Kindness – The Fruit of the Spirit (part 6)

The fifth fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is kindness.

When we speak of kindness, we speak of treating others well. It’s the attitude that is expressed in the “golden rule”, do to others as you wish they would do to you (Matthew 7:12). It is also the same attitude we find in 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor everyone.”

Kindness goes out of the way to treat people with respect, it seeks to brighten someone’s day.

The reason this is a fruit of the Spirit is that unconditional kindness is not natural to us. We hear people say, “If you want respect then you must show respect.” We tend to base our kindness toward others on how people treat us.

The Spirit leads us beyond ourselves in this. So that even if others disrespect us, we still seek to show them kindness.

Kindness can come in many forms. You can hold the door open for someone. You can let someone merge during rush hour. You can write an encouraging note. You can compliment someone. You can smile and sincerely ask how a person’s day is going. You can buy a person an unexpected gift. You can speak well of someone behind their back (the opposite of gossip). And the list goes on and on.

So, let us pray that God would grow more kindness in our hearts through his Spirit and let us seek ways that we can show kindness to others, no matter their attitude toward us.

Next time, we’ll consider the fruit of goodness.

All scripture references taken from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

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Sunday 06.17.18 (the tabernacle)

Today, we’ll continue our journey through Exodus and take a look at the Tabernacle/Sanctuary in 25:1-27:21 and see how the different parts point us to Jesus, our true way to God. We also want to wish all the dads and grandads among us a Happy Father’s Day! We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No Evening Study, Happy Father’s Day!

Sermon Notes
The Tabernacle ~ Exodus 25:1-27:21

The sermon in one sentence: The Tabernacle was the place in the Old Testament where God made his dwelling among his people; Jesus provides a better way of bringing us into God’s presence.

  • Jesus and the Ark–he brings God’s New Covenant to us
  • Jesus and the Mercy Seat-he is our atonement, dealing with our sin, and brings us God’s instruction
  • Jesus and the Bread of Presence-he is our bread of life, God’s sustaining presence with us
  • Jesus and the Lamp and Oil-he is the light of life and the giver of God’s anointing, the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus and the Tent and Courts-he is the new temple, the one who opens our way to God
  • Jesus and the Altar-he is the true and final sacrifice

Songs for Worship
Sacrifice of Praise
Nothing But the Blood
Break Thou the Bread of Life
In Christ Alone
I Am Thine, O Lord

Patience – The Fruit of the Spirit (part 5)

The fourth fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is patience.

In his book, The Curious Christian, Barnabas Piper writes:

What if there is hope? What if the sun will rise again tomorrow on a new day with new mercies? What if God’s promises are really worth trusting in and holding to? These are the questions we must ask while living patiently. (pg. 56)

When we think of patience, we often think of waiting without complaining. But from the Biblical view, as Piper’s questions point to, patience is more about waiting with hope. Romans 12:12 tells us to “be patient in affliction.” But how can we wait with hope when things seem to be going bad?

We look forward to the return of Jesus.

This is why James wrote in his letter: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, 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. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8)

James uses a practical illustration to make his point: The harvest is the good thing longed for by the farmer, but he can’t force it. He has to work the ground, plant the seed, wait for rain, and wait for it to grow. But he waits with hope and expectation, knowing that the crop will come.

In the same way, life has its ups and downs. We experiences gains and losses, joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains–in the good, we wait for the even better to come with Jesus, and in the bad, we wait for the perfect joys to come with Jesus.

But patience isn’t simply directed at our longing for Jesus’ return. We’re also to be patient with others, just as God is patient with us (1 Corinthians 13:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 2 Peter 3:9). Patience realizes that we are all works in progress in this life and that God isn’t finished shaping us until we breathe our last breath.

So, we strive to be patient with ourselves as God works in us, and we strive to be patient with others as God works in them. And it is the Spirit that helps shape patience in our lives. The Spirit reminds us of the hope we have in Christ and keeps it as a light in our heart during times of struggle. The Spirit also changes our perception of others, helping us to see them through Jesus as either our brothers and sisters or potential brothers and sisters. This, also, helps us to grow patient hearts.

So let us pray for greater patience–waiting in hope as God works his plan in the world and in the lives of others.

Next time, we’ll consider the fruit of kindness.

All scripture references from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

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Peace – The Fruit of the Spirit (part 4)

The third fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is peace.

For followers of Jesus, there is a vertical element to peace and a horizontal. The vertical involves our peace with God. In Romans 5:1, Paul wrote, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul went on to remind us that without Jesus, we stand as enemies of God, or “children of wrath” as he would say in Ephesians 2.

Enemies and wrath are two words that denote the opposite of peace. But by bringing about forgiveness of our sins, we move from being enemies against God to children of God–a movement to peace. And this a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, using the good news of Jesus to bring our hearts to spiritual life.

The horizontal element of peace is with others. In Matthew 5:9, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Then, in Romans 12:16-18, Paul wrote, “Live in harmony with one another… If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Our natural inclinations lead us away from this. We get hurt and we want to hurt others. We get offended and we want to lash out. But the commands still stand to seek peace. This requires an act of the Spirit, helping us to see other people in a new way.

If we meet someone and they also are a follower of Jesus, then they are our brother or sister–a part of the same, big, eternal family. If we meet someone and they are not a follower of Jesus, then they are fellow human beings in need of Jesus. It may very well be through our witness that they come to know Jesus, but that witness is greatly hindered if we act like their enemies.

Being peacemakers and seeking peace with others won’t mean they’ll always want peace with us. But with the Spirit’s work in our hearts, we can still strive to be at peace with others because we are at peace with God. So, let us pray for a greater reality of peace in our lives.

Next time we’ll take a look at the fruit of patience.

All scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

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Joy – The Fruit of the Spirit (part 3)

The second fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is joy.

