Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
What was one thing that God was showing you through this message?
Why do you think self-control is so important for the person who follows Jesus? What typically stands in the way of our ability to exhibit self-control?
Read Romans 6:11-14. What do we need to do in order to control the flesh? What does this look like in your life?
Read Proverbs 25:28. In your life, what gates are unattended? What walls are broken down? What is the remedy for these things?
What is one action step that you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today?
So I wonder if you've ever heard of the marshmallow man, some of you, you may not be thinking of what I'm trying to get you to think of when I say the marshmallow man. There may be some other things that are coming to your mind. For those of you who are a certain age and watched the movie Ghostbusters, you saw the Stay Puft marshmallow man. So you may be thinking of him. There's others of you. Maybe you're younger. And you're thinking of Christopher Comstock, who goes by Marshmallow. He is an electronic music DJ kind of guy. I'm thinking of neither of those. Actually I am thinking of Professor Walter Michel, who was a professor at Stanford in the 1970s. And he got this nickname, the marshmallow man, because he performed an experiment. Now it was a psychology experiment and it was done on children. And what he did was this, he took them into a room and they sat there and they were being filmed and he gave them one marshmallow. So there was one big. Remember, this is the seventies. They didn't have all the good candy at that point, but so they had a big ol' marshmallow, right? And the marshmallow's sitting in front of the kid and the professor says, I'm going to leave for a while and I'm going to be gone, but I'm going to come back. Eventually. I think he told them 15, 20 minutes or whatever. I'm going to come back at some point, but here's your choices, you can, if you want to, and you want to eat the marshmallow, you can eat it. You're free to eat the marshmallow. But if you wait and don't eat the marshmallow until I get back, I'm going to give you you a second marshmallow and you get two, and so he left and then hilarious watching children try and decide. They're just by themselves, right? Nobody to talk to. I mean, there's kids that are picking the marshmallow up, smelling the marshmallow, rubbing the marshmallow on their lips, trying not to eat it and then turning it away and doing this, right? And some of them were just like, they just grabbed the marshmallow and started pigging out. Right? So some waited, some did not. The point of the experiment was to figure out how many of them really were engaged in self-control or restraint. And it wasn't so much about measuring it just then, he wanted to do that. But then he wanted to track their lives and to see if the children who showed restraint or self-control, what that looked like for them educationally, what it looked like for them in terms of making a living, what it looked like for them socially down the road, a few decades and what it looked like for the ones who just said, no, I'm pounding marshmallows right now. I don't care if you give me another one. So, obviously his findings were that those who showed self-control or restraint or those kinds of things, those children ended up in some better spaces academically and ended up in better spaces economically and socially. And those types of things. Now his kind of premise has been challenged of late, particularly in 2018 with some other psychologists, I think. But nonetheless it has stood for a very long period of time and is a highly referenced study that the marshmallow man, Professor Walter Michel did. Now, I bring that up because today taking stage for us is the idea of self control as we complete looking in Galatians chapter five at the idea of the fruit of the spirit. Remember Paul wrote in Galatians chapter five verses 22 and 23, but the fruit of the spirit is love joy, peace, forbearance, or patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Now I think it's important for us to remember that when we talked about this, those of you who maybe haven't been tracking with us or are new, this is not the fruit of the Galatians to whom he's writing, this is not the fruit of you and I. This is the fruit of the spirit. This is the life that the spirit actually produces. It's the fruit of the spirit. And what's important is that we see at the very beginning of this list of the fruit of the spirit, remembering that the fruit is singular, not plural, it's not fruits of the spirit. It is the singular fruit of the spirit, which means that when we walk filled with the spirit and the life, the spirit of God shares the life of God with us, that all of these things will actually be true at the same time in our life. It's not like we got one and then we don't have the rest. This is a singular fruit of the spirit that is all worked out in our lives at differing degrees at different levels of maturity, just like fruit grows in its maturity. We may not be all the way there, but we get it all. Now, it's interesting that at the very beginning of this list of the fruit of the spirit is love because we talked about when we talked about that message, that love is the fountainhead from which everything grows or has its life. And then we see at the very end of this, the idea of self control, that they are the bookends here of the fruit of the spirit. And I think that that's really important for us to remember because when Paul talks about the idea of self control being a fruit of the spirit, it is what you think that it is, the word itself in the Greek language, when we see the word self-control in the Greek language, the definition of that is what you would suspect. It means to gain mastery over our desires and passions, specifically, or especially sensual