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Well, all right. It is so good to celebrate with you each and every week here at Cottonwood. Part of what we just did is called fellowship. Greeting one another in the name of the Lord. If you look at the aspects of worship that you look at from the old all the way through the New Testament, that yes, we're supposed to get together and we're supposed to sing songs of praise and adoration of God. We are supposed to study his word and grow in our knowledge of scripture and our knowledge of God and our knowledge of Christ, but we're also to fellowship. To greet one another in the name of the Lord. So, every time you do that hopefully you know you are doing that for a purpose, a reason. It's not just something that we just tack on by way of transition. It is part of us being the people of God and a church of God. So, I want to encourage you, always greet one another with great encouragement.  

Find someone new to meet and meet them well. If you happen to be new here and we already know that because of the rain and the weather, there are many others that have joined us online today but if you happen to be new here, I started a series a couple of weeks ago entitled Blessed. Learning to leave with eight attitudes that have a promise. There are a lot of attitudes that we can live with in life. If you have kids, they have attitudes. How many of you have noticed that? Some of those attitudes are filled with blessings and promise. Some of them not so much. You know what I'm talking about. So, as we've been looking at this, we're looking in Matthew chapter five. Go ahead and open up there.  

In Matthew chapter five, Jesus opens the greatest sermon that was ever preached by the greatest preacher that has ever preached. Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, which you can find in Matthew chapter five, six, and seven. But he opens up that great sermon by sitting down and speaking to the people. He delivers eight what we refer to as beatitudes. They are really eight attitudes that have a promise that if you and I will live and learn to live with these eight attitudes in life, Jesus says there is a promised reward. If you missed the first week, let me just go over these and if you missed them, you can find them online. Week one was this. Quick review. Attitude number one was we need to learn to live with spiritual humility. 

That is the attitude that we need to have. Now what was the promise? That we would inherit the kingdom of heaven. What does that mean? That before you and I can come to faith in Christ, to gospel, we have to be honest about who we are. That we're not good enough to save ourselves, that we're not good enough to look God in the eye and say, "Accept me on my own merits. I need a savior." Spiritual humility. The Bible says for all have sinned and we've all fallen short of the glory of God. If I'm ever going to become a believer and what a beautiful thing it was to see mom and son getting baptized there, they both came to that space and that place in their life where they accepted the idea of spiritual humility that I need something other than myself to save myself and God has provided the answer. His son Jesus Christ. 

When we live with spiritual humility, that is the attitude. The promise is we inherit the kingdom of heaven. Here's attitude number two. We looked at this last week. It's not one we enjoy. It is learning to live with an attitude of mourning that leads to the promise being comforted. You know, we live in a sinful and a difficult world. We mourn in a lot of things. We mourn the losses of a loved one. We mourn the losses of a job or finances. We mourn the losses of our own health. We mourn the losses of a relationship with someone we love or a child. The loss of a child or the loss of a marriage. We mourn a lot of things, but Jesus said here is the attitude. If we mourn in such a way that it draws us closer to God, doesn't drive us further away from God, the promise is that we would know God's comfort. 

If you missed that last week and if you are journeying through a season of mourning, I want to encourage you to download that and get it online and look at that attitude with a promise. Today we're going to look at a third attitude with a promise. Here it is. If you and I are going to be blessed by God and we're going to live a blessed life, we have to do this. We have to learn to live with a powerful gentleness. We have to learn to live a powerful gentleness. I put those two words together because oftentimes when we hear the word gentle and the word we're about to see in Matthew chapter five verse five which is the word meek, we have a tendency to make the word meekness synonymous with weakness. I want you to know Jesus didn't say that at all. When Jesus said blessed are the meek, he is saying blessed are those who live with an attitude of powerful gentleness. 

So, let's look at Matthew chapter five, verse five. We're going to put it up on the screen for you. Here's what Jesus said. Here's your attitude. He says, "Blessed are the meek." If you want to be blessed by God and blessed by others, you and I have to learn we have to learn to live with an attitude of meekness or gentleness. Now notice what Jesus said. Jesus did not say, "Blessed are the gripers." He didn't say, "Blessed are the complainers." He didn't say, "Blessed are the arguers." He didn't say, "Blessed are those who are always in your face," but then notice if that's the attitude, blessed are the meek, what's the promise? Here's the promise. Notice what it says. I love it. "For they will inherit the earth."  

