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Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness (2)

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Take a look at what, according to Scripture, accompanies true kindness:
Take a look at what, according to Scripture, accompanies true kindness:
Ephesians 4:31–32 ESV
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
, New International Version).
REPEAT
There a handful of things that Paul is suggesting here about the nature of kindness, what it is, what accompanies it.
PRAY

I. Kindness doesn’t share

PRAY
Um, that doesn’t sound right!!
PRAY
I. Kindness is
Kindness either takes up residency in your heart or something else replaces it. It does not co-exist with these other characteristics.
And on the flip side, if we lack Kindness, we are not left with a void, that space will be taken up by all thee other things Paul is talking about.
Kindness is not simply something we lack, it’s space is being taken up by something else.
And if kindness doesn’t take up residence these other things will!
bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour (love that word- literally yelling, making noise, screaming, slander (talking badly about people, trying to ruin their reputation), malice(desiring harm to other people)
You cannot be kind and have those things taking up residence in your heart.
No one has ever said, you know other than her consistent bitterness, and desire to see others suffer, her consistent yelling, she is really quite kind.
You just need to get to know her!!
“I don’t wanna get to know her!!
There tends to be something in the way of kindness- we do not only lack, where it should be, something else is taking up space in our heart
In many cased kindness is not lived out because many of these and other characteristics have taken up residence!.
experiement
but is that kindness?
OR is kindness the kind that is played out when it seems the most unlikely
tenderhearted, forgiving-
while we were yet sinners Christ dies for us.
Any other story is not the Gospel-
Jesus didn’t die because we deserve it!
While we were YET sinners Christ dies for us
The American Science Journal recorded the finding of Robert V. Levine’s study on kindness across the world.
They set up experiments in 23 cities around the globe and tested to see how kind people were.
They set up several scenarios to see if people would step in and do a kindness.
Romans 5:7–8 ESV
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7–9 ESV
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
If someone dropped a pen behind them would a stranger grab it and give it back to them
If a person with a broken leg dropped a magazine and was having a hard time bending over to get it, would someone grab it for them?
If a blind individual was standing at a cross walk looking unsure of where to go, would a stranger help them out; giving them guidance
If someone found an addressed letter with postage on the ground, would they pick it up, and deliver to a mail box.
Now in many cities they needed to abandoned the data on the last one because they realized that in some cities the illiteracy rate was over 60%, and in others people simply weren’t using paper mail any more.
Anyone want to take a guess at what city rated the lowest in the world for kindness?
PORT COQUITLAM!!!
New York
In NY people were less likely in all these scenarios to step in.
They might yell about a pen, but whether the person heard or not was not their worry.
When some of the people who did help were asked about why and how they helped, many n NY said they would be more likely to help someone if they new that that would be the extent of it. If it didn’t take up too much time.
So helping a blind individual across the street was more likely if they knew that they would not have to go beyond that, but if they feared they might have to engage too much they would opt out of helping.
One of the top rated was Tokyo Japan, where.
It wasn’t uncommon in Tokyo for letters not only to be delivered to the mailbox, but hand delivered to the addressees home!!
My wife recalls when she was in Tokyo years ago, and needed directions, a lady locked up her shop and walked Lalainia and my mother-in -law too their destination.
In New York, when letters were delivered to the mailbox, it was not uncommon to find they had been torn open first!!
“We learned that there may be a difference between helping and civility. In places where people walked fast, they were less likely to be civil even when they did offer assistance. In New York, helping gestures often had a particularly hard edge.
difference between helping and civili
ty. In places where people walked fast, they were less likely to be civil even
In places where people walked fast, they were less likely to be civil even
they were less likely to be civil even
when they did offer assistance. In New York, helping gestures often had a
York, helping gestures often had a
particularly hard edge.
“In the blind-person trials, helpful New Yorkers would often wait until the light turned green, tersely announce that it was safe to cross and then quickly walk ahead”
ful
New Yorkers would often wait until
the light turned green, tersely announce that it was safe to cross and
nounce
that it was safe to cross and
then quickly walk ahead”
In general, it seemed as though New Yorkers are willing to offer help only when they could do so with the assurance of no further contact, as if to say “I’ll meet my social obligation but, make no mistake, this is as far as we go together.”
Yorkers are willing to offer help only
when they could do so with the assurance of no further contact, as if to say “I’ll meet my social obligation but, make no mistake, this is as far as we go
ance
of no further contact, as if to say
“I’ll meet my social obligation but,
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
make no mistake, this is as far as we go
together.”
In some of the letters that NYers DID return many of the letters were torn open, then taped up, there were letters attached with swearing telling the person how stupid the person was for losing the letter!!
Levine writes....
II. Kindness finds its greatest model in Christ
“It is interesting to picture this angry New Yorker, perhaps cursing my irresponsibility all the while he was walking to the mailbox, yet for some reason feeling compelled to take the time to perform his social duty for a stranger he already hated.”
this angry New Yorker, perhaps cursing
(look at study—kindness could not be displayed/lives-out, because suspicion and fear and judgement were there instead)
ing
my irresponsibility all the while he was walking to the mailbox, yet for
was walking to the mailbox, yet for
some reason feeling compelled to take the time to perform his social duty for a stranger he already hated.
the time to perform his social duty for a
stranger he already hated.
When asked why there was a resistance to kindness, they had their reasons.
they had been hussled
people had been angry when they offered, they had been hit by canes and expletives for offering help in the past
They has been taught from the time they were young to be careful of people trying to con you.
And many lamented that the world was not one where you could just show kindness.
Kindness was seen as weakness—not something to be bothered with.
People want to be treated kindly but have a harder time being kind themselves. A large-scale study of school bullies was recently conducted to learn why they bully other kids. The conclusion? Most do it because they enjoy doing it.
This illustrates how cruel, mean and sadistic raw human nature is. Kindness must be learned , and many children are not being taught it.
Study----
What is glorified in movies is not kindness. It is justice on my terms.
Yet they all longed for a world where it could exist. and the authro sensed a lament that they did not feel free to offer kindness.
In fact, much of the media they’re exposed to teaches the opposite. Violence and other terrible influences in media entertainment cause people to become desensitized and calloused toward the needs and feelings of others.
And so there is this handcuffing of kindness.
fear, bitterness, slander, they push kindness out.
Kindness doesn not share; if we lack in kindness we will allow something else in.
Kindness is weakness—not something for “go-getters” to be bothered with. Big mistake! If we want God, who has ultimate control of how things go in the universe, to be kind to us, we’d better be kind to others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” ().
The fact is as one writer puts it..
If we ask for Justice at 12PM, at 12:01 there will be no one left!
Is kindness earned?
Not biblical kindness. That is just reciprocity! That is just good business.
And we can say we are too busy, like a NYorker. We can say they had it coming.
Instead kindness is a call to live......
So...
Lack of kindness is epidemic. The apostle Paul accurately foretold a cold and hard-hearted world “in the last days” (). As a result, people are starved for the milk of human kindness!

