In Ecclesiastes 7 we read, "A good name is better than precious ointment." What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our Creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


It's now time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first hymn of the morning, as we together sing, "All To Jesus I Surrender!"

(Song # 1)


When was the last time you heard someone say, "I don't care what they think," or, "It doesn't matter what they say about me." The fact is, we all have probably said this from time to time - not really considering that it is in contradiction with what the Bible says!

The truth is it does matter what we say and how people perceive us in the world in which we live. Our name is very important because we are either seen as godly and righteous by those around us, or rude and unlikable. I like the way Solomon also put these thoughts in Proverbs 22:1, there we read, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches." There we have it from the wisest man who ever lived. The most important thing in life is that we live in such a way to exemplify Christ in all that we do, so that those we come in contact with will want to know more about our Jesus.

The New Testament writers also had a clear handle on our topic this morning. You might recall what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, there we read, "...but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Notice the many areas Paul encouraged Timothy to be a good example in. In fact, if you consider the many areas which are mentioned he really covers the entire spectrum of life: What we say, what we do, how we treat others, how our attitude is. Furthermore, he mentions that faith and purity are a part of what all must see in us as Christians.

I also like the way Paul instructed the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:1. There he told them, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." Again in a nutshell we are to be Christ-like. Those of this world must see Christ in everything we do.

A final verse I might mention is found in 1 Peter 2:21. There it says, "for to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:" You see we are to follow the example which Christ left. If that doesn't mean that we are to be Christ-like - I don't know what else would!

So let me encourage us all to remember how important it is that our names show forth the praises of Him who died for us. So that in all things God may be glorified and His Will may be done.

Our topic today will again focus on our series called "Walking In The Spirit!" Our specific study this morning concerns, "Self-control!" So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Angry Words."

(Song # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

We're glad you've continued with us and now we want to look at Proverbs chapter 16 as we bring into thought what we will focus on this morning. You might notice there that we read, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty." We just sang about angry words and certainly we know that it is often difficult for us because we will say things in the spur of the moment. We will do things when really we haven't thought it through. But really if you will look with me there and notice what it goes on to clarify which leads us directly into our topic of the morning. The latter part of verse 32 says, "And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." The one who has rule over his spirit. What is to rule your spirit? To control it just like we control our words or actions. We must learn something in all of our lives that keeps us from doing things and saying things we should not.

Well that brings us to our topic today because again there in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 22 we find there the last fruit of the spirit that is mentioned, at least in this text, is the concept of "self-control." We are people who are commanded by God if we are to walk in the spirit, if we are to be pleasing in His sight to have self-control. Now with that in mind, I want us now to explore the Bible and what it has to say about self-control and the usages that it has in different examples and events that take place.

You might recall one passage, for instance, in Acts 24. There in the New Testament we recall where Paul the apostle is actually preaching to a man of authority, a man whose name is Felix. There in chapter 24 you might notice with me in verse 25 that of all the things Paul could have preached and would have preached concerning Christ, notice what He states first to this man of authority. There in verse 24, it speaks there that, "As He heard these things concerning Christ..." What was it that he heard? Verse 25, "As he reasoned about righteousness..." Well, that's obvious." Righteousness. God. God is righteous. What's the next thing though? Self-control is the second. Then he says, "The judgment to come." It says, "Then Felix was afraid and answered, 'Go away for now and when I have a convenient time, I will call you.'" So he was preaching Jesus and he preaches Jesus by focusing on what? Righteousness, self-control and judgment. What does that tell us? It means everything else, in fact all that we've studied is about control. It's about you and I knowing what God's Will is and then choosing, "Will I be gentle? Will I be kind? Will I be faithful? Will I be joyful? Will I be one who shows love in all things or will I be out of control and be arrogant and be puffed up or will I show anger or will I show wrath?" All of the things that we found were contrary to God. You see, what it is about, that is following Christ is imitating Christ and being in control of who we are, of all of our character again, that would be the things that we do as well the things that we say.

We also find there that Christians were encouraged by Peter. In 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 6, to be those who have self-control. In fact, this is the passage that we often refer to as the Christian virtues. And there what does he say? He says that we must add to our self-control. He says a part of that virtuous spirit, that spirit that is beyond and above what the normal human would have because God is with us, we strive to not just have patience, not just have kindness again and gentleness, not just have the faith, but to have what? Self-control. Paul said it. Peter said it. Jesus said it. That we all must have self-control and strive in all that we do to have that control of life.

We have an example given by Paul as well over in the book of Corinthians. You might notice there in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 that he uses the concept that he often does about athletes, about those who have entered themselves in a race, who have made preparations and they've done what they need to to make themselves ready that they might do their best and even strive to get a reward or a crown or some type of a trophy. Well, you might notice there in chapter 9 around verse 25 that he talks about that person who is running in such a way to obtain what they have set forth to obtain. Verse 25 goes on to say, "And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things." What's the concept of temperance? Temperance is a word that is used in relationship in 1 Timothy there as well as Titus about an elder and sometimes deacons that he be temperate. The runner here is to be temperate. The one who reaches for the prize is to be temperate. What does that mean? It means that he is to exercise self-control, that he is to strive to do whatever it takes. means to eat what he has to eat. You know sometimes he wants to eat the fun stuff that is bad for you. Knowing that he has to commit to more exercise than he would normally want to commit himself to, to know that he's got to go beyond and above. All those things that others might do and even sometimes withhold himself from things or even sometimes go beyond and have very extenuating circumstances and go beyond and to even suffer and sweat, toil and tears to accomplish the task. He has to have control. That he might do what? That he might obtain a perishable crown. Well, then the text actually applies the concept. As he has that type of control physically and mentally, he said, "But we as Christians, we're temperate. We have self-control and exercise self-control to an imperishable crown." To what? Godliness. To righteousness. To heaven. To that reward that has been promised to us and to all those who will be faithful and found faithful in the end.