ones, ones related to the senses. So this is the idea, and you could have probably figured that out. Okay, I get that. That's what self-control means. But it also implies something that I think is important for you to remember as well, that the idea of self-control implies that there is some sense of a divided self, that there is to some degree, some part of ourself that needs controlling or that needs mastering, right? This is the idea of self control. Well, if that's the case, what is that? Well, Paul actually defines for us what that terminology is that needs to be mastered or controlled. And Paul and the rest of the New Testament uses the term the flesh to describe that component of ourselves. Now, when I say the flesh and when the New Testament more specifically says the flesh, when Paul writes about the idea of the flesh, he's not writing about skin, okay. He's writing about human nature. In other words, that we have all experienced a fallenness because of sin. And even though we have been made new in Jesus, that there is still a remnant of our fallenness that exists in our mortal bodies, that rages against the life of the spirit. And so now we have this battle that goes on between the spirit of God living in us and the flesh that remains that kind of rages against the spirit. In fact, when we get to Galatians five and we talk about the fruit of the spirit, Galatians five is actually set up in such a way that Paul, the apostle, is contrasting the idea of the flesh with the spirit. In other words, what it looks like to be filled with the spirit and walk in the spirit, thus the fruit of the spirit and what it looks like to walk in the flesh. So right before the verses about the fruit of the spirit, which is in verses 20, 22 and 23, right, right before that, or 32 and 33, whatever it is, right before that, you've got this list. And it's 22 and 23. Thank you, Jerry. Sometimes it takes a moment for me, right? I always tell people that I'm not as concerned about the addresses and the numbers. They're not inspired anyway, just as a heads up, that's not a part of the inspiration of scripture, that's added later to help us find where we're going. What's important is the content, that's the issue. So if some of you guys are like, man, I just, I struggle to remember the chapter and the verse, it's okay. Those were added by people later on just to help us find stuff. You know what's really important? Remembering the content and letting the content shape your life, right? So the verses that precede talking about the fruit of the spirit actually talks about the works of the flesh, what it looks like when people are living in the flesh. And it's interesting because at the end of the fruit of the spirit list is self-control. And what you see when you read the flesh list is you see passions and emotions and desires that are out of control. Right, in fact, here's what it says in Galatians five verses 19 through 21, the acts of the flesh are obvious, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition. Do you see out of control here? Right? Dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like, I warn you as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. You see what Paul is showing is that life in the natural, in terms of our fallenness, our sin corruptedness results in a lack of control over our passions and desires. And in fact, our very flesh has corrupted passions and desires that desire to lead us in a different way than God desires. It's not that emotions are bad. It's not that desires are bad, those are good. And they're God given. But when they are corrupted, they lead us in a wrong direction. They lead us in a different direction than what God wants, which is he wants our life to be ordered by the spirit, such that the fruit of that life will be something that looks like the life of Jesus. This is the point here. Paul actually talks about what it looks like when people are disordered and when they are living lives in the flesh. In fact, he said in the last days, there's going to be people that are living in this kind of way. And in fact, what he said to Timothy in Second Timothy chapter three is he said they would be people who would be without love, unforgiving, slanderous, and look at this. Without self control. You see, this is consistent with the lives of people who live lives, if I can use the term again, who live lives consistent with the flesh instead of lives consistent with walking in the spirit. Now, it doesn't take much for us to figure out that this is exhibited in the culture that we live in, does it? The lack of self control. We already know that, but we also know that it leaks into the people of God. The church because what happens is that we begin to allow the flesh in our lives to dictate instead of walking filled with the spirit and it affects us, it affects us culturally. And it affects us in the church. What are some areas where we see a lack of self control? Well, sexually, we don't have to look very far in our culture to see sexual issues that are out of control. The porn industry is a $100 billion global industry, $100 billion, that's more than like Netflix and Twitter combined, right? They make way more money. Do you know where they're making their most money? The biggest growing demographic for them is teenage boys and girls, teenage boys and girls. So sexually there's no, there's no. We look at things virtually, or we press that out in terms of action. And we see a lack of self control that happens in dating relationships, even in what we would call the church, even in people who claim to know Jesus, is that passions just become undealt with and uncontrolled and quickly devolve into physical intimacy in dating relationships that are outside of a marriage, which is where it belongs. Hey, fire's good. As long as it's in the fireplace. When it spreads to the rest of the house, you got a problem. And so God