Kindness and Goodness
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Kindness and Goodness

Galatians 5:22  (ID: 3184)

What is God like? The Bible describes two aspects of His character in His dealings with mankind: first, that God is good, and second, that He is kind. In this message, Alistair Begg helps us understand how a believer’s actions toward others are to reflect the character of Christ, who dwells within us. As the Holy Spirit grows His fruit within our hearts, the kindness and goodness we increasingly demonstrate will draw others toward the Gospel.

Series Containing This Sermon

The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22–23 Series ID: 27601

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn with me to Titus and to chapter 2, and we’ll read the second chapter. Paul encourages Titus as he pastors in Crete in the first century to make sure that his people understand the importance of good deeds accompanying the story of good news.

And we read from Titus 2:1:

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so to train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of our God and Savior.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”


Father, as we turn to the Bible, we pray for your help, for the enabling of the Holy Spirit to both understand what it says, to explain it clearly, to believe it humbly, and that we might live in the light of it faithfully. For we ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Well, we’re still at Galatians 5:22. We’re anchored there for these few weeks, having taken a break from our studies in Ephesians, to which we look forward to returning, God willing. Galatians 5:22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

It’s perhaps helpful for us to remind one another that we began this series weeks ago, partly—at least, partly from my perspective—in response to the increasing acrimony and ugliness of public discourse. I think as I was listening, as you’ve been listening, to much that has been said within the framework of political discourse particularly, it seemed fairly obvious that the use of language and the approach of many individuals certainly would not be the approach that we would find emanating from the lips of the Lord Jesus himself, that we would find difficulty in producing justification for from our reading of the Bible and particularly from our reading of the New Testament.

We recognized in making that observation, of course, that there is an incongruity that exists within those who profess to be followers of Jesus: the incongruity of proclaiming, on the one hand, good news and then of being guilty, at the same time, of bad behavior. Many of those who would be considered within the framework of evangelicalism, at least as it is published abroad—and we would have to include ourselves in the group—have to admit that we are prone to fits of anger, to dissensions, to divisions. It’s not difficult to quarrel. It is particularly easy to slander people we have never met, particularly those in political office, and to show a general spirit of discourtesy regarding the framework of social life itself. The same individuals—ourselves—who are proclaiming on the one hand that God is sovereign over all things in the world then find ourselves acting as if the world is actually helplessly out of control.

To the extent that that is an analysis that is fair—and I leave it for your conjecture—we acknowledge, too, that we’re not the first generation, we’re not the first congregation, to face up to the challenge. That’s why we read from Titus chapter 2. Paul writes to his young colleague in Crete, an environment that was particularly challenging, urging him to get everything right—to get the leadership right, the doctrine right—and to make sure that his people understand that there’s a direct correlation between faith and practice; that true belief will reveal itself in right behavior; that they need to understand that the good news of Jesus and the good deeds that are done by those who are the followers of Jesus are supposed to go hand in hand.

And in our reading there in Titus 2, if you picked it up, you will notice that in particular relationship to the bondservants—although it’s true beyond that—Paul is saying, “When your people get ahold of this, then in every area of life and in every stage of life, if they live in this way, then they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” In other words, they will make the gospel, the story of good news about Jesus, actually attractive, so that those who either have never heard that story or who have significant questions about the story are not turned off by the animosity and ugliness of the lives of those who want to tell them the story but actually find themselves saying, “Oh, I would like to hear about that as a result of what I have seen in you.” In the NIV, the phrase is actually “[making] the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”[1] Or, as Phillips paraphrases it, “Tell these folks,” he says to Titus, “to be a ‘living testimonial to the teaching of God our saviour.’”[2]

Now, it was all of that by way of background that gave rise to the thought, “I wonder what it will mean for a congregation, for an individual, to set themselves as a group to considering the attractiveness of the fruit of the Spirit, the characteristics that are provided for us here in Galatians 5.” And on each occasion that we’ve turned to these things, we have sought to make sure that we were clear concerning three truths.

Number one: that what we’re dealing with here, this fruit, is the product of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life of the child of God. It is not an imitation. It is not produced by law. It is the product of life—the life of God.