Well then certainly we find many in scriptures who were in control. We find men, even going back into the Old Testament, like Joseph. Do you remember the temptation laid before him where Potiphar's wife said, "Lie with me." And he eventually even has to run away and leave his cloak in her hands because she continues to come after him and to want to be with him physically. Well again, what is he exercising? Even as a young man who would have maybe been interested in such, he exercises great control. He is able to say, "God would not have me to do it. I can't do that which is against my Master, and I will be in control of my actions." Again, that is so hard because isn't it easy sometimes to get out of control and to let ourselves do things that we know we shouldn't, but before we know it, we've done it anyway. Joseph exercised self-control.

Daniel is another man in the Old Testament we find exercising self-control. He was a man who now is in a position even under bondage was being blessed with the kings' delicacies and offered things that were really not holy but were being offered maybe as some type of a bribe to get them to listen and follow the king. You might notice there in the text, Daniel chapter 1 and verse 1, as Nebuchadnezzer is being mentioned. After these gifts had been offered, noticed the reaction of Daniel there in verse 8. "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies nor with the wine which he drank." Therefore he requested that he might not defile himself. Daniel says, "Hey, here is all this delicious food. Here is this best of wine. Here's everything the world has to offer and it is mine. Although most of my people are in slavery and bondage, I here am above the rest and look what I've been blessed with." What does Daniel say? "I don't want it." Self-control. Do we have that self-control physically? Do we ever overeat? Or do we have self-control? Do we ever again speak and say things when people have done wrong to us and we immediately react back to them? Do we ever say things we should not? Again, we're talking about self-control. Do we ever have people act in a way they shouldn't? Do we act back in a way that we should not? Self-control. Daniel was willing to look at all the circumstances and say, "I love God. God is first and I will be in control." No wonder Jesus here through the Holy Spirit reveals to us that self-control is a fruit of the spirit.

Even Jesus Himself in Matthew 4 was tempted of Satan. He was hungry and Satan says, "You have the power. Make these stones become bread." What did Jesus say? "Don't tempt the Lord thy God." He had self-control. Time after time Satan tried to get Him to sin. What was He able to do? Have self-control physically. Have self-control mentally and spiritually turning to God and saying, "I will not go beyond. I will not add to. I will not take away from what My Father has given to Me." So again, we find the great self-control of Jesus.

So we could go on and on talking about those who certainly in the Bible showed great self-control, who always strove to do those things that God would have them to do rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a moment or for a season.

What else might we be able to do then as we are learning through these examples that we might have a greater self-control. What do you think about those we associate with? Do you think they have an effect? Certainly they do. Do you think someone who might offer me things or encourage me to do things I shouldn't might not be a good influence? Well certainly. Whereas someone who would say, "You know, what you're doing is good and you shouldn't do those things." Certainly that would be the greater influence. So avoid those that might cause us to not have the self-control we need, that might not encourage us to be the Christians that we need to be.

Again, back in Proverbs we find a concept that is given to us there by again the great writer as he helps us to understand that we need to have purpose in heart. We need to have a heart that is pure because we control it and it is purposed to do that which is the bidding of God and not the bidding of those around us. We find this in Proverbs 4 looking down around verse 23. The Bible says, "Keep your heart with diligence." He says to control it. Keep it proper and be diligent in making sure that it is focused on the right place. Why? For everything of life, guess what, comes out of that spring, comes out of that heart, comes out of that sinner. We've got to control it. If we know what's inside is what's going to effect what's outside, let's make sure that we feed the inside in a mental way and a physical way, as well as a spiritual way, that being with the Word of God, in a way that is going to bring forth only that which is good and therefore we again have that control, the control that is based on God's Word.

Well certainly, we could mention study. We could mention prayer. We could mention the promises that God has given and how that's a motivation so that we would want to control ourselves because we know what's going to be ours if we control ourselves. We could speak about the concept of sin and how the knowledge of sin and the outcome of sin would keep us from not wanting to be in control for we know the wages of sin that they are death.

But in all of these things again, we are brought back to our main text there in Galatians chapter 5, and we are reminded of the long and lengthy list of things that we have seen to this point that are according to the flesh and that are not according to the walk of the spirit that God designed. But now we have read those fruit of the spirit, those wondrous things that are of God and that are according to His Will such as in verse 22, love, joy, peace, also the concepts of long-suffering and kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and today, self-control. Again, such there is no law. There are many other good righteous and godly and pure characteristics that we could mention that are all about being in the spirit, walking in the spirit, following the spirit, loving God enough to show forth Him in all things. And when we do those things as we read here, we walk and live in a spirit that brings about not fleshly things or those things that we die for or Christ died for even on the cross and we've put away and we've put in the grave of baptism as we died there, but we are now those new creatures who have spirits of Go, the right attitudes, and the right walk with souls in us, are able to exemplify for God that attitude that we read about here that is according to the walk of the spirit (verse 16), that walk that is a beautiful and glorious walk, a walk that makes us stand out and be different, a walk that shows forth in all things that Christ is in us and what we're striving to let others see in all that again we do and say is Jesus. When they do see Him, watch the results. They want to know more about Him. They want to know how we can act the way that we act even in the face of the things that come. They want to know why we are able to do it. They want to know how we have that control. They want to see how Jesus can help them. And then when they learn about the promise, they can obey it. And when they obey it, they can have eternal life and we'll all live eternally with Him forever someday if we do these things.

(Song # 3 - "Are You Washed In The Blood!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for "The Living Word program." I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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We all need to follow the exhortation to have more control of ourselves throughout our daily lives. For if we are to be fully pleasing to god we must be those who practice self- control in all things!

(Program Closing)