Sweet Fruit for Sour Times

Pastor Jerry Gillis - November 8, 2020

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching. 

  1. What was one thing that God was showing you through this message?   

  1. What is the difference between gentleness and weakness? What does “power under control” and “power we don’t use for ourselves” look like in your world?  

  1. Where do you see Jesus’ gentleness most clearly? How does that inform the way you should live? 

  1. What is one action step that you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today? 


Sermon Transcript

"Do not mistake my kindness for weakness." You ever heard that phrase? Some of you are, "Where was he going with this man? "What an opening." Have you ever heard that phrase? Have you ever used that phrase? Maybe you have. Do you know where that phrase came from? You may or may not? I can't say for absolute certain because I wasn't able to source this exactly as I would want to, but it has been attributed to Al Capone. That's right. My man, Scarface. Let me give you the full context of what he said. It was attributed to him. "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. "I'm kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, "weak is not what they will remember about me." It gives you some perspective a little bit on the context of that statement. Now there is a lesson to learn here from Al Capone, shocking, here we are in church talking about lessons from Al Capone. That's not what you may be expected I realize that. But there is a lesson to learn here, and that is that kindness doesn't equal weakness. He is in that regard, right about that part of what he said. People still have a tendency though, to affiliate the idea of kindness with weakness. For whatever reason, that particular trait, you hear people that think about that trait, kindness, and maybe they associate it to some degree with weakness. But we do that with another trait as well. And it's the one that we're going to be studying today because for those of you that are new, or maybe haven't been tracking with us here at The Chapel, we've been in the last month and a half or so studying Galatians 5, talking about the fruit of the Spirit. And in that, we've been learning about how what God wants to do is through the Spirit, wants to share his life with us and form his life in us. Remember what we're talking about is the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the Galatians, not the fruit of you and I, but the fruit of the Spirit. That this is actually God's very life that he is sharing with us and letting us in on and forming inside of us. And so there's a characteristic of that fruit of the Spirit, of flavor we might call it of that fruit of the Spirit that maybe we associate with the idea of weakness. And it's what we're studying today. Here's what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22-23. "But the fruit of the Spirit "is love joy, peace, forbearance, "kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness." Now it seems that at times when we hear the word gentleness, the first thing that we think of is we think of weakness. Now, I imagine that that's what some people have running through their minds. You think of gentleness and you think of some milk toast, you know, weak spirited person who just gets run over in the culture of survival of the fittest. And you know, and that's not for you. Like you're strong and you're doing your thing And Maybe, probably don't sound anything like that actually. But for men, sometimes it's not a very attractive feature, and I'm not talking about all men, but sometimes men hear that idea of gentleness and they're like, "Gentle? "What are you talking about men, "I'm a man is what we do." "I'm going to eat bark, right?" I mean, that's just that kind of deal, right? But if your thought is that gentleness is weak, you have completely misunderstood the word and you've completely misunderstood what Paul is trying to say. So I wanna disabuse us of this notion that gentleness is weakness. For one, when the Bible says, when Paul writes that the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness, would you dare say that there's any characteristic of God's own life that would constitute weakness? I dare say not. But what I will say it is, is it's gentleness. Now, how do we understand this term? Well, it's interesting 'cause it's not the easiest term in the Greek language to understand. The deceased great scholar, Scottish scholar, William Barclay actually said that this may be, this particular word in the Greek language, maybe one of the most difficult in the New Testament to translate for this reason. Because there's no precise English word that captures fully what's meant by this Greek word. Now the Greek word is prautes and it has the idea when translated of gentleness or meekness or humility. And in fact, it's not just one of those things, it's actually more encompassing than that because the idea behind the word prautes where we translated gentleness, what Paul wrote, the idea behind that word is the idea in ancient Greece of one who was in authority, but who did not use their power to crush or to dominate someone else. So in the ancient Greek world, if someone was referred to as prautes, what we translate as gentleness or humility or meekness, if they were referred to with that terminology, prautes, what was being said is that there's someone who has power, but they're not using that power to crush or to destroy. So you'll find quickly when you start understanding the nature of this very word, that when Paul writes that "The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness" listen to this. He's not writing this to teach the powerless, he's writing it to teach the powerful. Why do I know that? We'll just use logic? So let's say, mom, you brought home that child from the hospital after giving birth. You remember that? You do. Your husband may not remember it. He may have passed out, but you remember it. And you guys bring that child home from having that baby at the hospital, and that baby has older siblings at the house. Maybe your older siblings are four or five or whatever. And when the child comes home, the older siblings are running around going, "I wanna hold her, I wanna hold her, I wanna hold her" So you, mom, you set it up in such a way where you put the older sibling on the couch, nice and soft or on the floor nice and easy. And you say, "Okay, I'm gonna put the child in your lap. "I want to make sure the head doesn't fall over." You know, you do all that stuff, right? And so the older sibling is now holding the child. But your last instruction to that sibling is "Be!"

