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Temperance – Pull Up A Chair

~2 Pet 1:4-9 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

There’s so much spiritual meat in these verses! We could spend days sitting on these and still walk away lacking  :fat:

Peter starts out these verses by telling us that we have great and precious promises. We have the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to partake in Christ’s divine nature – meaning that we have that ability to say no to sin because we no longer have sin as our master, but Christ! \o/ Praise the Lord, amen?

Peter continues in verse 5 to tell us that if we give ALL diligence to the Spirit’s fruit in our lives, we will abound (verse 7) and be fruitful in the knowledge of Christ! Christian lady, can you imagine what benefit this would be to you as you raise your children? Can you imagine the hurdles you would avoid in your marriage? The Lord says that if the fruit of verses 5 through 7 abound in you (are at work), you will not be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ! That’s powerful stuff, ladies! I honestly believe that the Proverbs 31 wife abounded in these fruit, don’t you? How else could she be so “perfect”? I always felt as though I was lacking when I compared myself to her. But now I know why!  😐 I need to abound in these fruit!!!! \o/ Thank You, Lord.

Practice makes perfect 🙂 I’m thinking of writing these fruit on a Post-It Note at my desk, on my bathroom mirror, or anywhere that my eyes rest on. This will help me to be mindful of these fruit as I go about my day. If I see them, chances are I will be more aware of practicing them 🙂 Here’s what I made up for myself 🙂

 

Act 24:24-25 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

When someone hears about righteousness, temperance and judgment, the first reaction is to sit up straight and do one of two things:

  1. Be thankful for God’s chastisement, repent and take heed to the warning; or
  2. Get offended at the message

In today’s text, Paul was witnessing to Felix and his wife.  Paul spoke of righteousness, temperance and the judgment to come without salvation.  The message must have cut to the core because verse 25 says that Felix trembled.  The Holy Spirit was working in Felix’s heart, obviously, but Felix chickened out for some reason.  The verse goes on to say that Felix told Paul that when it was a more convenient time he would call for him.  I wonder if Felix was embarrassed to get saved because his wife was there.  Or possibly he had other friends at the gathering and was “put on the spot.”  No matter what the reason, when the Holy Spirit of God convicts you to the point of trembling, you should not ignore it.

The topics Paul preached on were enough to cause Felix to tremble.  We all know what righteousness means – anything that revolves around God, His Holy Word and Godly things is considered righteous.  The judgment to come would cause Felix to tremble as well.  After all, when you hear that you are heading to Hell and eternal burning from one of the greatest preachers that ever lived, how can you not tremble?  Could it possibly be the other topic, temperance, which caused Felix to change his mind?

Just what is temperance?  Temperance is moderation.  Moderation covers a multitude of areas, doesn’t it? Our society today has no discipline over moderation. Americans over indulge in every area of life possible – every sin imaginable!  I think of someone with a hot temper – he should practice moderation or temperance.  I think of someone who loves his job so much that he neglects his family.  How about someone who loves to drink alcohol?  Or even drugs? Pornography is a booming industry!  Hollywood’s movies today would have been rated X even just 40 years ago!  One is hard pressed to find a teenager who has not had sex!  Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines temperance as:

1. Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth. Temperance in eating and drinking is opposed to gluttony and drunkenness, and in other indulgences, to excess.

I believe that Felix could have been offended in this area of Paul’s message.  He could have been a glutton or given to too much wine.  Who knows!  But when someone confronts you with one of your faults, you don’t readily give him the time of day, especially if you are a man of wealth and power.  In fact, you avoid that person.  You want to hear the Gospel in your “own” time, if at all – when it’s convenient for you, just like Felix.

Where are you today, reader?  Has someone talked to you about true Christianity?  Not the watered down Christianity being pirated today but a true born-again experience with Jesus Christ?  Jesus Christ changes lives.  He does not “save” someone only to have them continue to live their lives like they use to live.  This is what gives “Christians” a bad name today!  People claim they are Christians but yet they live like the devil and make a mockery of Christianity altogether.  The world sees these “professors” and they lump them all in with the true born-again believers.  A truly born-again person is a new creature – totally!  His life shows it – his heart shows it – his actions show it!

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Are you a homosexual who is fighting the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  You cannot be living in a same sex relationship and claim to be a Christian!  God destroyed an entire city for this sin – why would He allow it now?  To think that God allows this horrible sin and condones it is to deceive yourself!

Are you saying you are a Christian yet you are living with someone without being married?  Are you saying you are a Christian yet you consistently indulge in pornography?  An apple tree cannot grow oranges. You either produce Christ-like fruit in your life or the fruit of the devil. You cannot do both, at least not without conviction from the Holy Spirit and chastisement from God.

~Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

The true born-again believer loves God’s Word, loves other believers, loves assembling with other believers, and loves the things of God. When he sins, he falls under great conviction and repents. The person who is not truly born again continues in his sinful lifestyle not wishing to stop, has no conviction to change and really doesn’t care. That is not the Christianity and holy living depicted in the Bible says.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Christians are held to a higher standard than the religious person. The Ten Commandments say we should not commit adultery. The Christian is told by Jesus that anytime a man looks upon a woman and lusts after her, this man has committed adultery already in his heart. Therefore, if you see a “so called” born again Christian who has not changed his sinful lifestyle, chances are they professed salvation but never possessed it in their hearts.

I just want to make you think!  Where do you stand today?  Will you be like Felix and tremble?  Will you ignore the warning and wait?

~2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)