For heaven’s sake, control yourself.
MAY 13, 2021
For heaven’s sake, control yourself. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation, and if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life, with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open to the fifth chapter of Galatians, we spent a long time in this chapter and we’re gonna end this chapter’s teaching today. We’re talking as you know about the fruit of the Spirit, and we have seen that you’re free, and that you’re free because of the Holy Spirit and the gift that he gives you called fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit
of this Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.
And we saw yesterday, and I’m going to say it a little bit more about it, that gentleness is being under the control. It’s translated as meekness in the Sermon on the Mount, and it’s being under control, not by yourself, but by the rider of the horse that has the bit in your mouth. And when he tugs on it a little bit to the left, you go to the left, he tugs on it a little bit on the right, you go to the right. And when he says go, you go. And when he pulls on it and says, stop ,you stop. That’s what it means to be meek, to be gentle. It seems to me a lot of the illustrations I use nowadays are illustrations of people that are in Heaven. That happens when you get old, and one of the great heroes of my life and mentors is Dr. Edmund Clowney. He was the president of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, and I’ve taught there a number of times. Dr. Clowney was gentle and wonderful. Let me tell you a side story, and then I’ll tell you what I’m gonna tell you. But, somebody told me toward the end of his life, that he was upset with something I’d said or done, but they didn’t know what it was, but they said he was upset. And that devastated me. I went home and wrote him a letter, and I said, Dr. Clowney, you know, my respect for you, and somebody told me I’ve done something, that offended you. And I want you to know, if you’ll tell, first forgive me. And if you’ll tell me what it was, I would, I’ll change. And I said some other things and sent the letter and waited. I expected in a day or two, I’d get a reply, but I didn’t. And then I waited a week, and no reply. And then a month, and no reply. And every time I thought about it, I just winced and felt miserable. It was like acid in my life. And then after a month and a half, I get this letter and you could hardly read the address that he had written with a pen on the envelope, because he was old and his hand was shaking. But let me tell you what he said, and I just love this. He said my dear Steven, you have never offended me. He said, the reason I couldn’t get back to you, I was in the hospital, and it’s been really rough going for the last few weeks. But I wanted you to know that I love you and I appreciate your ministry. And if you had ever offended me, you wouldn’t have to write a letter. I would call you and we would talk about it. So remember that, and I remembered it, in fact, in just telling you, I feel good about it again. That was gentleness, but let me tell you another thing. He, told me one time that he had gone to a Berlin conference on evangelism, and that was a big conference, a big deal in those days. And he was criticized very bitterly by a minister, and I’m not going to tell you his name, because I’m not going to feed your pure interest, but he was really criticized harshly for it, in broadcast, and things that were published out of that particular ministry. And, there was a teacher at Westminster, Dr. J. Gresham Machen. And he had been a teacher of Dr. Clowney, and Dr. Machen was very strong, and he was very clear on what he taught, and he set the standard for Westminster Seminary. At any rate, despite this minister’s criticism, Dr. Clowney went to that conference and he saw that minister had criticized him, so terribly, standing outside with a picket, picketing the conference. And he went up to him and shook his hand. And the man said, do I know you, and Dr. Clowney said, why you ought to know me? I’m a haunted man, the ghost of Dr. Machen is following me right now, just behind me. What was, what was it Clowney saying? He was saying, you know, I’m being, I’m being meek. I’m being, led around by Dr. Machen he said, but Ed Clowney knew that it was Jesus, that it led him there. That’s what it is means. That’s gentleness, Dr. Clowney could have struck out in anger, but he didn’t. He could have amazed this particular enemy with his intellect, and he was an incredible intellect, but he was meek and gentle, that quality needs to be present in each one of us. And I regularly ask that Jesus will fix me and make me better. Now, let’s look at the final fruit of the Spirit, it’s self control.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Now the King James Version 1611, says temperance. And that’s pretty good, but self-control is better, because it’s wider. It is the self-control of an athlete or an emperor, who places the needs of his empire above the needs that he has personally, Aristotle says that this is the mean between the excessive anger and the excessive angerlessness, the Stoics used this word to describe the rule of reason over passion. Now, this is the opposite of doing your own thing. The opposite of, if it feels good, just do it. It is the ability to stop, at one place and to go in the right way. One of the great myths of our time is the belief that we are ruled by our emotions and our passions. We live in one of the most irresponsible ages in the history of the world. Nothing is ever anybody’s fault, you are valued in so far as you are a victim. If you had a wicked father, that’s the reason you’re wicked, it isn’t your fault. It’s, we tell our children they’re wonderful, and they can do no wrong, and they’re precious. And we look at bad stuff and tell them, Oh, you’re wonderful. Now you don’t have to worry if you’ve been doing that with your kids, circumstances deal with brats, and the circumstances will deal with them, but it does create a culture that is victim based, always somebody else’s fault, no matter what happens to you, look around for a lawyer who will take it to court and sue somebody, because it was their fault, it certainly wasn’t your fault. And this fruit of the Spirit says, stop it, stop it. You’re not controlled by your passions. You’re not controlled by your thoughts. You’re controlled by Jesus. And I am, sometimes, sometimes I’m not, because I have a pity party on occasion too. Let me tell you, one time, an old pastor was rebuked by a young minister for losing his temper, and he replied, young man. I control more temper every 15 minutes of my life, then you will see in a lifetime. Oh, that’s it. I can’t tell you how often the Holy spirit says to me, control yourself. Stop. Be still. Don’t say that. And sometimes I was, and I have a friend who has a tree in her front yard and you know what it is, it’s a multi fruit tree. Someone, I don’t know who had crafted a number of different kinds of fruit onto the trunk of one tree, you can get oranges from one limb and grapefruit from another limb. You can get multi treats from any limb you choose. There’s something else that is good about that multi fruit tree, there’s always fruit of one kind or another in bloom and in season. And I’m told that the fruit is always good fruit. That fruit tree is a symbol of what our lives ought to be, a great metaphor. All the fruit of the Spirit about which Galatians speaks, ought to be manifested in your life and my life, or we ought to be moving in that direction. That’s the freedom we have, when people come and look at my friend’s multi fruit free, they say, wow the gardener must be something else. They ought to say exactly the same thing about you. And about me. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. And we will continue through Galatians next week. Don’t miss that. Of course, if you missed any episodes, swing on by keylife.org, where you can listen to those any old time you want. And tomorrow being Friday, that means it’s time again for Friday Q&A, when our friend Pete Alwinson joins us, and together, Steve and Pete answer the challenging questions that you’ve sent in.
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