"Gentle." Careful, but gentle. Why must, listen. Why must they be gentle? Because the older sibling has the power to do damage to the baby. I guarantee you, you never put the baby in the lap of the older sibling and tell the baby, "Be gentle." Baby has no power. The baby's just laying there, right? May have the power to spit up on you or something else, right? But whatever. But you're not telling the baby to be gentle, the baby's virtually powerless. You're telling the person who holds the power to be gentle. Because they have power that could be exercised in such a way that could hurt, destroy, crush. But instead that power needs to be under control. You see, that's the idea behind the word prautes. When we translate gentleness or humility or meekness, the idea is power under control. Or power that's not used for yourself, but is actually used in service to others, or power that actually turns itself on itself and disadvantages itself for the advantage of another. You see, this is not weakness at all. This is strength. And we're talking about an idea that is significant for all of us to be able to wrap our minds and our hearts around. So the question is this, what does gentleness actually look like? I mean, can you give us some specifics? What does gentleness look like? I can give you a specific in one word, Jesus. Not to put a too fine a point on this, but if you want to understand gentleness, just look at Jesus. In fact, that's how we connect the dots, when Paul talks about that the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness, he's actually saying that, "This is consistent with the very life of God "that I want to share with you." You might wanna jot this thought down, it's pretty simple. "If we pay attention to the life of Jesus, "we will see the life the Spirit is sharing with us "and forming in us." All we have to do is pay attention to the life of Jesus. And then we're going to see the actual life that the Spirit of God is sharing with us and forming in us. It's the life of Jesus. Why do I say that? I say it because if we don't understand, listen, we have to understand this idea of the fruit of the Spirit is not just about the idea of kind of, moral things that we do in our own power. This is actually the life of God working in us and forming in us, such that we're demonstrating the life of God, the life of Jesus to the world, through the agency of the Holy Spirit. This is what we're doing. And so when we look at Jesus' life, we can actually see gentleness or humility or meekness. In fact, just track with me for a moment, okay? Through his life. Think about what was prophesied, his prophecy about his life. If you start looking into the prophets and you look into what they said about what the Messiah was going to be, what would be characteristic of the very nature of the Messiah? Listen to what God said through Isaiah in Isaiah 42. This was a Messianic prophecy. "Here's my servant whom I uphold, "my chosen one in whom I delight. "I will put my Spirit on him "and he will bring justice to the nations. "He will not shout or cry out, "or raise his voice in the streets. "A bruised reed, he will not break. "And a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. "In faithfulness he will bring forth justice." So this is the nature, the characteristic nature of the Messiah. A bruised reed, you know what a reed is, right? One of those kind of stick almost looking things, but a bruised reed, right? That's like this, he's not snapping it. Or a smoldering wick, fire's barely going. He's not snuffing it out. Why? He's gentle. He's gentle. So the prophecy about the Messiah told us about his gentleness. How about his incarnation? Now, if you're kinda new to church or to the Bible or to the world of like Christian words, incarnation may go, "Wow, what are you talking about? "Is that like an instant milk? "What is that, right?" Now incarnation means to put on flesh. So it's the idea of God putting skin on and coming to be with us in the person of Jesus. "Jesus is the fullness of God in bodily form," the scripture says. Fully God and fully man at exactly the same time, his incarnation. Think about this, think about this. God became an embryo. How humble is that? An embryo situated in the womb of a woman he made, and grew over a period of nine months, finally was given birth, and then starts to grow and learn from his earthly dad, that wasn't his actual father, the Holy Spirit was. But learned from his earthly dad, Joseph and his mother Mary. And remember what the testimony of scripture says in Luke 2:52, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature "and in favor with God and man." That's almost mind blowing to think about. He learned, he grew, he listened, he developed. How humble? How gentle? How meek? Then you start listening to once he grows up and starts to engage in what God has purposed for him to do as the Messiah, you start listening to his teaching. And while he has everybody on a hillside in Galilee, right next to the sea of Galilee, in this discourse on the hill or the sermon on the mount as we like to call it. Listen to what he said in Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek." Same word by the way, translated by Paul as gentle. "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." Why should they inherit the earth? 