Sunday Evening Bible Study
July 14, 1996
Paul is writing to a group of churches which have been infected with a doctrine of legalism.
But after having taught them why it's important not to be living under the Law, trying to please God on their own, they are now faced with another situation, the danger that happens when you take the Law away from people:
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
And so Paul has begun teaching on the issue of how to handle the the flesh, with the main key being:
Ga 5:16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
We've looked at the "works of the flesh", identifying when that sinful nature of ours it at work by looking at the things it produces in our lives.
Now we are looking at the singular "fruit of the Spirit".
It's a single fruit that has nine different characteristics.
The more we grow in the Lord, the more we learn to "walk in the Spirit" (vs.16), the more these qualities will appear.
:22 the fruit of the Spirit is ...
A compound word from makro (long) and thumos (passion, angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again)
makrothumia - patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance; patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs
There are two words that are often translated "patience":
makrothumia is being patient with people.
makrothumia is the self restraint which does not hastily retaliate a wrong.
The opposite of makrothumia is wrath and revenge.
hupomone is being patient and enduring through hard circumstances.
hupomone is the temper which does not easily succumb under suffering.
The opposite of hupomone is cowardice or despondency.
The early church father, John Chrysostom wrote that makrothumia was the gift of a man who could revenge himself and does not, of the man who is slow to anger.
Not like this guy (worry Greg Laurie fans, buy I've got to share one that Greg's used ...):
I heard a story the other night about a truck driver who dropped in at an all-night restaurant in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The waitress had just served him when three swaggering, leather-jacketed motorcyclists -- of the Hell's Angels type -- entered and rushed up to him, apparently spoiling for a fight. One grabbed the hamburger off his plate; another took a handful of his French fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
The trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood
watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the cyclists said to her, "Well, he's not much of a man, is he?"
She replied, "I can't answer as to that, but he's not much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot."
1. Look at God's patience toward you.
Some say that the Lord isn't coming back, but in reality, He's just demonstrating His longsuffering.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (AV)
It's God's own longsuffering toward us that gives us a chance to repent.
Ro 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (AV)
If God wasn't so patient, we'd all be toast by now.
When you want to get impatient with others, try thinking about how much God has put up with in you.
2. It comes from the Holy Spirit.
It's part of the Holy Spirit's fruit in our lives.
Paul prayed for the Colossians:
Colossians 1:9-11 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Paul prayed that they would be strengthened with God's power to that they could have endurance (hupomone) and patience (makrothumia).
But not just a gritting your teeth kind of longsuffering, but longsuffering with JOY!
The patience that the Holy Spirit produces isn't a quite suffering on your part.
God can give you joy with your patience!
Part of growing in patience is an increasing openness on our part to allowing God to work in our lives, strengthening us.
Ask God for strength.
Let Him produce the longsuffering in you.
3. Just do it!
Colossians 3:12-13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Paul says that it's just one of those things that as Christians we're supposed to "put on".
It's amazing what we can do with our feelings if we want to.
How often do you get up and go to work, even though you don't feel like it?
How often do you treat a customer at work with courtesy and kindness, even though they're a great big jerk?
Just do it.
4. Look at others who are examples of patience.
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (AV)
Be followers of those like the wife of Melvyn Switzer
The highest measured sound level recorded by any chronic snorer is 87.5 decibels reached by Melvyn Switzer of Hampshire, England. His wife, Julie is deaf in one ear.
Jas 5:10-11 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (NIVUS)
When we think of Job, we think of enduring through hard times.
But how about the things he had to put up with from his friends who supposedly came to "comfort" him?
And how about the Lord's longsuffering with Job's complaints?
Yet in the end Job received all kinds of blessing from the Lord. ("the end of the Lord")
There are blessings for sticking it out with people:
In a manufacturing town in Scotland, a young lady began teaching a Sunday school class of poverty-stricken boys. The most unpromising youngster was a boy named Bob. After the first two or three Sundays, he did not return. So the teacher went to look for him. Although the superintendent had given Bob some new clothes, they were already worn and dirty when the teacher found him. He was given another new suit, and he came back to Sunday school. But soon he quit again, and the teacher went out once more to find him. When she did, she discovered that the second set of clothes had gone the way of the first. "I am completely discouraged about Bob," she told the superintendent. "I guess we must give up on him." "Please don't do that," he pleaded. "I believe there is still hope. Try him one more time." They gave Bob a third suit of clothes, and this time he began to attend faithfully. It wasn't long until he became a Christian and eventually even taught in that same Sunday school. Who was that obstinate, ragged boy who for a time seemed so unreachable? None other than Robert Morrison, who later became the first Protestant missionary to China. He translated the Bible into Chinese and brought the Word of God to teeming millions.
So discouraged pastor, Sunday school teacher, youth worker, give that disappointing person one more chance.
5. Look for the second coming.
Jas 5:7-9 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. (AV)
A farmer (husbandman) waits until the end of the full growing season before harvesting his crop.
We too need to wait until the end of the harvest is over.
You never know how people are going to change and respond to the gospel.
grudge - stenazo - a sigh, to groan; to express grief by inarticulate or semi-articulate sounds
In other words, don't have a half-hearted longsuffering by sighing or groaning at people, even though you put up with them.
Ask God for JOY in your patience!