No, I want you to know and you can go look in the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, you can see that there is an eschatological influence in this verse. That Jesus says that some day, you go look at it in Revelation in the millennium that you and I as a child of God and as believers of Christ that we will inherit the earth. But there is also in Jesus's words and you can see it in the passage there is also a here and now aspect of it. That if you and I learn to live after living with spiritual humility which gets us salvation, we can live with meekness here knowing that regardless of what happens here, we will eventually someday inherit the earth. Jesus always says though if we want to live in such a way that we inherit the earth here on this time and this season presently, we need to learn to live with gentleness. In other words, we don't want to operate in every conversation, in every relationship, in every position and every season of life like bulls in the china closet. 

We don't want to be destroyers. We want to be builders. We don't want to be fighters, we want to be lovers. But I want you to know the title of the message is real. Blessed are those who live with a powerful gentleness. Now, if you look at this word that Jesus uses as meek and meek is not a word we use often. Some of your translations use the word gentleness. That's the one I'm going to use today because I think that's the one we most understand. Because we understand we say, "Hey, he's such a gentleman." Right? If someone stops and opens the door for a lady or a senior adult or if your son, you try to teach your son and your children to do that, to live with an attitude of gentleman as a gentleman. Jesus uses that word meek. Now if you look at that Greek word that Jesus used there, blessed are the meek or the gentle, and you go look it elsewhere where that same word is used outside of scripture, one of the areas that it was used if you go a couple of hundred years before Jesus, Alexander the Great ruled over basically the world at the time. 

He was the greatest ruler the Greeks ever had. In Greek literature, one of the things that he had was a white stallion that often times he would just sit and he would look at his troops or he would look when he was about to fight. He would sit there on his white stallion. There were those who would write and they were taking notes. They would have been the reporters of the day who would say that Alexander looked majestic seated on his meek stallion. Now, let me ask you a question. Do you think they were saying that he looked majestic seated on his wimpy stallion or that little pony? 

No, they would not have been reporters in the kingdom long. How many of you know? What they were saying is that stallion that had been well trained was powerful enough to do anything its owner, its rider wanted it to do. But it chose to control its power for the right time. If you continue and you can do this with words, if you continue to trace the origin of the word, this same Greek word and then this idea of meekness and gentleness not being weakness, you can trace it all the way to America. In the days in the eastern coast and in the southern back in the days that there would be those who were training horses to run in races. There was a phrase that many of the trainers would use prior to the race. They would say, "The meekest horse will win the race."  

What did they mean by the meekest horse would win the race? That's the horse that took well to its training, that learned to eat well, to rest well when it was supposed to train hard, it trained hard. When it was supposed to conserve energy, it conserved energy when it listened to the jockey. That's when it would run the best. If you're like me and from time to time, I'm just a casual onlooker. There are about three races. Y'all can know those races that I like if I'm available, I like to watch three races. Just the Triple Crown. That's all I need to know. There are times and we saw that this year this powerful stallion that ended up winning the race that was massive, but he was always gentle. Going in to the stall ready to take off. The meekest horse is not the weakest.  

It is often times the strongest and the fastest and the best trained and the most well nourished. But when the gates open, all the power, all the beauty, all the strength were unleashed in one moment. A number of years ago in 1901, we had a president named Teddy Roosevelt. How many of you remember Teddy Roosevelt? Teddy Roosevelt, he served as our president from 1901 to 1909. Some of y'all voted for him. I know. But in 1901 when he was coming into office, you know Teddy's history. If you know anything, he was kind of a war guy. He was a fighter. He was a battler. So, they begin to ask him in those days there was a lot of wars and rumors of war. Really lots of rumors of war. They said, "Listen. You've been a battler in the past. How are you going to handle foreign relations?" 

