Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

05/27/2018 A.M.

 

Living With Determination

Cultivating God’s Nature Within

Galatians 5.22-25

 

Our Sunday Morning Series is about perseverance... Not giving up... Living the good life Jesus came to make possible with... Patience... Perseverance... determination.

 

Last week... We talked about...

• How to make our calling and election sure...

• How to be sure of our salvation...

 

Peter told us that... As Children of God... If we walked in the Christian Graces he enumerated... We would never fall.

 

We heard John say... He wrote these things so that we can KNOW our eternal destiny.

 

Paul wrote... We are always confident…knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord… We are also confident that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

 

You see...

• God doesn’t want us living and dying with our fingers crossed.

He desires that we... In Faith... Be confident and sure of our salvation.

• We do that by becoming the people and person He wants us to be.

 

This morning... We extend this confidence further by examining Galatians chapter five...

 

Access a Worship Bulletin and let’s read this together... I wait on you at the verse numbered 22... The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful flesh nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

 

These verses tell us that... If & When God lives in us... We’ll exhibit His nature.

 

Sons are to be like their fathers... Sons are to take on the nature of their father.

 

The Church... Our Family... Friends... Neighbors... Working Companions... Golfing Buddies... All those around us... Should be able to tell if God is living in us or not.

 

How do we tell?... Look at the fruit.

 

1 John 3.24 tells us without any doubt that God lives in us through the Spirit He gave us.

 

First Corinthians 3.16 has Paul saying... If... If God’s Spirit... His Nature... Lives in us... We become His Temple... The Temple of God.

 

Then there’s the absolute in Romans 8.14... Those led by the Spirit are Children of God.

 

Church... Can I say this and you not become upset with me?... It is easy for us to tell if God is living in us or not... He is if...

we are putting on His nature...

• Conforming to the image of Jesus...

• Having hIs... heart... Mind... Attitude... DISPOSITIOn... and BEHAVIOR.

• Living in Step With His Spirit.

 

You see... If we are attached to the vine... We will bear fruit... What kind of fruit?... Jesus is the Vine... So we bear the fruit of Jesus living in us.

 

Now...With these Scripture thoughts in place... Let’s set them aside... Let them

soak as we see what we can learn about Cultivating God’s Nature within.

 

First and foremost... If God is living in us... We become a people of Agape love.

Agape is a love of Discipline... It’s a Determinate choice we make... To love others regardless of who they are or how they treat us...

• Agape allowed God to so love the world that He sent His one and only Son.

• Agape is the very nature of God... God is love.

 

First John 4.7 & 8 says... Whoever does not love does not know God... Because God is love.

• Love is an indication that we are being Spirit led…

• That God is living in us.

Since God so loved us... We also ought to love one another... No-one has ever seen God... But... But... If we love one another... God lives in us... And His love is made complete in us.

 

Here it is Church... There is no more distinctive mark of the Christian life than that of love... By this all men will know that you are My disciple... If you have love for one another... We know that we have passed from death into life... When we love the brethren.

 

No matter how else we may bear our testimony for the Lord... The absence of love nullifies it all... If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing… Means nothing… Accomplishes nothing!

 

When we are Spirit led… We will be a people of JOY.

Biblical joy speaks of a joy from a spiritual source...

FirstThessalonians 1.6 tells us that this Joy... is given by the Holy Spirit...

Nehemiah speaks of this JOY saying… The Joy of the Lord is my strength.

 

There’s a difference between spiritual JOY and worldly HAPPINESS.

 

Happiness is based upon circumstances and situations that surround us.

Happiness is dependent upon what happens... to us... Around us... With us.

 

Joy is a heart condition... Joy is what happens within us.

• Joy is the result of obedience.

• Joy is feeling good because we’re... guiltless... Forgiven... Heaven bound.

• Joy is knowing that God is our Father... That He’s in control... Working things out to our good... To our benefit... And betterment.

 

Here it is church... Joy springs from the Spirit of God living within us... Not from what exists... outside us... About us.

 

The third evidence of God in us is Peace.

The word peace has a rich history... New Testament peace is a translation of the Hebrew SHALOM... To the Jew...Shalom said... I hope everything is going your way...

 

It was Isaiah who said... Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusts in Thee.

 

It was Jesus in John 14... Peace I leave with you... my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

Paul wrote... And the peaceof God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Romans 14.17... The kingdomof God is not a matter of eating and drinking... But of righteousness... Peace... And joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus came as the Prince of Peace... His living in us gives peace in three ways...

