Kingdom Building Gifts: Self Control
1 Peter 4:7-11 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Last several weeks
- the long game - passion - love, built on truth - loving and serving one another as gospel witness to the world...
but … there’s something foundational. Something we mentioned early on when we started talking about gifts, but now I want to go back to it.
in order for us to do… well any of this… we have to have self control - we must be able to control ourselves, to rule ourselves.
WHAT IS SELF CONTROL?
Prov 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
we don’t mean that you exist out on your own, i’m my own person! I control myself, I’m independent.
there has been a cultural revival lately in the idea of self discipline. - cold showers, routines, accountability apps...
but that’s not quite what I’m getting at.
although Godly self-control does get you out of bed when your alarm goes off… and to bed when you need to go.
AND Godly self control does govern your lusts - but not only your lusts in the heat of the moment, but it keeps you from going near them in the first place.
Prov 5:8 “Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of (the adulterous woman’s) house,”
We see the opposite of this in Romans 1, when God “gives over” those who reject his commands to their “debased mind to do what ought not to be done” Rom 1:28.
they can’t control themselves. any degree of restraint that God had provided for them is gone now,
ill- they are careening down a mountain pass with no guard rails and the brakes just failed. it’s only a matter of time.
I hope you’re starting to see - real self control isn’t “self control” at all. It’s God control. It’s the Lord being gracious. He’s giving us this gift of the Spirit to serve and love and follow him.
it’s him rescuing us… setting us free.
EVERYONE HAS A MASTER
John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”
Romans 6:16 “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
everybody has a master. for the non-Christian it is their sin… it is Satan.
but for the Christian, those who believe and trust in Jesus, your master is Christ.
and if your master is Christ - then you are free.
John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
BUT IF YOUR MASTER IS NOT CHRIST - next verse
John 8:37 “I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.”
they were not Christ’s - they were not free - his word did not dwell in them - therefore, they couldn’t control themselves.
they couldn’t control their bloodlust - they were striving to kill him.
their father, the devil, is driving them to kill Jesus out of hatred and malice - and they just can’t stop themselves.
have you ever read the OT and just thought - WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE JEWS? no self control.
in other words - if you want to be self-ruled, you have to be Christ ruled first.
if you’re controlled by Christ, now you have self-control.
otherwise you’re ruled by the devil. He controls you, and throws you whatever way he desires by his guile.
you’re not free - you can’t control yourself - your master the devil and sin … they are slave drivers and won’t let you
this is what the Bible means by “freedom in Christ”
you who have been set free in Christ are free to obey.. where as before you were enslaved to your sin and your addictions.
this also means - those who completely lack self-control aren’t Christians. They haven’t been transformed. If your response to your sin over and over again is “I couldn’t control myself” it’s because you were being controlled.
you aren’t free yet, in other words.
he who the son sets free is free indeed.
2 Tim 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
“But preacher!” - you’re talking about ME I don’t have self control!
Ah but see - you’re aware of it. Which means the Holy Spirit is convicting you… which means he’s drawing you to his truth
In other words - he’s working on you right now. he’s planting the seeds of his power in you right now. Rejoice! The Lord is convicting you because you are his! Repent, confess your sin and believe the Gospel!
those who completely lack self control, God control, this goes in one ear and out the other for them. they don’t have ears to hear.
SO HOW DO I GET IT!?
I don’t have self control, I want it, I’m convicted about it… help me! What do I do!
OR MAYBE - I’ve got it, but there ain’t a lot of it.
Self control is listed as a fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5:22-23.
and here’s the thing about fruit. It takes time.
Remember our first sermon in this series? Kingdom building takes time. Fruitfulness, takes time.
You don’t just plant a fruit tree and get fruit the next day, it takes time to wait for the fruit to come to maturity.
satsuma ill: we have satsumas in our yard, we were blessed to have several mature trees already going when we bought our property, and satsumas are funny...
that fruit pops up on that tree and looks finished pretty early in the fall. Around september/october or so the color starts to set in.
but Satsumas in september taste awful. They’re not ripe yet. They need more time.
And so in our house, every year, we play the waiting game.
my little ones don’t quite get it yet - they see oranges on the trees and they’re immediately ready to eat them “DAD! Can I have an ORANGE!?”
they’re younger… still immature… sometimes they’ll just grab one off and begin to snack on it… to their disappointment. It’s not ready yet. Still sour.
but then around november or december that first frost hits. and then all those sugars in those satsumas set and they’re ready. AND THEN it’s Satsuma season.
the kids run around and play outside and eat as many as they’d like right off the tree. I imagine it’s what the Garden of eden was like. it’s awesome, probably one of my favorite parts of the year.
but you see - that fruit - that joy - it took time. it took work. it took cultivation. water. growth. fertilizer.
for the fruits of the spirit, it’s much in the same.
it comes over time. through prayer, study, meditation on the word, through counsel and teaching, through life with the Lord and with his people, his church.
through pressing in to the Lord through all his various means of grace.
1 Cor 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Paul compares self control to an athletes physical disciplines. They wake up early, they work out, they stretch, they diet.... and all so that in six months they might see some results.
this is us. this is the quest for self control, for Christian growth. fruitfulness ain’t fast.
so do the work. set your alarm, read you Bible, spend time in prayer.
You want a good model? A good place to start?
wake up early in the morning, jump in on our church Bible reading plan, and pray for a few minutes after you finish.
The Lord will use that.
Luke 16:10 ““One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
and the Lord promises to give more to those who are faithful w/ little.
Maybe you’ve already got those things down… you wake up early, you’re killing the Bible reading plan, you’re looking for the next thing.
Well, where are your investments? - Where is your time going? How are you generating a return on what the Lord has given to you?
AND this is why we start training our children in this Godly discipline now.
imagine… giving your kids a head start in what you didn’t have. And you don’t do it with cold showers - you do it by leading them to Jesus, to his words, to his promises...
Parents are called to train up their children in the way they should go. We’re a means of this grace for our kids.
Godly parents are a GREAT GIFT, and they teach their kids to live as Christians from an early age. To trust God’s good promises.
INCLUDING the good Godly gift of self control.
we’re raising up our kids in God’s covenant now, the promises are for you AND YOUR CHILDREN
and so we don’t treat them like little pagans, we treat and train them the way the Bible teaches us to - like covenant kids, heirs of God’s promises.
INCLUDING GOD’S PROMISED GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT AND OF SELF CONTROL
Get your kiddos started early in this Godly practice. And remind them where it really comes from, from the Lord!
We, as God’s people, can be self-controlled.
You don’t have to live forever the way you are now, the lord gives us gifts of change and transformation.