Sermon – Gentleness (Matthew 12:1 – 12:21) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Fruit of the Spirit

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Chris Tilley, Matthew 12:1 - 12:21, 15 April 2018

Matthew 12:1 - 12:21

12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

18   “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
  I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19   He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20   a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
  until he brings justice to victory;
21     and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Being from Matthew chapter 12 verses 1 to 21. It's on page 977 of the church bibles. At that time, Jesus went through the cornfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some ears of corn and eat them. When the pharisees saw this, they said to him, look, your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.

He answered haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of god, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven't you read in the law that the priests on Sabbath duty in a temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent. I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

You would have you would not have condemned the innocent. For the son of man is lord of the Sabbath. Going on from that place, he went into this, their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? He said to them, if any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on a Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?

How much more valuable is a person than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Then he said to the man, stretch out your hand. So he stretched it out, and it was completely restored just as sound as the other. But the pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah. Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the 1 I love in whom I delight, I will put my spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

He will not quarrel or cry out. No 1 will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not sniff out till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name, the nations will put their hope. Well, thank you, Jess.

Well, very good evening. Welcome from me as well. My name's Chris Tilley, for those of you who don't know me. I'm 1 of the members here at Cornerstone church and this evening, as Paul said, we're going to be carrying on in our series on fruits of the spirit. So that's from Galatians 5.

We've read it enough times. I think we know where it is, but I wanted to get on to the passage that We're gonna look at tonight to help us open up, a bit more about, what gentleness actually is Paul's already prayed for the reading and preaching of the words. So, I'll I'll get straight into it. What is gentleness? Have you ever actually stopped to to think about it?

It's a funny 1, I think, because I think that we think that we know what gentleness is, but have you ever stopped to think about it properly? I think we we often get the wrong idea about it. I think that we we end up being quite influenced by a worldly view of gentleness. So for example, If I were to if you were to describe something as gentle, what sorts of things immediately come to mind? Would it be words like soft, calm, maybe cuddly safe, like a gentle breeze or a gentle stroll, or if you were to describe someone as gentle Again, what sort of words immediately come to mind?

Well, you might think kind, patient, not violent, slow to anger, But often, that gets mixed in with this slightly weird negative view of it as well, whether we realize it or not because you might also end up thinking king of a gentle person as being a bit weak. Maybe a bit of a pushover, slightly timid. Not really the sort of person you would want on your side in a tight spot. Now, here's the thing. Most of what I just said about gentleness is wrong.

Gentleness is not particularly soft cuddly, or even safe. It it isn't like a serene gentle stroll. But it is kind, it is patient, it is slow to anger, if anger even comes at all, and it isn't violent. It definitely isn't a weak timid pushover of a person, and you would absolutely want a gentle person on your side in a tight spot. Now, I think the reason that we often end up with this slightly watered down negative view of what it is to be gentle is because by and large, the world preaches that message at us about it.

Gentleness doesn't really exist in this world I mean, okay, granted. You see individual acts of gentleness. You do see bits of gentleness around us, but the overwhelming direction and flow of what the world says about gentleness. Is that it doesn't really exist because fundamentally, we don't believe that it's going to advance our own ambitions We actually think that we'll get taken advantage of if we show gentleness. It's a bit like exposing a soft spot or a chink in the armor to be attacked and exploited.

Now it's not hard to see this playing itself out, is it You might even have as I was talking been able to see that in your own life already and identified some of the ways in which you're not gentle some of the time. But on a grander scale, you see nations set against nation. I mean, it's all over the media at the minute, isn't it? If you believe what the media tells you, then we're already in another cold war. Some people are saying we're on the verge of a third world war.

Who knows? I'm not 1 to judge on that, but you can see that the thing that doesn't get thrown around is gentleness. The thing that does get thrown around is anger, mistrust, deception, violence, You have Trump threatening fire and fury like the world's never seen before against North Korea. You have, you have guys being assassinated with nerve agents. Like, it's it's ridiculous.

Chemical weapons being dropped on Syria, and so what do we do in response we fire a missile at them? To bring it a bit closer in, Man set against man. 6 young men stabbed or shot within 90 minutes of each other on the streets of London. Which now has its highest murder rate in history, higher than the city of New York, and there'll be repercussions from that, there'll be revenge, there'll be more violence, more anger, more hurt, more pain, more suffering. It's not a picture of a world that believes gentleness is really the way forwards.

