Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

12/9/2018 P.M.

 

Exercising Our Will In Temperance And Self-Control

2 Peter 1.5-11 & Galatians 5.22-25

 

Tonight...Our study is focused on  Character Growth.

 

Peter says... Make every effort... Give all diligence... Do all you can to... Add to your faith... Virtue... Knowledge... Temperance... Patience... Godliness... Brotherly kindness... And Love.

 

Then...Peter tells us that... If we will do this... If we will abound in these character traits... We will accomplish three things...

• One... We will be fruitful in the Kingdom of God...

• Two... We will make our calling and election sure...

• And three... We will receive a rich welcome into eternal life.

This is what we all want... RIGHT??… Of course!!

 

Let’s read our text... Second Peter One… Five through Eleven... For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is short-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and SaviorJesus Christ.

 

Interesting... That in Romans seven... And Galatians chapter five... Paul tells us that there exists two natures in each of us... The flesh nature... And the spirit nature.

And...Paul says that life is a constant battle between the two.

 

Galatians chapter five is a contrast between what kind of people we’ll become... If we give in to one of these natures.

 

• He says... If we choose to live by the flesh... We will be sexually immoral... Impure... Indecent... Idolatrous... People... Filled with hatred... Strife... Jealousy... Rage... Selfishness... Dissension... And disunity.

 

• But... But... If we will choose to walk with God... Allow His Spirit to control us through the Word... We will be a people of... Love... Joy... Peace... Patience... Kindness... Goodness... Faithfulness... Gentleness... And self-control

 

Indeed...When we exercise Self-control...We produce the Fruit of the Spirit... The fruit of God living in us.

 

So...Our subject tonight is... TEMPERANCE... Self-control... So that we can become Children of God.

 

Now...Temperance and Self-control are not very popular subjects today... But they must be understood and made use of... If we are going to be a Godly People and Person.

 

You see... God created us as Free Moral Agents... That is... He created us flesh and spirit... And then gave us a will...  So that we can control our thoughts...

• Fleshly desires...

• Attitudes...

• Behavior...

• And destiny.

 

Yes... Because of our genetics... Our environment... Our upbringing... And other factors.... We may have... A tendency... A weakness... A propensity... For some particular sin... For instance... Some have a weakness for...

• Some form of sexual immorality... 

• Others must deal with... Alcohol... Drugs... Materialism...

• Still others must struggle with... Hate... Lying... Gossip...  Jealousy...Rage...

• Or things like... Dissension... Trouble making... Some just like to stir the pot... Making people anxious and uncomfortable.

 

You see... Different temptations appeal to different people with varying degrees of intensity. What might be a stumbling block for me... Might not affect you at all.

 

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Jesus and Paul both teach us that we are not to judge another’s action or reactions. We cannot appreciate their dilemma... Because we are not aware of the problems that plague them.

 

Truth is... Temptations usually do not lie in wait for us... As much as they are actually flaws Or weaknesses in our own character... Flaws that compel us toward certain temptations.

 

This is the reason James says... We are drAwn into sin... By our own lust... Our own fleshly desires... By our own weaknesses... And enticed to sin.

 

But...But... Listen to me... God gave us a will... A choice... And with that will... We can control our weaknesses... Our propensities... Our lust... Our appetites... Our flesh nature.

 

Truth is... Our will is the most powerful thing in life... Our will is stronger than the will of God.

 

God’s will for us is that we become Godly people... That we produce a harvest of Jesus living in us... The fruit of the Spirit... But the decision is ours.

 

God has made us in such a way that our will rules supreme in our personality.  And God will not intervene... Forcing His will in our decision making.  This is what free moral agency is about.

 

Now... Having said this... We must know that... Even if God does not intervene... Forcing us against our will... He does use our will to accomplish His purpose... Whether we are living by the flesh or by the Spirit.

 

For instance...

 

• God used Pharaoh’s free will... His hard heart... To ultimately free the Israelites from Egypt.

 

• He used Pilate’s political ambition to put Jesus on a cross.

 

• He used Paul’s personal traits to spread the Gospel to the First Century Mediterranean world.

 

OK... Some quick points on...

How to be... a temperate... Self-controlled.... Individual...

 

First and foremost... We must make the decision to exercise our will...

 

We must decide...

• Do we really want to improve our character?...

• Do we want to be Spirit-led people... In a culture... In an economy... Where it is not politically correct... Or socially elevating... To be God-like... Christ-like?

Truth is... We will become what we will to become.

 

We are not machines programmed for certain responses... But... We have free wills to choose good or evil... Sharing in the consequences of the decisions we make.

 

To become... God-like... Christ-like... We must grab our WANT-TO... By our WILL and determine to become a Godly individual... The decision is ours... And ours alone.

 

Now church... As much as we might like to blame others... Who we are... And what we are... Cannot be blamed upon anyone but self... Or upon any situation or circumstance in life.

 

We are who and what we are because of our own choice...

• We make our own choices...

• We control our attitudes...

• Our own behavior...

• And our eternal destiny.

 

If this were not true... Then God... The Bible... And this idea of character improvement... Becoming more and more like Jesus is a farce.

 

If we cannot have... The mind... The heart... The attitude... The disposition of Jesus... If we cannot conform to His image... Why is it commanded?

