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    Sep 24, 2023

    The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness

    The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness

    Passage: 1 Samuel 18:1-4

    Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

    Series: That’s the Spirit: Learning to keep in step with Him who indwells

    Keywords: spirit, covenant, table, kindness

    We all need more kindness in this world.” What has apparently drained it from us? Why, with something we so desperately need, and welcome when it comes, have we lost the capacity for it? But let’s back up just a bit: what is kindness really? It is compared to love, but is it identical with love? David fleshes out for us the nature of kindness in his response to an afflicted son of a lost friend. Jesus gives us more than a model of it; he gives us a compulsion both to walk in it, but also in a love that, so to speak, that goes beyond it.

    *Please note: Due to technical issues there is no replay of this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

    Readings & Scripture

    PREPARATION: Psalm 14:16-18
    LEADER: You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

    ALL: The LORD is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.

    LEADER: The LORD is near to all who call on him,

    ALL: to all who call on him in truth.

    LEADER: 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.

    CENTRAL TEXT: 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 20:13-15; 2 Samuel 9:1-13

    1Sam. 18:1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. . . .

    1Sam. 20:13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth. . . .

    2Sam. 9:1 And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” 3 And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” 4 The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6 And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” 7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”

    2Sam. 9:9 Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

    LEADER: Let us confess our sin together.

    ALL: Your kindness has led us to repentance. So why do we find it hard to have a similar compassion for those in need or with lack? And why do we lack courage, when the moment calls for it, to do the more loving thing that seeks their good even if it doesn’t in the moment relieve their pain? We need your kindness again both to believe your love, and then to know how to extend the same, or love beyond it.

    ABSOLUTION OF PARDON: Romans 5:6-10
    LEADER: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

    BENEDICTION: Ephesians 4:30-32
    LEADER: . . .do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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.


    • Psalm 36
    • Psalm 141:5
    • *Psalm 145:17
    • Luke 6:35
    • Romans 3:12


      1. Kindest person you know: go. Now stop: what do you mean by “kind”? How did you come up with that understanding?
      2. Refresh your collective memory about the storyline of Saul, David, Jonathan, and Mephibosheth excerpted here. What’s the basic summary of the storyline here in 1 and 2 Samuel? How does it help us understand the “kindness” David showed to Mephibosheth? What did we learn of the nature of kindness in this story? What were the specific goals of kindness here? What of the specific motivation(s)?
      3. When does a “kindness” become a more self-serving act? Care to share a moment when you realized what you thought was kind was really…well, less so?
      4. Refresh your memory of the distinction we made between love and kindness. (or see below the comments from C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft, and Anne Kerhoulas if you can’t remember). All true kindness is an expression of love, but describe the love that, so to speak, goes beyond kindness? Ever been the recipient of that kind of love? Ever had to go beyond kindness to extend love? What did that feel like–whether the recipient or the giver?
      5. How does the Gospel provide us what we need, in the Spirit, both to be kind, but also to go beyond kindness when the moment calls for it? What does it tell us that compels us toward it and calms us in it?


    • The most important story about why Americans have become sad and alienated and rude, I believe, is also the simplest: We inhabit a society in which people are no longer trained in how to treat others with kindness and consideration. Our society has become one in which people feel licensed to give their selfishness free rein. David Brooks 
    • By Love, most of us mean kindness—the desire to see others than the self happy. And not happy in this way, or in that; just happy. What most of us mean by God is not so much a Father in Heaven, as a grandfather in heaven—a senile old benevolence who, as they say, liked to see the young people enjoying themselves, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be said at the end of each day, that a good time was had by all. . . . But if God is Love, then He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God. . . .Love demands the perfecting of the beloved (the growth, betterment, healing, improvement, uprightness, and goodness of the beloved). . . .Love forgives constantly but condones least. Love is pleased with little, but demands all. . . . The mere kindness which tolerates anything except pain and suffering in its object is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love. In other words, there is kindness in Love, but Love and kindness are not [identical]. . . Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.. C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
    • Kindness is the desire to relieve another's suffering. Love is the willing of another's good. . . .It is painfully obvious that God is not mere kindness, for He does not remove all suffering, though He has the power to do so. Indeed, this very fact—that the God who is omnipotent and can, at any instant, miraculously erase all suffering from the world, deliberately chooses not to do so—is the commonest argument that unbelievers use against him. The number one argument for atheism stems from the confusion between love and kindness. . . .The more we love someone, the more our love goes beyond kindness. Peter Kreeft
    • I began to like him [Ambrose], at first indeed not as a teacher of the truth, for I had absolutely no confidence in your church, but as a human being who was kind to me. Augustine
    • The greatest enemy of rejoicing in grace is the thought that God will be gracious because of something He sees in me. Sinclair Ferguson
    • God’s kindness is “meant to lead [us] to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Godly kindness confronts us in love so we might be conformed to his image. Because he loves us and wants us to flourish, God’s steadfast loving-kindness will challenge us, tell us when we’re wrong, and change us. This is why the psalmist says, “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness” (Ps. 141:5). It is kindness when God corrects, rebukes, and convicts us because he loves us enough to see that we might become mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4), and receiving our inheritance as his children. Anne Kerhoulas
    • Moral formation is best when it’s humble. It means giving people the skills and habits that will help them be considerate to others in the complex situations of life. It means helping people behave in ways that make other people feel included, seen, and respected. That’s very different from how we treat people now—in ways that make them feel sad and lonely, and that make them grow unkind. David Brooks