Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Fruit of the Spirit Series – Part 9 Self Control


Galatians 5  KJV
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23  Meekness, self control: against such there is no law.

Seeds of these 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit are resident in the life of every Born-Again Believer in Jesus Christ and they can be cultivated for maximum growth. As with any fruit, the purpose for growing it is so that the fruit may be consumed by the grower or consumed by others. Although not finite, it has been suggested that these fruits can be categorized into three groups depending on their primary purpose, benefit and aim.

Perhaps the first three: Love, Joy and Peace, are primarily grown to be consumed or enjoyed by the grower. Maybe the second three: Longsuffering, Gentleness and Goodness, are best aimed at blessing others around the grower; while often the last tree: Faith; Meekness and Self Control are those fruits which the we offer to God to please Him.

However their multifaceted use and benefit may be seen, all nine of these fruits grow on one tree, or one branch, if you will. In this scenario, Jesus likens Himself to a tree and He calls us the branches. Apart from Him, we can grow nothing but if we abide in Him, He says, we will grow much fruit.

This evening we are going to focus on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit called: Self Control … or … the God given grace available in the life of every Believer to Control Themselves!

Self Control, or temperance, as some Old English versions of the Bible translate it, is a much needed commodity in our lives. Without self control we might fall prey to living a life or facing situations that push us to being out of control. We have all seen what people do when their lives are out of control. Whether it is a person who can’t control their tongue, their spending, their anger, appetites and/or their thoughts and imaginations. It is a terrible thing to be out of control.

The Greek word used by the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to describe this particular fruit of Self Control is the Greek word:  egkrateia … It means: The virtues of a person who masters his passions and desires and especially his sensual appetites.

Self Control, according to the original definition is not only a fruit but also considered to be one of the virtues of life. The root word for this Greek word “egkrateia” is the word: egkrates … This root word means to be strong and robust so that one may exercise power over something and control it in order to master, curb or even restrain it if need be.

In this case, Paul is referring to us growing in the grace of God so that we will have the power to curb, control and restrain our fleshly desires and our carnal appetites if the need arises. Self Control is the power to say no to our flesh, our thoughts, our fears and our feelings when they do not represent the best we should offer of ourselves to God.

Self Control … Temperance … Is one of the requirements to be in the leadership of a Church.

Titus 1
7  For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8  but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled …

As well, the Apostle Peter also held the virtues of self control as essential to the growth and maturity of every Believer.

2 Peter 1
5 ¶  But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
6  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
7  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
8  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has offered each one of His children a great opportunity. This opportunity is for us to grow as much fruit as we choose. God has provided the seeds and placed them deep within the hearts and minds of every Born-Again Believer. If you are saved by the blood of Jesus, the seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, humility and self control are inside you right now. You are the only one who can make them grow.

Once grown these Fruits of the Holy Spirit will serve to satisfy you, bless others and become your daily joy-filled offering to God.

Something is growing on your tree of life … Either you are consuming and serving others from the works of your flesh, (Galatians 5:19-21), or from the fruits of the spirit, (Galatians 5:22-23). Which is it? If it’s not God … you can begin to change that right now.

1.   Repent to God for allowing the works of the flesh to grow in your life.
2.   Renew your mind with God’s Word and take each thought and every imagination captive to obey Christ.
3.   Cultivate the seeds of the Holy Spirit through prayer, Bible reading, fellowship with other Christians and service to God through attendance and involvement in His Church.

It’s time to grow up and be fruitful … best of all you’ll love feeling and acting more like Jesus.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

First Place


Revelation 1 NKJV
4  John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
5  and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
6  and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7  Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

There are several “Firsts” in the Bible. God is a God of “Firsts.”
·        Firstborn from the dead – Revelation 1:5
·        First Day – Genesis 1:5
·        First Man – 1 Corinthians 15:45
·        Firstborn – Numbers 3:13
·        First Month – Exodus 12:2
·        First Principles – Hebrews 5:12
·        First Fleece – Deuteronomy 18:4 (As an added bonus for the priests)
·        First Fruits – Deuteronomy 26:2 (Of all the land …)
·        First Partaker – 2 Timothy 2:6
·        First Place – Numbers 10:14 (The Tribe of Judah went first)
·        First Rain – Deuteronomy 11:14 (First & Later Rains)
·        First Covenant – Hebrews 9:1
·        First Tabernacle – Hebrews 9:8
·        First House – Ezra 3:12
·        First Glory – Haggai 2:3 (The glory of the later house will be greater)
·        First Testament – Hebrews 9:15
·        First and Great Commandment – Mark 12:28;29 & 30)
·        First Day of the week – John 20:1
·        First Estate – Jude 1:6
·        First Love – Revelation 2:4
·        First Works – Revelation 2:5
·        First Resurrection – Revelation 20:5
·        First Heaven and First Earth – Revelation 21:1

The Word of God makes direct reference to someone or something as being first over 400 times, 406 in the King James Version to be exact. As I said earlier: “God is a God of firsts”.

Isaiah 44:6  “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.

Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is:
1.  The First
Revelation 22:13  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

2.  The Last
Hebrews 12:2  Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Matthew 24:35  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

3.  The Only
Acts 4:12  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

What does this “God of Firsts” desire of me?

Matthew 6:33  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

What is occupying “First Place” in your life? Is it God?
·        What is your “go to” …
·        If God is not first in our day; first in our week; first in our difficult moments and the first one we thank for each blessing we receive … He may not be first place in our lives.