Here's how he responded. See if you can finish the sentence. He says, "I am going to speak softly and carry a" ... you know it. Now you know where that phrase came from. Well, as you might well imagine, you can go read this, a reporter says, "What do you mean you will speak softly and carry a big stick?" He says, "Ma'am that means we're going to live in meekness." What was he saying that our military was going to be weak? No. He was saying, "Man. No. We want to work with every country we can work with until we flat out just can't anymore." When he went on to elaborate on it, here's what else he said. He said, "For the person that blusters all the time, even a big stick can not keep them out of trouble." What is he saying? If you constantly want to fight everybody, guess what? Everybody will fight you. How many of you have noticed that? Anybody look at our current political environment? Everybody is walking around with their stick out, right? 

It's just one of those things. You once say, "Hey just tap down on the rhetoric just a bit. Both sides. Just ease back because what's the most important thing? The country. You and me." I will tell you. My heartbeat is I want every president, whether I voted for them or not vote for them to be as successful as possible. Why? Because I want to see the country blessed. So, when they asked Teddy Roosevelt to elaborate on it, he said, "Listen. The person that blusters all the time even a big stick can't keep him out of trouble nor will speaking softly avail if it's not backed up by any strength or power." What was he saying? He was saying speaking softly is not the answer either if there is no strength in power. What was he doing? He was saying we don't want to be blustering fools as a country, but we want to be quiet but carry a big stick. 

Now, Jesus said blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. That is a present aspect for where we are. Here are some synonyms for this word meekness. Let me put them up on the screen. Notice what it says. He said it's patience, long-suffering, gentleness, mildness, peacefulness and forbearance. All of those have the idea of really what Jesus and there are times if you look through your translation in scripture, this same Greek word [Greek]is sometimes translated patience. Sometimes long-suffering. Sometimes mildness. Sometimes peacefulness. Sometimes forbearance, but most often gentleness. That's the word we see. So, that's the one I'm going to use today because I think it's the one that you and I understand the most. That we are to live with a gentleness of our heart and our life and our actions and our activities. 

If we do, Jesus says we will inherit the earth. Matter of fact, if you go look at Galatians chapter five, go ahead and put that up on the screen. You will see this same Greek word used as one of the fruits of the spirit. He says the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, here it is, and gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. As I was doing some study over the last couple of weeks and I was reading what theologians said about this word, I thought I would just share with you a few of them so you can see in different seasons and different stations and different times and in different books and commentaries where they use this word and how they defined the word gentleness. Look at Michael Wilkins. Let's put it up there first. Michael Wilkins says, "The gentle or meek are those who are powerful." Everybody say powerful. 

Meekness is not weakness. That doesn't mean that as believers we are always pushovers. Man, the gentle or the meek are those who are powerful, but who have the maturity and grace to use their power for constructive rather than destructive purposes. What is he saying? He's saying, "Man. Being meek and being gentle does not mean I'm weak. It means that I have the maturity and the grace to use my power in constructive manners instead of destructive manners." Let me ask you a question. When you think about men and ladies, teenagers, when you think about how you used your power this week, did you use it in constructive ways or destructive ways? Men, if we release our power in our words, in our physicality, in our strength, what can we do? We can destroy our kids. We can destroy our wives. We can destroy our relationships. We can, if we don't control our anger, we can destroy what? Our jobs and our positions. 

We can lose everything, right? Just by not being meek. Not weak. Because however if we are mature, we will use our strength and power to construct and build up and not to tear down. Andrew Murray here put it this way. Here's what Andrew Murray said. "Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature." Now let me just stop you right there. What he's doing, he's referencing back to Philippians chapter two. If you remember in Philippians chapter two, it says, "Jesus Christ, although being in the very form," that is the Greek word [Greek], the morphology, that's where we get our english word morphology from, he is in very form God." In other words, Jesus was God. But what did he do? 

