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We have enjoyed great sermons with Pastor Dave’s series: “A Summer of Miracles” from the book of Acts, and now finishing the teachings on the Fruit of the Spirit: “Living Beyond Ourselves.” Pastor Dave said the fruit of the Spirit is the Character of God revealed in Jesus Christ and lived out in the lives of Christians. When the Holy Spirit comes, He brings some wonderful things with Him. These are the personal qualities of the character of God and they change our character.
Before we look at this last one on “self-control,” I must mention last week’s message on “gentleness.” Pastor Dave presented the most attractive picture of our Lord Jesus that is so compelling that it is difficult to resist. I think of the woman taken in adultery in the Gospels (John 8). For her, it was shame, humiliation and violence. She knew what the religious leaders wanted to do and could do. It is no good trying to speculate what the Lord Jesus wrote on the ground, but His words to the woman, “neither do I condemn you,” (John 8:11) were words of gentleness, maybe self-control also. The law said she must die for her sin, but Our Lord Jesus knew soon He would be on a cross paying the penalty for her and for you and me.
The self-control of God is seen in the Old Testament. God’s Power and Authority under control. In Malachi 3:6 we read. “I am the Lord; I do not change. Therefore, you are not consumed O sons of Jacob.” Yes, this is the same Malachi who says Israel offered to God polluted offerings (Malachi 1). The same who says the priests were corrupt (Malachi 2). The same who says they robbed God in tithes and offerings (Malachi 3). The same who says the people complained harshly against the Lord and said it is useless to serve Him (Malachi 3). Yet they were not consumed.
We see the Lord’s self-control in the days of Moses, and in those days the light of His holiness and fire of His presence shone through. God gave Israel revelation of His power, He disciplined them but for 40 years, he was patient, and after 40 years there was a nation for Joshua to lead into the promised land. It could be said there on their entrance into the land: “I am the Lord I do not change. Therefore you are not consumed.” It was God’s self-control when they tested Him in the wilderness. Psalm 95:8: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the days of trial in the wilderness. When your fathers tested Me. They tried Me, though they saw My works. For forty tears I was grieved with that generation” Also Exodus 17:7: “because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’”
Isaiah 65:2 – “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people. Who walk in a way that is not good.” We see God’s self-control in Genesis 18 where Abraham intercedes for Sodom. Abraham came near and said: Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? (Genesis 18:23) Was Abraham wondering if the Lord would do the right thing? Was he questioning God’s character? “Be it far from You to destroy the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You.” (Genesis 18:25) Shall not the Judge of all the earth do, right?
We see God’s self-control at the cross, where our Lord Jesus died for us. Romans 8:32 – “He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us.” So many scriptures telling of God’s decision to sacrifice his own Son for our sins. Who could make a decision like that? Could you or me or any man or woman? John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son.” The Son that He loved. Our Lord Jesus showed self-control in Matthew 26:53. At his arrest in the garden “Do you think that I cannot pray now to my Father and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?” He did not call. Self-control is a quality of the character of God and we all benefit from this and from all of the fruit of the Spirit.
Do join us for more of Pastor Dave’s teaching from the Bible. He will start a new series now. Keep joining us online, and do take advantage of our Alpha series, focusing on the big questions. And take advantage of fellowship by being part of a Life Group.