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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Christian Self-Control (Matthew 23.25-26)

Sermon by:Robert Austell
July 29, 2012
Some Music Used
Prelude: Concerto in A Minor (Mvt. 3) (Walker Austell, piano) (Miller)
Song of Praise: "Prince of Peace" (Imboden/Rhoton)
Song of Praise: "The Stand" (refrain) (Houston)
The Word in Music: "Rooftops" (a capella choir) (Jesus Culture, arr. Youngblood)
Offering of Music: "The Stand" (refrain) (Houston)
Hymn of Sending: "Take My Life"

"Christian Self-Control: a fruit of the Spirit"
(Left-click to play; or right-click to save)
Text: Matthew 11:28-30

**Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Today’s sermon will be short to make some room for the youth testimonies, but we are continuing our series on the fruits of the Spirit, those character traits developed by God's Spirit in all who believe, for the sake of making God known to the world.

Today we are looking at self-control and we turn again to the teaching of Jesus to better understand what is meant by this term.  We are returning to the “eight woes” we looked at two weeks ago… the “curses” or implications Jesus pronounced on the scribes and Pharisees and all who live outside God’s will.  I walked us through those eight messages then and won’t repeat them now, but we will focus today on the sixth curse, in which Jesus warns of cleaning up on the outside without facing our sin on the inside.

What is Self-Control? (v. 25)

You might wonder where I get self-control out of these two verses.  I get it from one of the two sins Jesus gives as examples of the internal sin that creates the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees.  Those two sins are “robbery” and “self-indulgence.”  It strikes me that the second one, self-indulgence, is the opposite of self-control.

One reason I think it is helpful to think about this fruit-in-reverse is that it can be hard to exert more self-control.  Often, it is something that we are blind to.  But, if we think about places and ways in which we indulge ourselves, it might be easier to see where we can cut back, show restraint, focus on others, and so on.  And that would be showing self-control!

It turns out, too, that the two sins Jesus names are related.  Robbery and self-indulgence: they are both selfish sins that seek to put our needs and wants above those of others.  In the case of self-indulgence, it is an over-focus on our own needs and wants.  In the case of robbery, we are actually taking something away from another person.  Those distinctions may also provide some insight into what self-control looks like.  It is a temporary or enduring denial of self; but more than that, it helps re-orient us away from self and towards others in a Great Commandment kind of way.  It is when we are not slaves to our needs and wants that we can really focus on the question of what it looks like to love God and love others.

So, if you look at the problem Jesus names in this verse, it starts with a pre-occupation with how others see me on the outside, wrapped around a pre-occupation with self on the inside.  Self-control turns all that inside out and looks towards God and others. 

Can I Grow in Self-Control? (v. 26)

In these verses, Jesus describes some of the practical steps we can take, with the Holy Spirit’s direction, to grow in self-control.  It’s there in verse 26: “first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish.”  In other words, repent and turn from the internal sins of self and the spiritual growth will follow in due course.  What is repentance?  It is simply acknowledgement of sin – in this case, “God, I’ve been really focused on myself”; and asking God for help – “Help me focus more on you and others.”  And God's promise is to forgive and clean us up from the inside out, like Jesus describes here.

Jesus adds the result of that kind of acknowledgement and repentance: “the outside…may become clean also.”  Rather than being spit-and-polished Sunday Christians, we will be the kind of loved and forgiven ones that are so much more authentic and real.

And by way of reminder, that is the work of the Holy Spirit through these fruits… that we may then bear witness to God to the world.  It’s not a “Hey, look at me!” kind of witness, but a more authentic demonstration of what God has done in my life.  That is both winsome and compelling.

In just a few moments we will pray the Prayer of Confession that we usually pray after the message.  If, like me, you need God to do this kind of interior work, I invite you to dig in extra hard as we pray those words together and then hear the assurance of God’s forgiveness.  Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Christian Gentleness (Matthew 11.28-30)

Sermon by:Robert Austell
July 22, 2012
Some Music Used
Prelude (Flute trio): "Contredanse" (Mozart)
Song of Praise: "Everlasting God" (Brenton Brown)
Hymn of Praise: "Christian Women, Christian Men" (Hendry/Youngblood)
Offering of Music (Quartet): "Softly and Tenderly" (Thompson/arr. Cherwien)
Hymn of Sending: "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" (VOX DILECTI)
Postlude: "Italian Hymn" (Giardini/arr. Travis)

"Christian Gentleness: a fruit of the Spirit"
(Left-click to play; or right-click to save)
Text: Matthew 11:28-30

**Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Are you tired? Weary? Worn out?  Did you hear the scriptures this morning?  Did you hear the promise of rest and relief?  Jesus is speaking to you and inviting you to come and see, to come and find rest in him.