He humbled himself taking on the very nature, the essence of humanity. That's why we say Jesus was 100% and 100% man. He chose to humble himself to make him meek by putting on the cloak of humanity. Then he goes on. He says, "He is the eternal love of God humbling itself and clothing itself in the garb, there's the word meekness or gentleness to win and to serve and to save us." Remember the idea of meekness that Michael Wilkins said? He says, "Man, the meek person is the one who chooses to use their power and strength in constructive, not destructive ways." When Jesus came to this earth, he chose to use his power and his strength to serve and to win and to save us. 

As a church, as a people of God, as a congregation of believers, how should we use all the talents and all the gifts and all the abilities and all of the things that God has given us? We should use those in constructive, not destructive ways humbling ourselves, clothing ourselves in the garb of meekness and gentleness for the purpose of winning serving and saving those who are lost. What about Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of yesteryear? He said what? He said the Lord is slow to anger because he is great in power. Notice that. We've heard that phrase. The Lord is slow to anger. Why is he slow to anger? Because he understands the power. The same God that spoke the world into existence and spoke you and I into existence could speak us out just like that. How many of you understand? 

So, he controls his great power to use it for good. It says the Lord is slow to anger because he is great in power. Now listen to this guys. Listen to this ladies. He who is truly great in power is the one who hath power over himself. Man, we are really strong and truly strong when we can control our own selves. What we say, how we operate, how we live and how we act. Let me give you two more and then we're going to give you a definition that I wanted this to be our operating definition of gentleness today and meekness today. Warren Wiersbe put it this way. He's older. He uses the word meekness. "Meekness is power under control." Stuart Weber changes the word and says, "Gentleness is strength under control." So, if you have your inserts or if you have your app pulled up, here is going to be our operating definition of meekness and gentleness today. 

Put it up on the screen. It is this. Meekness or gentleness is controlled strength and power. I want everybody who has the idea that meekness is synonymous with weakness, get it out of your mind right now. Choosing to humble yourself and be gentle and meek is a choice to control power. So, now. Let's go back to our attitude. The meek are blessed. That's the attitude. What's the promise? They shall inherit the earth. There is a in times to come, but there's also a present time. So, I want to talk to you and I looked through scripture the last couple of weeks. I want to talk to you about seven ways that living in gentleness can improve your life today. Seven ways that I found in scripture that gentleness can improve your life today. 

Here's number one. Ready? Write it down. Gentleness will make me more like Jesus. I want you to know. Being more and more like Jesus as I journey through life, that is the essence of spiritual growth. That is the essence of maturing in my faith. I want you to know that the essence of spiritual maturity is not the number of sermons you've listened to or the number of Sunday schools you've been a part of or the number of songs you've sang. The essence of spiritual maturity is when I'm becoming more like Christ. What did the apostle Paul say? Follow me as I follow Christ. So, as we journey through life, we need to understand the more I operate, the more I talk, walk, act, live at the office at home, at church, in the marketplace. The more I act like Jesus the more spiritually mature I am. 

Notice what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 11. Put it up on the screen. He says, "Come to me who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest." He says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me." What does it say? "For I am" what? Gentle. Jesus says, "Man, if you need rest, we live in a society, we live in a nation for all the good that is going on, man the stock market is making records each and every week. Unemployment is down. We are blessed with so much good, but what? We have more people today that are weary and burdened than ever before. Why? Because we have too few people that are willing to live with gentleness and grace. Let me tell you what. If you want to be an oasis for a hurting and broken world, live like Jesus and be one that is, what? Person who gives hope and rest to those who are weary.  

Jesus said, "For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls." People are struggling. The more gentle we operate, the more meek we live, the more we become like Christ. Here's number two. You ready? Here's a practical idea. Gentleness neutralizes our enemies. Gentleness neutralizes my enemies. How many of you know this? That the more successful you are in life, the more critics you will have? How many of you understand that? Anybody ever been in a season or situation or a place and a space and an organization and a structure or happened to even be on a team and then all of a sudden, you're no longer a team member, the coach says you're the captain? All of a sudden you have fewer friends. Everybody becomes a critic. Everybody wants to throw you at the bus. 