The good news of Jesus and the good deeds that are done by those who are the followers of Jesus are supposed to go hand in hand.

Secondly, it follows that this fruit is then the evidence of the individual’s abiding in Christ. Do you remember in John 15, Jesus says, “I am the vine; [and] you are the branches”?[3] And then he talks about what it means to abide in Christ. Phillips paraphrases that, “It is the [one] who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all.”[4]

So, it is the fruit of the ministry of the Spirit, it is the evidence of the believer’s abiding in Christ, and thirdly, it is fruit that is produced in all parts in each believer. “Fruit” here is a collective noun. The Spirit is at work not just producing one or two segments of the fruit in individual lives, but he is actually producing all nine. That, you see, is what makes it quite challenging, isn’t it? As we’ve gone through this, it’s like having the searchlight of Scripture turned upon our hearts—what we know ourselves to be and what we know God knows us to be. Some of these segments may be in greater evidence than others, but they all must be there, because God is in the purpose of creating a whole, integrated Christian character—in short, making us like Jesus.

Now, with that said, we come this morning, actually, to two elements. I’m going to take kindness and goodness together. It’s not because I’m trying to chase to the end, although there is value in that. But it is because there is little distinction between these two elements. In fact, the words themselves are often used interchangeably in the Scriptures. The person who taught me New Testament in London a long, long time ago now, Donald Guthrie, made it clear to us that when Paul produces a list like this, it’s very unlike him to use two synonymous words without actually intending some distinction between them. So we then said, “Okay, prof, what, then, would the distinction be?” “It is,” he says, “just possible … that ‘goodness’ is conceived to be more active than ‘kindness.’”[5] You notice the absence of dogmatism there, which I find wonderfully encouraging. There are many, many people who would be able to give you the definitive reason without having any definitive reason at all. It would surely be their conjecture. But nevertheless, he says, “It is just possible that…” And so, I’m going with my prof, I’m taking it as read, and I’m going to think of kindness in terms of disposition of heart, and I’m going to think of goodness as the expression of that disposition. So, we have disposition—that which is internal, that attitude, that core element—and then the expression of it.

God Is Kind and Good

But before we get to that, it is vitally important that we realize that this kindness and goodness is grounded in the character of God. This kindness and goodness is grounded in the character of God. In my mind, I can hear some young person saying, “Oh, please, let’s just get to the good stuff that’s about us. Why do we need to know about the character of God?” Well, [Spurgeon] told us that it is vital for us to descend from “a devout musing upon the … Godhead”[6] to come to a consideration of ourselves—that it is first in understanding who and what God is that we are then able to make sense of who and what we are in Christ.

So, I’m going to give you just a little bit of a paper chase. You can follow with me. I’ll tell you where I am. I’ll go through it as quickly as I can. But this is of vital importance.

Now, let’s start with Psalm 145, where the psalmist says, “The Lord is good to all.”[7] “The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.”[8] And people say, “Well, who is God, and what is God like?” Well, we know he is this: that he is good to all, that he is faithful in all the words that he speaks, and that he is kind in all of the works that he does. And that’s why the psalmist is able to go on and say it is in light of that that he “upholds all who are falling,” and he “raises up all who are bowed down.”[9]

It’s not unusual on a morning like this to find some people who have come into an assembly like this, and quite honestly, that describes you. You’ve tripped, and you’re falling. You feel yourself to be bowed down, and you’re not sure that you might ever get up again, at least back to where you were. Well, what do you need? Well, you need God. And what is God like? Well, he’s “faithful in all his words.” His promises can be trusted. He’s “kind in all his works.” He lifts up those who have fallen down, and he picks up those who feel that they cannot return.

When you go to Hosea chapter 11 and the word of the prophet—and you can turn to that if you choose. It’s always hard to find Hosea, so don’t worry if you can’t get it in time. But Hosea 11 begins, “When Israel was a child, I loved him.” So, that’s the picture of God dealing with his people. “Out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away.” Isn’t that amazing? The more God called them, the more they went on their own way. The more he told them what to do, the more they did what they liked. “They kept sacrificing to … Baals and burning offerings to idols.” And yet, he said, even given that,

   it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
 I took them up by their arms,
 … they did[n’t] know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of kindness,
 [and] with the bands of love.[10]

Despite their rebellion, despite their wandering, God is towards them as a father to his children, as a tender farmer to his cattle.

