Bearing With One AnotherSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER
Sermon By Terry Siverd / October 15, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Our sermon series on The Fruit Of The Spirit is coming to a close.
My tenure as your “regular” preaching will soon be culminating - - with the arrival of Larry Siegle in mid-November.
This morning we want to consider two important exhortations from Paul on the topic of bearing with one another.
These are what we sometimes call parallel passages - - Eph.4:1f and Col.3:12f.
Please put a marker in your Bible and we will return to study from these two citations in just a few minutes
To live above, with saints we love; Oh, that will be glory!
But to live below, with the saints we know; Well, that's another story!
A number of word couplets have been born in recent times in an effort to communicate the need for getting along:
communal harmony…collaborative living…co-operative habitation…multicultural awareness…& diversity consciousness.
These terms describe the challenge of living in our world in general (actually every generation), but
they also address the difficulties that we sometimes face, specifically as it applies to life in the kingdom of God.
As a church we have not always excelled in areas of acceptance and tolerance
Bearing with one another and showing forbearance has not always been as keen a priority among us as it should be.
Yet this “grace of getting along with one another” truly ought to be our calling card!!
As with family life in general (i.e., blood relatives) we don't always put up with each others like we should.
In fact, sometimes it seems like we are less tolerant with those whom we claim to love the most.
Far too often we become alienated from brothers and sisters in Christ who rub us the wrong way.
Small irritations frequently breed separations. Idiosyncrasies (ours and others) work to drive wedges between us.
If we're being honest, too many of us are thin-skinned and super sensitive to the slightest infractions.
One preacher finally confronted one brother with whom he had been at loggerheads for years.
The “issue” was was revealed: the preacher had once walked by him without saying hello. That was all it took.
I read online recently about one big church in Minnesota that is experiencing unrest and discord.
Based on Heb.12:28 (let us...offer to God an acceptable sacrifice with reverence and awe), John Piper
had posted a blog comment asking, “Can we reassess whether Sunday coffee-sipping in the sanctuary fits?”
His post stirred a firestorm of feedback, garnering thousands of responses: some pro and some con.
Surely there are more important things to do than for believers to squabble about coffee in church.
Let turn now the the inspired words of the apostle Paul found in our New Testament.
In Eph.4:1-3, the apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians - - I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,entreat you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
In his letter to the Colossians (Col.1:2), which was also addressed to those in Laodicea & Hierapolis (Col.2:1 & 4:13f),
Paul writes (Col.3:12-15) - - As those who have chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
In Eph.4:2, he speaks of showing forbearance to one another; In Col.3:13, he writes of bearing with one another.
This attitude of forbearance and bearing with one another is essential.
It is needed to be pleasing to God … and it is needed to be peaceful and pleasant with one another.
From these two texts I want to highlight seven sub-points that will guide us in becoming more forebearing.
(The following have been enumerated in an online blog by John Dobbs posted on January 4-5, 2022).
These seven exhortations are derived from our two primary texts read earlier - - Eph.4:1-3 and Col.3:12-15.
Three times in Peter's first epistle he urges the early saints to be humble.
1Pet.3:8/be humble in spirit; 1Pet.5:5/clothe yourselves with humility toward one another; 1Pet.5:6/humble yourselves.
As ones who are ourselves imperfect, we must learn to treat another imperfect person with genuine respect.
Mt.7:12 records “the golden rule” - - treat others as you would like to be treated.
Francis de sales states, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
We must be clothed with patience. Let's give other people time to grow.
We seldom know fully what others are experiencing - - the troubles and pains they may be encountering.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Kind words bring no blisters on the tongue that speaks them, nor on the ear
that hears them. Kind words are never wasted. Like scattered seeds, they spring up in unexpected places...”
Mt.18:21-22 records Peter's question to Jesus, How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?
Peter must of thought himself to be especially gracious and generous to suggest, Up to seven times?
Jesus countered by saying, Seventy times seven. In other words, as often as needed.
In bearing with others we must keep on trying harder!
As Paul admonishes (Eph.4:3), Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
All of the above are not automatic reflexes.
Such responses require deliberate acts of the will.