Learning to Live and Read the Word of God at the Same Time

This past Sunday, Rev. Gregory M. Sims, Pastor of New Canaan Baptist Church – my pastor – preached two great messages from Gal. 5:22-23 (at 11:00 AM) and Gal. 5:16-18 (at 7:30 AM). In the second message, entitled, “Flowing in Fruitfulness, Part 5: Patience, Kindness, and Goodness,” he made three points related to the definitions of “patience,” “kindness,” and “goodness.” Other important points in the message included these:

  1. “Patience is available to every believer at any moment and in any situation.”
  2. “God develops patience in us;” (he made a an appeal to Ja. 1:2-3 and contrasted peirasmois with hupomonen).
  3. “Kindness is benevolence in action and moral goodness.”
  4. On kindness: “I am blessed today because someone has been kind to me.”
  5. “Goodness is uprightness of heart… it often is difficult to display when [people] are not good to us.”

I was particularly blessed by his typological use of four Old Testament passages to illustrate the failure or obedience of saints with respect to these products of the Spirit:

  1. On patience, he cited Saul’s impatience with Samuel’s coming when the Philistines threatened the Israelites (1 Samuel 13). Being patient would have been the difference between sure victory over the Philistines (1 Sam. 13:13-14) rather than oppression (1 Sam. 13:17-23).
  2. On kindness, he used the example of David’s kindness toward Mephibosheth – that he looked to be kind to his enemy’s offspring, provided in abundance for one crippled, and that his place at David’s table would be secure (2 Samuel 9). In the same way Christ, in the kindness of God (cf. Ex. 34:6), has rescued his enemies from God’s wrath [in justification] (Rom. 5:1, 6-11), provided abundantly for his own [in sanctification] (Mt. 6:25-34; 2 Pet 1:3-4), and made our hope secure [in glorification] so that we are assured to eat at his table throughout all eternity (Lk. 13:29; 14:15; 22:15-17, 30; Heb. 6:18-19; 1 Pet. 1:3, 13)
  3. On goodness, he demonstrated it to be characteristic of God by appealing to Job’s encounters with Satan (Job 1-2)—that the Lord would not allow Satan to take Job’s life even though he granted him authority to destroy Job’s family, goods, and body. Thus, goodness exists alongside of evil and suffering in God’s plan for his own. Similarly, David demonstrated goodness toward Saul when he had opportunity to kill him (1 Sam. 24:4; 1 Sam. 26:12).

Thus, through the one message, Pastor Sims both exhorted us to walking with the Spirit, and he showed us how to read the Old Testament. I am enjoying messages like this each week; I am thankful for my pastor’s labor in the word of God.

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