'Cause they know how to do power. They're not abusers of it. They know how to do it. So not only his teaching, but what about his very ministry? The way that he says you should interact with him. Listen to what he said in Matthew 11, he said, "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'll find rest for your souls. "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." He's saying to everybody, if you felt harangued, if you felt overwhelmed by the Pharisees putting all of these laws on you that you could never live up to, Jesus says, "Come to me, come to me. "I'm gentle and humble in heart. "I want you to come and rest in me." I mean, what a beautiful picture, right? Of his ministry. What about his mission? When he was called by God to go to Jerusalem ultimately to sacrifice himself, on his way in he's fulfilling prophecy that happened in the Old Testament, that was saying that the King is going to visit Jerusalem. In fact, some of that prophecy said, "The King is going to visit Jerusalem in judgment." But notice how Jesus actually characterizes what he does when he enters into Jerusalem. This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets. "Say to Daughter Zion, "'see your King comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey "'and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" The king, listen, it could have been described in any way we wanted to describe it. But how was the King who was coming to Jerusalem described? Gentle. Why? Because it's characteristic of who he is. This is a part of his very life. His prophesy, his incarnation, his teaching, his ministry, his mission but, what about even his betrayal? You see the gentleness of Jesus even in his betrayal. Look at how Matthew records it in chapter 26, it says, "while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, "one of the 12 arrived. "With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs "sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. "Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them. "'The one I kiss is the man arrest him' "Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "'greetings rabbi' "and kissed him. "Jesus replied, 'do what you came for friend.'" What? I would have been like, "Get up on here Judas!" That's what would have been going on in my head, right? "Men, after all I've done for you, "and you're gonna just like sell me out? "Come on over here." I would have gone three stooges on that guy. Right? Sorry, showing my age at this point, Jesus said, "'Do what you came for friend.' "Then the men stepped forward, "seized Jesus and arrested him. "With that one of jesus' companions." It was Peter, "Reached for his sword, "drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, "cutting off his ear. "'Put your sword back in its place.' "Jesus said to him. "'For all who draw the sword will die by the sword. "'Do you think I cannot call on my father "'and he will at once put at my disposal "'more than 12 legions of angels? "'but how then would the scriptures be fulfilled "'that say it must happen in this way?'" Wow! Jesus basically said, "Do you not realize that I've got the power to say, "'Give me the angel army and let's wipe this place down. "'I have that power'" But you know what he did, he restrained his power for others. He didn't use his power to crush, he used it to save. In fact, when John records the same event in John 18, it says, "Simon Peter who had a sword, "drew it and struck the high priest servant, "cutting off his right ear." The servant's name was Malchus. "Jesus commanded Peter, "'Put your sword away. "'Shall I not drink cup the father has given me'" See, this is the difference. Jesus didn't choose the sword. He chose the cup. Why? 'Cause he's gentle and humble in heart. Because he didn't choose power as the world defines it, he restrained his own power, he disadvantaged him self to advantage others. It's a beautiful picture of the nature of Jesus. He had the power to crush. Crush, his enemies, crush, anybody he wanted, but he restrained his power and instead used it to heal. Why? He's gentle. And if you look at that and say Jesus was weak, you've missed it. Gentleness is not weakness. And you see, this is the life of the Spirit is going to share with us. When Paul says "The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness." It's this very life that we're talking about, that he will share with us and begin to form inside of us. All we have to do is look at the life of Jesus to understand what life the Spirit is actually birthing in us. What life the Spirit is actually forming in us. See this mattered to Paul. That's why he said the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. Paul knew he had been transformed by who Jesus was and what Jesus had done. In fact, he saw the resurrected Jesus you recall. And the resurrected Jesus was