has given this to us, but it is for the purpose of being within the confines of marriage, because sex actually demonstrates something about the nature of God and about God's faithfulness to his bride. This isn't just to be treated with triviality, but unfortunately we let emotions and passions and desires that are motivated by the flesh instead of controlled by the spirit have its way in our world and in our life. Another area besides sexually is technologically that we exhibit a lack of self-control. What I mean by that is this is that I don't think that sometimes we have it figured out that all of the social media platforms, which can do some good, by the way, I'm not discounting that at all. I'm not telling everybody to get off of them. I'm not saying they can't do good, but I'm saying you need to have your eyes open. And here's why, because if you haven't figured it out yet, you are the product they are trying to sell, you are. The reason that they have algorithms on the other side of the screen that are trying to figure out all of your likes, all of the things that you visit, all of the videos you watch. And then somehow you're mysteriously surprised when you've been looking up all of these videos and then a pop-up ad shows up for the very thing that you've been looking for and you're like what? That is such a coincidence. It's not a coincidence. There are people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to build algorithms around what you like, what you want, what you think you want, even though you don't know you want it yet. And so you, you are the product that they are selling to advertisers. And do you know when you're the product? Do you know what that means? They want to make sure that you lack self-control so that you stay in the black hole of your social media, or you stay in the black hole of watching all these things, because the advertisers are going cha ching, cha ching, cause you're the product that's being sold. So they have an initiative and they have a reason, an impetus to keep you lacking self-control. If you haven't watched the documentary, The Social Dilemma, you probably should. It'll educate you on this. I rarely say things about recommendations, but you should probably watch it. Particularly if you're a mom and dad of a teenager, you're welcome, it's going to scare you to death. You know where else we lack self-control? Verbally, now that can either be in what we type or what we say. But oftentimes we don't realize the havoc that our words are causing. We don't filter them. They just come out. We say whatever we want, we say it to people on other sides of screens, not realizing that those are real people with real feelings who probably get injured by some of these words. We also don't exhibit self-control in the area of emotions. We let emotions dictate everything about us. And in fact, it's interesting that when most of the statements, when people are talking about big decisions, it's always, well, I feel like this, or I woke up feeling like this, and this is how I feel. Hey, just a heads up, in a corrupted flesh, that means our emotions are also subject to corruption and they need to be educated. Our emotions can lead us in the wrong direction. You know this to be true, right? Have you ever had an emotion that you thought if I act on that, that's a problem. You're all looking at me like I'm crazy. You have had emotions, you've gotten really angry and you thought the only way to solve this is to kill them. And you didn't do it because that was a corrupted emotion leading you in the wrong place. So and we become so out of control emotionally in this season, and I realize it's a tough season, man. I'm with you. It's been a polarizing election and a contested election. And everybody's got a whole bunch of emotions, man. COVID is giving everybody a bunch of emotions around a million different things, whether it's education or whether it's work or whether it's overreach or whatever. I got it. But we aren't allowed to check out on life in the spirit because the circumstances around us got a little testy. We still have this responsibility. So that's why Paul says the fruit of the spirit is self control. If you want to say it in a really easy way, here you go. Self-control is spirit control. You're welcome. Self-control is spirit control. Now to be controlled by the spirit means this. It means that we allow the spirit to put checks on our mouth, to put checks on our mind and to put checks on our actions. As that's about to come out of our mouth, the Holy Spirit says, mmm mmm, and you go, and you eat it. As you settle on that particular thing that's going on in your mind. And you're turning it over and over. All of a sudden, the Holy Spirit says not true, wrong story, bad narrative, okay. As you're about to do this, the Holy Spirit says don't pick up another foot and step in that direction. Stay right where you are. Okay. That's what it means to be controlled by the spirit. See the spirit, listen to this. The spirit is powerful. This is God the Holy Spirit we're talking about. We're not talking about some kind of namby pamby, you know, inanimate force. We're talking about the third person of the Trinity. God the father, God the son, God the spirit, the spirit of God is God and therefore is powerful. So let me just be real clear. When we talk about the flesh and the temptation of the flesh, it's real and it's powerful and it's no match for God. Some of us live in constant defeat because we're always talking about, well, the flesh and my temptation and all that kind of stuff. Jesus is more powerful than the flesh. The spirit of God is more powerful than the flesh. In fact, Paul said this when he was writing to Timothy, he said this, God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of what? Power, this spirit that we're talking about, that we've been given. It's not timid. It is powerful. And do you know