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Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday's Message: Kindness

2 Corinthians 6:4 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

Today let’s look at the fourth descriptor in verse four of how we, as ministers of the gospel, are to approve ourselves unto God. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines kindness as;

KINDNESS, noun [from kind, the adjective.]
1. Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. kindness ever accompanies love.
2. Act of good will; beneficence; any act of benevolence which promotes the happiness or welfare of others. Charity, hospitality, attentions to the wants of others, etc., are deemed acts of kindness or kindnesses.
We can see that kindness specifically refers to doing acts or works of love for others that benefit them in some way. An example of how the Bible uses this word is in Genesis when Abraham explains to Abimelech how he asked Sarah to lie for him and say that Abraham (her husband) is her brother. Now, you might be thinking that this is no act of kindness, and that is true, but in Abraham’s mind he is asking his wife to do something for him that he thinks will benefit him, although he is surely wrong. Setting aside the irony of this situation, let’s examine what the word kindness means according to the scriptures.
Genesis 20:13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.
This first use of the term kindness shows us that it is an act of benevolence, or grace from one person to another which is the key to understanding how we are to show kindness in our own Christian lives. If we are to fulfill our duties as ministers of the gospel we should be continually living a life that does works of charity for others that benefit them physically as well as spiritually. Simply complimenting someone or saying something nice to a person in need is not a true act of kindness, we must go beyond mere words and be willing to give of our own time, talents and treasures to others in a way that benefits them in a real and tangible way to show genuine kindness. Pastor James the brother of Jesus has an illuminating teaching on this very subject in his letter to the believing diaspora.
James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
First, it must be noted that James is not speaking on salvation here as many that teach a works based system of justification have wrongly understood him to be, but rather he is exhorting the brethren (saved persons) to show their faith through works. He illustrates this concept by saying that if a brother or sister is in need and you simply bless them with your words and do nothing to help them, that this does not profit or benefit the person in need. God tells us through James that the person’s faith is dead, meaning that it isn’t doing anything for anyone else if we don’t do works of kindness for them such as feeding or clothing them. We are to show our faith to others through our kindness and charitable works that supply them with things that are needful to them that they are lacking.
We as sinners who are saved by the amazing grace and mercy of God, who sent His Son to humble himself and take on the form of a servant in human flesh and die a gruesome death on a cross for us, and rise again to pay for the sins of the whole world, ought to be more than willing to also show grace, mercy and kindness to those for whom Christ died. We should be known for our charity and self-sacrificial giving as a reflection of our Father’s love and giving of His Son to the world in order that the world might be saved through Him. Even though we were enemies of God and dead in our trespasses and sins, the Bible gives us those two lifesaving words that bring such joy after an honest description of our own sinful natures and the due penalty for our transgressions, but God!

Ephesians 2: 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

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