II. Kindness lives sacrificially

its active- its not a feeling
Kindness starts with caring —being tenderhearted and compassionate toward others.
Today we are more likely to be kind to animals, definitely more likely to see a campaign about kindness to animal than a campaign to be kind to your enemy .
But I tell you...
Matthew 5:43–48 ESV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Do we look for opportunity for kindness ready to jump at it before we are gone, or do we turn our heads for a moment hoping it will pass when we look back?
1 John 3:18 ESV
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Next, we must make it our goal and habit to be actively looking for opportunities to show kindness. When we see one, we need to act quickly before the opportunity is gone.
The Greek word for “kind” is chrestos . Part of its meaning is useful, which makes it clear that biblical kindness involves action.
Like all the fruit of the Spirit, kindness lives in community. Biblically defined you are not a kind person if it is not expressed!
Action includes some kind of self-sacrifice and therefore generosity on our part, especially of our time.- something since its invention has ruled over us.
Action includes some kind of self-sacrifice and therefore generosity on our part, especially of our time. (That doesn’t mean we neglect sufficient rest and whatever is needed to refill our own well.)
Kindness is a sacrifice of time
It means sacrificing
What to say and not say should be guided by awareness of the sensitivities of others. We must help people heal from their emotional wounds rather than rubbing salt in those wounds. Sadly, when people know what “buttons to push,” they often use that insight to further hurt each other.
III. Kindness is a sacrifice of self
our time, our desires!
many times without evident reward!
Matthew 6:1–4 ESV
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
M
The greatest rewards from God come when our acts of kindness are done humbly, quietly and, when possible, anonymously.
Kindness should begin with our kin. Ironically and tragically, many people display their most unkind behaviour with the ones they should love the most. God is not unaware of this hypocrisy.
Luke 6:31–35 ESV
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 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. 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.
Kindness is sacrificial-