actually gentle with him. "Paul, Paul, why do you persecute me?" "Wow, what? "Persecute you?" "Why do you kick against the goads Paul?" And the gentle resurrected savior who had been fought against by Paul for so long a period of time, the gentle resurrected savior actually remarkably deals with Paul in this instance, and this has marked Paul significantly. He knows this is the very life of the savior. And so when Paul writes other letters, he actually refers to that because he's basing the whole idea of gentleness and humility in the life of Jesus. That's what he's basing it in. And in fact, what he does when he writes often is he weds those two concepts right together. He puts them side-by-side, gentleness and humility. He puts them right next to one another. Listen to what he said when he's writing to the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 10, he said, "By the humility and gentleness of Christ, "I appeal to you." See this marked him significantly. When he was writing to the church at Ephesus, in Ephesians chapter 4, he says, "Be completely humble and gentle. "Be patient bearing with one another in love." And then when he's writing to the church at Colossae, he says this, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, "holy and dearly loved, "clothe yourselves with compassion, "kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." What is he saying when he says clothe yourselves with these things? He's saying put on Christ. He said that in a different way, put on Christ, because this is the nature of who Christ is and what Christ is like. This is his very life. Paul is so convinced of this idea of gentleness and how it was consistent with the life of the Spirit that he said everybody ought to be able to see it when they look at you. Everybody ought to be able to see gentleness. Power that is under control, power that is not just used for your own advantage, power that enables you to disadvantage yourself, to advantage other people. Power that's restrained And instead of crushing, it actually serves to repair or to heal or to save. He said, Paul did, everybody ought to see that. He said it in Philippians chapter 4. Here's what he said. "Let your gentleness be evident to all. "The Lord is near." Let your gentleness be evident to all. So how can our gentleness be evident to everybody? In what ways would our gentleness be evident to everybody? Well, let me give you a few. First one is this. Our gentleness should be observed in how we lead. Now, while you're jotting that down or thinking about it, I'm gonna pull up a chair here. This is going to serve as me. Now, this silly picture was from an event we did with our community groups and staff. It was kind of a Western theme. And so they did kind of a wanted poster, but just pretend for a second. It's the best I had 'cause I thought about it this morning. Just pretend this is me sitting here. Because the word of God actually speaks to people like me who do what I do, about how I'm supposed to lead. And my job here is not to stand over the word of God to you. My job is to join you in standing under the authority of the word. So I need to take a moment and preach to myself. You can apply this as you need to in your leadership arena. But the scripture actually speaks very specifically to me in this regard. Paul writes this to Timothy says, "Now the overseer," those who are Spiritually leading. "The overseer is to be above reproach, "faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, "respectable, hospitable, able to teach, "not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, "not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." Jerry, your job as an overseer, as a man of God, as somebody who's been given some sense of calling and Spiritual authority that God has entrusted to you, is not for the purposes of being harsh or domineering. But instead you are to demonstrate yourself as a man of God, qualified to be a man of God, by walking filled with Spirit and being gentle. Paul also says in first Timothy chapter 6, "But you man of God flee from all this "and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, "endurance, and gentleness." Your job is to pursue gentleness. It's not to avoid it, is not to do it when you feel like it, but it's to pursue it because in pursuing gentleness, you're pursuing the life of Jesus. And this ought to be characteristic of your leadership as God has called you. