Faithlife Sermons

Christ, the Kindness of God

Fruits of the Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Galatians 5:16-26, describe walking by the Spirit. Luke 6:27-36, describe what kindness of God is like as exemplified by Christ.

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Brief intro to church

Good morning Milestone..
I'm so thankful to be here this morning to worship our King through song and through learning with this church.

Who am I? Where do I serve?

My name is Derrick Taylor and I serve as one of the small group leaders here at Milestone with my wife Lina.

Family

Family

We and our son Shane have been attending Milestone faithfully since October of this past year, but before that, we went to a church in Woburn, where we met and attended until we got married.
After we got married, we moved to Marlborough and began looking for churches that were a little closer to home.
God eventually brought us here to Milestone and, as I mentioned, we are extremely thankful for the community of believers that God has allowed us to be a part of for this season of life.
To let you into our home a little bit, my wife and I both are a couple of jokesters..
We love to laugh and make jokes (maybe me a little more than her…)
But, we do it all the time and laughter is very common in our house.

I used to joke that I knew I’d be good at being a dad, because of how funny my dad jokes are.

I, in particular, will do a lot of the laughing, because I have a tendency to laugh a lot at my own jokes… In my defense though, why make a joke at all if I don’t find it funny???
In any event, something interesting we’ve picked up on, is that Shane also participates in the joking around with us and laughing hysterically at himself and the things he says.
Lina was actually telling me a story recently of a conversation she was having with her mother where she was wondering how Shane has become so full of laughter and joking.
Mum observed that it makes sense: Because Lina and I are always joking around with each other and always laughing, of course, Shane is displaying the same characteristics.
Of course! We are Shane’s parents… He spends his entire waking life with at least one of us… Of course he is beginning to act like us and display the same characteristics! That is the natural result of spending time with your parents and learning how to live from them.
Of course, Shane is displaying the same characteristics.
That thought brought this truth to mind: We become like the ones we follow and learn from, which is most often our parents..
And the BIble calls us to learn from God: , verse 1 says:
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1
We become like the ones we follow and learn from… And the Bible tells us to follow God and learn from Him, imitate Him, and become like Him, just as a child becomes like his parents.
So this morning, as we continue in our series on the fruits of the Spirit—specifically the fruit of kindness—let us remember that what we are actually doing by living these characteristics out, is becoming more like God, more like our Heavenly Father.

Prayer

Before we get started with our study, let us go to God in prayer for our time together.

Galatians 5:16-26

Prayer

Galatians 5:16-26

To begin our study today, we will first look briefly at , where Paul names the fruits of the Spirit. What we’ll hope to do is get an idea of what—or more appropriately who the Spirit is and what the nature of His work in us is, then we will dive deeper into a passage showing the attribute of kindness being lived out in the life of Christ, because as our God, He is the standard that we hope to imitate.
An important thing for us to remember as we read and study our Bibles is that context is important. So, in reading our text in where Paul outlines the fruits of the Spirit, let’s not just read verse 22, but let’s also look at the context. Starting in verse 16 of chapter 5, Paul writes:
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 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. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

A few things of note in this passage

Spirit vs. Flesh

The first thing of note is the nature of the Spirit versus the nature of the flesh..

Who is the Spirit?

First, let’s remember, the Holy Spirit is the third member of the trinity, with the Father and the Son. So the Spirit is literally God, and the Spirit is literally living inside of us.
And the work of the Spirit within us—the reason that God the Spirit has made His home inside the souls of those who belong to God by faith—is to make us more like Him.
So, when we talk about the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, it is important to remember that what we are actually talking about is how God the Spirit has been making us more like Him by living out these fruits or characteristics or attitudes that God exemplifies.

The flesh?

Now, while the Spirit is of God, the flesh is of ourselves. And when Paul refers to the flesh, he is referring to our natural desires, affections, and tendencies.

Warfare

And in this text, Paul is outlining how these two—the Spirit and the flesh—are at a constant tension with one another. He says in verse 17:
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other.
And in verse 16, we see that they are mutually exclusive. You can’t live by both the Spirit and the flesh, but that it’s either one or the other:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Walk vs. Do

Walk vs. Do

These two—the Spirit and the flesh—are opposed to each other. You can’t be doing both at any one time. The things that are of the Spirit, that are of God, are not things that we would choose to do in our natural flesh.
That means that in our flesh, we are not loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, or self-controlled. That means if we are doing those things at all, it is because the Spirit is at work in us and bearing fruit…

Walk vs. Do

Walk vs. Do

The second thing to notice in this passage is the nature of living by the Spirit versus the nature of living by the flesh..

“Walk by the Spirit”

When characterizing what it means to live by the Spirit, Paul actually uses the word “walk.” Comparatively, in verse 21, after naming a number of the works of the flesh in verses 19-21, Paul says that those who “do” such things are not of God and will not inherit the kingdom.
Do you notice the difference?
When we are living according to our own flesh, our own desires, our own wants, we are simply “doing.” Doing the things that are natural to us. Not growing, not getting better, not progressing, just doing.
Conversely, when we live by the Spirit, we are actually walking. And doesn’t walking imply something like we are moving forward or toward something? We are progressing, we are getting better, we are growing. These are all characteristics of the life of a true believer.
Now, none of us are perfect (and Paul is not saying that if you’re not perfect all the time, you must not have the Spirit. Rather, he is talking about our habitual lifestyles).
We are either habitually walking by the Spirit: growing, progressing, and habitually living in accordance with the Spirit of God; OR we are habitually living according to the flesh, doing the works of the flesh and staying there.

So those two things:

1. The nature of the Spirit vs. the nature of the flesh… They can’t co-exist at any one time because they are mutually exclusive. They are at a constant tension with one another and are polar opposites.
2. The nature of living by the Spirit vs. the nature of living by the flesh… We are either growing into a greater likeness of God or we are staying stagnant where we are in ourselves.

Fruits of the Spirit

So, it’s in this context that Paul lays out what the fruits of the Spirit actually are. And again, these are characteristics or attitudes that should mark the life of all believers. These aren’t spiritual gifts that are only given to certain types of Christians. These are to mark the lives of all believers.
For our purposes today (and I’d encourage you all to write this down), we’ll define the Fruits of the Spirit as:
Godly attitudes that characterize the lives of only those who belong to God by faith in Christ and possess the Spirit of God.

Kindness

Notice I said that only those who belong to God by faith possess these attributes and live them out habitually in their lives. Look at verse 24:
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24

Kindness

Now, today, as we continue on our series studying each of these fruits, we will look at kindness, and at a specific example where Jesus lays out the type of kindness we are talking about.
Before we head into that example, I want us to define this word for some context. As I was thinking about this, the definition of kindness, my first thought, admittedly, was “to be kind...” Kindness is a hard word to define because it already feels so simplified.
Dictionary.com defined kindness as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Definitely better than my original definition, but I think that is still lacking in the fullness of the word.
Finally, I was able to come across a good definition as I was reading some notes from a well-respected pastor, teacher, and author named John MacArthur, that I think is more fitting to this text. He defined kindness as:
Kindness is a hard word to define because it already feels so simplified. But, I was able to come across a good definition.
“A tender concern for others, reflected in a desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats all believers.” - John MacArthur
Specifically, in this passage, Paul uses the Greek word chrestotes, which

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 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. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36
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