what comes along with that power? Listen, love and self-control, the two bookends of the fruit of the spirit, love and self-control. When we have a love for God, that yields itself in love to others, and the spirit of God is controlling our lives. We are in a powerful position to do battle with the flesh when it shows up. This is imperative for us. In fact, when Paul was talking at the end of Galatians five, at least the passage that we're talking about, after talking about the fruit of the spirit and contrasting that with the works of the flesh that came right before it, notice what he says in verse number 24 of our text, those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, fleshly passions, fleshly desires have been crucified for those who belong to Jesus. Here's what that means. Stay with me for a moment. I need you to press into teaching and then I'm going to come up for air. And I'm going to give you a picture where you start going, oh, okay, right? I need you to press in, though, here. And I need you to hear God's word to us. You see, when we put our faith in Jesus, the one who died and who rose from the dead, the one who took our sin and who died in our place, but rose from the dead conquering our sin. That when we have died, we have died with Jesus. And when he has risen, we have risen with him and therefore sin doesn't have to have all of its power locked into us. Its talons locked into us. We are not any longer under the bondage of sin. Because you know why? It's been crucified. But it still needs crucifying because we still have this remnant called the flesh that's in our life. In fact, jot this down. You control the flesh by crucifying it. That's how you deal with it. You control the flesh by crucifying it. It has happened provisionally for us. But we have to practically act on that. And when that flesh remnant wants to battle with us, we need to, by the power of the spirit, render it dead. Paul said as much when he wrote this in Romans six, and I want you to listen to this a little bit, a little bit of a thick passage, kind of, it's dense, but listen to it. This is God's word to us. For if we've been United with him, Jesus, in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his, for we know that our old self was crucified with him. So that the body ruled by sin might be done away with that we should longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again. Death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus, therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Don't offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness, for sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace. Now grace is a word I'm going to come back to in just a little bit, okay? So stay there for just a minute in your mind. But I want you to understand what Paul is saying here. Paul is saying this. He's saying you can't pacify the flesh. You can't manage the flesh. You have to murder it. I'll take a sip while you think about that. You can't manage it. You can't pacify it. You have to kill it. That's why he talks about the idea of the crucifixion of the flesh. So how do you kill the flesh? By being spirit controlled. You render it dead. Jesus has already done this for us provisionally. Jesus has already done this kind of propositionally. It is true, but we must yield to the spirit so that we render the flesh dead in our lives. Now I realized this talk about being filled with the spirit that ushers in self-control and warring with the flesh is actually sometimes challenging for us. From a teaching standpoint, it can be challenging for us to hear and to understand and to know practically how to deal with it. So here's what I want you to do. I want to leave the world of propositional truth for a moment. And I want to give you a metaphor. I want to give you a picture. Some of you work good in those realms. You're like, okay, now I understand, right? But I'm going to need you to travel back with me about 2,500 years. Where we're going is we're going to a city called Jerusalem. The walls of Jerusalem have been torn asunder because the Babylonians have come in and they have absolutely shredded the place. That Solomon's temple that was there in its glorious splendor, one of the wonders of the world, has been left as rubble, the places where people lived and worked and played, rubble, the outside walls that were there, rubble. This is what happened when the Babylonians came and took off, took the Israelites and put them in captivity. Now eventually when the Babylonian exile was over, there was a handful of people that were at least in the beginning part of it that came back to Jerusalem because they wanted to rebuild the temple and they did. It didn't look anything as glorious as Solomon's temple. In fact, it was much smaller and much more humble. In fact, the older people that were there that remembered Solomon's temple in their youth, 70 some years earlier, they cried when the temple, when they saw it, because they were just like, it's not the same, but the younger people who had never seen Solomon's temple, they cried because at least they had a temple now, but there was still a problem. Even though they rebuilt the temple, the walls of the city were still not rebuilt, which meant they were open for every kind of enemy, every kind of demolition, people could still come in and wreck the place. So the city is still a wreck. It's still a bunch of rubble. It is a mess. But Nehemiah, who is the cupbearer, he's a Jew, but he's a cupbearer for the Persian King. He comes under a great burden and he's like, you know what? They went back and they worked on the temple, but the walls of the city aren't rebuilt. And if the walls of the city aren't rebuilt, then it may be a waste of time because enemies can come in and they can just destroy the temple again and destroy the city again, because the walls of the city, it's not even fortified.