 

PEACE WITH GOD.

Romans 5.1… Therefore...Since we have been justified through faith... We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Peace with others.

Romans 12.18... If it is possible... As far as it depends on you... Live at peace with everyone… And we will… When God lives in us!

 

personal peace... Peace within.

Peace that is ours because we know that we are forgiven... Peace from knowing that we have no guilt... There is now therefore... No condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST…

 

John tells us... If we confess our sins… Acknowledge our sins… He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… If we walk in the light as He is in the light... We have fellowship with one another... And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son continues to cleanse us from all sin.

 

Are we IN CHRIST?... If so... enjoy your peace... Shalom in our heart... It’s a fruit of the Spirit.

 

If God lives in us... We are a people and person of... Patience... FORBEARANCE.

The Greek means to be long-tempered.

It speaks to us of…

• Forbearance...

• Patience...

• Long-suffering...

• Endurance...

• Steadfastness...

• Perseverance...

even Under severe adversity… Under provocation.

 

It speaks of

• One's ability to PRESS ON... In Difficult times... With DIFFICULT PEOPLE.

• It speaks of enduring ill-treatment without becoming angry.

 

For instance... We are to be patient with God...

 

Psalm 37.7 says… Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

 

patient with others… Jesus is our example…

• He was patient with the sick and dying…

• Patient with the Apostles and Disciples…

• Patient with the crowds…

• Patient with children…

• Patient with the aged…

• Patient with those who misunderstood His mission...

• Patient with the lost…

• Patient with those who mistreated Him.

 

We’re to be patient in circumstances.

James tells us that trials and difficulties are going to come our way… Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

Jesus said... Don’t let your hearts be troubled. WHY?... Because you can Trust God… Trust Me. Because this is not all there is to life… In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 

patient in the matter of criticism.

Criticism is going to come our way... And... How we handle it has a lot to do with the Spirit of God living in us... And whether or not we are walking in step with Him.

 

Peter points us in the right direction... When they hurled their insults at Him...He did not retaliate... When He suffered... He made no threats. Instead... He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.

 

patient in forgiveness.

Love is patient... Love is not easily angered... Is not easily provoked… Love keeps no record of wrongs due to it... In short LOVE FORGIVES!!

 

Many of us are… unhappy... Joyless... Miserable... Simply because we... Have not... Will not... have no intentions... Of forgiving others.

 

Choose the good life… Choose to be patient... It is a sign of God living in us.

 

The next characteristic is…  Kindness... Gentleness in our King James.

The Greek refers... Not to sentiment... But to service.... usefulness.

You see... Kindness is love at work... Love in action.

Love is not love until it acts in kindness.

 

Jesus' narrative of the Good Samaritan... Is a demonstration of this truth.

 

Indeed!... Love is cheap until it... expresses... Demonstrates... Itself in kindness... God demonstrated His own love toward us... In that while we were still sinners... Christ died for us... God was our Good Samaritan!!

 

Allow me to suggest some ways in which we demonstrate kindness...Demonstrate that God is living in us...

 

When we stop judging others...

It’s impossible for us to see past the labels we place upon others around us.

• He’s a drunk...

• She’s a prostitute...

• They’re catholic...

• He’s a liberal...

• They’re Muslim...

• He’s just a bum...

• They’re just old…

• They’re too young…

• They don’t deserve it.

You see... We are seldom kind to those we judge negatively!

 

We must rise above our own selfishness.

There’s a story told about Lenin and his wife... Exhausted from her vigil setting beside her dying mother... She asked Lenin... Who was writing a political speech... To awaken her if her mother needed her. Lenin agreed... And she went to bed. The next morning she awoke to find her mother dead. And Lenin was still at work on his political notes. Distraught... She confronted him... Lenin replied... You told me to wake you if your mother needed you... She died... She didn’t need you!!

 

No wonder... Communism is such an ugly political system... When those who planned and promoted it had such a hateful unkind attitude.

 

Contrast Lenin with Jesus... And we see the difference...Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... Who...Being in very nature God... Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped... But made himself nothing... Taking the very nature of a servant... Being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man... He humbled himself and became obedient to death... Even death on a cross!... So... Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit... But in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests... But also to the interests of others... The greatest in the Kingdom will be the one who serves… The one who washes feet.