If you're at an organization and you're all working on a team and then all of a sudden someone gets promoted and you get promoted from among your team, guess what? Those who were your friends are no longer your friends. Now they're your critics. So, I want you to know living with gentleness literally neutralize or diffuses the enemy's argument. Notice as we put scripture up here, just go look at it, notice exactly what it says in 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 24 and 25. It says, "The Lord's servant," and I want you to know I'm speaking to me first. You can insert the word pastor or deacon or church leader or life group teacher or life group director, a leader in God's house. The Lord's "servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone." I am forbidden by God to constantly stand around in the halls of this church and argue and quarrel and fight. I can't be that way. 

I'm commanded not to be that way. You don't want your pastor to be that way. That's actually easy. It's the second part of gentleness that is hard. It says I have to be kind to everyone. I want you to know. Everyone means everyone. Some people don't deserve it. Everybody say, "Some people don't deserve it." Don't point at them, just say it, okay? I want you to know. I find it easier to walk away from a quarrel, why? Because I've seen God bless my ministry by if someone just wants to fight for the sake of fighting and arguing, I'm out. If we're looking for solutions in a rational manner, I'm in there with you. But if you just want to argue and fight, I'm out. I have seen many of my friends who I went through seminary and school with destroy or be destroyed in ministry in church after church because they stood around and fought and argued. 

I have learned this about church people. If you want an argument, they're up for it. How many of you know what I'm talking about? They can argue about I don't know if you know this. Some people argue about music. Did anybody know that? What decade was it written in or what does it say? Man, there are always things to argue about. We can argue about a lot of things. Man, we built a brand new Chapel. We can argue about color of carpet and stuff. If you notice I was sick of that. Have you looked in the Chapel? We're not arguing about the color of the carpet. We just didn't put any in it. We said, "Throw some stain on the concrete. I'm tired of arguing about it" we didn't argue about the color of the pews. We're not putting them in it. 

That's the way it is because we will argue. I am commanded by God not to quarrel. If you see me battling and fighting and arguing, I am disobeying holy God's word. You don't want me to be that way. You want me to use my energy for the right purpose. Then go on and read on. He has to be kind to everyone, able to teach and respectful. What do I do with my opponents? Opponents should be gently instructed in the hope of God and grant them repentance that is leading to the knowledge of the truth. You might want to write this down. This was not original with me. This was a professor who years ago said, "A good and Godly pastor needs tough skin and a tender heart." That doesn't go for just the pastor. If you're going to be a Godly and good deacon, if you're going to be a good and Godly Christian, you need tough skin but always maintain a tender heart. 

Because I have noticed as much as God has blessed the church when we do this and we start this and God blesses in this way, there are always someone that's going to swing a barb. I want to have tough skin, but never ever ever not have a tender heart. Man, as a child of God I pray that that is a call that you see on your life. Go on, it neutralizes my enemies. Look at 1 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 12 and 13. He says, "Work hard with your own hands." In other words, we need to work hard, that's the gentleness. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure it. When we are slandered we do what, we answer kindly. That's gentleness. Let me tell you what. I can be as sarcastic as anybody. Just hang around with me and my friends. 

I can light you up before you know it and I can laugh about it before it even connects. That's just the way I am, but I will also tell you that there are times when I choose and it is a choice to speak softly and keep the stick behind my back. Why? Because that's when I'm going to ultimately demonstrate the meekness and gentleness that's going to win and neutralize my enemies. Sometimes it's fun. Look at Titus chapter two, verse six to eight. Similarly he says what? "Encourage young men to be self controlled in everything. Set them an example." We as older Christians, older believers ought to be examples for them by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, show seriousness, show soundness of speech that can not be condemned so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you. 

Man, if someone talks about your anger and your temper and guess what? You respond with your anger and your temper you have just made their point. Do you know what I'm talking about? Man, so thought number one is this. Gentleness makes me more like Christ. Gentleness neutralizes my enemies argument. Here's number three. You ready? Gentleness increases my influence in the world. Now, this can be counterintuitive when you think about it a the office unless you remember what the word means. Notice what Proverbs chapter 16 verse 21 says. It says, "The wise heart are called discerning and a gracious words promote instruction." Man, if all of a sudden you're in the office and they are throwing barbs and fighting, the person who steps up and says, "Hey let's just calm down and let's look for a solution. Let's see who's got a valid reason for the mistake or the problem or who's got a good answer to solve it. Guess what? 

