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February 6, 2020 12:01 am
In this world, Christians participate in the humiliation of Jesus. How will you handle that? Today, R.C. Sproul considers some of the more difficult fruit of the Holy Spirit to display in trying circumstances.
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One of the most difficult injuries to bear. If we are going to be patient and long-suffering is to bear the pain of slander to bear the pain of the hostility of the world that is directed against us. Not because we have in fact done something wrong but there are occasions where the Christian is called to suffer for the sake of Christ for you if you slandered you know the beer that told her we remember what Christ endured during his earthly ministry, and particularly as he was arrested, tried and sentenced to death and then we also remember he was without sin, we welcome you to the Thursday edition of Renewing Your Mind as we continue our study of developing Christian character teacher Dr. RC in this session were going to continue our overview of the fruits of the spirit and focus our attention now on the fruits of long-suffering or sometimes that's translated as patients and kindness and looking back at the other fruit of the spirit.
I mentioned that the Holy Spirit is not a sourpuss is characterized by cheerfulness and joy said also that the Holy Spirit is not quarrelsome or belligerent in his demeanor towards a fallen world, and I think it is also safe to say that God the Holy Spirit does not have a short fuse.
Remember the accent that I want to give again and again is that all of Christian virtue ultimately is based upon the character of God and that Christian virtue and the fruits of the spirit are simply nothing more nothing less.
Reproduction in us the imitation BIOS of the holy and righteous character of God and so we see in the person of God, the supreme example of these virtues.
God himself is described as long suffering and that's basically what the more abstract concept of patience is about. It has to do with an ability to endure pain over a period of time. We become impatient when we experience discomfort or pain at things delayed and we want things to hurry up because we cannot bear the pain of delay and so that's the link between patients and the idea of long suffering, or the Greek comes from the prefix of the word macro which is large and the root comes from the word for feelings or passions. Long-suffering means large feelings while the accent on long-suffering biblically is on time and if we go back to first grade is 13 we see that this is a characteristic of love. That love is patient and kind. Here again we see the link between the exposition of love and first rate is 13 and a list of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians. This is an expression of love to hold that love over a period of time.
This is the kind of stuff that loyalty is made out of another lecture series on ethics.
I gave great attention to the requirements that God sets before his people as we find in the Old Testament prophet who raises the question what does God require of you. What's the answer to do justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with your God. What does it mean to love mercy, it's funny if you look at the various English translations of that concept to love mercy, you'll find other renditions of another text will say to love loyal and others will just simply use the word steadfast love because it is the Hebrew said, which is often translated by the word mercy or the word steadfast love.
Notice the next time you read the Bible and the next on the Old Testament. How many times when the Bible talks about the love of God doesn't just give us the naked word love, but it gives us that adjectival qualifier before it steadfast that there is a consistency of God's law, there is a stability to the love of God that is frequently absent in interpersonal relationships among human banks. We know what it means to be hurt and disappointed and let down by the fickle spirit by the one who loves you and leaves you by the one whose commitment is for a season and the season is the season of fair weather but at the first mistake at the first sin at the first point of conflict. The relationship crumbles and dissolves because the love is a love of the moment. It doesn't hold up over the long haul.
God's law is steadfast love. That's what mercy and that's what bears mercy. Let's take for example if I have to sit as a judge in the courtroom and I have to judge a perfect stranger whose acts of violence are well documented and then I have to judge my own son.
Which of those cases, would I be more likely to be disposed towards mercy see mercy is born out of a consistent permanent law.
At least the disposition to mercy and I think there's a reason why patients in steadfast love.
Here comes right before kindness because kindness flows out of patients now the opposite.
I think of the long-suffering patient love that is being expressed here is what I would call a spirit of resentment or spirit of vengeance which is not to be characteristic of the Christian personality. Edwards tells us that patients are long-suffering disposes us to bear the bills that we receive from other people are natural reaction to pain inflicted upon us is retaliation is the desire for vengeance that we have a saying in our culture when somebody injures us and we get mad. Somebody may caution you in confidence I don't get mad get what get even. Don't get mad, get even that exalts retaliation or revenge as a virtue.
Now we have to walk a very thin line here. Indeed, the razors edge because we could overreact to the concept of vengeance and make vengeance seem as if it were an intrinsic evil, but we may not do that.
Why not because God exercises vengeance.
Now there are three words that we run into frequently in the New Testament that are often in art common vocabulary used by people as if they were synonyms, and they're not. I think it's important to have the hairline distinction clear in our minds on these concepts and they are the concept of justice. The concept of vindication and the concept of revenge but these are all very closely related, but they have very small and precise and sharp little distinguishing characteristics about them, justice has to do with the manifestation of righteousness, and in the law court justice is served when there is a balance and harmony an equation between sin and punishment virtue and reward justice is served when the punishment is equal to the crime or when the reward is equal to the merit that's fundamentally what we mean by justice and injustice occurs when the punishment is more severe than the crime or when the reward is less then what is called for vets and injustice. Or that's unjust.