And so Nehemiah got permission from the Persian King to be able to go back. And what was the thing that Nehemiah was going to do? Rebuild the walls. That's where it had to start because without rebuilding the walls, they weren't safe to be able to start reconstructing the city because they were unprotected at this point. Hm. What does all this have to do with self control? Thank you for asking. The writer of Proverbs gives us this very picture. When he writes, like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Here's what the proverb writer is saying. Listen to me, the city is you, is your life. The walls are self-control. Jesus lives in the city of our hearts for those who have received him. But what's imperative is that we have rebuilt the walls like this, the walls that are strong, that hold and those walls, listen, they're self-control. Why, because self-control is foundational so that the rest of the city can be worked on and ordered and repaired. You see your heart is the city, and Jesus who lives in the city wants to work on your heart, wants to order your heart, wants to rebuild places in your heart. But if we do not cooperate with his spirit in building the walls of self-control, we have opened the door for any enemy to enter in and wreak havoc. It's as if we're saying to Jesus, I know you live in the city, but I want you to go into a corner because I'm going to let all of these other enemies in so that they can destroy the walls and run down the place. So. What do we do with that? Well, when you're looking at this picture. You see walls, but you also see something over here in this direction. You see a gate right there. That's a gate. Every wall that's built has gates. Why? Because it's a place that people enter in and come out. Gates were really important to structural walls because gates were places that were attended. They were guarded. In fact, when you read some of the Old Testament, you'll see that the city elders sat at the city gates. It's where they talked and where they hung out and spent their time, why? They were making sure that everything was good because you had to come in the gate or come out of the gate. And if an enemy was coming, they were able to warn and be prepared and be able to fight. So I wonder what are those gates that are on our wall of self-control? I can tell you three real simple. Our mind, our emotions and our will. These are gates. That if we don't exercise self-control with these gates and we leave them unattended. What happens is we allow the forces of an enemy to come in to the city, to break the walls down and to leave the rest of the place in ruins. What does that look like for us? When we, with our mind and our emotions and our will. Well, it's how we think, it's how we feel and it's how we act. You see, what has to be imperative is this, ladies and gentlemen, if we want to experience self-control and have a heart that is positioned to be able to be ordered well, and to be repaired, as Jesus wants to do it, we have to attend to those gates in our lives. That's a function of self-control. What we allow into our minds. What we allow our emotions to dictate, what we allow our actions to become. And see, what we have to remember is the reason that the New Testament speaks so often and so strongly about being in the presence of God and letting the word of God saturate our minds is for this reason, because what will happen is if we will allow the spirit of God to do it, using the agency of the word of God, he will educate our minds to the truth. He will educate our emotions to the truth, and he will educate our will toward obedience. You see, for us, what we have to remember is this, is that our will, our minds are sometimes consumed with a bunch of things that are inconsistent with the nature of who God is. And we've allowed that gate to go unattended. We just allow for things, allow for things, allow for things, instead of saying, Nope. No, you don't get to come in. Our emotions do the same thing. They want to tell us all the time. I'm true. And I'm telling you the truth. Sometimes you have to go, Nope. My mind has been educated by the Holy Spirit, through the word of God. And this emotion is a corrupted emotion. This emotion is a wrong emotion. This emotion is aimed in the wrong direction. And now by the truth that God has given me in my mind, by his word, I'm going to educate you. You, emotion, don't get to tell me everything that I do. I will educate you by the power of God's own spirit. Then you get to make choices. Your will. See, the beautiful thing about a will. That our will, it actually shows us who we really are, who you really are is not just this. I see this plenty. I know how to talk Christian-ese. The will is what you do. And that shows us who you are. Not just what you talk about, but what you do. And until your mind is educated in the truth, such that you can teach your emotions what are true, then you potentially will be doing things that though you say you believe in this, you aren't acting on that by your own will that's yielded to God in obedience. The gates, they're really important because what they're doing is we are attending to them because once the wall is there, this wall of self-control, it's not once for all, it has to be tended to. We can't just leave the gates. We have to be able to stand at the gates and allow the Lord Jesus to dictate what we let in and what we let out. So, I took you to a city to give you a picture, but now I want to take you to an island. Some of you are going, oh, yes, Bahamas. No, I'm taking you to Crete. Crete's an Island in the Mediterranean that's South of Greece, the nation, it's the largest of all the Greek islands probably be a beautiful place to visit. Maybe