You have just raised your influence in the office. Man, the person who doesn't throw the barb, who supplies gracious words is the one who promotes instruction. The one who promotes instruction is always going to be the one who increases their influence. Look at the next passage. Proverbs chapter 11, verse 16. It says, "A kindhearted woman gains honor." Ladies. A kindhearted woman gains honor. That doesn't mean a weak one, but notice. Ladies you get lifted up, men we're under the bus. Notice what it says, "But ruthless men gain only wealth." What is he saying? There are a lot of people who will roll through life who are ruthless people and they will rob and they will steal and they will destroy and they will kill always serving their own ego and sure and I love the way he said it. He says, "All they're going to end up with is the wealth." He says, "Guess what? You are going to die with change in your pocket and no friends by your side." 

I'm going to say that again. If we live our lives in ruthless ways, we might die with change in our pockets without a friend by our side. Why? Because we have just lived a ruthless life. Here's number four. You ready? Gentleness reduces conflict in my life. Man. Living a life not only does it raise my influence, but it reduces conflict in my life. In other words, we need to have a sense and an attitude, when someone amps up the volume, I take down the volume. If someone wants to bring force, I'm going to try to first of all speak graciously back to them. Notice what scripture says. It says in Proverbs chapter 15, verse 1. "A gentle answer turns away wrath and a harsh answer stirs up trouble." Man, as you think about it. I get a choice every time when I'm in the middle of a conflict I can either infuse it with more fuel for the fire or I can diffuse it. How many of you know what I'm talking about? 

You ever been in a conversation with your teenage son or your teenage daughter and they have a tendency to want to speak back and amp it up just a bit? What is the natural response? You have no idea how far I can go. What is the right response? Take the air out of the argument. Bring things down and gently instruct. If that doesn't work you still have a stick, right? That's the way it works. We need to understand we don't need to live in conflict. Look at Ecclesiastes chapter 10 verse 4. It says, "If a ruler's anger rises against you," take the word ruler out. Let's insert the word we understand now. A boss. "If a boss's anger rises against you, don't leave your post." I love that. If a boss comes in and begins to launch at you, don't storm out. Don't stand up and scream back. You just hold your ground. 

Big stick and all, right? Then he goes on and he says, "Listen. Calmness can lay great offenses to rest." Man, some people are addicted to anger. They're addicted to blow off their steam and to argue with people and jump on people. Some people don't feed it. Don't feed their addiction. Look at Colossians chapter 3, verse 12 and 13. He says, "Therefore, as God's chosen people," everybody say that's us. Okay. Not all y'all. Just FYI I'll preach another series about you being God's chosen people. Just trust me on this right now. Everybody say, "That's us." 

So, how are you supposed to live? Notice Paul tells us. "Therefore as God's chosen people." Not just the pastor. Not just the deacon. Not just the staff. Not just the worship leader. Not just the life group leader. Not just your youth pastor. All of us. We're all chosen people. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves." What kind of clothes should you put on? Compassion and kindness and humility. There's that word. Gentleness. Patience, bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you have a grievance against someone else, forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Man. There it is. As chosen people. That's our clothing. 

Let me ask you a question. When you got up and you dressed today. When you chose your outfit today, did you choose I'm going to clothe myself today with compassion and and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience? Or did you walk out naked? That you didn't bring compassion to church with you? As a matter of fact, you've already jumped over some volunteer down in the nursery. You didn't bring kindness. You already argued because the person who was supposed to open the door was talking instead of opening the door. What? You're not wearing the right things. You want to know how I chose to wear this today? My wife bought it yesterday. She came home and said, "I think you'll look good in this." You know what I did? I thought I'd look good in that. Why? Because I'm a smart man and it was 70% off which was my favorite kind of outfit. 

