Developing the Spirit's Fruit of Patience

Steve Viars April 8, 2000 Galatians 5:22

- many of you know that my family and I have been in Florida the past couple of weeks.
- I had the privilege of teaching a weeklong module at Word of Life Bible Institute just north of Tampa, and then we added a few days of vacation to that.
- we were suffering for the Lord in those 85 degree temperatures, but somebody had to do it.
- on one of the days we were there, I was out running an errand and I drove past a fruit market, and I thought, it would be good to have some fresh fruit if its not too expensive.
- so I pulled over and sure enough they had these little oranges for 12 for a dollar, and these giant grapefruit for 3 for a dollar....and I thought, our family would enjoy that.
- now please tell me, what do you think was the next step in the process?
- I want to get twelve oranges and three grapefruit....so I’m about to make the significant investment of a total of 2 dollars.
- what happens next?
- do you think I got one of those plastic bags and raked off the first 12 oranges and the first 3 grapefruit?
- no, now it was inspection time....
- I did what practically everyone of us would have done....
- I looked that fruit over....
- I wanted it to be high quality....
- I wanted what was best for our family...
- so I made sure that what I bought was the best it could be....after all, there was two dollars at stake here.

- now, can I ask you to pause for a minute to do a similar inspection this morning....not on literal fruit....but on something that’s far more important....
- the fruit of the spirit.

- if you’re visiting with us this morning, that comment may not make much sense, but those who have been with us the last several weeks probably know where this is going.
- Today marks the eighth week that we’ve been studying what God’s Word says about the fruit of the Spirit.
- and I’m asking you to pause and do a fruit inspection.
- so far we’ve studied three elements of the spirit’s fruit --- love, joy, and peace.
- we’ve seen that the Holy Spirit of God wants to be developing these characteristics in us, and that he expects us to be cooperating with that work.
- we have responsibility in the process, and He stands ready to bless those efforts.

- and my question for you is, how are coming at the development of that fruit?
- what would be the results of that inspection?
- remember, God’s Word is clear that He wants us to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only....
- so the goal is not simply that we’ve studied about these various components of the spirit’s fruit....but that each of us are finding ways to apply these truths and therefore grow in Christ’s likeness.
- and please remember this also, this kind of inspection is a whole lot more important than looking at some oranges or grapefruit.
- and there’s a lot more at stake that a couple of bucks.

- and I hope that each of us, as we think about these questions, would have responses that would fit into each of these categories:
1) There are a significant number of opportunities every day to apply these truths.
- I know for me, and for our family...we have found regular opportunities to bring these topics into everyday situations.
- one of the things that proves is that the Word of God really is sufficient.
- it really is all we need for life and godliness.
- it really is alive, it really is powerful, it really is sharper than any two edged sword, it really is able to help us discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.
- so I hope you’ve found a number of opportunities to work on and apply what we’ve been studying....that’s part of this inspection.

2) I hope another category of response for each of us would, “this is hard”.
- love, joy, peace----those are words that get thrown around a lot in our culture....but when you start trying to genuinely cultivate such attributes...
- the difficulty of that challenge becomes obvious pretty quickly.

3) I hope then that the third category of response to the fruit inspection would be each of us saying, “and I find myself therefore being driven more quickly to the cross”....
- because we know that without Jesus Christ, making progress in these areas at the rate God desires would be impossible....
- and the three words “of the Spirit” become our “lifeline”....[if I can use those words without conjuring up an image of Regis Philbin]....[is that your final answer?]

4) A fourth category of response is, I hope each of us could point to specific examples where God helped us to make progress in one or more of these three areas....
- I hope if we were able to sit together and talk about this that you could say, You know PV, there was a particular instance recently where I was really working at this, and God helped me to be more loving to that person, or He helped me to question where my source of joy was coming from, and to make adjustments in my thinking or behavior.

5) And then lastly, for many of us as we do this inspection, we might have to say, “you know, there were some times when I really blew it...”, but after a few minutes, or after an hour, or after a few days....
- I thought about what the Scripture says.....
- I thought about how I was wrong....
- and I went back and I asked God’s forgiveness, and the appropriate people’s forgiveness as well....
- is that the ideal scenario?.....no, but it’s certainly better than going through life without letting God’s Word change us.
- so the overall question is, based on the components of the Spirits fruit thus far, what would be the results of a good and thorough fruit inspection?
- with all of that in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible again to Galatians chapter 5.
- if you’re new to studying the Bible, Galatians 5 is on page 149 of the back section of the Bible in the pew in front of you.....
- this morning we’re going to look at the fourth component of the fruit of the spirit....
- and my guess is that every of us will say, I can find some ways to work on that....
- and for any one who might question that, let’s me just show you our title.....
- Growing in the Spirit’s Fruit of Patience.