some of you have been there, but on the Island of Crete, some churches began. Now, this is now about 1,960 years ago roughly that these churches were launched. Paul had something to do with it. Titus had something to do with it. Paul told Titus, they've gone a little bit wonky, and I need you to stay in Crete. And I need you to help 'em out. What had happened in Crete was this on this Island, is that the spiritual walls around the church had crumbled. Remember the writer of Proverbs says that those walls are self control. That was the issue. That was the issue in Crete. The reason that I know that is because of what Paul said to Titus about how elders are to be chosen. Here's what he said in Titus chapter one, the elder must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self controlled, he made it very clear. They need to be self-controlled, why? Because apparently some people who were engaged in leading in some of these places were not. And then he said, you need to teach this self control to others. In fact, teach it to the older men, in Titus chapter two, he says, teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled. He says, Hey, teach the older women this because the older women are teaching the younger women. This is what he says in verse number three through five, teach the older women to be reverent in the way that they live. Not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure. And by the way, what about the younger folks? These young men that are running around? Oh, he tells 'em, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Do you know? He doesn't say any other thing to the young men, not one other thing. The only thing he tells him is to be self controlled. Do you know? Why do you know why? Because it's foundational, because if the wall is ruined, the city is in shambles. If we want our heart cities to flourish, there has to be self-control so that the Lord Jesus can freely do his work of forming his life in us, of ordering our hearts, of shaping us into his likeness, in his image. So he tells this all, Paul does to Titus, and he says, this is what you need to say. The elders need to be self-controlled. The older women need to be self-controlled so that they can teach self control to the younger women, the young men, and by default, young women need to be self-controlled as well. Why? Because they had an issue. And the issue is they were allowing for their own passions, their own desires to be uncontrolled. And that does not get us where we're trying to go. All that gets us is rubble in the heart of the city. So what do you do with that? How do you acquire self control? Are there steps that you can take? Listen, according to the New Testament, it's less about steps you take as it is a person you know. Are there steps you can take? Yep. Here's the step. Step to Jesus because Jesus is the one who teaches us these things. Jesus is the one who teaches us self-control. You see, sometimes we get, we get ourselves into this idea that Christianity is just some formulaic thing that we work around in our head. When actually what it is is knowing the living and resurrected son of God, Jesus, who actually lives, who actually is operational in our hearts by the agency of his Holy Spirit, who will actually speak to us, who will actually shape us, who will actually course correct us, who will actually move in our lives if we'll allow him. Some of you haven't experienced that because you think that this is a religion. Instead of a living relationship with a God who came in the person of his son, who lived, who died, who rose from the dead, who ascended to the father. And who's coming back all in bodily form. This is true and real. And we need to understand how to access that in our hearts. So what do we do? Well. Paul actually says, we let Jesus teach us. Here's what he said in Titus chapter number two, listen. For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people, pause right there. The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people, who is that? Jesus, thank you, class. All six of you who were paying attention at that point. The grace of God that has appeared that offers salvation to all people is none other than Jesus. And what does this grace, Jesus, teach us to do? To say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live what? Self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. Let me blow through this real quick. Here's what Jesus teaches us. First, he teaches us to say yes. You see if you've got an idea that Christianity is, you can't do this, you can't do this. You can't do this. You can't do this. You can't do this. You can't. Can I do this? No, you can't do that. You can't do this. You can't do this. You've got it all wrong. Is some of that true? Sure. But what Jesus teaches us is he teaches us to say, yes. He says, this is who I am. This is my life. This is what I do. This is how I will lead you and empower you. So say yes to grace, say yes to mercy, say yes to forgiveness, say yes to love. Say yes to joy. Say yes to peace and on and on and on. The first move when we come toward Jesus, is that he teaches us what to say yes to, because this is his life that he's offering us by the agency of the spirit in our hearts. But you know what he also does? He teaches us to say no. Go to the next one. He teaches us to say no, right? Now, look at what he said in the text itself. For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say, no, this is the part I want highlighted, to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions to say no to ungodliness. And what kind of passions? Worldly passions. It's not that passions and desires are wrong. We're not Stoics who are emotionless, who just sit there and