30 Nov Sunday Sermon Update – Jesus Is Coming!?
In preparation for the Advent season, John talked yesterday about preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ. Are we ready for Jesus to come back? What things would you have to get in order prior to his arrival?” Scripture warns us time and again that His coming will be sudden, and living in the “here and now” is the best way we can prepare. Looking at Galatians 5:16-23, John talked about 9 qualities (fruits of the Spirit) that Jesus expects from us when He returns. Here they are:
- Love. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 shows us that we must have a twofold love: a love for God and a love for others. We must first be in love with God, and when we do that, we have no trouble keeping His commands. It’s easy to love God because He is perfect. But, sometimes it’s hard to love others, especially when those people are takers in the relationship and not givers, when they do not seem to add value to your life. This requires a deep, deep work of God in our hearts to love the unlovable.
- Joy. Jesus wants us to be in a continuous state of joyfulness. This is not a human-based or external emotion. It is a divine manifestation of the Holy Spirit in us. This kind of life comes from focusing on God, and not the problems that are in front of us at the time.
- Peace. Although it is similar to joy, peace has the same meaning in Hebrew as the words “wholeness” or “soundness”. It implies being at peace with both God and man. This means being at peace with God’s plan for your life, and being at peace with your fellow man.
- Longsuffering/Patience. This is the first quality of God listed in Exodus 34 when Moses asked to see God’s face. God’s patience is seen in restraining punishment and wrath that is due us. God’s longsuffering is intended to lead us to repentance before the final judgment. In that case, how can we hold back any patience from others? Colossians 3:12 tells us that patience is like a garment. We can’t give up on the promises of God, even when things don’t look promising.
- Kindness. This is an essential ingredient for love. To be kind is to treat people the way God has treated you. This could be the biggest need in today’s fast-paced, high-tech society: showing someone kindness through being truly present and fully there for someone.
- Goodness. The person whose personality reflects this virtue is a person that combines two things: Moral Excellence and Generosity. People who are morally excellent command respect because of who they are. Our often vulgar and obscene society needs to see people of moral excellence. Generosity is the opposite of greed and envy. A generous person gives when the need arises.
- Faith. Faith means “fidelity” or “loyalty”. In the Bible, this is a necessary qualification for stewardship, teaching, or being a deacon. This is a person who is worthy of God’s trust, and Jesus is the most noble example of fidelity and trustworthiness to God the Father be doing exactly what God wanted all the time. Faith also means being one on whom others can rely. Can God trust you? Will you be true to Him with your use of money, time, sex, your mouth?
- Gentleness/Meekness. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek.” A good example of meekness is a strong stallion that has been broken and ready for the master’s use. He still has the strength and power, but he chooses to use it for the master’s plan and not his own. This is not a picture of a weak, little, timid, scared creature. This is someone who submits to God’s will, someone who is humble, and someone who reflects patience toward others even when insult or injury arise from doing God’s will.
- Self-Control. Temperance is an important topic in light of coming judgment. It implies the strict discipline of an athlete. It is the opposite of self-indulgence. Self-control is the mastery of the self and the fashioning of one’s life in the way which God desires. In order to make room for God in our lives, we are going to have to learn to say “no” to some things and “yes” to what God is inviting us into.
Are you ready for Christ’s return?