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OF GENTLE SPIRITS

October 27, 2016

 

OF GENTLE SPIRITS

Text: “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:5  (ESV)

What kind of friends do most people like to have in their circle? Would that be the loud, rowdy,  and argumentative rabble rouser? How about the scheming, lying self promoter who always causes trouble? Or would you prefer a person of good spirits and good manners? Say, someone who is kind and helpful? And someone who is hard working and humble? Uh, how would you describe yourself in relation to what others think of you?

St. Paul’s epistle to the Philippians is a very heartening piece of encouragements.  In 4:5 Paul leaves us a great exhortation (see above). I think that we have overlooked this urging of the apostle to our detriment in our behavior building. The ESV has translated the Greek word here as “reasonableness”.  Perhaps a better word for our application is “moderation”, or even “a good disposition towards other men”. Charles Ellicott summed it up in his commentary, “Here it denotes the general sense of what is seemly in a Christian tone of character.”

Jesus and Paul were both moralists. Besides the good news they were concerned with ethical teachings as well as the good news. Moralism and ethics  are a system of discussing and teaching principles of right and wrong. There  are sections and portions of morals taught throughout the Bible. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus sat on a mountainside and expounded the major points of his program for the way his disciples are to behave morally. We call this prologue :”The Beatitudes”. Today we will take four of these Beatitudes and see how they explain our text.

Remember that Paul here echos what Jesus meant by the word the ESV  translates  “reasonableness”. Here is a word that points out that the one who possesses meekness is comfortable in the presence and of men and of God.  This is the man who can say with assurance, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…” Philippians 4:11b  The person who values human relations will  realize how to admire and live with meekness and humility.  Meekness may be said to be the opposite of  pride.  

In a world awash in immorality and seemingly clueless about purity Jesus points the way to righteousness.  Jesus stated, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6  The word righteousness may be the most misunderstood word in the Sermon on the Mount, both by unbelievers and Christians.  Righteousness is the opposite of sinfulness. Perfect conduct is the best description of righteousness.  “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:9

Peace is one of the most desired items among the beatitudes. Every human being values peace in his life. This hostile world not only threatens to destroy peace’s reign in humans’ lives, but truly destroys our everyday equanimity. About us we see war, hostility, death, crime, famine, flood, injustice, etc. And it is certain that we will be touched by some of these tragedies directly and harmfully. Loss of  peace robs us of happiness, joy, love, intimacy. Jesus has much to do with peace. Isaiah revealed him as the “Prince of peace”. Isaiah 9:6  Jesus tells us that he is the “giver of Peace”. John 14:27  When you need and desire peace, you must ask  Jesus and obey him for the blessing.

Last among our items to discuss is being merciful“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew.5:7  Do you recognize those who need mercy? Do you frequently exercise mercy?  In the Old Testament God was routinely implored for mercy  by the oppressed and sorrowful. Many of those who were given God’s largess and comforts given. Likewise in the New Testament Jesus was besought by the burdened for pity and relief. The four gospels related how some came and gave thanks to him. On a trip to Jerusalem, Jesus healed ten lepers and sent them to Jerusalem to the priests for the Law’s obedience. However, only one (a Samaritan) returned to thank Jesus. Jesus was disappointed by this, saying: “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Luke 17:11  Are you merciful Christian? Tenderize your heart and dispense its contents merciful character!   

REM

NOTE! The is a new and better version of an article mistakenly  published last week. I had computer problems every day since then. I am pleased to ask you to read this new and corrected version and dismiss the one I released on 10:27/16.

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