Another slight difference there between justice and vindication.
Because vindication is something that happens in the law court vindication occurs when someone has been accused of a crime and is shown to be innocent of it. A person is vindicated when he's exonerated from false charges now one of the most difficult injuries to bear. If we are going to be patient and long-suffering is to bear the pain of slander to bear the pain of false accusations to bear the pain of the hostility of the world that is directed against us.
Not because we have in fact done something wrong. Sometimes it is because we've done something wrong but there are occasions where the Christian is called to suffer for the sake of Christ, which is a noble suffering a suffering for righteousness sake for which Jesus himself pronounces his benediction lasted are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven. He goes on and says that will happen to the Christian that the Christian will participate in the humiliation of Jesus, he will participate in the world's antagonism toward Jesus and natural man's enmity towards Jesus you will be a target. How do you handle it. The mature Christian does not react with the spirit of retaliation. Member the disciples for when they saw Jesus being falsely accused, Peter went for the sword to set hold. I will be patient. I'm going all away and we are called to imitate that to a certain degree know when you are falsely accused. Is there anything wrong with having a desire to be vindicated. Not at all.
Vindication is something we cry for Jesus gives us the parable of the unjust judge to teach us about that very point. And, he says, and will not, the rhetorical question will not, God vindicate his people who cry on dam day and night we're encouraged to pray to God that he will vindicate us from false charges when we are falsely accused. In the meantime, we are call to a spirit of forbearance and of long-suffering vindication is to be exonerated. No revenge is when we try to pay back the wound. Now Christianity does not outlaw justice or outlaw law courts or anything like that, but the principle of vengeance is this.
Vengeance punishes the evildoer, and God says vengeance is mine off and that's all people over here.
You hear people saying you're not allowed to be vengeful. You're not allowed to avenge yourself and as we say because of vengeance belongs to God. Within the next breath he says what I will worry about vengeance. It will come. Not only will I vindicate you, but I will punish those who have falsely accused you not just exonerate the innocent. I will punish the guilty. But I will do it.
You don't do it.
So God reserves it to himself and to those earthly institutions to whom he supported that responsibility. Namely, the law courts now why doesn't God give us the right to revenge member. We said that little expression minute ago. Don't get mad, get even when I was pagan I was a young person I heard that thing and I didn't like that from the first time I asked first isolates of McCarthy, don't get mad, get even to get even play sports.
So who wants a pie because, like kissing your sister, but take this thing in the sudden death.
Let's go another. I want to just tie I will. The phrase really was mad, get even. It was done get mad get one up now that was a perfect expression of fallen humanity in me overkill and injustice is left to me. My normal simple tendency is to over punish overreact and overcorrect I think that's the principal reason why God reserves vengeance to himself, but deeply rooted in each one of us is a capacity for ruthless vengeance and is the fruit of the spirit grows and the capacity for long-suffering for patients for putting up with the insult and the injury begins to be strengthened within you, and at that point you're walking in the footsteps of Christ was the supreme model of long-suffering we can imagine how hard it is, how long you put up with the buzzing of a fly or an aunt walking across your plate at a picnic. When you know all you have to do is just take your finger and go in at the end of the annoyance say it's one thing for me to be long-suffering with evil people who are given me a hard time. I noticed when I was little and I was given to combat and violence maybe 50 street fights when I was in high school that most of my fights were with people my own size. My fuse was not quite as short with guys that were 6 foot five, we tend to be more patient with people over whom we have no power, because we can afford not to have. So in that case, patient is not so much a virtuous think of Jesus at any moment: legions of angels and he stood there and listen to the colonies of these men who are arguing with them theologically was the beginning and end of theology rocking him about nature. He made it there threatening him with punishment and he has the power of life and death in his hands and he opened not his mouth. He reminded the societies they look nobody takes my life from, but I lay it down for my sheet and he could've called upon those legions of angels at that really takes grace to be patient when you have the power to be impatient.
I let's look quickly as time is moving ahead to kindness what word what virtue very word kindness, how does it strike your ear. How do you respond to people who are kind you call a lot of things. How do you feel when somebody says about you that you are a kind person. I really would love to be known as a kind person and kindness again is a manifestation of patients, a kind person doesn't get mad at little things doesn't have a chip on their shoulder a kind person is warm and sanguine toward other people. I get is born of patients not of rose-colored glasses and is born of the fact that we understand that we ourselves are not only subjects called to exercise kindness. But we have first become the objects of kindness.