 

We must take our focus off the material.

 

God is about people... God living in us Is about how we treat one another.

 

You see... Satan has done a number on us... Causing us to believe that life is all about what we have rather than what we are.

 

Perhaps the words of Glen Campbell’s song has a message for us...

 

If you see your brother standing by the road...

With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed...

And if you see your sister falling by the way...

Just stop and say... You’re going the wrong way.

 

Don’t walk around the down and out...

Lend a helping hand instead of doubt...

And the kindness that you show everyday...

Will help someone along their way.

 

You got to try a little kindness.

Yes... Show a little kindness...

Just shine your light for everyone to see...

And if you try a little kindness...

Then you’ll overlook the blindness...

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.

 

The Son ripeNEd... S-O-N Ripened Fruit of the Spirit is kindness.

 

Spirit filled individuals are GOOD.

The Greek word translated goodness is never used in secular Greek... It is strictly a Bible word... So this makes it difficult to define.

 

Most scholars believe Paul is saying that we are to be generous in our kindness. In fact Moffatt and Phillips translate this word to generosity in their translations.

 

It was said of Jesus… That He went about doing GOOD.... Jesus was generous in kind deeds.

 

You see... We’re to be different from the world…

The world is obsessed with… Looking good… Feeling good... having the goods. But the fruit of god living in us is goodness… Being good!

 

God is faithful and so must we be.

Faithfulness is the ability to trust in God and to be trusted by God and Man.

 

Faithfulness speaks of dependability.

 

The person with this quality keeps... His word... His promises... His vows.

 

First Corinthians 4.2 has Paul saying... It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

 

Let me tell you a true story... When Louis Lawes became warden of Sing Sing Prison in 1920, the inmates existed in wretched conditions… In filth. This led him to introduce humanitarian reforms. Basically instigated by his wife Kathryn… who always treated the prisoners as human beings. She would often take her three children and sit with the gangsters, the murderers, and the racketeers… while they played basketball and baseball. Then in 1937, Kathryn was killed in a car accident. The next day her body lay in a casket in a house about a quarter of a mile from the prison. When the acting warden found hundreds of prisoners crowded around the main entrance, he knew what they wanted. Opening the gate, he said, "Men, I'm going to trust you.” No count was taken... No guards were posted. Yet not one man was missing that night. Love for one who had loved them made them... Faithful... dependable.

 

Jesus said... If you love me... You will keep My commandments... You will be faithful.

 

Paul tells us that... The love of God... The love of Christ... Compelled Him.

 

Church...Today... Our faithfulness is directly proportional to our love for God... Amen?

 

Gentleness... Often translated Meekness

Spiritual... Gentleness... Meekness... Do not speak of weakness!...

Meekness speaks of Power under control...

Gentleness...Meekness... Is Not using our right...Our authority...Our power... For evil purposes.

 

For instance... Someone wrongs us... What do we do?... Do we use our right for revenge?... Extract an eye-for-an-eye... Tooth-for-a-tooth?... Or will we do good to those who mistreat us and say all manner of evil against us?

 

Will we kill our enemies or love them?

 

Does God live in us?... Or is it Satan?... Meekness tells us which... Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

God living in us is exhibited by Self-Control.

God created us free moral agents... We are what we choose to be. God has placed within us the power... The authority to choose right or wrong. How we live... In the desires of the flesh... Or by the will of God... Is within our power.

 

Self-Control...Temperance... Is choosing to do right when we could do wrong. Self-Control is... My thoughts... My Desires... My Behavior... Brought under God’s Control.

 

Again...Who lives in us? Who are we worshiping in our daily walk?

 

It was Joshua in 24.15 who admonishes us... Choose today whom you will serve... As for me and my house... We will serve the Lord.

 

Paul in Romans 12.1-2... I urge you,brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

 

Well...How are we doing... Are we determined to be God-Like...

• To Take On His Nature...

• To Conform To The Image Of His Son...

• To Keep In Step With His Spirit?

 

Peter tells us that God is... Holy... Different... Peculiar... Set Apart... Are we?

Can others see Jesus living in... Me?... You?

 

If you are not a child of God... Let God come live in you through... Faith... Repentance... and the new birth of Baptism.

 

As His child... May we allow God’s presence to be evident as we cultivate the fruit of the Spirit.

 

If God has spoken to you in this lesson... Obey His voice as we stand and sing together.