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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit(8) - Gentleness    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   Galatians 5: 22-23
Date
   2009-12-20



Passage

Galatians 5: 22-23
[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This is the eighth session of the 'Fruits of the Holy Spirit', and I am going to talk about 'gentleness'.
As each of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is borne in you, you will have the heart that resembles the heart of God more and more.
You will then hear the voice and receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit clearly, so you can prosper in all things.
He lets you know the way to get through hindrances and obstacles, and when you have a problem He teaches you how to resolve it.
Right now you are listening to a message that is like a key to the gate of blessings.
But the gate won't just open only because you have the key.
You have to actually open the gate with the key.
Likewise, even though you hear the words of blessings many times, you can actually enjoy those blessings only when you put the words into practice.
James 1:25 says, "But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does."
When you listen to the word of God, if you really believe it is the way of blessings, you will definitely obey the word.
You may realize shortcomings in yourself listening to the message, but it is useless if you do not keep it in mind and use it to change yourself.
I hope you will realize what these fruits of the Holy Spirit really are and impress every word deeply in your hearts.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will bear these fruits in your hearts and become true children desired by God.

[Main]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the dictionary gentleness is the quality or state of being gentle, soft, tender, or mild.
But spiritual gentleness is not simply mildness and soft tenderness.
Those who are timid or 'shyly non-social' in character, or those who cannot express themselves very well may appear to be gentle.
Those who are naïve, or those who don't get angry at all due to low intelligence level may appear to be gentle in the eyes of the worldly people.
But spiritual gentleness is something different.
It is to have wisdom and the ability to discern between the right and wrong, but at the same time to understand and accept everybody because there is no evil in them.
Namely, spiritual gentleness is to have generosity and virtue coupled with a mild and soft character.
If you have this virtuous generosity, you won't just be mild all the time, but you also have the dignity when necessary.
I will explain about this virtuous generosity later in this sermon.
The heart of the gentle person is as soft as cotton.
If you throw a stone at cotton or poke it with a needle, the cotton will just cover and embrace them.
Likewise, no matter how other people treat them, those who are spiritually gentle will not have hard-feelings in their hearts toward them.
Namely, they don't get angry or have discomfort, and they do not give discomfort to others, either.
They do not pass judgment or condemnation, but understand and accept them.
People will feel comfort from these people so many people can come and find rest in the gentle.
It's just like a big tree with many branches, so the birds can come, nest and rest on the branches.
Moses is one of the persons who was acknowledged by God for his gentleness.
Numbers 12:3 says, "Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth."
The number of the sons of Israel was more than 600,000 adult men.
Including women and children it would have been much more than 2 million.
Leading such a number of people in itself would be a very difficult task for an ordinary people.
Especially, those people had hardened hearts as former slaves of Egypt.
If you are regularly beaten, hear foul and abusive language, and do the laborious work of slaves, your heart would become rough and hardened.
In this condition, it is not easy to engrave any grace in their hearts or be able to love God from the heart.
That is why the people disobeyed God every time even though Moses showed them such great power.
When faced with just a little bit of difficult situations, they soon began to complain and stand against Moses.
Just by seeing the fact that Moses led such people in the wilderness for 40 years, we can understand how spiritually gentle Moses had been.
It is never an easy thing to run a company that has just a couple of hundred employees.
Even though you are elected as a leader by the majority of people, it is not an easy thing to lead that group.
To be able to gather the hearts of people and lead them, you must be able to gain the hearts of people with spiritual gentleness.
Of course, if a person has social power and wealth, and helps many people, it may seem that many people follow him.
We can find out whether this person really has virtuous generosity when he loses his social power and wealth.
If he really had virtue and generosity, many people will still gather around him even though he loses his fame and wealth.
They do not follow him to gain something from his power and wealth but to gain peace of mind from him.
Some of our small group and cell leaders suffer because they cannot accept those 10 or 20 members in the group in their hearts.
If you would like to increase the number of group or cell members, you have to cultivate gentleness, a heart that is like a wad of cotton.
The members can find peace and happiness in you, so you can have revival of your group.
Pastors in particular should have gentleness to be able to accept the souls.
Matthew 5:5 says, "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."
Here, to inherit the earth does not mean you will receive a piece of land on this earth.
It means you will receive a large piece of land in Heaven, to the extent to which you accomplish gentleness.
You will receive a big residence so you can invite all the souls whom you embraced and guided on this earth.
To say you inherit such a great residence means that you will be in a glorious position in Heaven.
Even though you have a very big piece of land, you cannot take it to Heaven.
