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Sunday, September 11, 2016 am                                            Others 2016

 

Others 2016 (32)
BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER
Ephesians 4:32

 

As we continue studying our relationship as Christians to one another, today we want to address being kind to one another.  In times past we have mentioned kindness in various lessons.  Today we want to focus on this quality.

 I.                     Kindness:

a.       Defined – it is a word that means to be benevolent, good and pleasant, and to possess that nature.
The more commonly used word is, χρηστός (chrēstos) and is defined similar to our English word for kindness.   OTHER words associated with it include, gracious, considerate, warmhearted, decent, upright, etc.  It is the opposite of harshness,
But there is also φιλανθρωπία (philanthrōpia) the word from which our English, philanthropy is derived.  That describes a kind heart.
Titus 3:4 uses BOTH words (kindness being the former, and love being the latter).

b.       In reality, kindness doesn’t need to be defined.  We know it when we see it.  It is a universal language – that can be understood even without a word being spoken.

c.        In scripture we find a call for kindness – In addition to our text, it Is commanded in Colossians 3:12
It is a quality of our love – 1 Cor. 13:4.   In some English translations, it is tied to other words associated with love – Romans 12:10 – be kindly affectionate (φιλόστοργος, philostorgos), 2 Peter 1:7 – brotherly kindness (brotherly love –  φιλαδελφία, Philadelphia), etc.
When we love others – we are going to be kind toward them.  We will go out of our way to ensure that.

Is a fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22, thus a quality that will manifest itself as we mature in Him.  The “fruit of the Spirit” is qualities we seek to emulate based upon their being the character of the Holy Spirit, and thus God Himself.

d.       Demonstrated by God – throughout the New Testament (and Old) we find that YHWH is a kind God.  As I understand, this was uncharacteristic of pagan deities.  But our God is a personal, loving and caring God.   Consider the following:

                                                   i.      Luke 6:35, we do good for others and we will be rewarded by God, “for He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

                                                 ii.      Romans 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

                                                iii.      Romans 11:22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”

                                                iv.      Ephesians 2:7, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

                                                  v.      Titus 3:4-7, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 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, “

                                                vi.      1 Peter 2:3,if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Our hope as Christians rests upon the kindness of God.  His grace and mercy are acts of kindness.

And when we consider what He has done for us, we ought to treat others with the same disposition. 
cf. Matthew 18:23-35 – where if we expect forgiveness, we must forgive others.

e.       Proverbs on kindness – Prov. 19:22, “What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar.  The word for kindness is sometimes translated mercy or goodness. 
Proverbs 20:28, “Mercy and truth preserve the king, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.”(2x)
Prov. 31:26, of the virtuous woman we read, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

f.         We can see in all of these passages and other related words, that kindness is a quality we must develop and manifest in our lives.

g.       In fact, we ought to avoid associating with those who are unkind and have ungodly dispositions.  
1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us about the company we keep – evil company corrupts good habits (character).
Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.

 II.                   Kind toward one another:

a.       Is necessary toward all – while we are emphasizing kindness toward one another as brethren, it is highly unlikely that you will be kind to them if you are harsh toward those who are without.   We need to be kind to all, as many of the ABOVE passages do not limit that kindness to our brethren. 
Be kind to your neighbors, when you are driving or going about your business, to those who serve you (in restaurants, checkout counters, etc.)

b.       Consider one another – we have addressed our need to consider one another (Heb. 10:24) – meaning we think about them.  This will include our attitude and the way we approach each other.
Job 6:14 says, “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

c.        Kindness can overcome evil – Rom. 12:20-21, tells us to overcome evil with good.  As with a proper greeting (which will include kindness), kindness can disarm one who is troubled or acting in a less than kind manner.    Again consider Matthew 7:12 – the “golden rule”

d.       Is how we respond to bitterness, etc.  – Eph. 4:31-32.  It can diffuse a volatile situation, as it calls for you to remain calm and in a controlled manner you answer and react.

e.       Opens doors to teach and correct – related to the last point, and to our last lesson on greeting one another, kindness is more likely to make you welcome as you seek to teach others, or to correct them in their error.  It will not close the door before you have a chance to open it.

f.         Is needed to properly forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32 – in our text.
Consider Joseph in Genesis 50:21, with Jacob dead, his brothers were fearful of retaliation, but Joseph assured them that he would provide for them “and spoke kindly to them.”  Titus 3:3-7, etc.

AGAIN, be reminded (as in our text) that we need to kindly forgive AS God has forgiven us.

g.       Must be demonstrated:

                                                   i.      In our words – our speech is to be with grace, seasoned with salt.  Colossians 4:6. 
Proverbs 31:26 (again) speaks of the worthy woman having the law of kindness on her tongue.   NOTE: It is a “law of kindness” implying it is a rule or teaching
The Bible is clear that we must not only guard what we say, but how we say it.  We typically see hateful (unkind) speech in our political campaigns.  But what is more tragic is that it works!   And sadly it is not exclusive to such.  Many times brethren use hateful words toward one another.  AGAIN, consider our text and its context.   Consider how many times in the epistles Christians are called upon to check their attitudes and words!

                                                 ii.      In our demeanor – by demeanor, I mean our overall disposition.  Who we are consistently.  Are we known as kind people, or are we known for being rough and hateful?  When we do something unkind – is it unusual or is it normal? 
As Christians, our demeanor must be filled with kindness.  Because we LOVE others, we are kind!
Consider 2 Corinthians 6:3-4, as Paul describes himself and others as ministers of God.  In addition to their various persecutions they endured, they were ministers in patience, purity, longsuffering and kindness.  It was their way of life.  It was who they were!
James 3:15-17 contrasts the wisdom from above with the wisdom from the devil.  It is seen in one’s heart.

                                                iii.      In our actions – Again, it is not enough to say you are kind, or even to use kind words.  One can say kind things and be deceitful. 
Proverbs 26:23-26, “Fervent lips with a wicked heart Are like earthenware covered with silver dross. He who hates, disguises it with his lips, And lays up deceit within himself; When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart; Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.

True kindness is demonstrated.  In Acts 28:2, when Paul and others were shipwrecked on Malta, the natives showed them kindness (philanthropia).

h.       Is necessary even when:

                                                   i.      We don’t’ feel like it – as noted, kindness is a way of life. It is needed the most, when we don’t feel like being kind! 

                                                 ii.      It is not deserved – often times, one behaves in an untoward manner and deserves to be treated harshly (i.e. in kind).  But as Christians we can’t do that.  AND we must remind ourselves of what we have received (and NOT received) from God because we don’t deserve it.   Eph. 2:1-3, Rom. 6:23

                                                iii.      We disagree – not an excuse for harsh treatment.  In fact, in dealing with such things we need to bear with one another (Romans 15:1).  This is when our kindness is needed the most. 

 

As Christians, there are many qualities we need to develop that will have a direct impact on our relationship to one another.  Let us resolve that kindness is going to be at the foundation of these things.  Think about it.