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2, "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, "but must be kind to everyone, "able to teach not resentful. "Opponents must be gently instructed in the hope that "God will grant them repentance "leading them to a knowledge of the truth." You never have permission to demonize or dehumanize people who stand in opposition to you. They may watch you on television and send you some crazy email about how you're an idiot and all that stuff. I know that's never happened in your life. But what you don't have permission to do, is to treat them despicably. They are people created in the image of God. And your responsibility is to be both considerate and to restrain your power maybe to win an argument, restrain your power maybe to overwhelm them with you know, a couple of things about the Bible. No, no, no, no. You've got to show them gentleness and respect. Titus 3 says, "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities." So I'm reminding you to be subject to rulers and authorities. Even now, some of you are going, "Well, which one is my authority?" "To be obedient, to be ready to do whatever's good, "to slander no one, "to be peaceable and considerate "and always be gentle toward everyone." You don't get to choose. You don't get to play favorites. You demonstrate humility, the gentleness of Jesus, meekness toward everyone. Doesn't mean you have to compromise. It doesn't mean you're a wallflower, but you have to demonstrate this so that you don't use your authority or your power to crush or to hurt, but instead to build and to heal.

You can take this for what you wanna take it for because some of you lead in your context. And you have to think about what it looks like to demonstrate gentleness in your leadership. But we don't just demonstrate it, and we shouldn't just have people observing it and how we lead, but also in how we witness. You know, when Peter writes about this idea of being a witness and he does, he actually starts with wives who have husbands who may not believe. And he talks to them about what their lives should actually look like and notice his language. Peter says it this way, he says, "Wives in the same way, "submit yourselves to your own husbands "so that if any of them do not believe the word "they may be won over without words "by the behavior of their wives "when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. "Your beauty shouldn't come from outward adornments, "such as elaborate hairstyles "and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes." It doesn't mean you can't do those things, he's saying, "This is not where your beauty comes from. "Rather it should be that of your inner self, "the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, "which is of great worth in God's sight." He was talking to wives about their witness in the live of an unbelieving husband. And what he was saying to them is this, "Is that not only should you be able to accept "how God has designed you and what God desires for you, "but you should also be able to withhold your power, "to be able to manipulate" which can happen by the way, I've heard. "Be able to manipulate to get your way, "but instead you restrain your power "to advantage the other "so that your unbelieving spouse can actually see "the beauty of the life of Christ in you." Peter goes on to actually include everybody in how we are to witness. And he says this in the same chapter, he says, "But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone "who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have, "but do this with gentleness and respect." Why? Because every person you talk to, they are created in the image of God. They're image bearers that are worthy of dignity, worthy of value, worthy of respect. And so we need to be more, listen, the church of Jesus needs to be as winsome as Jesus, in the way that we demonstrate his truth and who he is. Nobody ever came to Christ at the end of an argument, people come to Jesus by being confronted with the truth. But seeing that embodied in a life that demonstrates the actual life of God, you know this, right? Sometimes we've been super right about things and super wrong about how we've positioned them. We can be completely right about a particular subject and be wrong about the way we go about communicating that. What we want to do, listen, we wanna say what Jesus said in the way that Jesus said it. We want to demonstrate his life behind his words. So how we lead, how we witness, but also how we restore. You know, Paul says something very specific about people that are caught in a sin. Here's what he says in Galatians 6, "Brothers and sisters, "if someone is caught in a sin, "you who live by the Spirit, "You who live by the Spirit "should restore that person gently. "But watch yourselves or you also may be tempted. "Carry each other's burdens "and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." You who walk, listen, you who walk by the Spirit. When a brother or sister is caught in a sin, do we call them out on it? Absolutely. That's what we do in the body of Christ as brothers and sisters, right? If they're caught in a sin, you who are walking in the Spirit, you restore them gently. What does that mean? You don't use your power, 'cause they're in a tough circumstance, you don't use your power to crush them, use your power to try and help them heal. And you show great humility in that process, why? Because you know that you are not beyond temptation, that you could find yourself in this position. And so we who are spiritual. We who are walking in the Spirit, we restore gently. So whether we're leading or whether we're witnessing or whether we're restoring, we are to do so with gentleness