Today we are talking about gentleness, one of the fruits of the Spirit named in scripture as one of the qualities God plants in all who believe and follow him.  One chief purpose of those fruits is to witness to the character of God as we interact with family, friends, and neighbors all around us.  So today we are going to look at the gentleness of Jesus Christ, named in this short invitation Jesus gives in Matthew 11.  And we’ll end by looking at how our own Christian gentleness can bless others. 

Come to Me (v. 28)

There are three imperatives in this short text.  Normally an imperative is a command, “Do this!” or “Thou shalt not!”  In this case they are invitational.  The first is the invitation from Jesus to “Come to me.”  And Jesus has a specific audience in mind.  It is all – ALL! – who are weary and heavy-laden.  Very literally, his words mean “those who are exhausted from working.”  But with his mention in the same text of “rest for your souls” it is clear that the weariness he speaks of includes and extends beyond physical exhaustion.  His invitation is to all (again, note ALL!) who are tired and burdened, in body, mind, or spirit… so much so that you feel the weight in the very core of your being, your soul.

And for the first and not last time in this short text, Jesus promises to give rest, relief, restoration in the places where you are worn down.  That’s some good news, isn’t it?  Are you weary and worn-out from work?  Are you exhausted from stress and worry?  Are you burdened by the circumstances of life around you?  Jesus invites you to come and offers rest.

So what does it mean to come to Jesus?

In good Jewish fashion, Jesus says what he wants to say twice, and unpacks it a bit the second time around.  Look at verses 29-30. 

Take My Yoke (vv. 29-30)

Read verses 29-30 as both a repetition and an expansion of verse 28.  They begin with another imperative-invitation, “Take my yoke upon you.”  This is an interesting image to use in this context because Jesus is talking about easing burdens and a yoke is a heavy cross piece laid across the shoulders for carrying burdens!  Is this just a strange bait and switch? …I’ll ease your burden if you’ll take on my new burden?

I think it would have grabbed the attention of his listeners, but it’s anything but trading one weight for another.  Jesus says in verse 30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  It’s like Jesus saying, “Come work for me!” – which reminds me of when he called Peter.  Peter was a fisherman, a tough, physical job to be sure.  And Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men.”  Jesus was doing more than asking him to exchange one burden for another; he was inviting him to work of a different kind altogether.

So yes, Jesus invites you to take up his yoke, his work, in order to find this rest.  He does promise rest again for the second time in verse 29, “You will find rest for your souls.”  And clearly, if you look at those who gathered around Jesus then or those who follow him closely now, it’s not a life of swinging on hammocks with a gentle breeze.

Rather, there is one more clue in verse 29 as to why Jesus’ yoke or work is of a completely different nature that it brings rest and renewal of body, mind, and spirit.  It’s in the middle there: “…for I am gentle and humble in heart.”

And that’s the spiritual fruit that we’ve been looking for: GENTLENESS.  Roughly equivalent to “meekness” and paired here with “humble,” Jesus uses it to describe himself.  He is “gentle and humble in heart.”  And that is offered as explanation as to why his yoke and work brings rest.  Let’s ponder that.

In the unusual turn of words, Jesus is describing himself as a kind of employer or master, inviting us to take his yoke or serve him.  What is different than our earthly labor, yokes, and burdens is that the one whose yoke we would now take is gentle and humble in heart.  A gentle Lord would not place on us a burden we could not bear, and would act out of love, justice, wisdom, and grace.  A humble Lord is a servant-leader, more interested in washing our feet and bearing our burdens than in using us up to get something done.  It is precisely BECAUSE of who Jesus is that his yoke is easy, his burden light, and the result rest for our souls!

Do you want rest?  Then come to Jesus, follow, and serve him.

And just as when he washed his disciples’ feet on the night before his arrest and death, he intends for his gentleness and humility to set an example for us.  That’s the “Maundy” or command in “Maundy Thursday” before Easter.  Did you notice I stepped over that part of verse 28?  He not only says, “Take my yoke”; he also speaks the third imperative-invitation, “Learn from me.” 

That’s how we offer godly rest to others around us who are burdened. 

“Learn from Me” (v. 28) – Christian Gentleness and giving rest to others

It may be that you are so weary and worn that you simply need to hear Jesus’ invitation to rest today.  If so, I invite you just to accept that invitation and offer. 

