Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Upside Down
Week 3 – Practicing Kindness in a World That’s… Not
PDF file for printing.04-21-18
- Practice our memory verse for this series together as a group: 1 Corinthians 1:27 – “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
- Week 1 was on generosity.
Share one thought that you found helpful from the first sermon of this series.
- Week 2 was on humility.
From what we know of ancient cultures, humility wasn’t considered a virtue in any culture until the Christian faith began to hold it up as a virtue. Why do you think humility wasn’t viewed as a virtue until Christianity came along?
- Read 2 Timothy 2:14-26: “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
Paul wrote this toward the end of his life. He wrote it to Timothy, a young man that Paul had mentored in Christian leadership. Paul was handing off his ministry to Timothy in this letter that we call 2nd Timothy.
What questions or observations come to your mind as you read this passage?
- Note that Paul says in verse 24 that Jesus’ servants should be kind to everyone. Pastor Dale put kindness on a scale – with levels 1, 2 and 3. But he started by describing people who are below the line of even the lowest level. Have you ever met someone who seems like they haven’t even made it to level 1 of kindness? If so, describe a situation you experienced with that person (but not if they’re in the room with you right now 🙂 ).
Level 1 Kindness: Renouncing My “Jerk” Factor
- What did the pastor mean by this?
- Read Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
What does this verse add to your understanding of why kindness is so important as a Christian virtue?
- Some Christian excuse their unkind and “jerky” behavior with “that’s just the way I am.” Why is this a poor excuse for people who know Christ?
Level 2: Deciding Kindness is Always the Better Way
This level moves beyond the defensive posture of avoiding bad behavior to taking initiative to be kind and pushing against darkness in the world.
- Read Colossian 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Why should Christians be kind, according to this passage?
- Describe how Martin Luther King, Jr. modeled the value of Christian kindness.
- Why do you think people are often so unkind on social media?
Level 3: Living All of Life as a Response to God’s Kindness to Me
- Read Titus 3:4-5a: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
Name some of the ways God has been kind to you personally.
- What happens to our behavior, when we dwell on God’s kindness to us and express our gratitude to Him?
- What was one helpful idea in this sermon for you personally?