Now, you might want to write this down. If you want to know something about the pastor's wife, write this down. Here it is. The pastor's wife has great taste in clothes and men. You write that down. She chose me. Man, we have to make ... Let me tell you what. It was a conscious choice to put this on. What did I do? I said, "Do you want me to wear that today or next week?" She said today. I put it on. That was my choice. What would you like for me to wear with it? Go ahead and wear jeans. Great. I'm wearing jeans. I love jeans. Do you think these shoes or the other shoes? She said, "Those shoes over there." I go, "Okay." I walk out of the closet. She goes, "You need to get socks." I said, "They aren't gonna see socks." But you clothe yourself. It is a choice to walk in gentleness.  

Men, it is a choice how you speak to your wife. If I clothe myself, let me tell you what I was taught from a young age because I had a dad who didn't always speak softly, but he always had a big stick. That I was taught all my life if someone is older than you, you better hold the door. If someone is a female, you better hold the door. That's the way life is. You want to know what I do today? I still if someone is older than me, I hold the door. If someone is a female, I hold the door. Why do I hold as a gentleman, why do I hold the door open for ladies? Not because they are not capable of holding it for themselves, but simply because it reminds me of a gentle and kind and compassionate and caring and loving, forgiving heart that I should have all the time. 

I should be tender hearted. Men. There is no weakness in being tenderhearted toward your wives. There is no weakness at all. Here's number five. You want a really practical one? Write this down. Everybody in here. I'm just looking at y'all. Y'all all need this one. Gentleness improves your looks. It makes you look better to outsiders. If you want to put it this way, maybe this is a way that you can understand this. This is a procedure that doesn't cost anything. You know what I'm talking about? Just walk in gentleness and you look better. Men. You want to look more handsome to your bride, live in gentleness. Ladies, you want to look more beautiful, live and walk in gentleness. I love what scripture says. Here's what it says. You want to improve your looks? 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 11. This is talking to the men.  

He says, "But you, man of God," all the guys say, "That's us." Man of God, flee from all of this. Go look at it. Hatred, bitterness, they're all there. And pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Guys, if we want to look better to our brides and everybody around, that's what we pursue. Those are procedures that don't cost a dollar. Now what about you ladies? Look at 1 Peter chapter three verse three and four. He says, "Gals, your beauty should not be only from outward adornment such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes." In other words, all the guys said, "Amen. We don't want to buy all that stuff, right?" Right. Yeah okay. Thanks for hanging me out there guys. 

I hope your wife spends all your money this afternoon when you're watching the Cowboys game. He says, "Rather it should be the inner self. The unfading beauty of a," what's the word ladies? Does that mean you're weak? Does that mean you're weak? No. Ladies, let me just tell you what. Gentleness well worn by a woman is like a velvet hammer. You walk with majesty and beauty and humility and awesome power. It is a velvet hammer when a lady walks in the grace with which God has given her. Don't ever feel you have to step outside of the beauty of the way God has created you. God has made you with a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God's sight. Here's number six. You ready? Gentleness publicizes my love for others.  

It is the ad. It is the front page ad. Write this in three inch letters. If you're a history buff, you know what I'm talking about recently. It is how I publicize my love. When I am gentle with my bride in front of you, I tell you not that I serve her but I love her and I'm going to use my power in the right way. Guys, if you are bitter and you speak harshly to your bride and you don't care for her and love her and you aren't kind to her, you are publicizing not your love, but you are publicizing your selfishness. That's what you're publicizing. Look at what scripture says as we pick it up. Notice Colossians chapter 3, verse 19. 

"Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them." When we are harsh with our brides, we are being the opposite of gentle. Guys, wear gentleness. What about with our kids? Notice how we publicize our kids. We love them. Fathers, do not exacerbate your children. Instead, bring them up in training and instruction in the Lord. In other words, I don't want to walk in to a situation with my 13 year old or 15 year old or 16 year old or 17 year old or 20 year old and constantly pour fuel on the fire and say, "Hey son, here's how we solve an argument." You and I talk louder and louder and we get closer and closer and we spit in each others face. Then we walk away mad and don't talk." Your son looks at you and says, "Is that the way you and mom operate?" 