I think the hymn writer had Hosea 11 in mind when he wrote the hymn “I’ve found a friend, O such a friend! He loved me ere I knew him.” Because the next line is “He drew me with the cords of love, and thus he bound me to him.”[11] God is not in the business of wrenching people’s arms out in drawing them to himself. God is the one who comes in his kindness and in his goodness, in the awareness of our predicament, in light of him. He is good to all.

In fact, when you read in the New Testament—we jump forward to the New Testament—and Jesus is speaking, encouraging his followers to declare themselves to be truly his followers by the way in which they deal with individuals who are not like them at all. And he says in Luke 6:35 that God “is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” What is God like? He’s “kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” His kindness is uninfluenced by the gratitude or the ingratitude of those to whom it is shown. Do you get that? The kindness of God is uninfluenced by the gratitude or the ingratitude of those to whom it is shown. “I called out to my people. I led them in kindness and tenderness. I drew them to myself with cords of love. They rebelled against me. They went their own way. They sacrificed to foreign gods and to idols.” His kindness is not inhibited by the reaction of those upon whom he sets his love.

That is the point that Paul makes in Romans chapter 2—advancing our way through the whole New Testament. But in Romans chapter 2, as Paul has laid out the predicament of man outside of Christ in chapter 1, and then he takes on the question, “Well, what about the Jewish people? Do they have some kind of special connection here that can be employed for the well-being of their souls before God?” And he says, “Well, listen, I hope that you’re not misunderstanding God’s patience. I hope,” he says, in the beginning of Romans chapter 2, “that you don’t interpret the patience of God as weakness on the part of God. No,” he says, “I hope you realize…” In fact, he says, “[Don’t you realize] that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”[12] That it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance, that it is the love of God for those who don’t love him, that it is the searching gaze of God upon those who run from him that becomes the means of leading to repentance.

And when we read in Titus chapter 2, we read purposefully. And we could have read on into chapter 3, which provides in a verse the Christmas Day passage for the Anglican Church in the prayer book: “When the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared…”[13] “When the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared…” Where did it appear? In whom did it appear? Well, it is this. It’s why they read it on Christmas Day. Because when Jesus has come, then the character of God is displayed. His kindness, his goodness receives its ultimate expression. So, when we look at Jesus and how Jesus lived and what Jesus did and how he dealt with people, then we understand something of the character of God.

In fact, in our studies in Ephesians, we saw (and I hope some of us even remember) in Ephesians chapter 2 that God in his grace has not only “raised us up with him”—that is, Jesus— “and seated us with him in the heavenly places,” but he has done so, verse 7, “so that in the coming ages he might” do what? “He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”[14] So in other words, in the age to come, in the new heaven and in the new earth, the Father will still be magnifying the wonder of his loving-kindness towards us, expressed to us in Jesus, so that we will find ourselves actually saying to one another, in whatever context, “Isn’t it amazing that God was so kind to us? Isn’t it amazing that God was so good to us? What an amazing thing that God would love those who didn’t love him, that God would seek those who were running from him, that God would show his kindness in order to soften our hearts and open our eyes and make us realize that if we got what we deserved, it would be dreadful, and he gives to us something that we’re entirely undeserving of! It’s amazing!”

Now, all of that, then, has to form, if you like, the soil in which we think about the growth of both kindness and goodness. If you think about it, it’s clear that the entire godhead is involved in this: kindness and goodness defined in the character of the Father, displayed in the person and work of the Son, and produced in the life of the believer by the work of the Holy Spirit.

A Disposition of Kindness

Now, I have purposefully taken time on that. Let’s see if the balance of the time will allow us to say something concerning, first of all, kindness in terms of disposition. In terms of disposition.

Apart from the grace of God, each of us is preoccupied with our problems—our problems—our plans, our pleasures. And people would say that’s absolutely natural. And it is actually natural. And the reason it’s so natural is because it’s an evidence of our predicament in terms of turning our back on God.

