The Fruit of the Spirit – Longsuffering
INTRODUCTION: Once again we focus our study on Galatians 5:22-25 where we read,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Now in this message we are going to focus on the fourth “Fruit of the Spirit” that of “LONGSUFFERING.”
As we begin please notice two passages:
In Ephesians 4:1-3; we read, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
In Colossians 3:12-13; we read, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
From these passages let me call your attention to Six Graces that will help us understand the “Fruit of the Spirit – LONGSUFFERING.”
NUMBER 1. There is the Grace of Lowliness: This unique Greek word, “lowliness,” found in Ephesians 4:2 conveys the act of “HUMILITY.”
Someone has said, "Humility is that grace that when you know you have it, you have lost it!" Humility means putting CHRIST FIRST, OTHERS SECOND, and SELF LAST. Here is a wonderful way to spell JOY: J stands for JESUS, O stands for OTHERS and Y, last of all, stands for YOU.
HUMILITY makes us conscious of our true position before the Lord and enables us to esteem others BETTER than ourselves. It is the opposite of arrogance and conceit.
NUMBER 2. There is the Grace of Meekness: This unique Greek word conveys the idea of having a spirit that never takes offense. Meekness is not weakness. It is power under control.
Moses we are told in Numbers 12:3, was "very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth." Moses was a great leader with a strong temper who exercised tremendous power, but it was power under control.
Jesus Christ one day drove the moneychangers from the temple, all the while shouting, “My house shall be called of all nations a House of PRAYER." That is found in Mark 11:17, yet in Matthew 11:29; we read that He was "meek and lowly in heart." Jesus had great power, but it was power under control.
THE GRACE OF MEEKNESS is the ATTRIBUTE that submits to God's dealings without REBELLION and to man's unkindness without RETALIATION. Now, let me repeat that lest it went right on by you:
“The GRACE of MEEKNESS is the ATTRIBUTE that submits to God's dealings without REBELLION and to man's unkindness without RETALIATION.
NUMBER 3. There is the Grace of Long-suffering: This word at times is translated by another word – "Patience." In the original language of the New Testament there are two different words for "Patience."
The FIRST word for PATIENCE is the Greek word "Hupomeno” meaning "TO STAY UNDER." It is the ability to endure discomfort without fighting back. It conveys a picture of us getting under the pressure brought by circumstances and standing fast.
It's another word for DON'T QUIT.
It's another word for ENDURANCE.
It's another word for being STEADFAST.
In Romans 5:3-4; we read, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (endurance); (4) And patience (endurance), experience; and experience, hope:”
In Colossians 1:11; we read, “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience (endurance) and longsuffering with joyfulness…” Did you notice that both the words “Patience and Longsuffering” are used?
The TRIALS we are speaking of refer to the OUTWARD ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE, WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER. They are the little foxes that ruin the perfect occasion; that try our patience, and irritations that cause us to grit our teeth and lose our cool.” These are:
The traffic jams and long lines when we are in a hurry.
The phone call interruptions when we are most busy.
The incompetent workers when we count on them the most.
The inconsiderate neighbors and late mail deliveries.
The cars left with empty gas tanks when we have no time to fill them.
The loss of a job, financial strains, death in the family, troubles with the children which we have no control over.
The pressures to meet unrealistic deadlines that come from upper management.
The persecution we sometimes experience from unsaved relatives and family members who reject our faith.
In the Bible PATIENCE is not a passive acceptance of circumstances. It is a courageous perseverance in the face of circumstances. Endurance cannot be obtained by reading a book; listening to a sermon or by praying a prayer.
Here is James 1:2-4 paraphrased: "When all kinds of trials and tests crowd into your lives, my brothers in Christ, don't resist them as intruders. But welcome them as friends, realizing that they come to TEST your Faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed."
All of us experience frustrating moments when we find it difficult to cope with pressures and problems, the two "Ps" that cause us to "Pop Our Cork" and really explode.
Now if you are a candidate for the "Panic Palace," this Greek word "Hupomeno" literally means "Endurance." Keep standing while everything else is falling.