Then what do you do? You say, "Go to your room." What's the point? Is if we are going to publicize our love ... Ladies, you don't publicize your love for your husband by pointing out every mistake he makes. You have a gentleness and quiet spirit that trains and instructs. Now, notice he's not saying dad let your kids do anything they want, but what he is saying is train them and teach them and instruct them in the right way in the right times in the right spaces. It publicizes our love forever. Here's number seven. You ready? Gentleness will improve your witness with skeptics and unbelievers. Let me tell you what. You can never win an enemy to Christ because you're not going to draw them to your faith, but if you make an enemy a friend, then all of a sudden they want to know and they're going to ask you questions. 

What does Peter say in 1 Peter chapter 3, put it up here. He says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you and the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect." You want to see your witness increase? You want to be salt and light? Live with gentleness. Draw people's hearts toward you. Don't drive them away from them. Someone is living in sin or caught in sin, don't walk over the coffee point at the office and point it out to everybody and throw them under the bus. Someone has a struggle, a hurt, a heartache or some sort of habit, don't be the one that gossips about that when they're not in the room but as soon as they come in the room you zip it up. 

Be a person who shows gentleness and kindness and ultimately points the way. Then some day they will come to you and say, "Hey, how did you get through this?" You go, "Let me tell you the hope." You tell them with gentleness and respect. Let me put some things into practice. I came up with three ideas. If we will do these three ideas this week, we will be better off as a church and as a community. Here's number one. Let's put them up on the screen. If someone fails me, I'm not going to be hyper critical or judgemental. I put two verses there with you. If someone drops the ball on you this week, if someone fails you this week, don't be hyper critical. Don't start it by saying, "You know what? That's just one of the many things you blow." If someone fails you, I'm not going to be hyper critical or over judgmental. Here's number two. You ready? If someone, listen to this, opposes or argues with me, I will be kindhearted and calm in return. 

Romans chapter 14, verse 1 to 4 he talks about whether you eat or whether you don't eat or whether you drink or whether you don't eat. Hey if someone begins to argue with you, man, I'm going to be calm. Here's number three. Put it up on the screen how you can do it. If someone is serving me, I won't be difficult or demanding. That means at the restaurant, that means when you go pick your kids up. That means someone else as they're helping you get out of the church parking lot. Be kind. Gentleness, Jesus says, is an attitude with a promise. Speak softly, carry a big stick. See God's great reward in your life and in your family. Let's pray and I'm going to invite Zane and the team to come out. I'm going to pray and our altar team is going to be here. We're going to sing one chorus of one song and then we're going to leave here today to live with an attitude that God's spirit in us is a velvet hammer to a world who needs to see God's people walk and talk God's way. 

Father, thank you so much for every person in this room. God, my heart has been burdened this week for men in this room who haven't lived with gentleness this week. Who have not publicized their love for their kids or their wife this week. Who struggle to control their temper and their anger. God, you know my prayer. That this would not be a message of condemnation, but a message of encouragement that we can all change. That we can all learn to live and to walk and to grow in our faith and walk more like Christ. God, but also you know my prayer this week. That there are many ladies who don't live with a spirit of meekness and gentleness either. That God, this would be the day that they would change and turn from speaking in ways that are harsh and embittering and embattling. They would speak and live with kindness.  

God, my prayer this week and you know it Lord has been that there are many who have been in the church a long, long time but they're some of the most harsh and bitter and angry people that anyone could ever know. God, my prayer this week that your spirit would convict their hearts so that we can be witnesses to a world what it means to live and to walk in gentleness. God, you know my prayer this week. It hasn't simply been that as a pastor I would have tough skin and a tender heart, but as the people of God our church would be tenderhearted to our neighbors, to our friends, to our husbands, to our wives, to our kids, to our parents, to those we work with. 

God, just say from time to time why should I live with meekness and gentleness? Because my Lord's love is greater than any struggle and any trial in Jesus name we pray. Amen, and amen. 

 

 

 

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Cottonwood Creek Church // 1015 Sam Rayburn Tollway, Allen, TX 75013 // 972-359-7777 © 2018