Psychology Today, the magazine, which you may see every so often in a bookstore, I pay attention to it fleetingly. But I have occasion to be amazed by it, and I love the honesty of it. It’s described as a magazine providing “insight about everybody’s favorite subject: ourselves.” Right? That’s honest. It’s a magazine that provides insight about everybody’s favorite subject: me. I am my favorite subject. And so are you, by nature. If there are twelve of us waiting for a bus, and we are number seven in line, and the fellow conductor says, “There is room for seven,” how much do you think we care about eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve? We’re only concerned about seven: “I’m number seven. I need to get on this bus.”

Now, when grace begins to refine a heart, when this fruit is produced in the life of the child of God, then we begin to take more than a passing interest in the well-being of others. We’re not talking here about sort of instantaneous notions of kindness: “Oh, I think I’ll do something.” But rather, we’re talking about inner disposition—the disposition of heart. God knows what the disposition of my heart is. I know it to a certain degree. You don’t really know it. The only way you’re going to know it is when we get to the expression of it. But when we think in these terms, we say, “Wow!”

I had a wonderful illustration of it this week. I was watching NASA TV live, as I’m sure you all do. But I did it purposefully, because I knew that there was a space walk and that Jeff Williams, our friend, was making another walk in space with one of his colleagues. The space walk lasted… It lasted about five hours. I had it on my computer. I didn’t watch every piece of it, but it was always on, for the whole time, in the background. And I was just amazed by it. I know that you would be too.

But what struck me was this. He was about four hours plus into the walk. He is hanging, floating, clipped to the side of the Space Station, and every so often, from his camera on his helmet you can see two hundred and fifty miles down to the earth. And as he is doing what mission control is telling him to do, in a pause in the communication he says, just out of the blue from where I was, “This is probably a good time for me to wish Charlie Bolden a happy birthday.” I said, “What? You should be hanging onto the Space Station, not wishing people birthday…”

But then I said to myself, “This is him. This is the guy we’ve come to know. This is the fellow whose disposition is such that he will take time to send a greeting to the pastors’ conference; that he’s got time, suspended in space, to wish his friend of thirty years a happy birthday.” It reminded me of what was said about another person: “It was her thinking about others that always made us think about her.” “It was her thinking about others that always made us think of her.”

Now, you say, “Well, this is fairly routine. This is just about being nice, isn’t it?” No, it’s not about being nice. This is not natural virtue. This is not about being nice to nice people that we’ve decided are the nice people. Jesus said, “No, you can’t get away with that.” Remember, he says, “If you simply are kind and good and loving to those who love you, there’s no reward in that,”[15] he said. You can find that at the local sports bar. You can find that in lots of places. “No,” he says, “but what I want to say to you is, I want you to learn to do what God does. I want you, as a result of the Spirit’s work within your life, to display the character of God—that God’s kindness reaches to the wicked, to the ungrateful, to the rebel, and to the lost.” Wow! Think that out, huh?

Well, we don’t want to deal too much with wicked or ungrateful, you know. “I did it once, but she never wrote me a thank you note. Therefore, she’s out. She’s ungrateful. I’m not going to be kind to ungrateful people. I mean, you know, if you get a feedback… But if that’s the kind of deal, forget that!” What if God did that? God doesn’t do that. He comes again and again.

You see, kindness and compassion and a forgiving spirit are woven together in the fabric of grace. I’m not a kind person if I hold on to grudges. I can’t for a moment consider myself of a kindly disposition if I refuse to forgive. And the kindness that is produced in our lives, akin to the kindness of God, is then to be uninfluenced by the gratitude or ingratitude of those to whom we show kindness.

And this kindness also is displayed to those who are incapable of returning the favor. You know, when you think in terms of hospitality, you know: “Some of you entertained angels unaware because they gave hospitality to strangers,”[16] not because they gave hospitality to the pastor. There’re no angels there. No.

When you think about it in terms of the wonderful story in Ruth, you’ve got a classic illustration, don’t you, in Boaz. Lovely Boaz. A lot of the girls in the church are looking for a Boaz. I know, because I talk with them. They say, “Where is Boaz when you need him?” Yeah, I understand that.