- Read Galatians 5:13-26.

- this morning we’re talking about Growing in the Spirit’s Fruit of Patience, and I’d like us to spend the rest of our time seeking:
- Biblical answers to three key questions about patience
I.  What is Patience?
II.  Why Should I be Patient?
III.  When Should I be Patient?

- first of all.....


I. What Is Patience?


- patience in Gal. 5:22 and many other passages is from a compound word in the original (makrothumew) (from macro and thumos)
- many of us probably know what those words mean individually
- macro means large, long, elongated
- so "macro-economics" is the study of the economy on a
    world scale, or a large scale
- a “macro” in computer terminology is a large number of letters compacted in a single keystroke
- so “large, long, elongated”

- thumos - means anger, agitated boiling within
- its the energy that’s produced when we get irritated or upset

- now, we need to call a time out on the field....
- we’re not saying that anger, or thumos is always wrong, or sinful.
- the Bible is clear about that....
- anger is a God-given emotion which produces energy intended to help me solve problems biblically, and solve them today.
- and we know it can’t always be sinful because its something God gave us....which is why we’re told in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry but not to sin.
- that’s why we’re told in Psalm 7:11 that God is angry with the wicked everyday.

- so macro-thumew, or patience, or long-suffering....is not talking about holding off the right, appropriate expression of anger....that’s exactly what you don’t want to do....keep it all bottled up inside....because then you’ll be dealing with bitterness.
- what we’re studying this morning has to do with developing the ability to put off sinful anger for a long period of time
- that’s what biblical patience is all about.
- now, before we go any further, I’d like to get some input from you....

INPUT - what are some kinds of situations (hypothetically) that make it difficult to be patient (to demonstrate the spirit's fruit of macrothumew)?

- so, patience is macrothumew - the ability to put off sinful anger for a long period of time
- now let me ask you this question - and this is the one I'd like you to just consider on the inside....
1) Are you a patient person?
2) When those around think of words that describe you - would patience be one of the words they'd use?
3) When your children grow up, will they think back on their time at home and say - I sure appreciated daddy's patience (mommy's patience)
4) Do those at work say - I sure admire your patience - how do you handle situations the way you do - does that religion thing you're into have anything to do with it?
5)  How are you doing in the matter of holding off sinful anger for a long period of time?
- Let me ask you to be thinking about one more question as we move into this next section of the notes, and that is:
- what are the situations in which you find it most difficult to be patient?  (can you picture yourself being impatient in those situations? Perhaps a specific example comes to mind.)
- with those thoughts in mind, let's talk about:

II. Why Should I Be Patient?


- the Bible doesn't simply tell us what we ought to be like
- it gives us reasons why we ought to make these changes and develop this component of the Spirit's fruit
- let me ask you to look over at Psalm 86:15  [page 430 of the front section of pew Bibles]
- this verse gives us a strong reason why we should be patient ---- READ

- What is the first reason why you and I must be growing in patience?
  A. Because God has been patient with us
   1.  Psalm 86:15
- here’s some other passages that also teach this concept....
2. Exodus 34:6 - "Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth."
3.  I Tim. 1:15-16 - "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  Nevertheless, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."
- point - you and I ought to be growing in patience because God has been so patient with us
- now you might ask - then what does that say when I'm not patient?
4.  Romans 2:4
- let me ask you to turn over to Romans 2:4 [page 119 in the back section of your pew Bibles]
- this verse contains an answer to the question we’re posing that’s not real easy to swallow ---- READ Romans 2:4

- we talk about this verse in different ways - we often use it to show that one of the primary methods God uses to help us change is by His goodness (that’s what the last part of the verse says)
- now we need to ask ourselves - what goodness is he talking about?
- you have to consider the previous verses in order to  answer that
- Paul has been talking about the unsaved moralists who want to condemn others in order to make themselves look good
- read 1-4

- friends, Paul is saying:
- don't despise, think lightly, take for granted God's goodness demonstrated in His patience
- see, why is it that you and I are not developing the Spirit's fruit of patience at the rate God desires - one of the reasons very well could be that we've despised thought lightly of, taken for granted, just how patient God has been with us

- now you might say, PV, this is pretty heavy....
- we really need to take it one more step....
   5. mocking God's patience will be a sign of the end times - II Peter 3:4-9
- let me ask you to turn over now to II Peter 3:4-9
- these verses are describing the conditions of the end times....
- see, the next step in the progression from Rom. 2:4 is to go from despising (thinking lightly/taking for granted) to actually mocking God's patience
- in the last days (and we're some 2000 years into the last days) people will scoff and mock at God's patience - saying - where is God? I thought he was coming back for you? - Maybe He's forgotten! - and all kinds of foolishness
- failing to appreciate God's patience is so dangerous because of where it can lead
- from taking for granted to actually mocking or scoffing
- we ought to be growing in patience because God has been so patient with us