Think for a moment of the kindness you have received from your father and from your Savior know quickly what does kindness look like or what doesn't Congress do one of the things that really concerns me in Christian growth and in not only individually but corporately is the problem of pettiness.
The New Testament tells us about love.
That love covers a multitude of sins that indulges gross and heinous, and then leaves it unchecked or undisciplined for that we have to recently sent in both directions all the time sometimes over tolerant sometimes to indulge. But there is a multitude of sins which love covers many Christian environments were picky and were petty. I can't think of anything that paralyzes a Christian work faster than pettiness taking at really minor sins. Yes, sin is sin, but even the Bible understands the difference between those gross and heinous sins that are really destructive to the Christian community that ought to be disciplined in the normal daily struggles of the Christian and pettiness is a sign of immaturity assigned a fruit that has not yet come to be right. Do you feel that tendency or the pool to correct people for every little thing you see them doing wrong. Tell your story here from Calvin from Luther, not from Edwards, but I want to write a story here from another theologian who understands interpersonal relationships Dale Carnegie how to win friends and influence people at this is not particularly Christian book is one of the finest statements of Christian virtue in practice on the right, but Carnegie is accenting a course is the practical benefits of treating people right.
He understands it at a practical level tells the story of after the close of the war that there was a war hero from Australia by the name Mr. Ross Smith, who was honored at a testimonial banquet and Dale Carnegie was invited to attend this banquet in the honor of Sir Ross and he said during the dinner. The man sitting next to me totally humorous story which in just on a quotation in the quotation he cited was this quote.
There is a divinity that shapes our ends, roughhewn them, how we will Moroccan tour mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. He was wrong, said Carnegie. I knew that, and I knew it positively could be the slightest doubt about it, and so to get a feeling of importance and display my superiority I appointed myself as an unsolicited unwelcome committee of one to correct. He stuck to his guns what you say from Shakespeare impossible absurd that quotation was from the Bible said the speaker and he knew it. The storyteller said.
Carnegie was sitting on my right and Mr. Frank Damme and an old friend of mine received at my left no Mr. Gammon had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare. He was an expert on Shakespeare, so the storyteller and I agreed to submit the question to Mr. Gammon is the referee and demolition of the quotation kicked me under the table and then said Dale, you are wrong. The gentleman was right. It is from the Bible the way home at night. I said to Mr. Gammon, Frank you know that quotation was from Shakespeare. Yes, of course, he replied Hamlet act five, scene two, but we were guests at a festive occasion. My dear Dale why did you feel the need to prove to the man that he was wrong truths was slain there for a minute and I'm not advocating that.
But the point I think Carnegie makes well kindness overlooks teddy bear's and does not go out of the way to make people look bad unless I have to struggle with at all time. I have the disease and incurable disease of just protecting my family. My family has never learned the difference between I and me when to use the subjective and when they use the objectives. The normative and the accused.
The wheeze in the day you know it's they gave the gift to Frank and I and I go right up the wall when I hear that fracturing of the King's English and I do frequently correct their speaks now.
Maybe that's partly responsible is a father know what I got outside the house and I start doing it with other people. Just the other day I caught myself was playing golf and somebody said to me, I know the time is coming to a close with somebody said to me, pride goes before the fall. And I said no pride goes before destruction is the haughty spirit comes before the fall.
I couldn't wait to correct them. One of the most misquoted statements in the Bible, and as soon as I said it I think I just was cutting. I just asserted my superiority at the expense of making another person look bad and it was unnecessary wasn't the truth of God is at stake.
I left kindness and the kind person overcomes pettiness and treats other people was a concern for their well-being featuring RC series developing Christian character this week on Renewing Your Mind on. We were glad you could be with us. I so appreciated Darcy's transparency there admitting that and have to tell you that indeed he was a kind man.
He lived that out each day of his life. Each of the messages in this series by Dr. Spruill points to areas in our lives that need the Holy Spirit's work. It's important hard work for each of us will send you the 12 part series. When you give a donation of any amount to leader ministries. This is a two DVD set contains messages on spiritual growth on righteousness, assurance of salvation and maturing in our faith you can give your gift securely and make a request when you go online to Renewing Your Mind.org or you can simply call us at 804 354-3430 were growing in our faith we see more and more fruit of the Holy Spirit emerging in our lives.
But when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances while those are times when we realize that we need to grow more interfaith RC helps us work through those areas. In this series against title developing Christian character and matures for your gift of any amount. Our number again is 800-435-4343 enter web address is Renewing Your Mind.org and let me thank you in advance for your generous gift will tomorrow we'll wrap up our highlights of this series so RC will walk us through the character traits of goodness and faith. We hope you'll join us again Friday for Renewing Your Mind