I want you to know that I have been honored and privileged to stand before you and not only do I pray to The Great God of Heaven that what I do here this evening is pleasing and satisfying unto him as part of this worship, I also ask you to pray for me. I am asking for a prayer for strength to maintain my faith in a world of negative influence. I was glancing at twitter and someone was saying “you do not have to go to a church or listen to some flawed preacher to connect you to God, and I wondered what was his influence? Obviously, he wanted to tell someone something, but what? So, I pray for strength because we all need to know who, or what, is influencing us.
This evening I want to take you to the book of Isaiah, chapter 6 starting at verse 1. As the Holy Spirit began working on me, or in me, some years ago I began to have this thought resonate within me. I did not think of it myself, but it had been mentioned by a mentor and after I understood what it meant I began to say that. It became my motivation and my strength and at times my solace.
Isaiah's Vision of the Lord
Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Isa 6:2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
Isa 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isa 6:4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Isa 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Isa 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
Isa 6:7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and
who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
The Septuagint renders it, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go to this people?’ The Chaldee, ‘whom shall I send to prophesy, and who will go to teach?’
So, you may ask, “Bro Avery, what does that have to do with the scripture reading? Here I am, send me, motivates me to bring the word of God to the people so that they may be moved and lifted to bear good fruit. Your scripture reading for this evening is the exact opposite of bearing good fruit, but can be an example of the fruit that some bear and try to say they bear in the Lord’s name.
Remember; have we not done this and done that in your name, what did Jesus say? Something like go away you worker of iniquity. Iniquity is lawlessness and defined also as gross injustice and wickedness. Remember where it says “He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins?” We cannot use injustice and wickedness to represent faithfulness and truth, so whose influence should we be under?
I don’t know if you remember that in Romans chapter 10 Paul is making a point where he is going to quote Isaiah as well. You do not have to turn there.
The Message of Salvation to All
Rom 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
Rom 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Rom 10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
If you remember what Isaiah said; “here I am, send me”, so the Lord sent Isaiah. Remember it was the Holy Spirit who said “set aside Paul and Barnabas?”
Paul continues by saying “as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things”; bear good fruit.
Here I am, send me. That they might know salvation and bear good fruit; Paul said because not all have obeyed the gospel. So, we are here to preach and teach that all might hear the gospel and bear good fruit.
So let’s not get the two mixed up…
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:
See, teaching these things will not bear good fruit; only teaching to avoid these things.
So, Paul says “of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes
of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit. Paul used “fruit”
to help us understand that it is the product of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside
us; another gift from God to those who believe.
We should note and understand that “The fruit of the Spirit” is produced by the Spirit, not by me, not by you, or anyone else merely because they are a Christian.
I love to recollect how, in the beginning, when I thought Paul was taking about a bowl of fruit. I did this whole comparison of how my mom used to keep real fruit in a bowl when my sister and I were younger but as we got older she replaced the real fruit with plastic fruit. My point being that sometimes some people believe they are producing real fruit, or good fruit, and because of the negative influence in their life they have replaced their original fruit with something plastic or fake. We cannot get an to Christ with fake fruit.
No, it was not a bowl of fruit as the Greek word is singular, showing that “fruit” is a unified whole, not independent characteristic. We need to get that because as we grow, all the characteristics of Christ should be manifested in our lives.
Yet, like physical fruit needs time to grow…
A pear tree may not yield pears for up to 6 years
A plum tree may not yield plums for up to 6years
An apple tree may not yield apples for up to 5 years
So, we need to understand the fruit of the Spirit will not ripen in our lives overnight; so don’t be discouraged. We need to be like that successful gardener; we must battle against weeds to enjoy the sweet fruit they desire, we must constantly work to rid our lives of the “weeds” of our old sin natures that want to choke out the work of the Spirit.
I believe Paul was eluding to this in 2nd Corinthians…
The Light of the Gospel
2Co 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2Co 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Since God’s goal for all His children is for us to be like Jesus, the Holy Spirit constantly works to rid our lives of the “acts of the sinful nature” and display His fruit instead. Therefore, the presence of the “fruit of the Spirit” is evidence that our character is becoming more like Christ’s.
