Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
7 March 2021
Service available as video, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
“I recently read a testimony that was reported in Premier magazine and thought it would be good to share it with you in my own words. It concerned someone called Dave, who, following leaving school, led a relatively ordinary working life for about 16 years. However, to ease the pressure of repaying his mortgage he thought he would supplement his income by selling drugs to his many friends who were using them. Unfortunately, one day he experimented himself and over time got heavily into crack cocaine. From then onwards everything started to collapse around him including his family relationships. He became a bad influence on Charlotte, a girl he befriended through the drug scene, and as a result she started using much more than normal. Dave’s kidneys were so damaged that death was just around the corner.
Just at the right time, (they had huge debts), Charlotte met some Christians working for Christians Against Poverty (CAP). Dave genuinely didn’t care about anything, even dying, but the thought of leaving Charlotte in debt hurt him deeply.
CAP were really good to them both, even leaving food parcels outside their front door, as Dave wouldn’t answer when they visited if Charlotte was out. However, it was these kind acts that broke the ice, and the fact that they didn’t judge them meant that they could be open and honest with them. On their worst days (pay days as they would go out and get high) their new Christian friends would come and take them out for coffee and cake – anything to take their minds off temptation. Eventually they went to church and Dave was convinced everyone there would hate him. However, they only received love from everyone, so much so, that they came to that place of asking Jesus into their lives to help them out of the mess they were in.
They started going to as many meetings at the church as they could, including Celebrate Recovery, and 2 Home Groups a week! Dave realised Jesus was in his life and so the both of them got baptised before a packed church, that included numerous non-Christians. Dave and Charlotte now lead a home group on a Wednesday evening, and he has signed up to study at a Bible College for the next two years. He says it’s probably the hardest journey he has ever been on (including a kidney and pancreas transplant) but also the most rewarding!”
Reading: 1 Corinthians 13
Text: “Love is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4).
Kindness can be defined as God’s undeserved abundant generosity.
“Kindness is gentle, full of service to others; useful; obliging, willing to help or assist.”
Zodhiates, expository Dictionary of New Testament words.
Synonyms – to stand beside, to help, to succour, to aid, to act beneficially, to do good, to bestow a benefit, to be profitable, to benefit.
Antonyms – endanger, hurt, hinder.
We need to continually remind ourselves that all good things come from God. He is the one who is kind, and therefore kindness flows out of Him in abundance. God is love and that love is kind.
This is the only instance of this verb not only in the NT but in any literature such that:
“Some have felt that Paul coined it”
Many make the point regarding this passage on love that in the 4 verses of chapter 13:4-7, Paul uses verbs rather than adjectives to describe what love is. ‘Love is a verb’ and there are 15 verbs in verses 4, 5, 6, and 7 (see if you can find all 15).
“Love is dynamic and active, not something static. He is not talking about some inner feeling or emotion. Love is not conveyed by words; it has to be shown. It can be defined only by what it does and does not do”
D. Garland BECNT – 1 Corinthians
Hence we can ask the question: “What are we doing as a church to show Jesus’ love, here expressed in kindness, to one another, and to our community?”
This study on “Love” in 1 Corinthians 13 might leave us all thinking that this is an impossible standard that is laid before us. However, we need to remind ourselves also, that Jesus gives us the empowerment and enablement of the Holy Spirit to make it happen, kindness being a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Furthermore, having experienced this extraordinary kindness of God through Jesus Christ, the believer can only respond by extending that kindness to others.
(1) God is kind to us
(a) God reveals His kindness to us especially through His Son e.g.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:6-7
(b) God’s kindness:
God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.Rom. 2:4
(c) God responds with kindness to those who ill-treat His Son
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.Titus 3:3-7
(d) Jesus in loving kindness gave Himself in the service of others even to those who ill-treated Him:
One of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.Luke 22:50-51
This man was part of the group led by Judas Iscariot that came to arrest Jesus. Jesus responds with kindness by healing his ear.
(e) The kindness of God
“The kindness of God recognises that everyone carries a heavy load”
And the kindness of God does something about it. God sees the heavy load, the yoke that all of us has to bear, and He, in His kindness and love, gives His only Son to bear that yoke for us by dying on the cross. Now Jesus, offers us a different yoke, His yoke of which He can say: “… my yoke is easy” (Matt. 11:30). The word for “easy” in this verse comes from the same root as the word for “kind” in our verse. So Jesus is saying look I have been kind to you by dying for you and I have been kind to you by giving you a yoke that is kind to you! Therefore be kind to one another, and to everyone.