It's not a world that uses its strength or holds its strength back for the good of other people. It's a world that preaches a message of use your strength to further your own interests. A message that says to be gentle is to be weak and a pushover. And you can't be that because you have to fight for your rights for everything. Absolutely everything.

And if that means trampling some people underfoot on the way, it's so bit. It's unfortunate, but so bit. You have to look after number 1. Ultimately, but don't show any sign of weakness whatever you do. You'll just get taken advantage of, or to put it in a very London way, don't be a mug.

You'll get mugged off. So let's get on to this passage in Matthew. Keep that in mind and let's get stuck into this passage here. Now, to give us the context, that's why we read out the whole thing. Really, what I want to get onto is is when Jesus starts quoting Isaiah, but the context is really important.

So Jesus is responding to opposition here. There's there's 2 sides if you like and they're engaging in a bit of a intellectual and spiritual boxing match. So in 1 corner, in the red corner, the reigning heavyweights of the day weighing in with thousands of years of heritage the authority of the Temple in Jerusalem and an impressive 10 commandments plus a few hundred additions. It's the pharisees. In the blue corner is the unknown opponent from the backwaters of Galile.

He's been making quite a stir amongst the common people weighing in with unreal teaching, wisdom off the charts, and more miracles, and you can shake a stick at. It's Jesus of Nazareth. And the bell goes as so it begins. The pharisees maneuver into position with some depth footwork and try to line Jesus up with a quick jab at the fourth commandment. Verse 2, look, your disciples are doing what's unlawful on the Sabbath.

Well, because the disciples were hungry, they took some corn to eat. It I can imagine would have been a pretty punishing scheduled trying to keep up with Jesus. He's been going from place to place, and that means walking. There were no cars. They walked.

It was hot. It was dusty. They were putting in the mileage. They were working hard every day doing ministry work. Often not knowing where the next meal was coming from if it was even coming at all and so they get this opportunity to have a bit of food and they take it.

And because it's the sabbath, the pharisees want to judge them for that and condemn them for breaking the law, and they seek to use it. They set this up as a as a way of getting at Jesus as a perceived weakness in the armor that they can get to Jesus at. But Jesus simply steps inside the jab and delivers 2 body blows of his own. He answers in verse 3, haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? You know king David, king of all Israel, your ancestor who you love to go on about, the David who slew goliath, the writer of the Psalms, the man of the god's own heart.

Yes, that David. Haven't you read what he did when he was hungry? He entered the house of god and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread, the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for them to do, only for the priests. Davidate the consecrated bread, yet you don't hold him accountable. You don't condemn him.

My disciples are just eating some ears of corn. That's the first blow Jesus delivers quickly followed up by the second, or haven't you read in the law? You know the law that you love so much. Haven't you read in that that on the Sabbath, the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet they're innocent. And then comes the shot to the head to finish off this quick flurry of counter punches.

I tell you that 1 greater than the temple is here. They felt that 1. That leaves them reeling. That would be like going to a Muslim cleric and saying, you know what? I'm Mohammed but I'm greater than him.

You'd have a fat war on your head in seconds. If you had known what these words mean Jesus says, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. You would not have condemned the innocent. For the son of man is lord of the Sabbath. Jesus uses their own law against them quoting from the prophet, Jose, it's mercy god is interested in, or rather that they've just misunderstood the law.

Not some ridiculous observance of the law, that's not what god wants at the cost of people suffering. Jesus is saying, I am the temple. If the pharisees do not condemn the priests for desecrating the Sabbath, by working, then they cannot condemn my disciples. They are like priests working in the temple. Anyhow, I'm lord of the Sabbath.

I say what they can and can't do on it. The men are hungry, let them meet. Have you no compassion? So this leaves the pharisee severely on the back foot reeling from this quick combo and Jesus presses this advantage boxing them right back into their own corner. Look at verse 9.