The 9 characteristics of the “Fruit of the Spirit are…
1. Love, but not just love, true biblical love which is a choice and not a feeling. This love deliberately expresses itself in loving ways and always seeks the welfare of others. Biblical love is dependent on the giver’s character, not emotion. For instance, a mature believer demonstrating love will not exercise his or her freedom if that action might harm another Christian in some way. Rather than risking the possibility of causing the immature Christian to question and stumble, the mature believer will not exercise his freedom out of love for his brother. Love chooses to set aside one’s own preferences, desires, and sometimes even needs to put the other person first.
2. Joy; the Greek word translated as “joy” in this chapter of Galatians 5 means “gladness and delight”; basically the same thing the world means when it talks about joy. It is a feeling of gladness based on our circumstances. Sadly, the world’s joy cannot last because it is based on fleeting, physical circumstances. But the joy of the Lord is established in our spiritual, eternal circumstances. As we cling tight to Jesus, abiding daily in our saving relationship with Him, we will experience the fullness of joy He has promised.
5. Gentleness; closely linked to humility, gentleness is grace of the soul. It is not weakness, but instead it is strength under control.
7. Faith; to be “faithful” is to be reliable or trustworthy. For the Christian, this is faithfulness specifically to the Savior who redeemed us. Christian faithfulness therefore, is continued and consistent submission and obedience to the same Spirit who provides the ability for us to be faithful. This attitude is in direct contrast to our previous “faithfulness” to our own sinful desires and ways. The word also describes someone willing to suffer persecution and even death for Christ’s sake. “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring."
9. Temperance; Paul describes biblical temperance in 1 Corinthians 9:27: “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” Even Paul knew the power of the flesh to topple his ministry, so he refused his flesh what it craved in order to develop strength of character.
Whose fruit is influencing you?
We need to also remember the bible tells us…
Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
I’m going read a little from 2nd Corinthians starting at verse 3.
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Notice verse 4...
The god of this world (age in some translations)
I have warned you before as I warn you again that the phrase “god of
this world” (or “god of this age”) indicates that Satan is
the major influence on the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority
of people. His influence also encompasses the world’s philosophies, education,
and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world
are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions. Satan is
also called the "prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2:2.
He is the "ruler of this world" in John 12:31. These titles and many
more signify Satan’s capabilities. To say, for example, that Satan is
the "prince of the power of the air" is to signify that in some way
he rules over the world and the people in it.
Notice the word Influence.
Notice it says is the major influence.
The major influence on the ideals
The major influence on the opinions
The major influence on the goals
The major influence on the hopes and views of the majority of the people
I believe that’s why Paul tells us, verse 5 of 2nd Corinthians chapter
2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Right here where Paul is taking about “ourselves your bondservants”, Paul is taking about those who are ministering; who are they ministering to, they’re ministering to you, the body of Christ. We are attempting to harness the wisdom of our Lord and Savior and lend that influence to the body of Christ so you can lend that influence to those in the world.
I believe that is what Paul was saying, take a look back to the mindset of
those folks in Corinth, when he explained in 1st Corinthians Chapter 4…
The Ministry of Apostles
1Co 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
1Co 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
1Co 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
1Co 4:8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
1Co 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
1Co 4:11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
1Co 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
1Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
Paul is talking about the difficulty often endured when trying to bring the gospel. It is not always as easy as we think it is. Its hard sometimes; sometimes you feel just as Paul described.
I think last week I talked about the book of Romans, from chapter 6...
Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
So, again, whose fruit is influencing you?
Paul says he is not saying this to shame them, but to warn them. He also states he has done so because he feels he has begotten them as a father to them through the gospel. I did not begot any of you but I am attempting to hang on to you by upholding that same gospel as the men who did preach to you.
Back to 2nd Corinthians 4 and then the lesson is yours…
Treasure in Jars of Clay
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed
Please ask yourselves as I ask myself; who’s influence are we under?
Whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
So, again, please pray for me; I’m a bit perplexed.
If you are not a member I taught a little this morning on influence in hopes
you will not allow the God of this world to be your influence.
If you are not please talk to someone after this is over and find out what you need to do to have obedience unto righteousness.
Here are 4 words; hear, believe, repent, and confess
If you will, would you please stand for the song of invitation song?
God bless you.
Sermon by Bro. Avery Hines
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