Living Under God's Canopy of Love Series...
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Welcome back to our ongoing study “Living under God’s Canopy of Love”. As you will re-call we have begun a study on the 9 Attributes of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
We have looked at the first four attributes, Love, Joy, Peace & Long-suffering.
This lesson we are looking at the 5th attribute of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit which is “Kindness”
When one pauses and reflects about the subject of kindness, immediately, our thoughts are drawn to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who has set the example for demonstrating the “Fruit of Kindness”. He is our chief role model to fashion our lives after.
Kindness is: gentleness, thoughtfulness, compassion, consideration, kindheartedness, benevolence, humanity & sympathy. Jesus demonstrated a pure heart of kindness to the people He came in touch with.
Did you know that “Kindness is Commanded” according to Scripture?
Romans 12:10: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, Honor one another above yourselves.
1 Corinthians 13:4: Love is patient, love is kind, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Clearly scripture is instructing us to clothe ourselves in kindness and compassion to one another.
Examples of Kindness are found throughout Scripture.
Everyone is familiar with the Good Samaritan story. Luke 10:33-34.
This kind Samaritan was travelling to Jericho and came along a man who had been robbed and beaten left for dead. He took pity on the man when he saw him lying alongside the roadway. He had a choice, leave the man on the roadside, ignore him like the others did or take pity on the unfortunate man, he chose to take pity on this poor man and looked after him by bandaging his wounds, put him on his own donkey and took him to the nearest Inn and paid for his care. This is a prime example of how we too can demonstrate the “Fruit of Kindness” to our fellow man.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law. Indeed we are to clothe ourselves with these “fruits”.
1. Kindness is being devoted to one another in brotherly love. Putting others needs above our own needs. This is going the second mile in showing Godly Kindness.
2. Kindness is being compassionate towards others.
3. Kindness is being clothed in compassion, patience, humility and gentleness. Being God’s Hands extended to others.
Another example of Kindness is the account of the “Philippian Jailer”. Acts 16:33 Remember, Paul & Silas had been beaten & thrown in jail because of their witness. As a result of the earthquake, the prisoner’s chains were loosed & prison doors were thrown open. The jailer came to Paul and Silas, brought them out and asked “What must I do to be saved”? In the end the Jailer and his household got saved, he them took Paul & Silas in to his house and washed their wounds. That night the jailer and his household were saved and baptized in water. It all began simply because Paul & Silas were faithful to their calling. You never know what a simple act of kindness can do.
Indeed we have discovered that putting others needs above our own is not only going the second mile but it is allowing the Fruit of the Holy Spirit to flow through us demonstrating the heart of God’s compassion to others.
To re-cap our study we have discovered that Kindness is being devoted to one another in brotherly love. Putting others needs above our own needs.
This is going the second mile in showing Godly Kindness. Kindness is being compassionate towards others. Kindness is being clothed in compassion, patience, humility and gentleness. Being God’s Hands extended to others.
We have discovered that a simple act of kindness can do much. Being obedient to God’s Call, allowing the Fruit of the Holy Spirit to flow through our lives to others provides opportunities for others to discover God’s compassion in their own lives.
You never know what kindness can accomplish in a hungry soul. You might just be that one who wins that hungry soul to Christ through your simple act of kindness.
According to the IVP New Testament Commentaries found on line at Bible Gateway: Jesus taught that the genuineness of his followers would be demonstrated by good fruit from their lives (Matthew 7:16-20; Luke 13:6-9), and he promised that the presence of the Spirit and communion with him would produce the fruit of love and obedience (John 14--16).
These promises of righteousness by the Spirit are the background for Paul's description of the believers' eager expectation of righteousness (5:5); now in verses 22-23 he focuses on the believers' expression of righteousness, which fulfills God's promises for his people.
Paul's list of moral qualities produced by the Spirit provides assurance that those who "live by the Spirit" will actually fulfill God's requirements for his people…. The Spirit will produce those moral qualities that God requires.
The first place in the list, the place of emphasis, is given to love. Love is the focus of the entire ethical appeal: "serve one another in love" (v. 13). Love fulfills the law (v. 14); love is the expression of faith (v. 6). Love is demonstrated in a tangible way in the sacrificial love of Christ (2:20) and the service of Christians (5:13). All the other moral qualities in the list define and flow from love.
Joy is the result of healthy relationships. When relationships fall apart because of broken commitments, there is a loss of joy (see 4:15). When there is conflict and bitterness, as there was in the Galatian churches, there is no joy. But the first result of true love in relationships is the renewal of joy.
Peace is also the result of relationships built by loving service. Instead of "hatred, discord, . . . dissensions, factions" there is harmony and order in relationships.
Patience is the opposite of "fits of rage" or short temper. It is the quality of staying with people even when constantly wronged and irritated by them.
Kindness and goodness are joined with patience to teach that a sweet disposition and doing good toward people (see v. 10) is the way to stay with them in love.
Faithfulness is the quality of keeping commitments in relationships. The Galatians had proved to be fickle in their attitude toward Paul (4:13-16). Only the Spirit can produce the quality of loyalty no matter the cost.
Gentleness is the opposite of "selfish ambition." Gentle people are not "conceited, provoking and envying each other" (v. 26). Gentleness is an expression of humility, considering the needs and hurts of others before one's personal goals.
Self-control is the opposite of self-indulgence. Those who are Spirit-led will not indulge the sinful nature (v. 13). They are not characterized by "sexual immorality… drunkenness, orgies." They do not use other people to gratify their own appetites. They have the strength to say no to themselves, to the desires of their sinful nature.
Clearly, clothing one-self in the Fruit of the Holy Spirit fulfills God’s perfect Will for our lives. He desires for us to be clothed with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.
We have also discovered that kindness and goodness go hand in hand with patience teaching us what a sweet disposition can accomplish as we touch lives that God has brought along our path.
The “Fruit of the Spirit” is the moral character developed by the power of the Spirit. The nine character qualities are a unity, a perfectly formed Christ-like character. Paul has expressed his desire to see Christ formed in the Galatian believers (chapter 4:19). Now he describes what they will be like when that formation is complete. These character qualities are not a new list of laws or moral codes that must be kept; they are the result of living and being led by the Spirit.
Paul's image of the fruit of the Spirit is probably drawn from the imagery of the Old Testament and the teaching of Jesus. The promise of the Spirit and the promise of moral fruitfulness in God's people are connected in the Old Testament:
Finally, Let us put on the Fruit of Kindness and always be alert, ready to seize the moment when opportunity should present itself.