and it should be evident to everybody, why? Because in each of those things, whether it's in leading or witnessing or restoring, in each of these areas, we hold some power. And we don't want that power to be used to crush, but instead we want to restrain that power from crushing and be used used to heal. So how do you act when you have the power? What does that look like in your world? How do you look when you are the one in power? What do you do when you're the most powerful person in the room? Some of you are, "I'm never the most powerful person in the room." Hold on a second. I'll bet you are. Let's take the election for a second. How have we demonstrated as the people of Jesus? How have we demonstrated gentleness and humility and meekness in the midst of this? Maybe your team has been in power for the last four years, how have you demonstrated the life of Jesus and how you've comported yourself? It's a fair question to ask us all. Maybe your team looks like they're going be the new administration. How have you handled yourself with gentleness, and humility and meekness? Has it been evident to everyone? It's an interesting way to be able to frame this, isn't it? Because in some ways, if our team so to speak was the one in power, or if our team is the one that's coming into power or whatever that looks like, right? In some way, we then to some degree have the power. What do we do with that? How do we use it? Do we use it in a manner that's consistent with the life of Jesus? Or do we choose the sword instead of the cup? How about today, today is Orphan Sunday nationally. And you know there've been some wonderful people, not only in our church, but all over the place who have chosen to use their power, to be able to advantage someone else that was powerless. To be able to take into their world, a foster child, or be able to adopt a child. It's a wonderful demonstration of gentleness, of humility, of meekness. What about as a parent? Right, you're a parent. Some of you. How have you used your authority as a parent. I'm not talking about you make the kid the CEO, we don't need any more of those, right? Child CEOs in the house. "I just do whatever they tell me." No, that's not how that works, right? But how have we modeled for our children gentleness, humility, meekness, in how we say what we say in what we say? Because we're permission givers in their world. How we do what we do, how we say what we say, the manner that we say it, we're basically saying it's okay to do this, or it's not okay to do this. Or how about if you're a boss? Maybe you've got people that work for you, maybe you're just the boss of a couple or maybe a lot. I don't know but, what does that look like? Is it maybe a possibility that you've disadvantaged yourself for the sake of your employees? I know some that have done that through the time of the pandemic. When this began, everybody was kind of up in arms, "We're shut down we don't know what to do." Right? And some of these business leaders were actually saying, "I'm going to take a massive pay cut "so that I don't have to lay anybody off at first." They disadvantaged themselves to be able to advantage others. Or maybe as a boss you can say, "What would it look like for me "to be able to give opportunity to those that work for me, "to be able to move forward in their career, "for them to be able to develop and grow, "maybe even at the expense of the fast track "of my own success." What does that look like? These are all ways that gentleness can be shown when you're the most powerful person in the room. But let me remind you. All you have to do is look at Jesus. Let me take you to a literal room where Jesus was the most powerful person in it, which would be by the way, any room he entered. But let me take you to a literal room in the time, we call it the upper room. And let's look as Jesus is in the upper room, the most powerful person in the room. And let's see what he does. John records it this way, "Jesus knew that the father," listen to this, "He knew that the father had put all things "under his power." The most powerful person in the room, the most powerful person on the planet. "And that he had come from God and was returning to God." Okay, he knew that all power was his. What did he do? "He got up from the meal, "he took off his outer clothing "and he wrapped a towel around his waist. "After that he poured water into a basin "and began to wash his disciples feet, "drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." Do you hear what, listen, did you hear what Jesus did? Jesus took off his outer robe. Do you know what that means? This outer robe that Jesus wore was significant because it basically emphasized his role as rabbi or teacher. In other words, this was a particular vesture that was a signal of his authority. And you know what he did, he divested himself of the symbol of authority and put upon him the symbol of a servant. And he got on his knees and he washed his disciples feet, which was the job of a servant. When you arrived, they would wash your feet off. 