B. Because other people have been patient with us
- we're not going to take time to look at this passage....but I’m sure many of you are familiar with the parable in Matthew 18 where a slave owes his master millions of dollars
- the master is going to sell him and his family to make payment
- the slave says - have patience with me - I'll repay thee all (which was impossible)
     - the master forgave the debt
- then the same slave went out and found a fellow slave who owed him a much smaller amount of money
- he took his fellow slave by the neck and demanded payment
- the fellow slave made the same statement - have patience with me till I pay you all
- and the servant who had just been forgiven so much by his Lord wouldn't turn around and forgive a fellow servant a much smaller amount

- now you might say - well, that passage is about forgiveness
- you're right - but forgiveness and patience are cousins
  - in fact, you can't have one without the other
- in fact, you remember Peter's question that prompted the parable.
- What was it? - how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?
- in other words - just how patient do I have to be?
- how long do I have to hold off my anger?
- that’s why the word patience is a key word in this parable - "have patience with me, and I will pay thee all"
- now, please put yourself in the position of the one who committed the 100 denarai sin.....
- what do we need from the brother we sinned against?
- we need him to be patient with us, and every one of us can think of examples of how people were willing to treat us in just that fashion....
- see, it might be good for us this morning to review in our minds all the people who have had to be patient with us over the years

- some of us need to say this morning - there’s something wrong with me when I can be so impatient with others in light of the many people in my life who have been patient with me.
- some of us might be helped by taking some time in the next couple of days and list some of those people by name
- perhaps we need to give one of the more outstanding ones a phone call or write them a note and say - I just wanted to thank you for being so patient with me - would you please pray that I too would develop that important component of the spirit's fruit
- see, why should we be patient?  because God has been patient with us, and because other people have as well
- let me suggest a third reason
C. Because you'll need others to be patient with you in  the future
- is there anyone here who would say they don't think they'll sin any more in this life?
- No?  Then what's the upshot of that?  (you're going to need others in the future to be patient with you)
1. Luke 6:31 - "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way."
2. James 2:13 - "For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy."
Point - you and I can’t expect others to be patient with us in the future if we aren't  seeking to grow in patience today
- we've talked about what patience is, and why we should be growing in this area--now let's look at:


III.  When Should I be Patient?


- now obviously, the answer to this question is - "all the time", but there are some instances pointed out in Scripture in which I should be especially careful to be patient
  A. Patient with God's timetable
- isn't this true - often times we become impatient God isn't working things out in accordance with our timetable?
- the tire goes flat on the way to the most important meeting
- the vacuum cleaner breaks down the day company is coming over
- it rains the day the grass needs mowed
- see, the world calls that Murphy's law - God call those opportunities to develop patience
- central question is this - how long are you willing to follow God's timetable before you veer off and choose a sinful path?
- Would you turn please to I Samuel 10:8
- Samuel functioned as a prophet and a priest
- he represented God to men and he represented men to God
    - it was his job to offer sacrifices
- read I Samuel 10:8
  - now please turn to I Sam. 13:5-14 [read]

- now we could come up with all kinds of excuses for why Saul was justified in what he did
- the battle was looking bad
- the people were scattering
- Samuel was delayed
- but the bottom line is - Saul was severely punished for what he did
- why - because his actions indicated that he had concluded that God's way didn't work, his timetable was off - and now it was time to try his timetable
- does that sound familiar?  Well, I tried God's way and it didn't work.
    - I didn't get my spouse back
- I didn't feel the way I wanted to feel
- the person I had trouble with at work still works there
- see, one of the questions we have to look at this morning is - are you growing in the spiritual fruit of patience....or do you find yourself veering off into sinful methods because in your mind "God way wasn't working-or it wasn't working at the rate you wanted?"

B. Patient in trials
- read I Peter 2:20-21 - (develop - for even hereunto were you called!)
- that’s why Paul could say in Romans 5:3 - "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience."

C. Patient with another's weaknesses
James 5:8-9 - "Be ye also patient, establish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth near. Murmur not against one another, brethren..."
Eph. 4:2-3 - "With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one-another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

- often we're not patient with the weaknesses of someone else
- we get frustrated, irritated - and then kaboom
- God says - that’s not the fruit of the spirit
- the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, and patience - even with another's weaknesses
- let me ask you this morning - whose weaknesses do you have the most difficulty responding to with patience?
- are you thinking of that person?
- God would say - He wants you to develop more fruit in that area

D. With those you're discipling
- God emphasizes this category because of the danger of expecting adult behavior out of a babe in Christ
II Tim. 4:2 - "Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine"
II Cor. 6:4 - "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience..."

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987.  He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and they have three children. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church.  He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of Vision of Hope and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video