Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back to Basics -- Part 7

(This week we will continue our series on “The Fruit of the Spirit” with a discussion on the word “meekness,” which is the King James Version of the word “gentleness.”)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

The word meekness is a very misunderstood word. The world has altered people’s perception of the true meaning of meekness. Today people associate the word meekness with weakness. However, meekness has nothing to do with weakness. If anything it takes a lot of strength to have a meek spirit.

Weakness is a negative trait, such as the lack of strength or the lack of courage. Meekness is a positive characteristic, because it is due to a person’s conscious choice. It is a person’s ability to exhibit controlled strength and courage and maintain gentleness towards people.

Meekness should be a normal part of a person’s Christian experience. Meekness means having a patient, gentle disposition. It also means having humble submissiveness to God’s will. The Bible contains many examples of people who exhibited such meekness.

Let’s examine three things regarding the fruit of meekness -- the meek learner, the meek leader, and the meek Lamb.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Woman of Great Faith

(Marking the Path will continue its series on The Fruit of the Spirit next week. This week we hope you enjoy this special message in honor of Mother’s Day.)

"Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." (Matthew 15:28)

There are many women of the Bible that could have provided a good sermon text for Mother’s Day. There is the mother of Moses … or the mother of Samuel. Certainly, Mary, the mother of Jesus, would make a good subject for a message on a day such as today.

However, this morning we will learn the story of an almost unknown mother. She was a woman of great faith, who received the answer to her prayer after initially receiving the cold shoulder from Jesus.

Have you ever had someone give you the cold shoulder?

You know what I’m talking about. They just totally ignore you, won't return your phone calls, and never answer your e-mails. Even when you're in the same room with them, they act like you aren't even there?

That can be awfully frustrating, can't it? Nobody enjoys getting a cold shoulder, whether that shoulder belongs to your child or your spouse or from someone who you are trying to seek help from. Amen?

And yet, as discouraging as it is to get the cold shoulder from a fellow human being … can you imagine what it would feel like to get the cold shoulder from God?

I mean, its one thing to have your husband act like he doesn't hear you, but for God to treat someone that way??? That's practically unthinkable. Or is it? Maybe there have been times in your life when you felt like you were being totally ignored by God …

• Times you felt like God was oblivious to what you were going through …

• The pain you were feeling …

• The trouble you were enduring.

There may have been times that you desperately wanted to talk to God, but you felt like he was giving you the cold shoulder. And that left you wondering, "Why?"

In this text we are introduced to a woman who found herself in a very similar situation.

Undoubtedly this grieving mother must have felt as if Jesus were giving her the brush off … the cold shoulder … the silent treatment. And yet, through it all, this woman displayed a truly remarkable faith … a faith which Jesus ultimately commends as a "great" faith … a faith which can still serve as a model for each one of us.

This morning let's take a moment to consider the faith of a Canaanite woman … a Canaanite mother.

We'll see that she has a faith which was tested by God, and a faith which trusted in God.