III. Kindness is counter-intuitive

being kind goes against what we feel, what we are taught, what is modelled.
What if thy don’t want your kindness.
Ever had that!!
Years ago, I was doing some mission work with an organization that would take youth into central Los Angeles and introduce them to life on the streets, have them take part in feeding the poor, working in soup kitchens, and really doing a lot of hanging out with the homeless.
And I remember one morning going to the panderia and buying some pastries to share with people living in McArthur Park.
And I remember asking some of the individuals I met if they’d like a baked good, and was appalled when some would say .... “Whatcha got?”
And I thought to myself, “Whatcha got” What does it matter, what I got?”
I am making a nice gesture, this is no time to have a preference!!!!
I am doing you a huge favour here!!
I am offering you something to eat!! (I don’t even think I paid for it myself)
And to add to my distaste, I was shocked when some would look in my bag of delicious treats and say no thank you!
I’m doing you a favour!!
Are you sure you don’t want to tell me what a blessing it i to have me show up with a bun!!
Does tat just sweep all your problems away!!
That’s not kindness.
That is looking for a reward.
Matthew 6:3–4 ESV
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The question for us....and this is important....Is that fact that our heavenly Father sees .....enough?
Apparently not if you check my instagram feed in the past.
Some things you just gotta share.
“Hey today I gave some money to a homeless man” Here’s a selfie of me and ........I can’t remember his name.
“That so great your amazing. You’re so awesome!”
“Awe it was nothing!”
Then why’d post it!
Biblical kindness is counter intuitive, because it calls on us to give of ourselves without recognition and in spite of gratitude.

Be kind to the unthankful? Ouch!

If you and I are kind to hundreds of nice people, doesn’t that prove we are kind people? Perhaps yes, according to normal standards. But God’s standard requires being kind to all —even “evil” people.
Now if we do a good deed for someone and there is no “thank you,” don’t we feel we should “give him what he deserves” and wash our hands of him?
Of course. But our reacting in this “natural” way is not sufficient if we want to be “sons of the Most High.” We must ask, “What would Jesus do?” and then do likewise.
Some people have not been taught to be thankful and are blind to the sin of ingratitude. It’s good to remember a line from Glen Campbell’s 1970 song, “Try a Little Kindness”: “And if you try a little kindness, then you’ll overlook the blindness.”

