Faithlife Sermons

ESGAL13 Fruit of the Spirit Part 7 Kindness

Fruit of the Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:02
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2 Chronicles 10:3b–16 NKJV
Then they sent for him and called him. And Jeroboam and all Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” So he said to them, “Come back to me after three days.” And the people departed. Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, saying, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” And they spoke to him, saying, “If you are kind to these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.” But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. And he said to them, “What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?” Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you should speak to the people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’ ” So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had directed, saying, “Come back to me the third day.” Then the king answered them roughly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders, and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from God, that the Lord might fulfill His word, which He had spoken by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: “What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to your tents, O Israel! Now see to your own house, O David!” So all Israel departed to their tents.
Galatians 5:22–23 NKJV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
One day, a few years ago, a Swans fan was walking down the pavement when a pair of thugs met him carrying baseball bats. After giving the Swans fan a heavy beating and stealing all his money, debit and credit cards and mobile phone, the thieves ran off, leaving him to bleed to death on the street.
No one saw the assault take place, but shortly after the thieves departed, a pastor came walking down the road. When he saw the man bleeding and groaning, he took barely any notice and continued straight past for he said to himself he was not called to anything except to preaching and prayer.
Not long after that, a second person came walking down the road. This man was a good Christian who took his faith seriously and attended church on Sundays and went to midweek services. When he saw the Swans fan lying in a pool of his own blood, he was terrified, and rushed quickly by for it would make him late for a meeting and didn’t want to mess his clothes.
The Swans fan was losing all hope of rescue when he saw a Cardiff City fan on his motorbike with tattoos all over his arms and face. Out of fear, the Swans fan used what remained of his strength to curl up into a ball and move as far out of sight as possible.
Instead of passing by like the others, the Cardiff City fan stopped his motorbike and approached the Swans fan. Amazingly, instead of kicking him whilst he was down there was no hostility between them, and the Cardiff City fan showed unexpected kindness as he helped the Swans fan to his feet and onto the motorbike.
The Cardiff City fan transported the Swans fan to the Marriott Hotel, and when they arrived, he helped the bleeding man inside and arranged for a doctor’s visit. The Cardiff City fan then gave the Swans fan enough cash for his stay at the hotel and left his credit card details at the check-in desk to use for anything else the Swans fan would need.
I’m sure that you are all familiar with this story or one like it.
But the point of the story can easily be lost. Out of the Pastor, the Christian man and the Cardiff City fan who was the one who showed kindness. You’d expect the Pastor or the Christian to do so but a bitter rival you would not. It reveals sometimes that even Pastors and Christians get their priorities wrong as did the Priest and Levite in the original story and how judging by appearances can get it so wrong. The Samaritan treated his enemy, a Jew, with kindness and goodness and went the extra mile.
This parable was first told by Jesus when a lawyer asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life. And so Jesus asked him how he understood it. The response is found in:
Luke 10:27–29 NKJV
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus said that his answer was correct which reveals that it is relationships that God considers paramount. Our relationship with God is all important and then our relationship with everyone else. We know that if our relationships are not right with each other they are not right with God either. The one who hates his brother is in darkness even now declares John.
Then Jesus told the story known as the Good Samaritan. The upshot is that our neighbour is everyone whether or not we like them or dislike them.
These stories highlight the fact that we are to be kind. We are supposed to act when we see another in need, say, someone who is homeless; to not be unkind to those who are not like us, say, an immigrant; to those who do not do the things we want them to do but to act with the attitude of kindness at all times even if they are being unkind to us or taking advantage of us. We can be so taken up by things or what we have to get done that we start treating people as if they are things too. But each person is precious to God.
What about defining what ‘kindness’ is? There are several Hebrew and Greek words translated as kindness in the Bible which should help us because kindness is not exactly easy to define.
One of the Hebrew words for kindness (chesed) means ‘to treat courteously and appropriately’ normally translated as ‘lovingkindness’.
One of the Greek words for kindness (chrestotes) means ‘to be useful, pleasant, gracious’.
God is the supreme example of kindness:
Nehemiah 9:17b (NKJV) — 17 But You are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.
Here we find that His patience is being demonstrated in kindness.
I really love this one:
Psalm 63:3 NKJV
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
We can revel in His great love, mercy and kindness to us and the result is praise. We know we don’t deserve anything from God except judgement…
Ephesians 2:4–7 NKJV
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
What great news this is! He is showing kindness to us by giving us an inheritance in Heaven and much more than that – more than anyone can imagine – he lifted us up out of the mire, forgave us all our sin, cleansed us, freed us and then lifted us even higher to even reign with Jesus. This is kindness beyond measure. Kindness shown when we were not worthy. This is both mercy and grace working in tandem to work for us such amazing presents. His mercy in not judging us and His grace in giving us gifts of exceeding value, priceless and precious – such love!

