Summary: Part 5 of our look at the Fruit of the Spirit. Looking at Kindness and Goodness today
Fruit of the Spirit -
May 6, 2018
Have you ever noticed that stories about people being kind and doing good are saved for the very end of most newscasts? What leads off the news each evening?
Stories about murder, terrorism, vandalism, fires, political drama and other not so nice news! But what usually ends the newscast? A story about someone who did good, or a story about a pet who saved their owner. We live in a pretty rough world
When we look at what it means to be a Christ follower, people tend to look at those who try to do good to others, as being wimpy and harmless. You know what I mean? The world struggles with Christians who are more than simply nice.
Well, we’re entering week 5 of our look at the Fruit of the Spirit. And today you’re going to get a special deal . . . It’s a 2 fer day. That means you’re getting 2 sermons in 1. It only happens once in a while, so don’t expect this every week. Now, let’s look again at the Fruit of the Spirit as Paul told the people of Galatia ~
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Today, we’re going to look at kindness and goodness. These two words are related. As I studied this week, I realized that the word good is used in the definition of kindness and kind is used in the definition of goodness. It’s pretty cool. And we really need both to be biblically centered. So, I thought we’d look at both through a biblical story which Jesus told.
Firstly, let’s look at what these words mean ~
The word KINDNESS is defined as goodness, uprightness, gentleness.
It is a useful kindness. It refers to meeting real needs, in God's way, in His timing and manner. Divine kindness is the Spirit-produced goodness which meets the needs of another person, doing so without being harsh or cruel.
We’re talking about a divine kindness as we meet the real needs of another person, without throwing it in their face. It means when you do something for someone, you do it without grumbling and complaining.
Now let’s look at GOODNESS. Goodness is an intrinsic quality, focusing on the inner person. Its focus is on the kindly rather than the righteous side of goodness. The goodness that comes from God; showing itself in a spiritual virtue.
So, that’s where Paul is going with kindness and goodness. It’s a combination of an inner virtue (goodness) and an action oriented virtue (kindness).
Paul is writing to a church which is conflicted. Not everything was rosy in Galatia. If it was, Paul would have had no need to list the sins of the flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit. There were relational issues. And Paul is trying to be an encourager. Encouraging the people to live a life which will demonstrate they are connected to the vine, who is Christ.
To illustrate this I want to tells a story from Luke 15,
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it?
27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
28 And Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Let’s stop for a moment and realize something here. Do you know some folks like this guy? They are exhausting! This guy really didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say. He was more interested in exalting himself as he tested Jesus. The guy knew his Bible, he knew the right answers. He’s one of those guys who knows the Word, but can’t apply it. He’s one of those guys who wanted to talk theology, but didn’t want to do theology. That doesn’t work in the kingdom! He proved he didn’t know who his neighbor was by asking the question. That’s a great question for us as well!! Do you know who your neighbor is?
So, Jesus told him a story ~ 30 “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
The backdrop to the story is this. He was going from Jerusalem to Jericho. It was about a 16 mile trip. It’s like traveling from church to Starbucks in Muncie. That’s a 16 mile trip. In addition, this guy was going from 2,300 feet above sea level to Jericho’s 800 feet below sea level. As an FYI, Alexandria is 872 feet above sea level. That’s a huge change in a short distance. There were some steep places with narrow passages and it was a great place for robbers to hideout.