Well, dear Ruth, well, she was just overwhelmed, wasn’t she? And “Boaz came from Bethlehem” and “said to the reapers, ‘The Lord be with you!’ And they [said], ‘The Lord bless you.’”[17] And then he said, “Who is this?” And they told him. And then Boaz said to Ruth, “[What I want you to do is:] Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. … And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.”[18] “And at mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.”[19] “And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!’”[20]

Kindness and compassion and a forgiving spirit are woven together in the fabric of grace.

Whose kindness was it? Was it God’s kindness, or was it Boaz’s kindness? It was both, wasn’t it? ’Cause the kindness of God was revealed through the kindness of Boaz. What was it like? “Why don’t you sit here? Would you like a drink of water? Don’t go down there; that’s dangerous.” You know, some of the most simple expressions of kindness mean a huge amount: just the openness to say, “Well, tell me”; just the willingness to smile; just the expression of an inner disposition.

Here’s a thought that’s been rattling around in my head—or one of them. Can you imagine what it might have been like, the history of the last thirty years, if the evangelical church—those who profess to know Jesus and love the Bible, and they’re into the whole deal; we include ourselves in the group—instead of continually championing political agendas and taking on all kinds of causes, if evangelicalism as a group had said, “You know, why don’t we just take seriously what God says we’re supposed to do, what he said to his servant Micah: ‘He has [shown] you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you …?’”[21] You see, because the people were asking, “When we come to God, does he want us to have these elaborate services? Does he want us to do burnt offerings? What is it that will please God?”

Micah says, “This is what God says. He’s actually shown you what to do. Here’s what you’re to do. Number one, you’re to do justice.” So, you pay your workers fair wages. You return your telephone calls. You tell the truth. You don’t steal pencils. “You do justice, you love kindness, and you walk humbly with your God.”[22] Just imagine unleashing a force on the United States of America that is committed to loving-kindness, that is able to go out into a community that is increasingly fractured, more and more self-centered, to discover the evangelistic impact of loving-kindness!

An Expression of Goodness

We need to say a word about goodness, ’cause our time is gone. But if goodness, then, is the expression of it, when you get to the word good, there is agathos and kalos, which are the two main words for good. Agathos is that which is intrinsically good, and kalos is that which is not only intrinsically good but which is, by the way in which it is conveyed, an expression of a goodness beyond the intrinsic goodness. The only way I can come to it—and I use the illustration all the time—is when you go to have surgery, and the anesthetist comes… “Anesthesiologist” comes… Sorry. Sorry. That wasn’t kind, I admit. I admit. I wasn’t good either. But anyway… But when they come, what they put in is good. It’s good. It’s agathos. But it might not be kallos. Right? In fact, it might be callous, as in c-a-l-l-o-u-s. Right? So in other words, what is being provided for us is intrinsically good, but the way in which is it done…

And so, when you think in terms of the expression of kindness, when you think about the disposition being worked out, you realize that God from all of eternity has chosen the people that are his very own, and as it says in Ephesians 2:10, we are created for good works. Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”[23] John Wesley, fastening on this, wrote in his journal, “Do all the good you can, by all the means that you can, to all the people that you can, for as long as you can.” That pretty well summarizes it, doesn’t it? And the wonder of it is that God has ordered our steps and apportioned our lives so that the expression of kindness and goodness takes place in the routine affairs of life, in the menial tasks of life.

You see, it’s very easy… I remember, you could get a real buzz when you were a boy going down the road and helping old Mrs. Jenkins, you know, with her yard work. And then you felt really good, you know—an expression of altruism—and you knew that she was smiling as you walked away. And then you got home, and you wouldn’t do a thing for your mother. You got in your own house, she said, “Could you take that down?” “No, I don’t have to take that down!” See, you weren’t good. You weren’t good. You weren’t kind. I wasn’t! How many men’ll say, “Oh, I’ll be over and help you.” When’s the last time you unloaded the dishwasher? “Yeah, I’ll take care of that!”