IV. Kindness is Cultivated

A huge factor in the world today is that many people are psychologically confused, wounded and scarred by being neglected, rejected or abused, especially during the vulnerable time of childhood. They can be full of depression, fears, anger and suspicion.
And people who have not been abused themselves may well have absorbed attitudes passed along from those who have been abused.
If you reach your hand out to pet a dog, will he wag his tail or bite you? If he has been repeatedly beaten and abused, he may interpret your gesture as a threat and bite.
And as we have been walking through this series on the fruit of the Spirit, the characteristics of what it looks like to be a community of Christ Followers, our hope and desire is to have kindness grow in us and through us as the Spirit grows us.
Likewise, many people are suspicious of any favors. They assume everyone has a selfish ulterior motive and is out to manipulate them or hurt them. They often “bite the hand that feeds them.”
But these people need kindness more than anyone! Persistent efforts to be kind to them can gradually convince them that you are a true friend. Furthermore, your kindness can bring about progressive healing for their wounded hearts.
Historically it has been the church that has stepped into some of the ugliest areas in society, to set up hospitals and orphanages, and to take car of the poor and rejected.
To run into diseased areas while overyone else was running out.
That has been our MO for 2000 years, so....
Paul seems to imply that there are plants that need to be planted and weeds that need to be removed!
A. Plant fruit and remove weeds
It takes genuine effort to be truly kind.
It takes work to remove those things that would choke out the fruit of the spirit, Paul calls these the works of the flesh; and they are easy because for many they are a default to the easiest action.
Galatians 5:19–21 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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.
They are not character building because they take no effort. They are where, if we follow our culture we will naturally flow.
But character takes a weeding our of these things in our lives, that live as if we are our own and that the only mission in life to feed my own desire.
It has never brought happiness in the past and it never will, because it is not in our telos, our purpose to live for those things.
Paul says....
In , the apostle Paul refers to human nature as “the flesh” and our natural tendencies as the “works of the flesh.” These include hatred, jealousies, selfish ambitions and envy. All these traits are selfish and self-centered.
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Kindness requires the opposite— caring concern for others. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” ().
and it is in giving of ourselves....as Christ gave himself for us......
Kindness requires the opposite— caring concern for others. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” ().
that we find purpose and reward.
Galatians 1:4 ESV
who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
2 Corinthians 6:6 ESV
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;
It is only fitting that we are knowns as people who give.
Ephesians 5:2 ESV
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 1:4 ESV
who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
we worship and serve a God who gave!!!
It is only fitting that we are knowns as people who give.
PAUSE
How does one obtain the Holy Spirit? The apostle Peter explained the basic requirements in : “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Great examples of kindness can inspire us to greater kindness: King David toward Mephibosheth (). The Shunammite woman and her husband toward Elisha (). Dorcas, a beloved woman who “was full of good works and charitable deeds” (). The Samaritan in the parable of the good Samaritan (). Barnabas, whose name meant “Son of Encouragement” ().
Another is the “virtuous wife” who diligently attends to the needs of her family and of many others (). “She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy” (). “And on her tongue is the law of kindness” ().
May our tongues be guided by the law of kindness!
One of the most important Hebrew words in the Old Testament is hesed, used there 240 times. It is often translated mercy, but the meaning is broader—concerning loyal or steadfast love and covenant faithfulness. No single English word is adequate to translate it, partly because language is insufficient to describe this central quality of God’s character.
The word devotion perhaps comes closest. But the demonstration of this committed love in actions is also included. That’s why the word is sometimes appropriately rendered as mercy, as mentioned, and as loving-kindness or just kindness .
The Scriptures frequently praise the hesed of God. They also tell us that we should have hesed toward one another.
B. Firmly plant ourselves in Christ
We can be who God has called us to be because it is firmly rooted in who Jesus is!
What we are called to be is firmly rooted in who Jesus is!
What we are called to be is firmly rooted in who Jesus is!
What we are called to be is firmly The way we take on the character of people around us is by hanging out with them.
There was a study done a few years ago about being able to tell the characteristic of someone simply by know the people they hung out with.
New England Journal of Medicine
there is a level of fitness that is socially contagious.
That simply by looking at ones family and network of fiends, you can take a very strong guess at what that persons health and fitness would be at.
An unhealthy family physically emotionally will produce an unhealthy individual.
An active family that eats healthy food will most likely produce a healthy individual.
An active group of people surrounding a individual --running, hiking, cycling, will most likely produce an individual who has the same interest and a similar level of health.
So, that means two things for us—1) who are we hanging our with- are they people that will nurture in us kindness, love, compassion
or are they angry, judgemental people.
But secondly---how do we think we are going to grow in ourselves kindness, compassion, self-control, when we do not abide with their greatest source; their greatest embodiment.
PAUSE
The fruit of the spirit grows in the soil of community and ultimately in Christ.
Paul writes..
Ephesians 5:2 ESV
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Galatians 1:4 ESV
who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
It i out of a ongoing experience of this kindness, tenderness, forgiveness that our kindness, tenderness, forgiveness, grow.
Ephesians
we worship and serve a God who gave!!!
It is only fitting and natural that we are knowns as people who give.
PAUSE
right living, holy living does not evolve from just doing better
The word devotion perhaps comes closest. But the demonstration of this committed love in actions is also included. That’s why the word is sometimes appropriately rendered as mercy, as mentioned, and as loving-kindness or just kindness .
The Scriptures frequently praise the hesed of God. They also tell us that we should have hesed toward one another.
right living, holy living does not evolve from just doing better
that is simple moralism, it is not life giving and it is not sustainable, that is why Jesus tells us to ....abide in him, that is where our kindness comes from
John 15:4 ESV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Any attempt at holiness outside of that is bound to tire you out and tear at you.
The reason Paul can ask us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, is because God in Christ forgave you.
All of the fruit of the spirit, MUST come back to this. to abiding in Christ.
We are nurtured because we are growing more and more into Christ and he in us.
We pray without ceasing, we study his word, we gather in Christian community all trying to grow the same fruit!!
And as we do so we take on his characteristics!
Romans 5:7–8 ESV
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
See Jesus Christ practiced kindness that was radical for that time and culture. He always had great concern for women as well as men, for children as well as adults, for other races as well as the Jewish race, and for the sick and weak (considered cursed)as well as the strong. Often He wore Himself out praying for people, healing people, feeding people and helping them in other ways.
When Jesus looked on the multitudes of people with all their problems, sicknesses and confusion, He was “moved with compassion”
Matthew 9:36 ESV
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 ESV
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 18:27 ESV
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
He was characterized by a kindness and a compassion that reached past comfort, cut into his time, to many it looked counter-intuitive- of no reward.
To which Jesus said I am here to do the will of the father.. I abide in him and as I abide in him, you also abide in me.
That is the invitation this morning- to dive deeper into Christ- that is where holiness and a manifestation of the fruit of the spirit, love joy peace patience kindness......find their root.
COMMUNION
on of the ways we abide in him......
With each of us, may the fruit of kindness continue to blossom and grow. Above all, may we strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who personified God’s hesed in the greatest example of loving-kindness.
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