Going from that place, he went into their synagogue and a man with the shriveled handles there. He went into their singing synagogue from that into their synagogue. He's really pressing at home, isn't he? Trapped in their corner on the back foot a bit dazed, they lash out, probably confused because they go for the same jab again with the fourth commandment. Didn't work last time, maybe we'll get through the guard with this 1.

First 10, looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Trying to trap him, trying to get him to lower his guard for a second. But again, Jesus is just too quick for them. He's already expecting the shot and he simply steps it. So I'd steps it again and presses home with 2 more blows.

Verse 11. If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep. Therefore, it is good. It is lawful to do good.

On the Sabbath. And then he heals the man, which poses probably the biggest problem of all for the pharisees. As they know that healing power only comes from god, and he's just done this in their synagogue on the Sabbath. So Jesus therefore must be on god's side. The pharisees now reeling against the ropes slumped against them in terms of losing this this encounter, this argument.

They're beaten and they're bruised by superior reasoning, and more simply by mercy over their senseless religious duty and they're primed for the knockout blow. That could finish them entirely, but Jesus doesn't deliver it. He leaves it there. A bruised by this encounter, pride smarting, They retreat and they get vicious. They can't beat him by just reasoning it out.

They can't beat him by quoting the law at him. And so they say, okay, let's just kill him then. And so, Jesus, knowing this leaves the region. Now there's 4 arguments and a miracle there that Jesus uses against the pharisees, and each 1 on its own steam would have completely flattened their their arguing. Yet, Jesus chooses to really rub it in, doesn't he?

They really get a bit of an intellectual battering here. So what's all of that got to do with gentleness? Jesus being gentle? Well, it brings us on to the quote from Isaiah at the end of the passage in verses 18 to 21 and more specifically verse 20 which is really what I want us to mull over and and dwell on a bit tonight. It says a bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick, he will not snuff out till he leads justice to victory.

And why did Jesus choose this moment to quote Isaiah's prophecy? Why does Matthew see it as important to record and show us this in the scripture. Well, I think it becomes clear when you consider the context of what we've just looked at and the opposition and how Jesus answered. The pharisees here are the bruised reeds, but he won't break them yet. The pharisees are the smoldering wicks, but he won't snuff them out yet.

Why? Because there is a time coming when he will break those reads and he will snuff out the smoldering wicks. But that day is not yet here. And in the meantime, he's gentle with everyone, even his enemies. And what a good thing that is.

Because all of us in this room were at 1 time his enemies. Perhaps some still are. But because he's gentle with us, because he holds back justice, In other words, the sentencing and punishment that our sinful rebellion rightly deserves, we have time time to turn, time to repent, time to believe, to trust, and to follow him. That's what gentleness is really at its core. Holding back strength for the good of other people, or strength under control for other people's good.

So keep that in mind. Keep Matthew 12 open in front of you because we're going to be jumping around to look at what else the Bible has to say about gentleness, but I'll try to keep tying it back in as we look in a bit more depth. Now the first thing that I want us to see about gentleness is that it's strong. So gentleness is strong. It's not a weak thing.

It's not a timid thing. It's not a pushover of a thing. The reason I thought that putting this exchange between Jesus sin and the pharisees in terms of a boxing match, is because I wanted to try and show that it it takes strength to be gentle. You have to be strong to be gentle. That there is some strength in that, isn't there?

Because notice that gentleness isn't to run away from opposition. It isn't to roll over and surrender when it comes. It's not timid, it's not shy, it faces the onslaught, resolutely holding firm, not giving an inch. Even going on the front foot pursuing the opposition into their own corner just as Jesus pursued the pharisees into their own synagogue. So for us, it means yes.

We can defend the truth of the gospel, and we can do it passionately. We can debate. We can discuss. We can seek out and pursue people. Even inside the privacy of their own minds, nothing's off limits.

But just be gentle while you do. There's no need to be harsh with this message Proverbs 25 15 which should be coming up on the screen behind me, helps us to to understand a little more of the strength of gentleness and why that's sufficient to to to argue with on its own. But through patience, it really can be persuaded and a gentle tongue can break a bone. So through sensitive and tactful speech, you can break down even the hardest of hearts and the deepest resistance to an idea. If you want someone to harden their heart towards you, be hard towards them.