'Cause you remember everything was kind of open-toed and Jerusalem cruisers, right? They're cruising around with all those things. So what did Jesus do? He divested himself of the symbols of authority and disadvantaged himself to advantage his disciples. Wow! And he knew he had all power and he restrained it for their sake. He didn't exercise it, he instead humbled himself. That's why, when Paul was writing about Jesus and when he was saying, "We need to look to Jesus as our example "and how we function." Here's what he said in Philippians 2, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, "rather in humility value others above yourselves, "not looking to your own interests, "but each of you to the interests of the other. "In your relationships with one another, "have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, "who being in very nature God, "did not consider equality with God, "something to be used to his own advantage. "Rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature "of a servant, "being made in human likeness and being found "in appearance as a man, "he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, "even death on a cross." This is what the savior of the world with all power did. What, he did in the upper room was a foretaste of what he was going to do at the cross. In the upper room, he divested himself of a symbol of authority to disadvantage himself in order to advantage his disciples. And at the cross, he divested himself of the authority of his rights and privileges in order to go to a place that we deserve to be so that he could satisfy the justice of God on our behalf when we never could. We were powerless and the all powerful one didn't crush us, but instead use this power to repair us and to save us. This is the hope of the gospel. This is the life that Paul says, "The Spirit of God will grow in us, "will share with us." So to a certain degree, Al Capone was right. Gentleness is not weakness. But we see Jesus' strength, not in how violently he treats those who are unkind to him like Al Capone did, but instead how he restrains his power to those who've been unkind to him and who are powerless in order to be able to reach them and to save them. So pay attention to the life of Jesus, because that life is that the Spirit is sharing with you and forming in you. The fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. Let's bow our heads together. Just prior to our being dismissed, and we're dismissed in just a moment. If you're here and you've never before entrusted your life to Jesus, I want you to know, God loves you. God has reached out to you in his love, through his son who humbled himself and became obedient to the death of a cross that you and I deserved. See the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus paid a price he didn't owe because we owed a price we could never pay. Why? 'Cause he's gentle. He's humble. He's kind. He's gracious. So if you've never before turned from your sin and put your faith in Jesus, we wanna help you in that journey of faith. There's no more important decision you'll make in your life. Nothing! Nothing will be more important. And if that's your need then, my prayer is this, that if you're here at this campus, that when we dismiss in just a moment, you'll come right across the atrium into a clearly marked room called the Fireside Room. You'll see it, it's just right across the atrium. We've got some folks who'd love to take just a moment, pray with you, send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith, about what it means to know Jesus, to have your sins forgiven, your life made new. Maybe you're watching us online. And if that's the case, or you're listening on the radio, you can certainly connect with us either at Or if you wanna talk to somebody directly, you can just call us 631-2636. And we'd love to talk to you about what a relationship with Jesus looks like and how you can receive him as Lord and savior. Father for all of us, you speak so clearly to us in your word. I pray that each of us will be reminded that our gentleness should be evident to all, whether we're leading or whether we're sharing who you are or witnessing, whether we're restoring somebody who's fallen. Whether we're in a conversation about politics, whether we're in a conversation about life, whether we're parenting or whether we're a child, whether we're a boss or whether we're an employee, whatever it is, God, I pray that you would help us to realize our gentleness should be evident to all. Because when we walk filled with your Spirit, the fruit of your Spirit, to be gentleness. Power used for godly purposes. Would you help us to be those kinds of people and to think about what our stewardship of influence is going to look like when we are the most powerful person in a room. May it look like Jesus, may we look to the interest of others. And instead of using power to crush or to domineer, we would use it to build, to repair, to heal, and to show people the life of the son of God. We ask you to do this in our hearts in Jesus name. Amen.

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