Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2018 Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:22-23.  But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.
 

Another wet morning, without even a hopeful ray of sunshine! Steups! But thankfully, there’s no precipitation currently descending from on high! (smile) Ah friends, the gloom persists, but as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have all we need to handle it. And to boot, we can also truthfully declare: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) 

And we would indeed be foolish if we did not enjoy this extra day the Lord has granted us on His great earth. And yes, every day we’re here is an extra day, so be wise and enjoy it and live obediently for Christ, do the work God has entrusted to you!

For we each have a purpose and a plan of God for this earthly life. Our God doesn’t move vie-ke-vie; in a careless, unplanned manner, so each day we’re down here means we still have work to do under His awesome, gracious, merciful and LOVING plan. So let’s get to it nuh! 

And it being Saturday, we will take a look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first quote says: ‘The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.’

And that’s oh so true! But unfortunately very few of us ever get to truly live the life of our dreams, because life is such a series of ups and downs, and none of us ever experience any downs in our dream life. (smile) 

The fact is that most of us have unreasonable dreams, and even with the reasonable ones, we’re not willing to work towards them. Now dreams are important in this life, but until we’re willing to action them, they will always remain dreams. 

 And the next quote tells us: ‘Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive.’ Now that ought to be motto of the Christian believer! Christ said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10b) What’s the point of having abundant life and not enjoying it to the fullest eh? It would only make Christ’s sacrifice a waste down. 

But to enjoy our lives, we also have to focus on the positive aspects, especially of Christ’s teaching, because the negative aspects of the world only beat and break us down. 

And the last quote says: ‘Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.’ Now that is gospel truth my brethren! In fact, death is not a loss of life at all, for believers it’s only a journey from one realm to the other, and even more importantly it’s from a short, finite and rough earthly life, to a long and glorious infinite eternal life. So we don’t suffer a loss of life at all, but move up to a higher, spiritual one. 

The problem is the stuff that dies inside of us while we’re living this earthly life. We’re talking about stuff like, hope, faith, joy, LOVE, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, self-control and self-discipline; the attributes of God we need to live a faithful and fruitful life; things we call the fruit of the Spirit.

Thus our Bit: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.’ 

Yes my believing brethren, those are the things we want alive and well in all of us, so that we can live the life Jesus died for us to have, and to do His work. Unless those things are reigning in our lives we’ll be unable to live good, Christian, fruitful lives like Jesus desires of us.

The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each believer, and is there for the express purpose of leading and guiding us in God-filled lives. That means we have to follow the Spirit’s direction if we want to live successful Christian lives. 

As Bruh Paul so astutely continues: ‘And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (its passions). If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Gal.5:24-25) 

Now here are a few explanations from the scholars: ‘5:22-23. The word fruit is significant for three reasons (1) It means the result, product, outcome or effect produced by the Spirit in the believer’s life. (2) Unlike “the gifts of the Spirit” (plural), only some of which are given to a Christian, each believer is to have all nine virtues composing “the fruit of the Spirit” (singular). (3) As fruit on a tree takes time to grow and mature, so the spirit does not cultivate these virtues in the believer’s life overnight. 

LOVE is the willing, sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. Joy is gladness of heart. Peace is tranquility of mind, freeing one from worry and fear. Long-suffering is patience with others, the opposite of a short temper, a disposition quietly bearing injury.

Gentleness is kindness. Goodness is generosity. Faith here is dependability. Meekness is gentleness, that is, courtesy and consideration in one’s relations with others. Temperance is self-control, that is, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts.’ 

And there you have it friends, ‘the Fruit of the Spirit Lecture 101!’ (smile) Yes, I know it’s not easy to cultivate all those wonderful attributes, especially with the world on our back to do differently, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can certainly work towards them and be fairly successful if we set our minds to it. 

Remember, as believers in Christ, we are done with carnal fleshly matters, and are supposed to live by the Spirit of Christ imbued in us. So let’s do that nuh, and consequently fulfill Bruh Paul’s desire: ‘Let us not be desirous of vain glory (conceited), provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal.5:26). Much LOVE!

