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Juicy Fruit Sermon Series // Part 5


Fruit of the Spirit // Kindness


We've been talking about this thing called the Fruit of the Spirit. And the point of the fruit is that God would grow something in our lives. And there are 9 fruits, so there's something for everyone to be challenged.

Naturally there's going to be some of the fruit that are harder for you.

Today we're talking about the fruit of Kindness.

Now how we typically define kindness is that characteristic of being nice. Kindness for us is that characteristic we want our spouse to have. Its that characteristic we want our boss to have. Its that characteristic we want our kids to have.

In fact you probably made your spouse come today to hear about how to be kind?

Or you probably are thinking I'm gonna make my kids listen to this.

Or I wish that coworker would hear this.

But when it comes to us, being nice, isn't something we put a lot of thought towards. Because for many of us, we have this belief that we are kind because we are nice. We say please and thank you. We occasionally open the door for someone. We have that southern hospitality.

And if you have kids, you know there's a difference between being nice and being kind? Because when I was a kid, my teacher's loved me. Because I knew how to work the system. I was polite, I was nice, I'd bring my teacher's gifts. But when I got home the mask came off and I became a tormentor. And it’s a good thing my momma loved me because she'd probably have given me up for adoption.

And yet we think kindness is politeness.

But Jesus does something that totally ups the game of kindness.

In fact what Jesus does is kind of frustrating because kindness seems like that one fruit that is easy to do, until Jesus comes along and redefines it.

So today, if you came thinking this is my fruit, and I already have this characteristic down, think again.


Definition - "The quality of being helpful or beneficial, goodness, kindness, generosity."

"The goal of kindness is to benefit the person to whom it is extended."

Following Jesus is so rewarding. But following Jesus is tough.

Because people come with all sorts of problems, all sorts of issues.

And what Jesus did is he often times got right into the problems of humanity and showed how God is present even in the issues. Even in the struggles.

In fact that's probably why kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, because sometimes we really need God's help to be kind.

Kindness is choosing to benefit someone else. No strings attached. That you see a need and you fill it.

And Luke tells us a story of Jesus redefining what it means to be kind. It all starts with a lawyer wanting to test Jesus. Here's what Luke says.


Luke 10
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Trick question - One does not "do" anything to inherit eternal life? It's not something to be bought. Its something God gives.

2nd point - The goal of serving Jesus is much more than what happens to me after I die. He wants to show us how to live now.

But so many of us come to the altar, or prayed a prayer simply because we wanted to be sure we'd be with God after we die. And that's all well and good. But there's so much more to it.

Jesus wants to help you live a fulfilled, purpose-driven life now. The fruits of the spirit are not written as if they are things we will get in heaven. They are things the spirit wants to grow in us now.

That's one of the reasons we want everyone to know Jesus is because I believe that your life will be better with Jesus in it. Not that you won't go through problems.


26 “What is written in the Law?”he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 28  “You have answered correctly,”Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.


What is Jesus saying?

That relationship with God and with other people is everything. If your relationships with God and people is good it can be life giving.

But you know how terrible it feels when your relationship with God is struggling.

Love him with your heart, mind, soul, strength.

And you know that if you've ever had a relationship problem it can be so life draining.

Maybe you've had something affect your relationship with your spouse, or a friend, or a son/daughter, or a parent.

And you know as you left that relationship unresolved it was draining. It hurt.

Because you and your son don't talk anymore. And it weighs on you.

Or you and you spouse have this imaginary wall between you. And it feels like carrying a weight around.

Or you and that coworker can't seem to get along. And its hard to show up to work.

Or you go out of your way to avoid that person because the conflict makes it so awkward. And its life draining.

If your relationship with others is not right, then nothing is going to be right.


29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”


This is a polite way of saying "who is NOT my neighbor?"

Who is it Ok to hate? Who does not deserve my love? Whose lack of food or shelter can I ignore? Whose pain and suffering can I stand by, watch and do nothing? Whose marriage can I watch crumble and not offer to help?

The answer Jesus gives is "No One." Everyone deserves that love.

Jewish law - the lawyer would be responsible for loving those like him, and those who are not like him but who live in proximity to him although they are not part of his people.

He's not responsible for loving his enemy outside the boundaries of his community.

Only Jesus insists that we love our enemy. He's the only person in the ancient world who gave this instruction.

That's why its sometimes more difficult to follow Jesus, because he takes it a notch higher. He insists that as His followers that we have no enemies. That hate isn't a feeling that we allow to take root. That we constantly look for how to benefit those around us.


30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.


Who is my neighbor? Jesus says, "let me tell you a story."

