THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 6-3-07

LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: PEACE AND LONGSUFFERING"

WELCOME

"Christ is head of the church and Savior of the body!" What a privilege we have this morning to assemble together before our Creator that we may study 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 King of Kings. 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.

(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, "O Worship The King!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

In the Bible, we often read about the family of God as it is compared to a physical body! In Romans 12: 4-5, we read, "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." Paul said, as Christians, we are all a part of the one body of Christ Jesus our Lord and we all have different functions! Isn't that how our body works? Many parts, all working together, yet serving different functions, so that the body may be able to fulfill its needed work.

Furthermore, as we talk about fulfilling our part in the body of Christ we need to consider a few questions. What part of the body are you? Have you found you talents and are you using then for the Lord? Probably many of us are not! When was the last time you considered what your special talents are? When was the last time you put those talents to work for the Lord's body?

The Bible is full of examples that teach us that we must all do our own part for Jesus. We all remember the story of the "Talents," in Matthew 25. The master gave each of His servant's talents. To one he gave 5, to another he gave 2, and to another he gave 1. Each servant later returned to the master. The 5 and 2 talent men had doubled their talents and the master was well pleased. The one talent man came back only with that which the master had given him.

Now let's see what the master said to the one talent man in verse 26, "You wicked and lazy servant..." The master was upset that this servant had done nothing with what he had been given. Also, notice the outcome of this unprofitable servant. In verse 28 we find that his talent was taken from him and given to another. Then on down in verse 30 we read, "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Are we using our talents for the glory of God or are we sitting around like the lazy servant? Why not find your talents and be a profitable servant in the Kingdom of the Lord. Choose today to be a healthy part of the body of Christ!

Today we will again be considering a lesson from our series which is entitled, "Walking in the Spirit!" Our specific topic this morning will focus on the fruit of the spirit, specifically, "Peace and Longsuffering!" So stay with us and in a few minutes our speaker of the morning will lead us in this study from God's Word.

As far as our speaker, we are happy to have brother Chuck Northrop with us today as our guest speaker. Brother Chuck is one of the ministers for the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ and he is also a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for being with us this morning to lead us in our main thoughts from the Bible.

Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Purer In Heart."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Chuck Northrup

Welcome to "The Living Word." We appreciate having you with us today in our study. We'll be studying from the book of Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23.

In Galatians 5 verses 22-23, Paul gives us what is called "The Fruit of the Spirit." "The Fruit of the Spirit" are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance. As we think about "The Fruit of the Spirit," these are various characteristics of that singular fruit. As we've looked at last week, the characteristics of love and joy. This week, we'll look at the characteristics of peace and also longsuffering. But as we think about that "Fruit of the Spirit," notice it is a singular fruit, only one and that it is characterized by these various characteristics. Just as an apple is sweet and tender, it might be juicy, and it is certainly round, well, "The Fruit of the Spirit" is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc.

Now let me also invite you to write to us or call us. We have a booklet that I have written concerning "The Fruit of the Spirit" that is past articles that we've put in our local bulletin for the church and you can have it free of charge. It is absolutely free to you. We will not ask you to pay for it. We will not ask anything of you or any contribution. So write to our address for that booklet.

As we think about the characteristic of peace, we know that our Lord's ministry started out with peace, was characterized by peace. In Matthew the 5th chapter in "The Beatitudes," Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God." We know that we as peacemakers must seek for peace. But as we think about peace, we need to understand a little bit about peace. As we think about peace, we think about several different concepts. One concept is the idea of being absent from hostility. And we also think about reconciliation as well as peace that passes understanding.

But as we think about peace, I wanted to illustrate it with two characters that were disciples of Jesus that were apostles of Jesus. One character is Matthew. Matthew, his other name was Levi, was a tax collector. A tax collector in the 1st century would have been a very criminal type or shady type of character. He would have done all kinds of things. He would have collected taxes for Rome. Another apostle whom Jesus called was Simon. Simon was a zealot. A zealot was one who was opposed to the Roman Empire. And yet as we think about Simon and as we think about Levi or Matthew, we think about those two men. Politically, they were at odds with and against each other. Matthew being one who gathered taxes for Rome. Simeon or Simon was one who was opposed to the Roman Empire, at odds with one another politically and yet they were united as soldiers of Christ. They were united as Christians. They were united as disciples, as they carried forth the Word of God.

As we think about the Messianic Kingdom, we know it is also characterized by peace. I believe that Levi and also Simon illustrate that particular point. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be called, the Messiah would be called a "Prince of Peace." In fact, in Isaiah chapter 2 and verses 4, we find within a mist of a great Messianic prophecy, it says that, "The citizens would beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore." And so that prophecy repeats then and shows the peaceful nature of that marvelous kingdom.

Now let's get back to the idea then of the different ways that the word "peace" is used. Jesus said in Matthew 10 and verse 34, He says, "Think not that I came to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10, verse 34.)

Now as we think about peace, we know that one kind of peace and I think the kind of peace when most people think about when they think about peace is the absence of hostility. We think about no fighting, no wars, no nothing of that nature, no nothing of hostilities, and so we call that peace. When we say about a nation, "Well, that nation is at peace," what do we mean by that? Well, there is no war. The nation is not at war, but it is at peace. It's the opposite.

Well now notice, listen again to what Jesus said. In Matthew chapter 10 and verse 34 again He said, "Think not that I came to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Now what kind of peace is Jesus talking about? He's talking about the absence of hostility. Jesus did not come to bring the absence of hostility. He did not come in order that men might be without any harm or no war to exist. In fact, Jesus told us that we will always have war. Think about the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 12 where Paul says, "Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Every single one of us that live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution and so it is that Jesus did not then promise that particular type of peace. Though it is certainly a result of living right with God. We can enjoy different kinds of peace.

