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Summary: This is the sixth sermon in the series on "The Fruit of the Spirit." The thesis is: "Disciples can make a difference in the lives of others by being kind."

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THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS KINDNESS—GALATIANS 5:22-26;

HOSEA 2:14-23; AND LUKE 6:27-36

As soon as I began preparations for today’s message, the Lord called to my mind the lyrics of Glen Campbell’s song “Try a Little Kindness”:

If you see your brother standing by the road

With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed;

And if you see your sister falling by the way,

Just stop and say, “You’re going the wrong way.”

You got to try a little kindness.

Yes, show a little kindness;

Just shine your light for everyone to see;

And if you try a little kindness

Then you’ll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.

Don’t walk around the down and out;

Lend a helping hand instead of doubt;

And the kindness that you show every day

Will help someone along their way.

You got to try a little kindness.

Yes, show a little kindness;

Just shine your light for everyone to see;

And if you try a little kindness

Then you’ll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.

“The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness.” “One day a student asked anthropologist Margaret Mead for the earliest sign of civilization in a given culture. He expected the answer to be a clay pot or perhaps a fish hook or grinding stone. Her answer was, “a healed femur.’ Mead explained that no healed femurs are found where the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest reigns. A healed femur shows that someone cared. Someone had to do that injured person’s hunting and gathering until the leg healed. The evidence of compassion is the first sign of civilization” God’s Word often calls us to the ministry of kindness. As Disciples of Jesus Christ we can make a difference in the lives of others by being kind.

In Scripture the word kindness stems from a root that means, “To furnish what is needed.” Keep that in mind, as I want to come back to it soon. Kindness is caring for others. It is to show interest in their happiness, well-being, and feelings. Sometimes we think of kindness in terms of pity or sympathy, but kindness on the part of the Christian Disciple is much wider in scope. You see, it is not enough to simply express feelings of sympathy for those who hurt; a kind disciple sees the hurt, the pain, the distress, the discomfort of others and takes action to alleviate the suffering. A kind Christian is not satisfied by simply offering words of encouragement; he or she takes action and helps. Kindness “furnishes what is needed.”

As with all the other Fruit of the Spirit, kindness is rooted in the character of God. One of the greatest promises in the Old Testament is the one shared by the Psalmist in Psalm 145:8,

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate,

Slow to anger and rich in love.”

If you are familiar with computers and the internet, you understand the principle of links. A link is “a relationship or connection that exists between people or things.” If you are surfing the World Wide Web, you may come to a particular site that gives you links to other related sites of interest. All you have to do is “clink” on a particular link, and you will go to the related site.

There are many Christian attributes that are linked or related to kindness, and one we often find is compassion. The Lord is kind, or in the words of the Psalmist, “the Lord is compassionate in that He is “slow to anger and rich in love.” The purpose of God’s kindness is to lead people to repent, to bring sinners back to Him.

We see this clearly in Hosea, Chapter Two. Hosea’s adulterous wife Gomer symbolizes Israel and represents each one of us sinners. God’s kindness is seen in His “alluring her, speaking tenderly to her.” He reveals His kindness in leading the sinner to repentance in verse 19:

“I will betroth you to Me forever;

I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,

In love and compassion.”

His kindness brings individuals to repentance in verse 23:

“. . . I will show My love to the one I called ‘Not My loved one.’

I will say to those called ‘Not My people,’ ‘You are My

People’”

And they will say, ‘You are My God.’”

The Lord is kind; the Lord is compassionate in that He draws repentant sinners back into fellowship with Him. His kindness is seen again in Romans 2:4, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

God’s kindness is unlimited; He is friendly even to His enemies, and Jesus commands us to do likewise in Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Because God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked, we are called to show His same mercy to them as well. By the power of the Holy Spirit ministering through us, we can be kind even when our kindness is neither acknowledged nor appreciated.

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