
C. There Are So Many Circumstances Demanding Patience Of Us-
1. Parents, we may fail as often here
w/our children as anywhere (so this quality applies to every sphere of living).
2. But the context is of handling the offenses of brethren (Ga 6:1).
a. Depending on who the offender is,
we may indulge, endure or neglect to act unless we feel superior or
authoritative over them.
b.Our restraint in handling others must not be because of who they are but because of who we are.
A. Many Have Eloquently Offered Their Definition Of Kindness:
1. Joseph Joubert-Kindness consists of
loving people more than they deserve.
2.Christian Bovee-Kindness is a language the dumb canspeak and the deaf can hear and understand.
B. But, As Usual, The Bible Steers Us Clearest In Understanding What It Is To Be Kind.
1. It's one of the qualities that
helps us w/(Col 3:12-13-Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if
any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
2. It's illustrated by God's own patience toward us which:
a.Leads us to repentance (Ro 2:4), Is proven thru JX (Ep 2:7), Is why He saved us (Ti 3:4).
C. Again, Paul Has Reference To Brotherly Kindness Here; We Must Handle Each Other Kindly.
1. While preaching on Jn 13:14, a
British preacher said, "One way in which disciples wash one another's feet is by
reproving one another. But the reproof must not be couched in angry words, so as
to destroy the effect nor in tame, so as to fail of effect. Just as in washing a
brother's feet, you must not use boiling water to scald, nor frozen water to
2. I'm sad to say I've seen brethren scalded & frozen by harsh rebukes.
3. This doesn't follow the pattern of kindness preached by Paul (Ep 4:32-& be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
D. Remember That Kindness Is A Fruit Of The Spirit; Lacking It Likely Means There Are Lusts Of The Flesh In Its Place-enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envy.
1. All of these traits crop up in our
lives as the result of a fundamental failure to be kind.
2. Calvin Miller-Animosity cloaked in piety is a demon even if it sits in church praising the Creator.
a. Armand M. Nicholi, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains that Sigmund Freud died at the age of 83, a bitter & disillusioned man. Tragically, this Viennese physician, one of the most influential thinkers of our time, had little compassion for the common person. Freud wrote in 1918, "I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all." Freud died friendless. It is well-known that he had broken with each of his followers. The end was bitter.
E. If The Lord Colors Our Thinking About Others, We'll Be Kind To Them No Matter What They Are To Us.
A. This Is Basically Moral Excellence & Virtue; Good On The Inside & The Outside
1. You can tell if someone is filled
w/goodness by what they allow into their minds to entertain them (listen to what
movies they've watched & enjoy), what they talk about (is it always pure, or
sometimes shady), how they treat others (w/respect or contempt), & how they
speak of others (can you count on them to talk about someone behind their back
or count on them not to?)
2. Goodness isn't something you can just claim for yourself; Others have to nominate you!
B. Goodness & Haughtiness Are Two Different Things
1. The Pharisee was haughty (Lk
18:10-12-2 men went to the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, & the other a
publican. 11 The Pharisee stood & prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee,
that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as
this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
2. The Good Samaritan was good (Lk 10:33-35-But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: & when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 & went to him, & bound up his wounds, pouring in oil & wine, & set him on his own beast, & brought him to an inn, & took care of him. 35 & on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, & gave them to the host, & said unto him, Take care of him; & whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
a. He had a good heart ("compassion on him"), did good deeds (from tending to him to paying his expenses), & held good intentions (He planned to come back)
C. As We Relate To Each Other, We Need To Act Out Of A Good Heart, W/Good Deeds, Etc.
1. Wasn't it said
of Jesus, simply, that He went about doing good (Ac 10:38)
2. In advising how to relate to other Christians, Paul says (Rom 12:21--Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
D. Chester Pennington-No amount of good deeds can make us good persons. We must be good before we can do good.
A. This Is The Word Normally Translated "Faith" In The N.T.
1. But here the idea is more of one who can be trusted & confided in; One who's faithful.
a. One filled w/faithfulness is faithful to his friends & brethren; faithful to his commitments; faithful to his family; faithful to the Lord.
2. 1 Co 4:2-Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
B. Adam Clarke-Punctuality in performing promises, conscientious carefulness in preserving what is committed to our trust, in restoring it to its proper owner, in transacting the business confided to us, neither betraying the secret of our friend, nor disappointing the confidence of our employer.
1. Deacons must have proven themselves
to the congregation to serve as deacons (1 Ti 3:10).
2. We shall have had to prove ourselves before God to enjoy Heaven as our home.
A. I Know That Several Of These Fruits Sound Similar To One Another.
1. How does gentleness differ, for instance, from "patience" & "kindness"?
B. Gentleness May Be The Consummate People Skill, But So Difficult To Master.
1. & yet, it's often emphasized as a skill we each must have as members of the church.
a. 1 Ti 2:24-& the servant of the Lord
must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.
b. Ti 3:1-2-Put them in mind to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.
Comes In Handy W/Soul-Winning (1 Pt 3:15), Proving Wisdom (Js 3:13), In
Preaching (2 Tim 2:25), & Moral Living (1 Ti 6:11).
D. But Back In Our Context Of Gal 5-6 & Being A Spiritual Member Of The Church, Gentleness Is Necessary For Holding A Congregation Together In The Lord.
1. That's how we're to restore an
erring brother-gently (Gal 6:1).
2. In fact, congregation unity hinges upon our being gentle w/one another (Ep 4:1-3-I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility & gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
a. Let me tell you why this is
tough-The business world tells you it's dog eat dog, you get them before they
get you, you go for the juggler vain
b. That's terrible advice for doing business & even worse advice for treating your brethren.
c. Folks, the church ain't the business world; we live by higher law that includes gentleness.
E. A man's kids won four free goldfish so he went Saturday morning to find an aquarium. The first few he priced ranged from $40 to $70, but then he spotted it-right in the aisle: a discarded 10-gallon display tank, complete with gravel and filter-for a mere $5. Of course, it was nasty dirty, but the savings made the 2 hours of clean-up a breeze. Those 4 new fish looked great in their new home, at least for the 1st day. But by Sunday 1 had died. Too bad, but 3 remained. Monday morning revealed a 2nd casualty, and by Monday night a 3rd goldfish had gone belly up. They called in an expert. It didn't take him long to discover the problem: The man had washed the tank with soap, an absolute no-no. His uninformed efforts had destroyed the very lives he was trying to protect.
1. Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our lives or others' lives, we unfortunately use "killer soaps"-condemnation, criticism, nagging, & fits of temper. We think we're doing rite, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.
F. If You're Not Actively Practicing Gentleness, You're Not Spiritually Mature & Strong.
A. Here's What Can Happen When You Don't Practice The Fruits Of The Spirit.
1. Gal 5:26--We can become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
a. While such things may be self-serving, they do great harm to the church of Christ.
B. Whenever We Face Difficult Times, Big Decisions, & Congregational Tests, We Need To Be Ready-We Do That By Incorporating These Qualities Into Our Lives.
1. What kind of fruit are you bearing (Mt 7:16-20)?