just go, I am a cyborg. It's not that, it's not who we are, not what we do. Right? What we have to understand is that these emotions and these passions cannot be brought into the realm of the flesh and become worldly ones. And Jesus teaches us to say no. So when these things try to enter the gate of our mind or our will or our emotions, we can say no, that's inconsistent with peace. No, that's inconsistent with love. No, that's inconsistent with joy. No, that's inconsistent with patience. No, that's inconsistent with faithfulness. No, that's inconsistent with gentleness. He teaches us to say no, because it's the inverse of what his life truly is. But the third, he also teaches us to say, wait. Notice what the text says here in verse number 13. It says, while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. You see, here's what happens. We are so focused on the now that we forget to be people that are eternally minded, the same Jesus that came, that was born in Bethlehem, who really had a body, who was really God with skin on, who really grew into a man, who really brought the message of the kingdom of God, who really healed, who really resurrected, the one who eventually went to the father after his death and resurrection when he died on a cross for our sin and then killed sin in the grave on our behalf, if we would put our faith in him, the one who rose from the dead, the one who ascended to the father, the one who's coming back. When we live in light of the truth that he is coming again, it changes how we view self control. You see, we are so focused on our emotions of the now, but we need to be focused on the emotions of what it means to be fitted and formed for eternity. You see what's happening is this. The enemy of our souls is running a global marshmallow experiment. And he wants to put in front of us things that will distract us from eternity. Things that will distract us from the truth that Jesus is actually coming again. So I'm just going to do whatever I want to do in the now, not thinking about the reality that Jesus is going to come and sum up all of creation and that people who have rejected him will be judged. And people who have said yes to him will reign with him forever. We've lost sight of that. So let me ask you a question. What's your marshmallow? What is that? That wants to take your mind off of eternity, off of Jesus' return, off of thinking about eternal things. And instead, wants you only right here right now, so I could say it to you in two different ways. What's your marshmallow or what's your broken down, burned up gate? For some of you, maybe it's anger, maybe it's pride. Maybe it's lust, maybe it's power, maybe it's stuff. I don't know, but whatever it is, it's time to surrender it to the spirit because the Lord Jesus, listen for those of us that know the Lord Jesus lives in this heart city, and he wants to unimpeded do the work of reordering and repairing and rebuilding what's broken so that you are being fitted for eternity. He wants to shape you into the likeness of himself. So attend to your gates and be able to know what your marshmallow is because self control is foundational if we want to see hearts that are rebuilt, reordered and remade. The fruit of the spirit is self control. Let's bow our heads together. In a moment we'll be gone. I thank you for the kindness of your attention, whether that's been online or whether that's here in this room or whether it's on television or even by way of radio. If you've never come to a place of having received Jesus as your Lord and savior, I would encourage you to do that. There's no greater issue that you have to see your sins forgiven, your life be made new and changed so that you can actually live the life that God designed for you to live in the way that he designed you to live it. And if you haven't come to that place in your heart or in your life of surrendering yourself in full to the Lord Jesus, if you're here in person, we'd love to speak to you about that. And you can come right across the atrium, into the fireside room. You'll see it clearly marked. There's some folks there who'd love to take a moment and talk to you about that. And then if you're watching us online, you can certainly go to thechapel.com/knowingJesus. We'd love to follow up with you that way. Or if you want to talk to somebody personally, you can simply call 631-2636. And we'd love to talk to you. Father, you've spoken to us this day in clear ways about the life of God, through your spirit that you share with us. And I pray that this day we would recognize how foundational self-control is and that we only can be self-controlled when we're spirit controlled, because only you, Holy Spirit, can render the flesh dead in our lives. I pray that you would wake up our minds to the attention of the truth. I pray that you would wake up our emotions to a desire to be conformed to truth. And I pray that you would wake up our wills to actually obey you and not just talk about obedience, because we want to be people who live filled with your spirit, not controlled by the works of the flesh, but instead controlled by the spirit because we long for a life that's filled with love and joy and peace and patience and kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness and self-control. For all of these things, we thank you for sharing them with us because we know that we want a world to when they see us, to see the life of Jesus in us so that they too may be compelled to embrace a life with Christ. Help us to be that kind of people even in the world that we live in, that pulls on our flesh in a million different directions, help us to be people yielded to your spirit. I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.