And his story begins with a man who's leaving Jerusalem heading to Jericho. Possibly he had just gone to the temple to worship and is now heading back home. But there's one problem. He's going alone.

This isn't the point of the message, but life wasn't meant to be lived alone. There are so many dangers in life that proves that we can't do it on our own.


And yet some of us are just stubborn enough to try it.

And you are struggling in your marriage, but you won't reach out for help.

Or you are struggling in debt, but you won't ask someone to help you build a budget.

Or you can't break that addiction, ask for help.

Or you are having a hard time in your walk with God, but you won't get into a small group.

This man was walking through a dangerous place, and one of his problems is that he chose to walk alone.

But there's safety in numbers. There's safety in asking for help.

Don't struggle in silence. Reach out and ask someone for help

Jesus begins tells a story to illustrate the point. His point is that there is no human that is not our neighbor.


31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.


The priest and the Levite were good people. They get a bad wrap.

They were in the temple daily praying, quoting scripture.

Yet, when they saw a need. When they saw one of their own suffering. When they saw a fellow Jew lying in a ditch they did nothing.

They saw the need, there was nothing wrong with their eyes. They saw it. They understood this is a need. But they failed to respond with help.

Why?

Who knows. But I know there are times I've left a fellow neighbor lying in the ditch.

I was busy so I didn't stop to help the person stranded on the side of the road. I justified it to myself that someone else will help.

Or I walked by that individual who needed a few bucks for food. And I judged him in my heart. I said, "Who knows what he'll do with it." And walked by.

Or I watched as that marriage crashed and burned and I refused to step in and offer help. Because I said to myself, "That's not my problem."

And the point Jesus is making in this story is that at times we've all been the Levite, we've all been the priest. We've all been too busy, or unwilling to stop and help. Or we met our kindness quota for the day.

But we've also all been the one lying in the ditch and watched as many walked by on the other side.

And what Jesus does in this story is he ties kindness to eternal life. He ties this characteristic of continually looking for ways to benefit someone else to Eternal Life. To abundant Life. To a life worth living.

See the whole reason he's telling this story is because the lawyer wants to know how to find eternal life. So he tells a story about a man who was kind. Could it be that the way to eternal life, or abundant life is through caring for humanity.

Could it be that the way to finding the heart of God is loving all people?


33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.


If we are in the Jewish audience that day they would not have heard "Good Samaritan." To them there was no such thing. The Samaritans and Jews hated each other.

They were enemies.

And those in the audience most likely thought "I would rather die than be helped by a one from that group."

And this is where it gets uncomfortable. Because there are groups of people in the world who could fit into this category for us. That because of what they've done, or because of what they believe, or because of a list of things they fit into this category for us.

And here's 2 people who were enemies. There people had done unspeakable acts towards one another. There was a history that started long before they were born.

And Jesus says the one of them stopped to help his enemy.

One of them broke the cycle of violence.

One of them reached out a helping hand.

One of them overcame his pride.

One of them saw the other as being created in God's image.

One of them said, "Not on my watch. I won't let him suffer."

And the point is that there is no such thing as enemy in God's sight.


How?

But what makes the Samaritan Good is not that he saw the need. The levite and the priest saw the need. But what makes him good is that he responded immediately. He went to him.

Pulled out bandages and began wrapping him up.

Pulled out his inner Boy Scout and began wrapping him up.

He took out oil and wine and poured on his wounds.

Stood him to his feet, gave him his own donkey, and took him in to the city to a hotel.


35 The next day he took out two denarii A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’


What Jesus shows us is that loving neighbor means continual action, not something to check off the to-do list.

Kindness isn't random. The church uses this idea of random kindness to teach the importance of looking for ways to be kind. And I've used it, and I think it has its benefits.

But its done us a disservice by teaching us that we choose when to be kind. My random act of kindness was done today, check! I've used up my kindness today.

But what Jesus teaches us is that KINDNESS ISNT' RANDOM , ITS CONTINUAL.

Its not something we turn off. If you're a follower of Jesus, It is a fruit that grows in your life and lives there constantly.

And it affects how you treat everyone.

Because many of can be kind and polite at work, but when we go home we treat our spouse differently.

We can be polite to strangers, but not to our kids.

Or maybe we choose to help that guy at the corner, but we won't help others.

It’s a blank check. That's generosity.


36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”


The lawyer begins by asking "who is my neighbor?" And Jesus reframes the question.

As Martin Luther King Jr. stated asking the right question is of utmost importance.

Priest/Levite - What will happen to me if I stop?

Samaritan - What will happen to them if I don't stop?


37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


The lawyer can't even say the name Samaritan, because he hated him so.

He can only say, "The one doing mercy for him."