…to grow good fruit…we have to sow good seed…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2014 Matthew 5:20

Matthew 5:20.    For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 
Ah Friends, the ole fella’s paying the price for disobedience this morning, an aching back. Too much rest it would seem. (smile) Apparently I ignored the wake up bell this morning and slept in. But my body was tired, I pleaded! No excuse, I was summarily informed. When the bell goes, you arise. End of story! 
 

Ah what a hard taskmaster. But I guess dem’s the breaks! (smile) I know the rules, so if I don’t abide by them, I’ll just have to pay the price. And that’s the way it is with most things in life my people. If we don’t do right, especially if we know what’s right, then we pay.
 
Anyway, today I want to share with you a couple of passages from an article in the July issue of In Touch Magazine, titled ‘Know Your Place,’ by Jim Daly. Some of you might have read it already, but didn’t even pay it any real serious attention, but Friends these words and actions are of vital importance in the life of each and every Christian believer.
 
Mr. Daly quotes Timothy Keller, from his book, ‘The Prodigal God.’ “You can’t live the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.”
 
And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! We can’t live a truly Christian life alone, it’s too difficult to do, especially with all the inviting and exciting wrongs the world has to offer nowadays. We need the empathy, encouragement and bolstering that a tightly knit group offers.
 
And in any case, Jesus didn’t desire and plan for His people to be separate and apart, but be together as one, as one body in His name. It’s all well and good to go to church and participate in the ceremonies and rituals on an individual basis. 
 
But as Mr. Daly later adds: ‘But if we’re not making an effort to connect and engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re missing out on a key element of the church as described in the New Testament.’ And that’s the fostering of true community amongst the Christian brethren.
 
Oh Friends, that’s why there is so much resentment, jealousy and antagonism in the church today. We don’t individually nor collectively foster a sense of true community in the body of Christ. We talk it, but don’t actually walk it. Consequently, we’re not able to be as productive in spreading the good news of the gospel, as we ought to be.
 
We need to put away the selfishness and petty things that keep us apart, die to our own selves, and encourage the things that truly bring us together. And though the leaders in the church might be to blame for some of that, every single believer also has to shoulder some blame too, because it all begins with us as individuals.
 
And that brings us to this passage from Bruh Paul’s epistle to the Romans, where he talks of the people having zeal but no righteousness. ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel, is that they might be saved. For I bear them record (witness), that they have a zeal of (for) God, but not according to knowledge.
 
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ (Rom.10:1-4)
 
And the scholars have a good explanation of that scripture. ‘10:4. Christ is the end of the law.  Israel mistook the purpose of the law. The law pointed to the righteousness that is attainable only by belief in Christ. Israel also mistook the scope of the law.
 
The righteousness to which it pointed was universally available to all who responded to God’s revelation of Himself through the law. But by Paul’s time many had substituted works for faith. Rather than seeking redemption in God’s mercy, they pinned their hopes on their own religious achievement.’
 
And sadly my people, today too many of us are still doing the same thing; depending on our own religiosity rather than God’s available mercy and grace.
 
But please note what our Bit says about that behaviour. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’
 
Those are the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so obviously there’s no doubting them!
 
And the scholars provide a wonderful explanation of all that. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven.
 
The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness.
 
In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action:’
 
Sadly Friends, it’s the same thing a lot of us are still doing today, depending on self, rather than God. And the scholars add a very useful list of what the Law required and what the Spirit of God desired.

 LAW                                                                        SPIRIT

 

No murder                                                                No anger

 

No adultery                                                               No lust

 

No divorce                                                                Commitment

 

No oath-taking                                                          Speak the truth

 

No retaliation                                                            Forgiveness

 

Hatred for your enemy                                              LOVE for your enemy

 

  (tradition allowed it)                                                   (commanded)

 

And there we have it my people, a simple breakdown of the things the religious Law called for and/or allowed, as well as the things that Jesus desired, and still desires, of His true and faithful followers.

 

So let’s sit down today and consider our own reaction and behaviour to all those things nuh, and then, as always, sincerely ask God to help us improve in whatever way we need to. That’s heavenly wisdom my brethren, for we know He will NEVER refuse any requests to draw closer to Him! Much LOVE!

 

…to be a true believer…one must lose the self in self-righteousness…

 

P.S. That makes up for the short Bit yesterday. (smile) Much LOVE!