You see, it is in the realm of everyday life that kindness and goodness is really tested. It’s in the framework of our vocation that it is tested. Because nobody else sits at the desk you sit at, except the person who sits beside you. But I don’t. I can’t! Therefore, it is in that realm that the kindness and goodness that is the fruit of the Spirit then is able to spill over into your particular community. So, the vocation which provides resources—namely, financial resources, Timothy says—those financial resources are given to you in order that they maybe an occasion of generosity,[24] so that the reason that you have that stuff is in order that kindness and goodness may be an expression of your lives.

I think it’s Bridges who says, you know, few of us will do anything that is dramatic, like pull somebody from a burning car. And so we’re tempted to say, “Well, what am I going to do?” Well, read 1 Timothy 5, if you’re a lady, and read there about the kindness and goodness that’s involved in raising children, in showing hospitality, in helping those in trouble, in being ready for any good work—essentially, in being like Boaz, or (and I conclude with this) like Barnabas.

So, we have Boaz as our Old Testament and Barnabas as our New. “He has not stopped showing [me] kindness.”[25] What a guy! Barnabas: “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.”[26] That would be enough, wouldn’t it, for an epitaph? “A good man.” Because, you see, on the day of judgment, inquiry is going to be made. Remember 2 Corinthians 5: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that we might have an appraisal of everything that was done in the body, whether good or bad.”[27]

Remember, Jesus says, “You know, I was hungry, I was in prison.” They said, “No you weren’t! We never saw you there.” He said, “Inasmuch as you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me.”[28] Some people read that, and they say, “Well, you see, what Jesus is saying there is that good deeds earn your admittance into heaven.” No he’s not! What he’s saying is that that expression of kindness and goodness provides a vital evidence that we are bound for heaven. That we’re bound for heaven.

People will—after our sermons are long forgotten, after our mental cleverness, whatever it might be, has evaporated—people will remember kindness. They will always remember kindness. I guarantee you, you can remember schoolteachers on account of their kindness, a work colleague on account of kindness.

Fascinatingly—and with this I stop—when Peter preaches in the context of the house of Cornelius, and he has the opportunity to lay out the whole scope of salvation, and he talks about Jesus, you know one of the phrases that he uses right in the heart of it all, that he says of Jesus? This is what it says: “He went about doing good.”[29] “He went about doing good.”

Well, I think we have the point.

Let’s pray:

Father, thank you that you so work in the lives of your children, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to produce that fruit which bears testimony to the loveliness and grace of Jesus. We pray as a congregation that you will fill us with all of your fullness. We do long for the gifts that we need in order to do the tasks that are at hand, but we do long to see increasing evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in us and among us and through us. Lord, help us to this end, we pray—to ask ourselves of all of our affairs and our activities, “Well, what would be the kind thing to do? Is it kind for me to stay home and care for my elderly mom?” Whatever it might mean. Thank you for the immensity of your compassion towards us. We pray in your Son’s name. Amen.

[1] Titus 2:10 (NIV 1984).

[2] Titus 2:10 (Phillips).

[3] John 15:5 (ESV).

[4] John 15:5 (Phillips).

[5] Donald Guthrie, Galatians, New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 140.

[6] C. H. Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God,” New Park Street Pulpit 1, no. 1, 1.

[7] Psalm 145:9 (ESV).

[8] Psalm 145:13 (ESV).

[9] Psalm 145:14 (ESV).

[10] Hosea 11:1–4 (ESV).

[11] James G. Small, “I’ve Found a Friend” (1863).

[12] Romans 2:4 (ESV).

[13] Titus 3:4 (ESV).

[14] Ephesians 2:6–7 (ESV).

[15] Matthew 5:46 (paraphrased).

[16] Hebrews 13:2 (paraphrased).

[17] Ruth 2:4 (ESV).

[18] Ruth 2:9 (ESV).

[19] Ruth 2:14 (ESV).

[20] Ruth 2:20 (ESV).

[21] Micah 6:8 (ESV).

[22] Micah 6:8 (paraphrased).

[23] 1 Thessalonians 5:15 (ESV).

[24] See 1 Timothy 6:18.

[25] Ruth 2:20 (NIV).

[26] Acts 11:24 (ESV).

[27] 2 Corinthians 5:10 (paraphrased).

[28] Matthew 25:34–40 (paraphrased).

[29] Acts 10:38 (ESV).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.