But if you receive land in Heaven by accomplishing gentleness, it will be your eternal inheritance.
In that place, you can spend happy moments forever with the Lord and your dear ones.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now, how can we bear the fruit of gentleness?
Conclusively speaking, you should cultivate your heart into a good soil.
In Matthew chapter 13, our heart is likened with four different kinds of soils.
It can be categorized into the roadside, the rocky field, the thorny field, and good soil.
The roadside is stepped on by people and is hardened, so the seeds cannot be sown.
Also, if the seeds are dropped in rocky fields or thorny fields, you cannot have an abundant harvest.
In order to gain a great harvest, you have to break the hardened soil, take away the rocks and pull the thorns.
Once the field is plowed to have good soil this way, you can harvest abundant crops.
Spiritually, a gentle heart is likened to the good soil.
If a man has a lot of evil, his heart is hardened like the soil of the roadside and he cannot accept the truth.
Even if he hears the truth and receives God's grace, he soon has doubt and pours out the grace. He forsakes the grace to gain worldly things.
But even this kind of heart-soil can be changed into good soil, if the person diligently works to change it.
Even the most barren land can be changed into a good soil if the farmer plows it diligently.
Just as the characters of the field can be changed, men's' hearts can also be changed by the power of God.
Even the hearts that are hardened like hardened fields can be plowed by the help of the Holy Spirit.
Even the hearts that have a lot of evil can be changed into the gentle and soft heart once the evil is cast away.
Even the hearts that have envy, jealousy, quarrelling and other rough forms of the mind can become mild and gentle.
The more you cultivate your heart this way, the more of the fruit of gentleness you will bear.
But your heart cannot just be changed automatically just because you have received the Holy Spirit.
There must be your own effort, too.
You have pray continually and fervently, and try to think in truth, speak in truth, and act in truth in all things.
You should not give up after several weeks or months, but you have to keep up your effort until the end.
When you show this kind of effort, God will consider it and give you His grace and power, and the Holy Spirit will help you.
Brothers and sisters, as you plow your heart-field into good soil, you will automatically bear other fruits of the Holy Spirit, too.
But gentleness is more closely related with the plowing of the heart-field.
You cannot become gentle unless you cast away hot-temper, hatred, envy, greed, quarrelling, boasting, self-righteousness, etc. With such characters of heart, other people cannot find rest in you.
That is why gentleness has a closer link with sanctification itself than other fruits of the Holy Spirit.
If you have spiritual gentleness, you will receive an answer to anything you ask, just like you get good fruits when you sow anything in a good field.
You will also hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly so you will prosper in all things.
But is there anybody who thinks like the following, "I don't get angry, and I think I am gentler than others, but I don't really receive answers to my prayer. I don't really hear the voice of the Holy Spirit very well."?
Then, you should check whether or not your gentleness is fleshly gentleness.
Also, you can check the extent to which you bear the fruit of gentleness through other fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I said the more sanctified your heart is the more of other fruits of the Holy Spirit you will bear.
Namely, one may appear to be gentle, but if he lacks the fruit of mercy or goodness, we can understand that he does not have spiritual gentleness.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, gentleness is not just to be mild and soft, but it has to have the virtuous generosity.
Along with the meekness in heart, you should also have the virtuous generosity on the outside in order to completely cultivate spiritual gentleness.
It is much the same as a person with excellent character who is wearing a suit that matches his character.
Even if a person has good characters, if he goes around naked without clothing, his nakedness will be to his shame. Likewise, gentleness without virtuous generosity is not complete.
Let me give you a couple of examples of having both gentleness and virtuous generosity.
First, virtuous generosity appears as dignified and moderate actions.
Those who are just mild all the time without proper discernments cannot accept others.
They will be looked down upon and used by others.
In history, some kings were gentle in character but did not have virtuous generosity, so the country was not stable.
Later in history people evaluate him not as a gentle person but as being incapable and indecisive.
On the other hand, some kings had warm and mild characters along with wisdom accompanied by dignity.
Under the rule of such kings, the country was stable and the people had peace.
Likewise, those who have both gentleness and virtuous generosity have a proper standard of judgment. They do what is righteous by discerning the right and wrong correctly.
When Jesus purified the Temple and rebuked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the scribes, He was very strong and stern.
He has a gentle heart so as not to 'break bruised reeds or snuff out smoldering wicks', but still He rebuked the people harshly when He had to.
If you have such dignity and righteousness in heart, people cannot look down on you even though you never raise your voice or try to become stern.
Outward appearance is also related to possessing the manners of the Lord and the perfect deeds of the body.
Those who are virtuous have dignity, authority and importance in their words; they don't carelessly speak meaningless words.
They put on appropriate clothes for each occasion. They have mild facial expressions, but not brusque or cold faces.
For example, suppose a person has untidy hair and clothes, and his bearing is undignified.