 

We must be like David when he wrote... May the words of my mouth... And the meditation of my heart... Be pleasing in your sight... O Lord... My Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Or Paul in Second Corinthians 10.5... We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against God... And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 

We in the church... Must make up our mind... TODAY!!!... RIGHT NOW!!!... Do we want to be pleasing to God... Or do we want to Please our Culture... Be politically Correct... We must decide!!!... WE WIIL BE WHO AND WHAT WE CHOOSE!

 

Secondly... To exercise temperance and self-control... We must know our enemy.

 

Do we understand what Jeff taught a couple of Sunday night’s ago... That We are not fighting against flesh and blood?...

• We’re not fighting against governments...

• Against our religious neighbor...

• The Muslim or Soviet political world...

We’re fighting against our own sinful flesh nature.

 

When will we stop fighting battles we cannot win... And start fighting the battle that God wants us to fight...

Our own sinful flesh nature...

• Our own lustful self...

• our own Evil desires.

 

Indeed... Satan has us where he wants us when he has us fighting the wrong enemy.

 

You want to know who our real enemy is today?... Listen to Galatians five... The flesh sets its desire against the Spirit... And the Spirit against the flesh... For these are in opposition to one another... So that you may not do the things that you please... Now the deeds of the flesh are evident... Which are... Immorality... Impurity...Sensuality... Idolatry... Sorcery... Enmities... Strife... Jealousy...Outbursts of anger... Disputes... Dissensions... Factions... Envying... Drunkenness...Carousing... And things like these... Just as I have forewarned you... That those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Try the list in Ephesians chapter four and five… In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children... Among you... There must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

 

Church...Read these sins...

• Note that they are personal...

• They are born of our own sinful flesh nature...

• They are a result of our own lust... Our own evil desires.

We are the enemy... Not someone else.

 

quit blaming someone else... Some institution… situation or circumstance… for our own evil desires... That’s satan at work in us.

 

Read these things Peter and Paul ask we add to our character... Add to your... faith... virtue... Knowledge... Temperance... Patience... Godliness... Brotherly love... The fruit of the Spirit is... Love... Peace... Patience... Kindness... Goodness... Faithfulness.. Gentleness... And self control.

Do you catch it… These are… Personal attitudes… Personal behaviors… Personal sins.

 

So…Tell me who we are trying to imitate... Jesus or our culture?

 

Indeed... Old habits die hard... the flesh knows how to sin like we know how to ride a bicycle... The flesh never forgets how to sin... How pleasurable sin is.

• We can’t unlearn to ride a bike.

• Our sinful flesh nature can never unlearn how to sin... And the pleasure of sin.

 

The flesh will never choose not to sin when given a chance... And the world we live in gives it numerous opportunities to... Ride again... Sin again...

 

So...

• We must decide who we want to be...

• And who our enemy really is...

When we understand this... We will be able to exercise temperance and self-control in our everyday activities.

 

I believe Paul tells us how to win this battle by putting on the full armor of God... Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but Against the powers of this dark world... And against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Thirdly... Temperance and Self-control mean we flee temptation and sin.

 

Sometimes there is only one way to deal with temptation... And that is to run from it.

 

Joseph found that this was his only option with Potiphar’s wife.

 

This is Paul’s admonition to young Timothy... And to us here tonight... Flee the evil desires of youth... And pursue righteousness... Faith... Love... and Peace...Along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 

Some of us need to heed Paul’s advice to the Corinthian church... That is to watch the company we keep... Evil companions corrupts good character... Stunts Christian growth.

 

Thisnot only includes people... But situations and circumstances… Places and activities.

 

Jesus said... If our hand or eye causes us to sin... Cut it off... Pluck it out.

 

No... Jesus is not preaching... Bodily... Mutilation...But rather the avoidance of those things that lead us into... Temptation... Lust... Evil desires.

 

Sometimes... The secret to success in living a... Temperate... Self-controlled... Life is to chart our own weaknesses... Then avoid them completely.

• We must ask ourselves some sobering questions...

• Do we know our sin weakness?... If not… We’ll not likely overcome them.

• Are we willing to admit our sin faults… To ourselves?... To God… To others?...… Are we really?

 

This brings us to the final point... We mustaccept God’s forgiveness.

 

Perhaps this is the most important... Because we’re all imprisoned by the flesh... And as long as we are... We’ll be making some bad choices… but God stands ready to forgive!

 

Jesus tells of two sons who both made some bad choices... Drank of both natures.

• The Prodigal who failed to discipline himself... Restrain himself... In the sins of the Far Country.

• And the Elder brother... Who failed in his attitude at home.

But the bottom line of this parable is the Father’S forgiveness!!

The Prodigal is forgiven with... A ring...Shoes for his feet... A robe... A hug... A kiss... And a welcome home.

The Elder brother hears the Father say... You are always with me... And all I have is yours.

 

Church...

• Where do you and your preacher stand tonight?

• Are we striving to live lives that are what God wills them to be?

• Are we really striving to improve our character... Be Spirit-led?

• Are we in a position to be forgiven when we fail?

• Are we imprisoned by the flesh... Or by Jesus?

• Are we drunk on the wine of the world... Or under the influence of the Spirit through the Word?

• Are we.. Admitting… Acknowledging… Our sin… So we can be forgiven?

 

Tonight…Why not come know His absolute... Total forgiveness by... Faith... Repentance... And New Testament Baptism...

 

If we are His child... Let us confess our faults... Acknowledge our sins... Ask Him to help us live more...temperate... Self-controlled... lives in the future.

 

John 1.9 tells us that His promised forgiveness is found in such a confession.

Rid yourself of all guilt... As we stand and sing this invitation song together.