Faithlife Sermons

Fruits of the Spirit 09 - Gentleness


Reading: James 3:13-18
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

I.    Gentle Wisdom

      A.  Gentle Deeds

            1.   The term we find in Gal.5:23 for gentleness is handled in a couple of different ways in the N.T.

                   a.   In James 3:13 it is translated “humility” and James talks about it as a child of the wisdom that comes from God.

                   b.   In Matt.5.5 this word is translated “meekness” as a characteristic of God’s people.

                   c.   The ideas overlap in the Bible, as in our language. Humility/meekness and gentleness go together like arrogance and harshness.

            2.   Deeds done in gentleness (v.13)

                   a.   Gentle deeds have a soft/humble touch — a touch that always feels like the touch of love and respect for the other person’s rights.

                   b.   Gentle deeds are like gentle rain — gentle rain penetrates the deepest

                   c.   Gentleness has a gentle attitude the results in gentle actions.

      B.  Letting go of One-Upmanship

            1.   Bitter Envy — wanting what someone else has, and being bitter that I don’t have it.

                   a.   In this context bitter envy about one’s role in the Church, or one’s influence over believers.

                   b.   Undermining jealousy

            2.   Selfish Ambition (doing whatever it takes)

                   a.   This is ambition that divides people and churches

            3.   Bitter envy and selfish ambition come disguised as wisdom, but these things have a devilish origin and stand in the way of God’s work of producing gentle deeds through us.

      C.  Mild Manners

            1.   The wisdom of God is: pure (holy), peace-loving, considerate, submissive (able to be persuaded), full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (v.17)

            2.   We are to be mild (gentle) mannered

                   a.   Gentle - not abrasive, harsh, demanding.

                   b.   Gentle deeds and gentle words.

            3.   We are to have good manners

                   a.   It’s amazing how many fights in churches and between Christian people lack basic good manners.

What do we do if our gentleness fruit is small and green and sour?

II.   Gentle like Jesus

      A.  Jesus is Gentle with His Own

            1.   Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

            2.   When God came to Elijah in the cave, he did not come as a tornado, an earthquake, or a fire. He came as a “gentle whisper” (1Kings 19:12)

                   a.   It wasn’t until Elijah heard the gentle whisper that He knew it was God — God comes to those He loves in gentle ways.

      B.  Gentle with Each Other

            1.   2 Corinthians 10:1-2 (NIV)

By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.

                   a.   Paul was completely caught up by Jesus own gentleness in his relation with Him.

            2.   Gentle with sinners among us:

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Gal. 6:1 (NIV)

                   a.   From time to time we have to confront each other. We do so without pulling our punches (calling a spade a spade). But we also do it gently — with a loving, humble touch.

                   b.   God’s people are God’s people. Out of respect for God, if not for them, we are bound to treat them as God’s dear ones.

      C.  Gentle with All

            1.   Gentle with those who are not (yet) Christians.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

                   a.   We all may have heard of folks who in the name of evangelism go around insulting people, badgering them, hounding them until they “make a decision.”

                   b.   But “Pre-Christians” are God’s people too. Since they belong to God, we are bound to treat them with the respect of anything that belongs to God.

            2.   Gentle with ourselves.

                   a.   If we use the argument that we should be gentle with God’s people because they are God’s, we must remember that we belong to Him to and deserve from ourselves the same gentleness we give to others.

What do we do if our gentleness fruit is small and green and sour?

III.  Blessings to the Gentle

      A.  A gentle Harvest

            1.   A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov. 15:1)

                   a.   There is a kind of direct blessing that comes from being gentle — gentleness itself has it’s benefits.

            2.   Sowing in peace (doing gentle deeds) produces righteous fruit.

                   a.   James 3:18 connects gentle deeds with good, God-pleasing fruit.

      B.  To the gentle go the Spoils

            1.   The meek will inherit the earth.

                   a.   God blesses the meek with the spoils of His victory.

                   b.   God will bless the gentle, humble, meek with all the blessings of His creation.

            2.   The gentle might not advance as far as quickly in terms of getting lots of goodies, but they’ll end up with more that those who live by selfish ambition.

What do we do if our gentleness fruit is small and green and sour?

The Bottom Line:

Allow God’s gentleness to Escape through your Actions and Attitude toward everyone.


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