Suppose he also likes telling jokes and talks about meaningless things.
It is probably very difficult for such a person to gain trust and respect from others.
Other people would not want to be accepted and be embraced by him.
If Jesus had been jesting all the time, His disciples would have tried to joke with Him.
So, if Jesus taught them something difficult, they would have immediately argued or insisted on their own opinions.
But they could not do that.
Even those who came to Him to argue could not really argue with Him because of His dignity.
Jesus' words and actions always had weight and dignity, so the people could not just consider Him lightly.
Of course, sometimes the superior in hierarchy can make a joke to his subordinates in order to ease the mood.
But if the subordinates jest together being ill-mannered, this means they do not have proper understanding.
Furthermore, if the leaders are not upright, but show distracted appearances, they cannot gain trust from others.
But there are occasions like the following, too.
A superior in organization speaks honorific language and acts respectfully even to his subordinates.
But sometimes, if one of his subordinates is showing excessive respect, this superior might speak in ordinary language, not in honorific forms, in order to put his subordinate at ease.
In this situation, not being too polite might rather make his subordinate feel at ease and he can open his heart more easily this way.
Romans 15:2 says, "Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification."
Likewise, those who are virtuous and generous will do everything with uprightness, and they also have the consideration to make people feel comfortable.
Next, virtuous generosity shows as actions of mercy and compassion having a broad heart.
They not only help those who are in financial need but also those who are spiritually weary and weak by comforting them and showing them grace.
But even though they have the gentleness in them, if that gentleness only stays in their heart, it is difficult to give out that fragrance of the Christ.
For example, suppose there is a believer who is suffering from persecutions for her faith. If the church leaders around her find it out, they feel compassion on her and pray for her.
Here, some of those leaders feel the compassion only in their hearts.
On the other hand, some other leaders encourage and comfort her and also help her according to her situations.
They strengthen her to help her overcome with faith.
So, just having the consideration in heart and showing the actual deeds will be very different for the person who is going through a problem.
When the gentleness shows on the outside as virtuous deeds, it can give grace and life to others.
Therefore, when the Bible says 'the gentle will inherit the earth', it has a close relationship with faithfulness that shows as a result of virtuous generosity.
To inherit earth is related to heavenly rewards. Usually, receiving heavenly rewards has a relationship with faithfulness.
When you receive a plaque of appreciation, merit of honor, or an award for evangelism from the church, it is a result of your faithfulness.
Likewise, the gentle will receive blessings, but it doesn't just come from the gentle heart itself.
When that gentle heart is expressed with virtuous and generous deeds, they will bear the fruit of faithfulness. They then receive rewards as a result of it.
Namely, when you accept and embrace many souls with generosity, comfort them and encourage them and give them life, you will inherit the earth in Heaven through such deeds.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, virtuous generosity is like the outfit that makes the gentleness shine, but it is different from legalistic or hypocritical acts.
If holiness is not in your heart, it cannot be said that you have virtuous generosity just because you have outward deeds.
If you incline towards showing appropriate acts rather than cultivating your heart, you are likely to stop realizing your shortcomings and mistakenly think that you have accomplished much.
But even in this world, people who only have outward appearances without having good personalities will not gain the hearts of others.
In faith, too, concentrating on the outward deeds without cultivating the inner beauty is meaningless.
For example, some people act uprightly, and they pass judgment and look down on others who don't act like them.
They may also insist on their own standards when dealing with others thinking, "This is the right way, so why don't they just do it this way?"
They may speak nice words when they give the advice, but they pass judgment on others in their heart, and they speak within their self-righteousness and ill-feelings.
People cannot find rest in these people. They will only be hurt and discouraged, so they wouldn't want to stay close to these people.
Some people also get angry and get irritated within their self-righteousness and evil. But they say they only have righteous indignation and it is for others' sake.
But those who have virtuous generosity will not lose the peace of mind in any situation.
If you really want to bear the fruit of Holy Spirit completely, you cannot just cover the evil in your heart with your outer appearances.
You have to check yourself again and again in everything and choose the way of goodness.

[Conclusion]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when things do not go as they want, some people say, "I can't help it because I am born like this."
But those who believe in God must not speak such words.
We can change the characters and even inner heart by the works of the Holy Spirit.
Even short-temperedness, boasting, self-centered minds and strong self-righteousness can be changed in nature resulting in a gentle and virtuous heart if the evil is cast away and the heart is cultivated.
Even very introverted and timid characters can become bold and generous to help many others.
I hope you will diligently cultivate your heart and bear the beautiful fruit of gentleness.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become a great vessel like Moses and be recognized and loved by God the Father.

[Amen]

 
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