A second kind of peace is reconciliation. Reconciliation is bringing two things that are at odds with one another together. As we think about reconciliation, I always think about Ephesians chapter 2 and verses 13-16. In that marvelous passage, listen to what Paul has to say. He says, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace who made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Now notice in this passage, he tells us that we are reconciled, that we are brought together by the blood of Jesus Christ. The two there that are made one is Jew and Gentile. They are the two that are brought together. They are reconciled. And both Jew and Gentile are at odds or enmity against God. So there had to be something that would bring us back to God. What was that? It was the precious blood of Christ and thus we are reconciled to God by the blood into one body, the church. What a marvelous and beautiful illustration that is that we can be reconciled to God in one body.

The third kind of peace is peace that passes understanding, Philippians the 4th chapter and verse 9. That particular idea of peace means or carries the idea of serenity or tranquility. Now notice this, now Jesus did not promise the absence of hostility, the absence of war or fighting. In fact, we know we will have that. But He did promise that we can have reconciliation as a result of the blood of Jesus Christ. When we obey the gospel, when we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, when we repent of our sins, confess Him before men and be baptized, immersed in water and raised up to walk in newness of life, we then will have reconciliation.

Now the result of reconciliation is the peace that passes understanding. Would you like to have peace of mind? Would you like to have tranquility? Would you like to have serenity? Well, all of us do? How do we have that? Knowing that we have reconciliation back to God. And so the third kind of peace is the result of having the first kind or the second kind of peace, reconciliation.

You know, as we think about Jesus as being the Prince of Peace, and we know that God is the God of Peace, but we also know the gospel is the Gospel of Peace because it brings reconciliation to us.

Our second part of our study concerns longsuffering, that is the fourth characteristic of "The Fruit of the Spirit." Longsuffering is sometimes defined as "long on suffering." I think that is a good idea or a good thought as we think about that. Longsuffering's synonyms are things such as forbearance, or patience. Longsuffering is the absolute opposite of anger especially outbursts of anger. As we think about longsuffering, one cannot be longsuffering while holding a grudge or while being contentious or while exploding in anger. Thankfully, all of us probably know somebody that was longsuffering toward us. Maybe it was some teacher as they were longsuffering with us because of various difficulties that we were having. Maybe it was some friend or some parent or something like that or a grandparent and we can identify with that. We then appreciate that characteristic of longsuffering. God is one who is longsuffering. In fact, one of the great attributes of God Almighty is the fact that He is longsuffering.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 86 and verse 15, "But thou Lord art a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering and plenteous in mercy and in truth."

Of course, we think then about such passages such as 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 9 where Peter would write, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promises as some men count slackness but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

As I think about longsuffering, I can't help but think that God is longsuffering. He gives us this day every day. He gives us opportunities and life. He gives us everything that we have because He is longsuffering toward us-ward. He gives us time and He gives us opportunities of evangelism, opportunities of teaching, opportunities to listen to gospel messages such as this because He wants us to be saved.

I'm reminded of the words as Paul writes to the young evangelist, Timothy, in 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 4 where he says, "He desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth."

I think also about the parable that Jesus taught about the unjust judge. Jesus taught among other things this principle of God's longsuffering. This is found in Luke the 18th chapter verses 1-8. In the parable, the wicked judge grants a petition of a widow who was persistent in her request. She continued to petition him. Like the unjust judge, God grants petition. If the unjust judge would grant the petition of this persistent widow, how much more shall the righteous God, the righteous Judge grant to His own faithful servants who continually petition Him? Well, concerning longsuffering Jesus said in this particular parable in verse 7, "And shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him though He bear long with them?" Well that word "long" is that same word "longsuffers" with them. God longsuffers with us and He grants our petition because He longsuffers with us.

You know when we think about people losing their lives, we usually think about people changing their life after a tragic event that happens to them. I remember a number of years ago a man was standing beside an elevator shaft and somebody had driven a forklift off into the elevator shaft and this man actually had his hands on the gate that closed the elevator and that forklift came down through the elevator shaft and suddenly this man then got religion. He decided he needed to make some changes in his life. Well, you know the longsuffering of God ought to make us want to make changes in our lives.

Listen to what Romans chapter 2 and verse 4 says. In Romans 2 verse 4, Paul writing to the church at Rome said, "Oh despise us thou the riches and goodness and forbearance and longsuffering not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." It is God's goodness that ought to lead us to repentance. You know, we know that every good and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Light in whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. Every good and every perfect gift comes down from God. His longsuffering ought to lead us to repentance. Those good and those perfect gifts should lead every single person to repentance. But sadly, too many of us reject the longsuffering of God.

In Romans chapter 5 and verse 8, Paul again writing to the church at Rome said, "But God commendeth His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were in sin. While we were lost without hope, Christ died for us. I believe that illustrates the longsuffering of God. We deserve death because of our sin. We deserve separation from God, but instead the Bible says that God sent His only Son to die for us. Christ died for us.

I can't help but to think then about the statement that John made in 1 John chapter 3 verse 1. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God." God truly does love us. He loves you and He wants you to be saved. That's God's longsuffering. Since God and Christ are longsuffering, it is only natural that His servants also be longsuffering.

In fact, when Paul would describe the idea of love in the great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 and verse 4, he says, "Love suffers long." If God so loved us, we ought to be loving one to another. We ought to have longsuffering one to another. We ought to love one another in the same way with the same longsuffering that God has with us."

Don't you want to be longsuffering? Don't you want to be patient? Oh what a marvelous gift it is when men are longsuffering with one another.

(SONG # 3 - "Sinners Jesus Will Receive!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

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.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

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May we all strive to be a more patient and peaceful people. For God loves those who bear proper fruit according to His Word.

(Program closing)