God wants his people to be happy. The difference between joy and happiness in the world is that joy is happiness rooted in God. There’s nothing wrong with being happy because of the good things in life, but if they are our supreme foundation for our happiness, then we’ll end up disappointed.

Even the best relationships in life have strained moments. Spouses, children, and friends cannot sustain our full happiness. Our possessions only last so long before the get old, rust, or break. And once we die, we can’t take anything with us. Houses, cars, electronics, and bank accounts won’t sustain our happiness.

But God is eternal. And God is eternally joyful. He gives us good gifts to enjoy in life (James 1:17, 1 Timothy 6:17), but the Giver is better than the gift, and in the case of God infinitely so.

Jesus prayed on our behalf in John 17:13, “Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them.” Jesus wants us to have full joy, his joy.

This sense of God-centered happiness doesn’t neglect the reality that life is hard and that many things seek to rob our joy. In fact, Jesus continued to pray in John 17:14-18 about how the world will hate his followers because it hates him, and how his intent is not to remove us from the world but to send us into the world just as he was sent to bring hope. And Paul in Romans 12 tells us that just as we are to rejoice with those who rejoice we are to weep with those who weep.

Life has many hard moments. Life has many circumstances that seek to rob our joy.

Yet, as Hebrews 12:1-2 explains, even Jesus could take joy as he looked toward his death on the cross for what it was accomplishing–our salvation. So, we can face trials with joy, not because the hardship itself is a happy occasion, but because God is going to bring good out of everything that happens (James 1:2-4, Romans 8:28-29).

And God provides for us that we can find joy in the good times and the bad, that we can find happiness in him even in the midst of sorrow and tears. He does it as his Spirit works in our hearts. The Spirit reminds us of the eternal joys that are coming that will drown out even the darkest moments of this day (Romans 8:18).

So, let us seek to be as joyful as possible and let us pray that God would increase his joy in our hearts.

Next time, we’ll consider the spiritual fruit of peace.

Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

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Love – The Fruit of the Spirit (part 2)

The first fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 is love.

Most people will tell you that love is “more than a feeling.” True love is a commitment, especially committing to another’s good. But love isn’t only a commitment. Love indeed involves the affections. If you ask a man if he loves his wife and he says “yes” but the thought of her doesn’t bring a sense of happiness as well, then you would naturally wonder what is wrong in the relationship.

If you consider passages such as 1 Corinthians 13, love could be best defined in this way: A commitment to happily seek the best for another.

Love is listed first among the fruit of the Spirit, because in the Bible’s story love takes a preeminent role. Indeed, the Bible is a book of love, an adventure romance about a valiant warrior (Jesus) pursing and winning back his wayward love (the church). We are also told that God is love and that all true love flows from God.

And then, in Matthew 22, when Jesus is asked about the greatest command in the Law, his answer is that we love God supremely and love others deeply.

Love is to be the blood pumping through the veins of God’s people.

It’s easy for us to love others when we feel loved by them or when they benefit us in some way. But the Bible doesn’t tell us to only love those who love us. We also are to love all that we encounter (granted this will be a different type of love than we have for spouse or child or parent, but still it’s a seeking of their best as we are able), and we are to even love our enemies.

This is where things get hard and it takes a supernatural strength within. This is where the Spirit works on our hearts so that our love will expand. God, after all, loved us when we were his enemies, giving us Jesus so that sinful rebels might become beloved sons and daughters (Romans 5).

That is one of our great hopes–that people who in the moment count us as their enemies might instead be brothers and sisters in eternity, relishing the joy of Christ.

So, let us seek to love well and let us pray that God would grow this fruit in our lives.

Next time, we’ll consider the spiritual fruit of joy.

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Good Reads 06.07.18 (on: life satisfaction, identity, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On being a father: When Your Son Needs Fatherly Approval by David McLemore

I know too few men who feel the approval of their fathers. They grow up wondering if they’re pleasing to him. For some, that uncertainty results in rebellion. For others, it results in man-pleasing. In either case, it’s a tragedy. Some sons do disappoint their fathers. But, by and large, I would guess that most sons by the fact that they’re sons have their father’s approval. They just don’t know it because their fathers never say it. They navigate childhood hoping the home-run will bring praise, the A-filled report card will elicit pride, or the diploma will ensure proof of pleasure. They go into adulthood wondering if their job is enough not only to provide for their future family but enough to please their father’s expectations. Are they man enough? Are they good enough? Are they a disappointment? (click here to read more)

On finding satisfaction in life: The When, Thens of Life by Molly Ann Hilbert

I believe I have value because of what I do, because of my productivity level, because of the amount of output my life produces.

I forget that I have value simply because I am His.

I come back to J. Campbell White’s quote: “Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within His followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world He came to redeem… The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.”

But what, exactly, is Christ’s undertaking? (click here to read more)

On identity: You Are Who God Says You Are by Greg Morse

If you have been reborn, if you are repenting of your sin and believing the gospel, you are a child of God. And this status comes with authority: “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave authority to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13).

You may not feel particularly childlike, you may not be enjoying his word every morning, but do not let the Liar convince you that you are not a child of the King. The question can never be, “Who are you to go to God in prayer?” The question now is, “Who are you to stay away when the King has invited you?” (click here to read more)

On waiting on God: What To Do While You Wait on the Lord by Mike Leake

The second point that I’m making is that when the Lord places us in a season of waiting that doesn’t mean it is a season of passivity. Waiting on the Lord means doubling down on gathering with believers, prayer, and obeying the Scriptures. Being told by the Lord to “wait” doesn’t mean to be frozen. It means to faithfully dig in to the things that you do know. Be obedient in the disciplines and diligently dig into the Scriptures and apply them. That’s what you do while you wait. (click here to read more)