But there is more there for those who can hear it. Note that this is not all Jesus talked about in this passage. He didn’t just talk about receiving his gentleness, but exhibiting godly gentleness (and humility).  We are to imitate the gentleness and humility of Christ and that is how the spiritual fruit of gentleness works in the life of a follower of Christ.  Having learned from him, we witness to God and serve Jesus by extending rest to others through our gentleness and humility.

Just as Jesus’ gentleness is born out in acts of love, justice, wisdom, and grace, so our gentleness towards other is shown in acts of love, justice, wisdom, and grace.  Just as Jesus’ humility is shown through acts of service, so our humility is demonstrated as we love each other, love our neighbors, and even love our enemies.  Not only is this the work or yoke of Jesus Christ, it is the actual fruit of gentleness and humility God’s Spirit grows in the lives of Christians.

What might extending godly gentleness look like in day to day terms?

As a parent I think of how often I respond to one of my children or to Heather with a harsh word or attitude.  This does not ease their burden, but adds to it.

When you are checking out at the store, it’s pretty easy to lose any semblance of gentleness, right?  But think about the people around you; notice their stress; see if there is a gentle word or gesture you might offer and watch some of the stress melt away.  Or, for Jesus’ sake, think about the person at the register who faces hour after hour of stressed and angry shoppers.  See how you might ease that person’s burden in some way.  Particularly in your neighborhood stores, you probably see some of these people more than once – I think of Ike at the self-checkout at Harris Teeter on the corner.  Your gentleness will be remembered and your witness will not be missed.

I think this is the kind of work the deacons try to do.  They meet with folks in need or call you up on the phone to see what’s going on in your life and try to extend rest and renewal through acts of love, justice, wisdom, grace, and prayer.  That is their gentleness and humility at work in service to Christ.  If you’ve ever been encouraged by a deacon, you’ve experienced some of the fruit of gentleness.  And one need not be a deacon to care for folks in this way.  Meet with people, call them on the phone, see if there are ways you can offer some godly rest.

Ask yourself what it looks like for you to show gentleness… to show humility.  See if words and gestures of gentleness and humility don’t have the effect Jesus describes.

So, to be clear, let me note two things going on in this passage.  One is the invitation to find rest in trusting Jesus.  The other is the opportunity to learn from Jesus and extend that rest to others.  Some of you need the first word today; some of you need the second.

There is, in fact, some relationship between the two.  In the strange economy of God’s Kingdom, doing the work of Christ actually brings a sense of rest, refreshment, and renewal.  So maybe as you ponder this text you may even realize that God is speaking all of it to you.

Come to Jesus; take up his calling; learn from him.  Find rest and give rest.  That is the fruit of gentleness.  Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Christian Faithfulness (Matthew 23.23-28)

Sermon by:Robert Austell
July 15, 2012
Some Music Used
Prelude (Handbell Quintet): "Melodic Prelude" (Bob Burroughs)
Song of Praise: "Lord Most High" (Harris/Sadler)
Song of Praise: "Holiness" (Underwood)
Song of Response: "Our Father, We Have Wandered" (Nichols)
Offering of Music: "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me" (Michael Bedford)
Hymn of Sending: "Breathe on Me, Breath of God" (TRENTHAM)
Postlude: "Toccata in F Major" (Buxtehude)

"Christian Faithfulness: a fruit of the Spirit"
(Left-click to play; or right-click to save)
Text: Matthew 23:23-28 

**Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

What is a “faithful Christian?”  …be pondering that as we turn to today’s text.

Today we continue in our study of the fruit of the Spirit, those characteristics grown in those who trust and follow Jesus Christ, cultivated by the Holy Spirit for the sake of bearing witness to God in the world.  Though Galatians provides a list of these fruit, each week we are taking one of them and looking to the teaching and ministry of Jesus to better understand what each one looks like in our lives.

Today we look at FAITHFULNESS, and kind of do so in reverse, as we see Jesus really going after the scribes and Pharisees for their lack of faithfulness.  What I am hoping is that in his words about the absence and opposite of faithfulness, that we will understand better what faithfulness means and perhaps even share a bit of conviction with the scribes and Pharisees over the ways we may fall short.  In particular, Jesus sets off hypocrisy as the opposite of faithfulness, and as that is one of the charges most often leveled against Christians, it would be good for us all to heed Jesus’ words even as we try to cultivate the fruit of faithfulness. 

The Eight Woes: Blessing, Cursing, and Hypocrisy (vv. 13-39)

Jesus’ teaching on faithfulness falls within a longer passage containing eight “woes” spoken to the scribes and Pharisees.  I’d like to briefly say a word about those to set the context for what follows.