That'll do it pretty quickly. If you want to break through concrete, don't pour more concrete on top of it. It's not gonna work. It's gonna make it harder. However, if you want them to be soft and receptive towards you, treat them with gentle kindness.

It can melt away the fiercest resistance. It can, but it doesn't always, that may not always be the case. Just like with the pharisees, the gentleness that you show in speaking the truth to people may simply serve to Bruce reads and smaller wicks. In other words, it simply shows them up in the area of their ways and their pride is dented. They're bruised, they're left smoldering by this and they seek for ways to kill it off.

Get him out of our lives. I don't want it. Shut up. It's offensive this message. How dare you say that to me?

Have you ever had a response like that from anyone when you're trying to share a gospel message? Someone, I don't know. Maybe some of you have, I certainly have. Now, that's sort of a response. It's not on your conscience.

Their blood's not on your hands. We know that people on hearing either accept or reject the gospel. And the sad thing is that all those who are still bruised reeds, all those who are still smoldering away on the day of Jesus's victorious return will be broken and snuffed out. The point is You do not know who might hear the message of Jesus and turn and be saved, and you are told to deliver it gently so as to give them every opportunity to hear it and so that they will have no excuse for ignoring it. And so you will be blameless in its delivery.

They won't be able to say, oh, well, he was so harsh with me. He was so harsh with the message. It completely put me off. You don't need to be harsh with people. Gentleness is strong enough to break through.

We think that gentleness or the world thinks that gentleness takes away our defenses leaves us toothless and clawless yet the writer of the proverb says that a gentle word breaks a bone. Just a gentle word hard enough to break a bone. Gentleness has a strength that even the hardest act or word cannot achieve. So gentleness isn't only incredibly strong itself. It also has the effect of deflating opposition strength.

So the second point, gentleness answers opposition. When you go through, the Bible and you look up all the quotes about gentleness, more often than not, it's in the context of answering opposition. It's in the context of instructing opponents and enemies. Proverbs 15 verse 1 which should appear again says a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Now don't you just immediately recognize the obvious truth of that 1?

The world would have you believe that fire needs to be met with fire anger with anger, an eye for an eye, isn't that the way that it works? They do something we retaliate They retaliate back. We retaliate back until 1 side loses and the other side wins. That's the way of the world. But according to this, gentleness is water to calm the fire of anger.

So stupid, a stupid way of looking at it. Imagine your house is on fire, and the fire, brigade turn up. And instead of reeling out the hose, they start filling up glasses, bottles with petrol and start lobbing them through the windows and say, take that fire, that'll do it. It doesn't work. It would be stupid.

It's ridiculous. Well, it's much the same with us when we respond angrily to people. We just fuel a fire rather than quench it. We harden them rather than soften them. And it's so easy for us to be like that, isn't it?

We find ourselves in disagreement with someone or on the receiving end of their anger and our default position is just to get defensive. And either retreat entirely or or utilize attack as the best form of defense and get angry in response. I think this is often particularly true, and particularly damaging when we are trying to mount the defense of the gospel. How easy is it to just simply end up in an argument over things or into some enter into some sort of mud slinging contest over some point or other rather than just gently presenting the gospel as the good news that it is. We're so easily drawn into these things, aren't we?

Like we've we must win every single argument. Now, This is especially hard for competitive people among us and I absolutely count myself in that category and those of you who really know me know I love winning an argument often lose them and probably need to repent of that. But here's the thing. We don't need to win every argument. So much has gently expound the truth.

We know that the argument itself is a moot point anyway. If someone is arguing with you about the truth of the Bible, god or Jesus, then they're only arguing from the side that's lost already. Why would you get angry about that? You should feel pity, compassion, more than anything, It's not about winning arguments. It's about winning souls.

It's far more important. Treat them gently so that they might hear what you have to say. 2 Timothy, chapter 2, 20 fourth to 20 sixth puts it the best. It should come up again. And the lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Opponents must be gently instructed in the hope that god will grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will. Did you notice in the Matthew passage? Jesus wasn't in it simply to win an argument. He was in it for compassion. But he also gently instructed his opponents as to the truth of the matter at hand.

