Summary: We are to treat others with kindness regardless of how they treat us and not for the prupose of getting something in return.
As we’ve done each week, we’ll begin with a quick review of several important characteristics of the…
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
1) Is demonstrated by being not doing
2) Is developed as Christ followers cooperate with the Holy Spirit
3) Is to be delightful to an unbelieving world
The way we do that as a body is reflected in two aspects of our life together in the body:
• The way we treat each other
• Our corporate worship
Today we’ll be focusing on kindness as one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. This morning’s story from Home Town Tales is called “The Day I Met Paul Harvey”.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS…KINDNESS
Once again it is essential that we begin by defining Biblical kindness. The Greek word that Paul uses here is “chrestotes”. That word conveys the concept of something that is useful, helpful or beneficial. In both the Old and New Testaments, kindness consists of two components:
1) An inner disposition of compassion or mercy, that results in
2) An outward act that is meant to benefit someone
In the New Testament, kindness is most frequently used to describe God and the way He deals with us. So let’s look at several of these passages and see what we can learn about the kindness of God and how we can take and apply what we learn there to our relationships with each other and our corporate worship. We’ll go through these rather quickly and I’ll just make a few brief observations on each passage.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
At first glance, you might ask why we’re looking at his passage since we don’t find the word “kind” or “kindness” anywhere. But the word “easy” in verse 30 actually comes from the same root word as the one translated “kindness” elsewhere in the New Testament. The idea that Jesus is expressing here is that His yoke would not chafe or be an irritation.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:35, 36 (ESV)
Here Luke uses the kindness of God toward those who are ungrateful and even evil, as an example of how we are to treat even our enemies. We see that genuine kindness expects nothing in return. That is an important aspect of kindness that we’ll focus on some more in just a moment.
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Romans 2:4 (ESV)
Here we see that God’s kindness is exhibited in His forbearance and patience with us for the purpose of leading us to repentance. This demonstrates just how all the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are interrelated – it is one fruit with nine aspects and not nine different fruits. There is a close connection between God’s patience and His kindness.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
Once again, we see that God’s kindness is inseparable from his mercy and grace. God didn’t wait for us to respond positively to Him before He extended His kindness toward us.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
Here God’s kindness is demonstrated by His forgiveness that He has made possible through His Son. And as we’ve seen consistently in all these passages, God’s kindness is extended without regard of how man might choose to respond to that kindness.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.