Woe is the opposite of blessing.  You may remember the sermon on the mount where Jesus kept saying, “Blessed are the so and so or blessed are you when…”  This is the opposite, really another way of saying “Cursed are you because…”  Blessing simply means being aligned with God’s will and thereby receiving the benefits of being exactly where God desires for you to be.  Woe or cursing is being out of line with God’s will.  In this case, significantly so, and Jesus is spelling it out for the scribes and Pharisees.

He lists eight woes, which I will simply list without further commentary.  Then we will focus on numbers five through seven, where faithfulness comes into play.

1.    Woe to you because you keep people from the Kingdom of God. (v. 13)
2.    Woe to you because you prey on widows and cover it with prayer. (v. 14)
3.    Woe to you because you convert people to your religion of rules. (v. 15)
4.    Woe to you for superstitious oaths. (v. 16-22)
5.    Woe to you for neglecting the ‘weighty’ matters of the law: justice, mercy, faithfulness (vv. 23-24)
6.    Woe to you for not facing sin on the inside (vv. 25-26)
7.    Woe to you for not facing death on the inside (vv. 27-28)
8.    Woe to you for opposing the prophets (vv. 29-36)

Finally, after all these woes, Jesus goes on to lament Jerusalem in verses 37-39 because these so-called spiritual leaders are so leading God’s people astray.  As a whole, this longer passage is worth studying and contemplating in greater depth.  But, for today, we are going to focus in on just a part of it. 

Weighty Matters (v. 23)

I focus in on the fifth woe (vv. 23-24) because it is there that we see the word “faithfulness.”  So having heard the larger context, let me zero in on that specific and we’ll work our way back out a bit.

So far, with the first four woes, Jesus has just named problem practices and named why they are wrong.  But starting in verse 23, he starts using imagery to get his point across, and boy does he get vivid!  First, he names a practice of the scribes and Pharisees: literally straining out wine to remove small, unclean insects.  But then Jesus accuses them of “swallowing a camel.”  What’s his point?  It’s that they are being so particular about obeying the smallest requirements of the law; but they have missed the whole point of the Law – a camel-sized oversight.  Or said another way, if they truly believed keeping God’s Law was only about pre-occupation with things like straining their wine, then they had swallowed a lie the size of a camel.

So what was the point of the Law?  Jesus summarizes it well in verse 23: the “weightier provisions of the law [are] justice and mercy and faithfulness.”

Is faithfulness to God straining gnats out of wine to be holy?  Not at all, said Jesus; faithfulness is showing justice and mercy.  Sounds kind of Micah 6:8, if you are familiar with that.  (If not, check it out!)

What might this interacting look like for us?  When I said, “What is a faithful Christian?” at the beginning of the sermon, I wonder what came to your mind?

Is it having your name on the church rolls?  Or a certain amount of attendance at church?  Or giving to the church?

These are good things, but look what Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees.  They tithed so scrupulously that they even gave a tenth of their spices!  Jesus doesn’t condemn that, but says, “You are missing the bigger picture.”

What’s the bigger picture?  What are the “weightier matters?”

Justice.  Mercy.  Faithfulness.

That’s one reason we talk so much about our neighbors out there.  How we treat them is one of the weightier matters of faith.  In fact, how we treat each other also falls under justice and mercy.  What does justice and mercy look like with our neighbors?  What does justice and mercy look like with your spouse, children, or parents?  What does justice and mercy look like towards friends? Enemies?

We talk about speaking with truth and love.  Justice and mercy are truth and love lived out.  Do you help those in need?  Do you have skills that God could use to help those around you?  Do you have a passion for God that can weave together good deeds with living faith? 

That is Jesus’ definition of faithfulness. 

The Insides Count (vv. 25-28)

And that’s not all.  Jesus continues with two even more vivid images.  He calls the scribes and the Pharisees hypocrites and likens them to cups and dishes clean on the outside, but not on the inside.  They are full of sin, specifically “robbery and self-indulgence.” (v. 25)  And then one of the most memorable images of all scripture, he tells them they are “whitewashed tombs” – beautiful on the outside, but “full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (v. 27)

Bad Pharisees, right?  But are you familiar with cleaning up on the outside to present a shiny, happy facade, while dying on the inside?  In the South we are familiar with a version of Christianity like that; God wants so much more for us all.  What Jesus is saying so pointedly is that being a faithful Christian is not about looking good, but about God cleaning us up from the inside out.  It means laying our internal sin before God to be made clean.  Even more drastically, it means God raising those dead bones to life… that’s the Easter promise to all who believe.

