United Church of God

Letter From Bart Bornhorst - May 3, 2019

Letter From Bart Bornhorst

May 3, 2019

As The Sabbath Nears


Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control!


Greetings and happy Sabbath,

Back in March I was talking about God's amazing attributes and I mentioned that the attributes that I'm covering are by no means an exhaustive list because God's incredible attributes go on endlessly. Tonight I want to conclude my discussion on this topic by looking at the final 3 of the fruits of His Spirit.

Most of the time when we think about the fruit of God's Spirit, we think about how these fruits affect our life since God's Spirit is within us. But tonight let's look at these fruits from the perspective of who God is and how He interacts with us based upon who He is.

God's Faithfulness:

What if we had a God that we couldn't count on? What if God promised us healing, promised us that He listens to our prayers, promised us eternal life and then for whatever reason He doesn't deliver on His promises? What if God wasn't faithful in His dealings with us? It would lead to us being very fearful, frustrated and it would lead to us going the opposite direction from God!

But the awesome news is that God is faithful to all of mankind! Let's look at God's word and we'll see how faithful God is to His people.

Noah: God promised Noah that He would spare or save him and his family from the coming destruction.

Genesis 6:17-18

17.  And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 

18.  But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark--you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. 

God tells Noah that He was "establishing My Covenant with you"; that is God's promise of protection and it was a promise that they could rely on and have faith in!

As we know God did fulfill His covenant with Noah and his family and then after the flood was over God established another covenant with Noah that has transferred on down through time to us! We are benefactors of this next covenant and that covenant states that God will never destroy the earth with flood waters again.

Genesis 9:9-17

9.  "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 

10.  and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. 

11.  Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 

12.  And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 

13.  I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 

14.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 

15.  and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 

16.  The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." 

17.  And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth." 

Of course we are the evidence of God's faithfulness in this promise because if He wasn't faithful we wouldn't be here right now. There are so many promises from God and I could go on and on describing them all, but we get the point that God is faithful to His Word!

God has made promises to you and me as well and Paul knew this He addressed the church at Corinth and the message is for God's people today!

1 Corinthians 1:4-9  (NLT)

4.  I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 

5.  Through him, God has enriched your church in every way--with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 

6.  This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 

7.  Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

8.  He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 

9.  God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

What a powerful promise from God, that He promises to take care of us and present us without sin before our Father at His return!! Our God is so good, way beyond what we deserve!

But I think one of God's greatest promises to us is the following.

1 John 1:9  (NLT)

9.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

God's faithfulness puts us at rest; it gives us peace and reassurance in our physically weak and doubtful existence.

God's Gentleness:

Maybe we don't give this attribute of God its due value in our life. Because when you consider our sinfulness and how easily we walk away from God's law it would be very easy to picture God getting very frustrated with us and treating us very harshly and we would deserve the harsh treatment. But that never happens! God is very gentle in His dealing with his people.

One scripture is my favorite when it comes to describing our Savior's loving care and gentleness towards us and it takes place at His return.

Isaiah 40:10-11

10.  Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. 

11.  He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

Consider this next verse that is a descriptive prophecy of what Jesus Christ would be like when He walks the earth.

Isaiah 42:1-4

1.  "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. 

2.  He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 

3.  A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. 

4.  He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law."

How often in life do you just need to be treated gently, kindly by a person that offers you rest and peace? In our life today people are very aggressive and unfortunately this world rubs off on us and if we're not careful we can be aggressive towards each other. We must be careful and we must become gentle towards each other as Jesus Christ is gentle with us!

Matthew 11:29

29.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

30.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Jesus Christ's gentleness towards you has no bounds and it will never end.

God's Temperance or Self-Control:

In our world man's temper and lack of self-control rages from one extreme to another and many get hurt and trampled upon in the process. With God it is completely different, God is always in control of His emotions and He is not ruled by them. God is governed by His love for us. Often in life we can allow our emotions to rule us and then we make decisions that cause great harm to others and to our relationships with each other. Just as God the Father and His Son are governed by their love for us; so we must learn to be governed by our love for each other and not by our emotions!

Recently I was watching the NFL draft and I noticed that as some of the young men began to receive their dream of being drafted and playing in the NFL, they broke down into tears. These men have sacrificed so much to be the very best in their craft. When their friends were out running around and having fun they were working out, building muscle. When their friends slept in each morning they were up running and conditioning their bodies. When others would sit down and eat whatever they wanted, they said no thanks, and they would eat healthy foods that would build muscle and keep them lean. They built their whole life around their hopes of being drafted and playing football in the NFL. All of their hard work, sacrifice and self-control were finally paying off!

How much more should we discipline ourselves, and work to change our nature to be like Christ? How much more temperate and self-controlled must we be in making sure that we don't live life like this world that leads to careless sinning?

The NFL players do it for a physical reward that last but a short time and their reward has no lasting value.

We, on the other hand pursue holy righteous character that will last us for eternity! We should approach our calling and training with at least as much vigor as an athlete!

Having that much dedication to your calling takes great temperance and self-control, but it can be done and Christ is by your side to help you along the way.

1 Corinthians 9:25

25.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Think about the countless times that Jesus Christ had His temperance tested.

- When he faced Satan after 40 days of fasting and Satan tried to offer Him rulership of the world "right now" when His Father offered Him the same but He must wait, He is still waiting. Satan knows that Jesus Christ wants nothing more than to rule this world it is His dream and greatest desire.

- What about the times when His followers turned their backs and walked away from Him.

- What about the time Jesus was being led to His death and He suffered mockings and scourgings?

God the Father and Jesus Christ have so many attributes that are such a blessing to us, let's never lose sight of them and let us forever work to make them our attributes!

I hope you all have a very blessed Sabbath! With all my love!

Bart Bornhorst