Go and do likewise

Because it doesn't take a theological degree to love God and love neighbor.


Why is this important today?

Because sometimes we need to be reminded that what makes us a follower of Christ is NOT HOW MUCH WE KNOW, BUT HOW MUCH WE GO.

And I love learning new things. And we believe that you should learn everything you can about the Bible, about God, about Jesus.

But what good is it if it doesn't bring change?

What good is it if we don't use it to go and love the world?

What good is it if we pass by hurting people all week long and don't stop?

Jesus told this story to remind us of all the hurting people around us. They are hurting in their marriages. They are hurting at work. They are hurting physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But kindness has the power to heal.

Many who are hurting are people in groups that maybe we are against but Kindness can bring unity.

Or maybe it’s a family member, a friend who we're in conflict with But kindness has the power to heal.

Maybe it’s a group of people that we'd rather them stay in their pain and suffer. But Kindness has the power to break the cycle of violence and hate.

Kindness is choosing to benefit the other.

Be sensitive to the needs of others.

Kindness always starts with noticing the needs and hurts of others.

Everyone you meet this week needs kindness because everyone is hurting somewhere.

Even the people who sit around you this very minute need kindness.

We are called to be sensitive to the needs of our family, our coworkers, our neighbors.

Be supportive of others.

Build people up, don't tear them down.

At times we tear others down because we want to feel better about ourselves. But kindness starts with building others up.

Cheer them on.

Kindness is Contagious.

The innkeeper doesn't get a lot of attention. But he continues the care for this man.

Why? Because the Samaritan began the kindness process and it became contagious.

If you want others to be kind, be the first to act, and teach them by example. And let Kindness be contagious.

Shortly after this Jesus would willingly be arrested. He would willingly be beaten. He would willingly be nailed to a cross in front of people who hated him, in front of people who refused to believe in Him, in front of people who denied him. And while he's dying, the crowd continues to hurl insults at him, mock him, and laugh at him. But yet in one of his last breaths he says, "Father Forgive them."

That's the fruit of kindness. That's what God wants to birth in you and me. A fruit that would look at people who should be our enemies and say, "I forgive you."

A kindness that wouldn't allow conflict to keep us from helping someone in need.

A kindness that would choose to benefit someone else. Not randomly, but continually.




Worship Set


Like A Lion (God's Not Dead) 

- Daniel Bashta

Verse 1

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold to see a revolution somehow
(REPEAT)

Misc 1 (Pre-Chorus)

Now I'm lost in Your freedom
Oh this world I'll overcome

Chorus 1 

My God's not dead
He's surely alive
And He's living on the inside roaring like a lion
My God's not dead
He's surely alive
And He's living on the inside roaring like a lion

Verse 2

Let hope arise and make the darkness hide
My faith is dead I need a resurrection somehow
(REPEAT)

Misc 2 (Interlude)

He's surely alive
Oh He's surely alive

Misc 3 (Bridge)

Let heaven roar and fire fall
Come shake the ground with the sound of revival
Let heaven roar and fire fall
Come shake the ground with the sound of revival
(REPEAT)

Misc 4 (Ending)

Oh He's surely alive
Oh He's surely alive
Oh He's surely alive
Oh He's surely alive
Oh He's surely alive yeah


Your Great Name 

- Michael Neale and Krissy Nordhoff

Verse 1

Lost are saved find their way
At the sound of Your great Name
All condemned feel no shame
At the sound of Your great Name
Ev'ry fear has no place
At the sound of Your great Name
The enemy he has to leave
At the sound of Your great Name

Chorus 1

Jesus worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us
The Son of God and man
You are high and lifted up
And all the world will praise
Your great Name

Verse 2

All the weak find their strength
At the sound of Your great Name
Hungry souls receive grace
At the sound of Your great Name
The fatherless find their rest
At the sound of Your great Name
The sick are healed the dead are raised
At the sound of Your great Name

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Redeemer my Healer Lord Almighty
Defender my Savior You are my King
(REPEAT)

Misc 2 (Bridge)

Sing the Name of Jesus
We worship the Name of Jesus
We bow before Jesus
There is no other Name but Jesus


I Won't Go Back

- William McDowell

Verse 1

I've been changed
Healed freed delivered
I've found joy peace grace and favor
(REPEAT)

Misc 1 (Pre-Chorus)

Right now is the moment
Today is the day
I've been changed
I've been changed
I have waited for this moment to come
And I won't let it pass me by

Chorus 1

I won't go back
I can't go back to the way it used to be
Before Your presence came and changed me
(REPEAT)

Verse 2

All my shame guilt sins forgiven
No more chains fear(My) past is over

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