The SECOND word for PATIENCE in the New Testament is the Greek word "Makrothumia" better translated by our English word "Long-suffering."
This word for patience has to do with PEOPLE.
This word means to "calm down, lengthen your temper, do not lose it, and don’t swear out in revenge."
This word for patience is telling us to develop long-suffering toward people in spite of what they may do to us.
Paul emphasizes this way in I Thessalonians 5:14 "…encourage the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient (long-suffering) toward all men."
He also said in Colossians 3:12 "Put on, therefore, as the elect of God … bowels of mercies, humbleness of mind, meekness long-suffering."
Pastor, you do not know how ______ is getting to me, and I would love to ______. STOP! STOP! Longsuffering requires the act of patience in spite of people.
And while you are thinking of your ability to endure people, we had better take note that one of the attributes of God is long-suffering.
In Numbers 14:18; we read, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”
I Psalm 86:15; we read, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
II Peter 3:9 reads, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promises … but is long-suffering us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Notice God delays His coming because of His longsuffering. He does not want one person to spend a Christ-less eternity in Hell.
God desires that all men would come to repentance, to the place of saying, “I am a sinner, and I turn to Jesus for forgiveness.”
Many Christians admit that they did not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior the first time they heard the Gospel. For this reason, we should be grateful for His longsuffering, for He gives us countless opportunities to come to repentance.
In I Timothy 1:16; we read, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
My friends, all of us have those little IRRITATING qualities that grind like sandpaper against one another. In the family setting where we live together day after day and week after week and year after year, we see one another at our best and one another at our worst.
No doubt you can sit there and think of those IRRITATING qualities your husband has, or those your wife has, or those your children have, or even those your parents have.
The same is true within the church, where we strive to operate as members of one body in a family setting.
We see the faults of others.
We see the weakness of others.
We see the idiosyncrasies of others.
As a result of this closeness and knowledge of others, what do we often do?
We become irritated over others actions and their reactions.
We share words of criticism about them to others.
We may develop a hard attitude. We may stop smiling. We may stop singing. We may even close our ears to the preaching, and then we might even quit coming to church altogether, because we have let someone get to us.
When these things happen, who is the LOSER? WE ARE! And who is the WINNER? You guessed it! It is the DEVIL, himself!
STOP for a moment and consider the next time you are TEMPTED to become IMPATIENT with someone. Then think about Jesus Christ and His attitude toward us. This was Paul’s secret. The Lord's long-suffering and patience toward him marked his life and gave him unusual tolerance toward others.
Again In I Timothy 1:15-16 the Apostle Paul said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtain mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all LONGSUFFERING, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
Paul saw himself as the worst of sinners, and then experienced God's love through LONG-SUFFERING PATIENCE to save him. In turn, this caused Paul to respond to others with love and patience.
NUMBER 4. There is the Grace of Forbearing: “Forbearing” is another Greek word used only two times in the New Testament, once in Colossians 3:13 and here in our text of Ephesians 4:2. The word means "to put up with."
“Pastor, this is a tough request.” Yes, it is. But it’s possible if we are under the control of the Holy Spirit and we work at it. Let me call your attention to two enlightening discoveries:
1. Discover what irritates you about your family and others. Be honest, and face the facts with frank reality.
2. Stay away from circumstances that cause this irritation. For example:
There are some people with whom you can work, but you cannot play with them. In such cases, work together, but do not play together.
There are some people with whom you can socialize, but with whom you cannot work. In such cases, have a social life with them, but do not bear the yoke of work together.
There are some people with whom certain subjects cause strife and stress. In such cases, avoid those subjects.
There are some people that you can be with for a short time, but not for a long time. To be together for a while is pleasant and delightful, but after a while irritation begins. Limit the time spent together.
There are some people in the ministry that will irritate you for whatever reason. Maybe it is the way they handle their ministry. Maybe it is the way they sing. Maybe it is how they present themselves. Love them, pray for them, serve with them, and be gracious to them, but leave it there – forbear their faults.
NUMBER 5. There is the Grace of a Forgiving Spirit: Returning to Colossians 3:13; we read, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
How tragic that some Christian will irritate another, and for years that irritated Christian will carry a bitter angry grudge.