Let me say that another way.  If the answer to “What is a faithful Christian?” is dressing up on Sunday and brushing the kids’ hair and not swearing where the church folks can hear you, then Jesus has some words for us to hear.

Even the call to justice and mercy can fall into this.  If ALL our Christianity amounts to the weightier provisions of the Law – doing good, but we fail to see the sin and death inside of us, then we have missed the real Good News of Jesus.

It starts here [my heart] in surrender to God and leads outward to justice and mercy lived out.  It is only with God’s help and by God’s Holy Spirit, but that is work God gladly does in all who trust and believe.

And that work, as the Holy Spirit takes up residence and cleans house and bears witness, that is FAITHFULNESS, a true fruit of the Spirit.  Amen.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Christian Goodness (Matthew 7, Jeremiah 17)

Sermon by: Cathy Youngblood + Video Testimonials
July 8, 2012
Some Music Used
Prelude: "Variations on 'Come, Christians, Join to Sing'" (Jan Sanborn)
Hymn of Praise: "My Hope is Built" (SOLID ROCK)
 The Word in Music (GSPC Summer Choir): "Make us Instruments" (Jean Anne Shafferman)
Offering of Music: "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me" (Michael Bedford)
Hymn of Sending: "Fill Me Now" (Hansen/Peppin)
Postlude: "Rise Up, O Saints of God!" (Ronald A. Nelson)

"Christian Goodness: a fruit of the Spirit"
(Left-click to play; or right-click to save)
Text: Matthew 7:15-20; Jeremiah 17:5-8; Galatians 5:22-23 

**Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Not-Random Life of Kindness (Luke 19, John 14, Philippians 4)

Sermon by:Kathy Larson
July 1, 2012
Some Music Used
Prelude: "For a Lifetime Blessing Flow" (Stanton Lanier)
Hymn of Praise: "Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service" (Bayly/White)
Song of Praise: "Merciful God" (Getty/Townend))
 The Word in Music (Kayleigh Banks, soloist): "Rise" (Brownlee/Jobe)
Hymn of Sending: "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy" (WELLESLEY)
Postlude: "America the Beautiful" (arr. Bock)

"A Not-Random Life of Kindness"
(Left-click to play; or right-click to save)
Text: Luke 19:41-44; John 14:26-27; Philippians 4:6-7 

**Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Note from Kathy: Passages read in worship before the sermon (it would probably help to read them before you listen!)

Micah 6:6-8

With what shall I come to the Lord
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Jonah 3:10-4:11

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.  But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”

Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. So the Lord God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “ Death is better to me than life.”

Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

Luke 6:27-36

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 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 Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Sermon Outline

Chesed: A Not-Random Life of Kindness

A.  Chesed: lovingkindness (related to: in Greek, agape; in Latin, charitas)
  • Micah 6:6-8; Isaiah 58:6-11, Isaiah 58:6-11; Isaiah 1:10-17; Hosea 6:6/Matthew 9:13; Hosea 12:6; Zechariah 7:9; Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; Philippians 2:3-8
  • Love without kindness is not real love; it’s just talk. 1 John 2:4; 4:20; James 2:14-26; John 21:15-17; 1 Corinthians 13:4
  • Kindness without love is not real kindness; it’s obligation, legalism, or a display. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; Matthew 23
B.  God’s Lovingkindness to Us: You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly. Nehemiah 9:33
  • The description of God: Exodus 20:5-6; Exodus 34:6-9, Numbers 14:13-19, Deuteronomy 7:7-11, Nehemiah 9:6-31, Psalm 86:15, 103:8, 145:8, Joel 2:12-14, Jonah 4:2, et. al.
  • OT: God’s lovingkindness to an unfaithful Israel: Nehemiah 9:16-31; Hosea 1-2 (NT: and to us, even while we were His enemies: Romans 5:6-11; John 3:16; 15:13; Romans 2:1-11; 8:31-39)
C.  Our Lovingkindness to Others: Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
  • Jonah: even your enemies: Jonah 3:10-4:11
  • It’s not random, it’s because we have experienced God’s chesed: Colossians 3:12-17; 1 John 4:19; Ephesians 4:32; Luke 6:27-36
  • It’s not just individual acts, it’s a lifestyle of kindness, an attitude, a heart change: Philippians 2:3-8; Romans 12:9-21; Ephesians 5:21; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 3:8; 5:5
  • That heart change will manifest itself in acts of kindness, compassion, and mercy: James 2:14-26; Matthew 25:31-46; Colossians 3:1-11; Ephesians 4:22-32; John 21:15-17