·        Let us examine ourselves so that we can adjust our priorities as needed to insure God is actually First Place.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The All Volunteer Army of God


Matthew 9  NKJV
35  Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
37  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
38  “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

·        Jesus was doing all He could physically do with His time and attention. He was preaching and teaching and healing people …
·        But when He saw the multitudes and knew that He was only One Man, Jesus knew that He could not get to everyone who needed.
·        Jesus needed Help and for that He needed helpers …

The single factor limiting growth and greater success is an unwillingness or inability to reproduce yourself and release others to do what you do. God is willing to invest His time in you so that you can help Him succeed.

Success is always in other people. God’s success is in you!

The greatest investment you will ever make is an investment in others.

Parents, let your children, nay … teach your children and make them cook and clean and wash dishes and take out the trash and mow the yard and as they grow show them the checkbook and the water bill and let them put air in the car tires, change the lightbulbs, or fill the tank with gas, supervised of course, and shop for groceries and handle paying for them.

President Ronald Reagan said, “Leadership is not about what you can do but about what you can get others to do.”

God is calling people to volunteer … His plan is the same plan we see Jesus working at the end of Matthew 9. When you are doing all you can do, find some other people, reproduce yourself in them and put them to work.

When Jesus saw the multitudes … He was moved with compassion because they were in need and there weren’t enough workers to meet those needs.

Jesus said there was no lack of harvest nor harvest opportunities, rather there was a great need for more laborers. This is the prayer Jesus asked us to pray: Lord, send more laborers into Your harvest!

So, what did Jesus do about it? He empowered others … the next verse:

Matthew 10:1  And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

The Gospel of Luke records that Jesus broadened His appeal for even more volunteers to empower and release to do the work needed.

Luke 10
1  After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.
2  Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Allow me to tell you what God is going to do this year … it is the same thing He has been doing every year since the creation of the world and the same thing we see Jesus doing during His earthly life and ministry. God is calling volunteers to help Him do His work. Volunteers are needed everywhere and in every area of the Church, ministry and missions. From Sunday School teachers to greeters, from missionaries to ushers and from musicians to altar workers, God’s army is an all-volunteer army.

Every Believer has a fair share of volunteer ministry they should offer to Christ. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do what is needed or what you want to do for Jesus … I will insure you are properly trained and placed in a productive field of service.

The only thing limiting God from reaching and rescuing one more soul is the current shortage of laborers. Would you be a volunteer in the Army of God? What will you do so that God can see others reached and discipled for the cause of Christ? Don’t worry … there’s something for everyone … You can do it … I’ll show you how!

This year we are endeavoring to reach Every Heart and Every Home for Jesus. Each one of the departments and ministries of our Church will host or sponsor a community outreach of some kind in 2018. We know the harvest is waiting for us and all we need is more laborers we can send into the ripened fields all around us.

Prepare yourself and be ready to volunteer and serve in the Army of God during this coming year. From Christmas Fest to VBS and from Pre-Teen outreach to our elderly care, there is a best place for you to serve.

We believe 2018 will be A Volunteer Year. That’s what it will take to reach Every Heart and Every Home for Jesus! Let’s do it together!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Fruit of the Spirit Series – Part 8 Meekness


Galatians 5  KJV
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Meekness is often understood as humility. Throughout the Bible, and especially in the New Testament, there are two understood streams of meekness.
1.   There is the humility we owe to God which is the opposite of pride.
a.   1 Peter 5:6  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
b.   James 4:6  But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
c.   1 Peter 5:5  Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
d.   Such humility is a conviction of our dependence of God as we see ourselves in respect to how we see Him.
e.   It is our duty to take a lower position with respect to God.
2.   Then there is that humility we hold and display when interacting with others. This meekness spoken of throughout the New Testament is a fruit of the Holy Spirit grown in the life of a Believer intended to aid us in our dealings with others so that they can see and experience God’s grace in and through us.
a.   Meekness is not cowardice or intimidation.
b.   It’s not weakness or a lack of conviction or resolve.
c.   It is kindness and gentleness we afford others even when we don’t agree.
d.   Galatians 6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
e.   2 Timothy 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
f.    This meekness is difficult to offend quickly or set off by challenge nor does it consider or exact vengeance upon another.
g.   One who does not trample down the rights of others to secure their own.
h.   It is our duty to be gentle and kind when dealing with others.

Barnes Notes on Matthew 5:5 says concerning this meekness:
It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks
upon those who offer them with pity. He that is constantly ruffled,
that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his
guard, and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of
every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like the troubled sea
that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Jesus displayed both types of humility in His life as an example to us:

Matthew 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
·        Meek and gentle when dealing with others and their needs.
·        Lowly and humble with respect to God and my submission to Him.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

This meekness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Good News … we can grow as much fruit as we like in our lives. As we do we shield ourselves against those elements which make us want to rage or retaliate in exacting revenge. Rather we feel as though we can rest in the fact that vengeance belongs to the Lord and we can live at peace and be patient with others showing them the gentleness and goodness of our God while allowing God to deal with their shortcomings.

The fruit of meekness towards others belongs to those who will one day inherit the earth! God wants us to be kind to others and free from the passions which can cause us to react with malice or revenge. You can do this! Be fruitful and rejoice … God is not finished with you yet!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit Series – Part 7 Faith


Galatians 5
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Faith (Gk: Pis’-tis) = Conviction of and Trust in the Truth; Assurance

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Mark 9:23  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 5:34  And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

Four main ways we get faith:
1.   Romans 12:3 God gives every person enough faith to get saved.
2.   Romans 10:10 Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
3.   1 Corinthians 12:7-9 Faith is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
4.   Galatians 5:22 Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

Matthew 17:20  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 13
31  Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,
32  “which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Hebrews 11 says faith is both substance and evidence of unseen realities.