(2) We must be kind to one another
According to Tertullian the Christians in the second century so surpassed their pagan counterparts in kindness that they called them ‘Chrestiani’ (‘made up of kindness’). Oh, may we become known as ‘Chrestiani’ Christians! Such kindness actively seeks the good of those who may be irritants to us and the community [and] is linked to compassion and forgiveness of others e.g.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:32
But the fruit of the Spirit is …. kindness …Gal. 5:22
It is only as we rely on the Spirit of God that we can be truly be kind to one another.
(3) We must be kind to all people
We all want to see new people coming to church and staying with us. There is something about kindness that is very attractive. It is after all a manifestation of love and plays a prominent part in salvation:
God’s kindness leads you towards repentance.Romans 2:4
Imagine Coca-Cola brought out a new drink, we would expect them to spend millions world-wide advertising it that it might make the maximum impact. The advertising campaign would be a great success if it leads to millions of people buying the new drink. But imagine if Coca-Cola got it wrong and everyone who tried the drink didn’t like it. They would never buy that drink again. It doesn’t matter how many millions Coca-Cola spent advertising this product, it will be doomed to fail if no one likes it.
I think there is something here that we in the Church need to get hold of. It’s one thing to get people to come to our services, but it is completely another thing for them to come again, and to keep coming, and to eventually join as members. If when they come to church, they don’t like what they experience, then they ain’t coming back, no matter how much we spend on advertising the church, no matter how good our web-page is, no matter how much outreach we do. The inside has to be right and that’s you and me and that’s a thing called love expressing itself here in kindness, love is kind and it’s a person called Jesus. Jesus had no problem attracting the crowds, masses of people followed Him, His kindness attracted them. In the testimony above it was the kind acts that CAP did that broke the ice, removed the barriers, bridged the gap.
God’s kindness even extends to His enemies and so must ours e.g.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.Luke 6:35
That is not to say that we foolishly keep throwing money at people in so called acts of kindness, The strength of the work of CAP is that they teach people to budget and help them to get rid of their debts, not do it all for them.
“Kindness can break cycles of passion, resentment, anger, violence and vengeful retaliation. The practice of sharing kindness, even to the wicked and ungrateful should not be thought to be limited to interpersonal relations. Groups and national entities, through their leaders, can also act in kindness to break destructive, fruitless cycles of violence.”
A. F. Johnson – 1 Corinthians
A friend asked me, upon my return from India if I had been in the ‘Wenni Tribe.’ Why do you ask, I’ve never heard of the ‘Wenni Tribe.’ Because you are always saying, “When I was in India, this! When I was in India, that!” When I was … in S. Ireland, we met a family who had been through years of bitterness and pain because they were in a gangland type of tit for tat, ‘they shot one of us therefore we shot one of them,’ with no end in sight, and nobody seemed to know who started it. What a waste and to think that one act of kindness from one of these families might break years of violence, pain and bloodshed – Love is kind, Amen!
Questions for Discussion:
- Is there a line we have drawn regarding doing acts of kindness to others. In the light of God’s kindness to us, especially through His Son Jesus where do we draw the line in being kind to others?
- “What are we doing as a church to show Jesus’ kindness, to one another, and to our community?”
- Do we sometimes / often have the feeling that this love is too much? The standard is too high?
- Share a time when someone did you a kindness. What effect did it have on you?
- Thinking of the ‘Chrestiani’ in the second century, who outdid the pagans in showing great kindness to one another and to others, what if we had a whole year’s campaign into our community of being kind to all people do you think it would make an impact? What kindnesses should we do?
- Without watering down the Good-News what can we do in this matter of kindness to make coming to Bethel more attractive?
- Any examples of one act (or many) of kindness being shown that resulted in a stoppage of years of animosity, bitterness, violence and hatred?
- Someone gets really angry with you over something you regard as trifling! What do you do?
Quote for the Week
“If you judge people you have no time to love them”
Verse of the week
The Lord is both kind and upright that is why He teaches sinners the right way to live.Psalm 25:8, NET
Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for Your many kindnesses to us, especially through Your Son Jesus Christ. Help and inspire us to be kind to one another, and especially kind to the people of our communities. Help us, by Your Spirit within, to imitate Jesus, and the early church, Amen.