The fact that they got angry about it is because the truth hurts, it bruises, it takes the wind out of their sails leaving them as nothing more than smoldering wicks and that damages the pride. And it's the same for us when we share this message with people, isn't it? Do it gently. They may just get angry anyway because the truth is a hard thing to hear. The gospel offends people as they are told that they're wrong, that the way they think and they live, it's all wrong.

The whole universe and the way they thought everything works They misunderstood it all. That's a hard thing to take. So be gentle with them as you hope to guide them back to their senses. So we've had gentleness is strong. It's like an immovable object in the path of anger so strong.

It can soften the hardest of hearts. And then gentleness answers opposition. It doesn't provoke or stir up anger, but rather seeks to mitigate it and calm it so that people might hear the message of the gospel and be saved. And finally, gentleness builds strength. It's god's mode of building strength in us of building us up in Christlikeness.

In Psalm 18, again, which will come up, David says You give me your shield of victory and your right hand sustains me. You stoop down to make me great. Now, another translation of that verse reads and your gentleness makes me great. And I think again, we can easily see the truth in that simple statement. God gently guides us and challenges us and trains us in order to build us up into something altogether more wonderful than we were.

And the aspect of gentleness in this training is so important. So for example, you were going to start teaching a small child how to play tennis, how are you going to go about it so that the child grows in skill and ability. What are you gonna do? Where would you start? You wouldn't just take them straight out on the court and start smashing the ball over the net at them and expect them just to be able to pick it up and then come down on them like a ton of bricks when they don't.

What'd you do? So, no, this is a racket. This is a ball. You hit the ball with the racket. That's where you start.

Now let's just practice hitting the ball. You do your forehands. Right. Great. You've got that.

Okay. Let's do backhands. Now let's move on to serves. You can volley. This is what playing at the nets like.

This is playing on the baseline. Now let's talk tactics and strategy. It's gonna take a long time for them to get to Wimbledon, isn't it? But it's that gentle approach, that patient investment in people over and over again. That builds them up, isn't it?

It's not the harsh coming in and smashing people that builds them up. It's the investment of your skill and your strength. And actually, largely holding back the vast bulk of your skill and strength. Because if you unleashed it all on them at the start, well, you just get a dispirited young young person who's never gonna play tennis again. No.

You use your skill and your strength. To instruct and train them. Well, that's the approach, thankfully, that god takes with us. He is patient in building us up, covering a multitude of mistakes and slip ups and wayward shots, gently correcting errant ways of thinking, unhealthy habits, and all kinds of other stuff. And the expectation is that over time, under his guiding hand, that we improve and grow, He holds back his full strength and applies what we need at the time in order to build us up for our good.

In all things we are told, god works for the good of those who love him, but he does so gently, doesn't he? If he unleashed everything on you all at once, you would be a blitter rated. You would not stand a chance. You wouldn't have a hope. We bear this responsibility to each other as well, don't we?

Some of us further down the road than others. Some of us have been walking this walk for a lot longer than than some of the others, among us. Some of us are battled different things. We can use all these things to help each other grow, can't we? But we do so gently.

Again, gently because we are all struggling sinners to whom god is unbelievably gentle every day. As god is gentle to us, we extend it out to other people to build them up as well. So there we have 3 points that gentleness is strong. It answers opposition without giving an inch. It quells anger.

It builds us up. God is a god who holds back his strength, his wrath, and his anger on this rebellious world mercifully so that people may turn to him and be saved. It allows them time to turn and believe. That is his gentleness. The place where we see all of this come together more clearly than anywhere in history is, of course, the arrest and the trial and the execution of Jesus.

At his arrest, Jesus clearly shows how strong he is. In John, John records that when Jesus, confirms his name, I am he, the Roman soldiers in the temple guard fall to the ground, like some of the hardest soldiers on the planet brought to their knees by 3 words. In Matthew of the same account, he says he could have 12 legions of angels come and rescue him if he so wanted at that moment, that would be fire and fury like the world's never seen mister Trump. But at any moment, he had more than enough strength to bring an end to everyone present, but he held it back. He held it back because he knew that he had to go to the cross for their good to pay for their sin so that they could be saved, the ones who were arresting him.

