When preaching a sermon, there are natural time limitations that make it difficult to cover everything in a given passage in a complete way. The purpose of this blog series is to more fully address the list of qualifications for Elders (which are also things that all Christians are called to be) in Titus 1:5-9. Some items in the list were covered more extensively in this sermon, so I won't be covering those items here.
I am lumping these three items together because all three fall under the umbrella of being opposed to gentleness. The fruit of gentleness is what we all as Christians are called to exhibit, and when we aren't gentle we are instead arrogant, quick tempered, and violent.
Consider the following passage:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spiritin the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Paul encourages all Christians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling, and explains this by linking humility and gentleness together. Further, Paul tells us that humility and gentleness manifest in being patient - bearing with one another in love - because we should be eager to maintain the unity of the Holy Spirit among our Body.
To be gentle is to be tender, humble, and fair. Those who are gentle are gracious, extend mercy to others, and show a desire to yield to both the will of God and the preferences of other people. Our hearts should be inclined toward God and others rather than self, and when they are we don't think more of ourselves than we should. Gentleness means we won't lose our temper when things go our way, but instead trust in the Lord in all circumstances. And gentleness obviously keeps us from using violence (or the threat of violence) in order to indimidate or control other people.
Pursuing gentleness is pursuing Christlikeness, because Jesus is gentle. He truly loves people by selflessly serving, and ultimately gave His life for us. As we see in Scripture:
a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench (Matthew 12:20)
The qualification for Elders (and the call to all Christians) to not be arrogant, quick tempered, or violent is truly the call to be gentle. We must strive to be gentle, because the presence of it is evidence of our sanctification. As Jesus said, the meek (another word for gentle) shall inherit the earth.