How tragic, and out of character for us who have been forgiven by Christ after what we in our sin did to Him, not to go out of our way to forgive someone who has irritated us.
This lack of forgiveness is a sad commentary upon today’s Christianity, upon our fundamental churches and upon our Christian homes. Unfortunately, I have witnessed unforgiving spirits repeatedly, from the time I was a little boy all the way through my many years of ministry.
Christians become offended, over seemingly insignificant things.
Christians lash out at the Pastor or another church leader.
Christians will sit in the pews cold as icicles because they have been irritated by someone, or over something they do not like.
Irritated Christians will stop speaking, and in some cases they will even quit serving the Lord.
Eventually, those with unforgiving spirits will become bitter and quit attending that church.
Brethren when this happens, it is a victory for the DEVIL.
This kind of unforgiving attitude causes great harm, not only to Christian adults, but also to the children in the church as they watch the adults’ behavior. Without THE GRACE OF A FORGIVING SPIRIT, we lose our testimony before the unregenerate world who needs Christ.
NUMBER 6. There is the Grace of Diligence: Returning to Ephesians 4:3; we again read, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Would you notice the word "Endeavoring." Literally it means: YOU HAVE GOT TO WORK AT IT! The word being in the present tense means ITS A NEVER-ENDING JOB.
Since it’s “a never-ending job” Christians who really CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER IN THE BODY OF CHRIST will "keep on making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
In order to keep the peace and interject the “Fruit of the Spirit of LONSUFFERING” into our actions, we should consider doing the following:
1. Do not spend casual time with people who entice you to react wrongly. There are people who cause you to react with bitterness, a quick temper, and yield to temptation. Be nice to these people, work with them if you must, but do not spend casual time with them.
2. Spread the word that you do not participate in criticism. Let it be known that you will not participate in character assassination or idle gossip.
3. Do not live in unplanned situations. Idle time is one of the great causes for unnecessary and unwise reactions. Just sitting around and talking with nothing planned amplifies differences and often leads to arguments, fusses and reactionary conversation.
What we have just studied is an amplification of what our Lord taught us in Matthew 7:12 concerning "The GOLDEN RULE" which says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even to them…” Jesus is saying, "Put yourself in the place of another, and then treat him as you would like for him to treat you under the same circumstances."
The only possible way to live such a rule (and this should be the code of every believer) would be to love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.
The WORLD tells us to "treat your fellowman as he has treated you. Return kindness for kindness, revenge for injury."
JESUS says, "Treat your fellowman as you would want to be treated," FORGIVE and FORBEAR.
In our church, may our PRAYER be, "Teach Me, O Lord, this simple and beautiful precept of LOVE. Write it upon my heart and help me to live it out in full in my DAILY life as I live like thee before others.”
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “The Fruit of the Spirit – Longsuffering” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
PERMISSION TO COPY: Because the “Weekly SERMON” will be reproduced into other formats, please take note of the following: The “Weekly SERMON” in its original form, without any changes, may be copied and re-transmitted by electronic mail, and copies may be printed for individual or ministry purposes, provided that such copying, re-transmission, printing, or other use is not for profit or other commercial purpose. Any copying, re-transmission, distribution, printing, or other use of the “Weekly SERMON” must set forth in full the heading that is given before each “Weekly SERMON.” Any other request for use, please contact Bible Baptist Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 570.829.5216.
PS: In order to access the Weekly SERMON, in various FORMATS please SUBSCRIBE to our weekly email list at https://theweeklysermon.com/subscribe-or-unsubscribe/ where SUBSCRIBERS ONLY have access to the link to Weekly Sermon Library, SUBSCRIBERS can choose: Plain Text (TXT), Microsoft Word document (DOC), Rich Text (RTF), Web Page (HTML) or PDF (Portable Document Format), any of the format(s) you desire. After you decide on the appropriate format(s) you may then print a copy of the Weekly SERMON, save it to a file on your computer, or download it and save it to a disk for future use. SUBSCRIBERS use of this material is meant to be flexible: UNSUBSCRIBING is easy, just follow the same link above..