And then when Peter draws his sword and cuts off the temple servants here, Jesus heals his enemy, tells Peter to put away the sword. If you live by the sword, Peter, you will die by the sword. Anger breeds anger, and that's not what I'm about. That's not how we bring the message that's not how we fight the fights. At his trial, he didn't quarrel when they blatantly lie about him, He simply answers them truthfully.

When their anger boils over and they strike him, he calmly asks them to explain What's wrong? Have I not spoken the truth? He continues before pilot. There's no quarreling in him. He isn't trying to wriggle his way out of it.

He doesn't start pleading his case. He's not outraged by by the ridiculousness of this of this fabrication against him. When he's faced with the frenzied rage of the crowds, screaming for his execution, the beatings of the Roman soldiers, He doesn't respond in kind with more anger. He could have wiped them off the face of the planet in a second, but he doesn't. Over and over again, what you get back from him instead is that simple restating of the truth.

And finally, when he's hanging on the cross, he has to endure the spitting the scorn, the mockery of the crowds, even those being crucified with him, heaps scorn on him. Come down from that cross and save yourself if you're the king. You saved others. Save yourself. Not much of a king now, are you?

And it was well within his strength to do it, but he wouldn't. Do you see? He held back all that strength because He knew that to come off the cross at that moment meant there's no payment for sin. The sacrifice would not be complete. All these people facing him would have no way back.

No way to repent. In this moment of the greatest opposition against him, the greatest pain, the greatest torment, amazingly. He's still gentle with them. It's still they're good that he has in mind. He would rather die for them than fight for his rights.

That's amazing, isn't it? What an amazing lord and savior? And that is the amazing truth about the gospel Jesus would rather die for you than fight you. He would rather give his life than crush yours. So all your Christians in the room, which I know is most of you, if not all of you.

I hope you already realize this. How patience and gentle god was in bringing you to a saving faith. Do you remember that? Can you remember the opposition and anger you may have felt at 1 time towards god, towards Jesus, the gospel message Christians who were telling it to you, I certainly do, and it makes me wince to think about it. But god was so gentle with us.

Even in our rebellion. And he's now gentle with you as as he builds you up day after day, through victories and failures, hard times and good times, all is now working for your benefit. So make sure you extend that gentle approach to those around you whether you're seeking to bring people to Christ or build them up in Christ. You'll need a gentle approach, either way. And for anyone here who doesn't know Jesus as their savior, who hasn't recognized the enormous earth chattering sacrifice that he made.

What do you realize? The only reason you are able to take the next beat of your heart and fill your air with lungs again is because the gentleness of the lord is allowing you time before his strength is unleashed on the day that he returns in glorious victory. To call his people home and condemn those who are not. You've already taken a few breaths and heartbeats in the time it took me to read that sentence out. A few more just now and another 1 and another 1 and another 1 and another 1 and I just wonder which one's going to be your last.

There's no more time. There's no more time. Yes. You're still standing, but only because god is being gentle with you. But no 1 knows when their numbers up or when Jesus will return.

There's no tomorrow. There is no later on tonight After this second, there are no guarantees. You may have an aneurysm in the next 5 seconds. You may crash your car on the way home. I don't know.

Jesus could return at any moment, but what I do know is that you have an opportunity now right now to no longer be a bruised wreath or just a smoldering wick. Jesus is calling you here tonight. He wants to fix you so that you are not a bruised wreath. You are not smoldering. He wants to reignite that flame.

Please Don't be caught out on your final day. Embrace that god's being gentle with you and respond appropriately now. Let's pray. Father, thank you, Thank you so much that you are a gentle god, that you are a patient god that you work for our good that you don't, as we so rightly all deserved, just to be struck off the list. To be completely erased, to be condemned, to have your full weight of discum down on his father, you were so gentle, you were so patient and you paid such a cost to make a way for us to come to know you.

We do thank and praise you for for your mighty deeds and, we do pray for any that don't know you father that they wouldn't delay. They wouldn't abuse your gentleness. They wouldn't go away bruised and with their pride dented and seek for ways to just ignore you and get you out of their lives. We do pray that by your Holy Spirit, you would have spoken to us all tonight, amen.

Preached by Chris Tilley
Chris Tilley photo

Chris is an Elder at Cornerstone. He is married to Bernadette, who is part of our safeguarding team, and they live in New Malden.

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