In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo tells of Jean Valjean, whose only crime was the theft of a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving children. After serving nineteen years, he was released from the galleys. Unable to find work because he had been a convict, he came to the home of a good old bishop who kindly gave him his supper and a bed for the night.

Yielding to temptation he stole the bishop’s silver plates and slipped out, but was soon caught and returned. The kind bishop said, “Why, I gave them to him. And Jean, you forgot to take the candlesticks.” Jean was astounded at such kindness, and this brought about his salvation. A little deed of kindness can turn a sinner to the Saviour.

But the kindness of God was far greater than this and cost a great deal more. I’ll read the next verses slowly so we can grasp the wonder of this kindness:
Titus 3:4–7 NKJV
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
So, because God is patient with us we are to be patient with others; because God is good to us we are to be good to others; because God forgives us we are to forgive others; because God loves us we are to love others and so it follows that as God is kind to us we are to be kind to others. We are not to keep our hands in our pockets when there are kind words and actions we can do when we see a need. It is another reason that I am grateful that we had the Macmillan coffee morning to raise money supported nurses who help cancer patients.
Kindness means that we do not speak with bitterness, anger or with words that are corrupt but instead with words and actions that encourage and build up. It seems to be easy to say and do things which are unkind without thinking. I like what
Wilson Mizner said “Always be nice to people on the way up; because you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”
An anonymous saying is “If your words are soft and sweet, they won’t be as hard to swallow if you have to eat them.”
We saw the results of unkindness which in what was read at the very beginning from 2 Chronicles 10.
If Rehoboam had spoken kindly like he was advised to do so by the wise, the Kingdom would not have split but because he was rough and unkind the Kingdom split in two. Of course, we see that God’s hand was in it but that does not excuse his actions. Kind words unify but unkind words split even the best and closest of friends.
Again I will read a verse from last week in the sermon on patience for our key word appears here also:
Colossians 3:12 NKJV
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
Again, kindness, is a choice like the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is an easier choice because we belong to Christ. Note I did not say an easy choice but an easier choice. Following Christ sometimes means doing the opposite of what we want to do and do what we know we should do. If we find it hard to be kind to our brothers and sisters then what of those who are not?
Luke 6:35 NKJV
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
It is not easy to learn these things if we are ingrained to be rough, to speak rashly, to be harsh because kindness can be seen as some sort of weakness especially in the world. But we are to be kind even to our enemies just as the Samaritan was, even as the Cardiff City fan was. God is our example in this…God gives harvest, rain, sun to all, not just to those who are His.
We can decide wherever we go today and everyday to make a difference in someone’s life. It might not be possible to share the good news of Jesus but with a smile, with a kind word for instance at the checkout in Tescos we can make a difference to someone’s day. We should definitely decide to stop grumbling and complaining as this affects others around us for bad but with words of encouragement and kindness we can affect another’s day for good. The crucible for this is our home life and whether we are kind to our spouses, children, grandchildren and so on. Showing kindness here makes it easier in the world.
In conclusion:
Remember the kindness of God toward us.
Repent of any "callousness" we have shown in the past.
Rely on the Holy Spirit to be kind to others through us, yield to Him.
Record the names of specific people in need to whom we can be:
more gentle
more gracious
more generous
Do Acts of Random Kindness: Find some way to brighten and cheer the lives of some other people: Christian, non-Christian, friend or enemy - to the glory of God’s lovingkindness!

Benediction

Micah 6:8 ESV
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
1 Timothy 1:17 NKJV
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
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