Kindness – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  May 9, 2010

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  • Fruit of the Spirit
John 15:6-15
RS 321-05

John 15:6–15

When we talk about friendship, we’re talking about a sign of a changed heart, a concept deeply rooted in John 15:6-15’s teaching about staying connected to Jesus, following His teachings, and caring for each other. The Greek idea of kindness includes honesty and compassion, important ingredients in friendship. The message of the gospel offers us the tools for friendship, highlighting its power to change and humanize us. This sermon looks more closely at the nature, development, and power of friendship.

1. What friendship is all about

Jesus uses the images of a vine and branches, and friends, to show the deep connection he has with his disciples. Biblical friendship goes beyond just agreeing on things or physical attraction. It’s about sharing loves, passions, beliefs, and interests. True friendship, found in the common ground of interests and beliefs, is something we discover, not make.

2. How we make friends

While true friendship is found in unity, it also requires the tough and sometimes costly task of accepting others. This takes two important things: the bravery to be open and vulnerable, including sharing secrets and accepting feedback, and the dedication to always being there, which involves standing by friends no matter what and sticking with them even when it’s hard. Real friendship, marked by always being open and reliable, can’t be built through shallow online chats, but needs face-to-face time and deep trust.

3. Where we get the strength for friendship

Our society often promotes relationships that benefit ourselves, but true friendship calls for openness, honesty, and always being there for others. Christianity teaches us that God can be our friend, shown through Jesus Christ’s selfless sacrifice on the cross, which reflects God’s deep love and commitment. This divine friendship gives us the strength to face our fears and weaknesses, allowing us to take risks and build real connections with others.

1. We need to put friendship at the heart of relationships between people from different races, classes, and countries

Aristotle observed that people often make friends with others who are like them in race, class, and education. But the Christian faith offers a new perspective, suggesting that shared experiences of Jesus Christ, a shared love for the gospel, and an interest in Scripture can create deep friendships, even among people from different races, classes, genders, countries, or political views. The church, then, is a place where former enemies become friends through Christ’s saving work, showing the beauty and richness of love between people who wouldn’t normally be friends.

2. We need to put friendship at the heart of relationships between men and women

In cities and religious groups, men often either avoid women or just pursue romantic interests. But within the Christian faith, there’s a chance to build real friendships with women, allowing love to grow naturally and possibly lead to a strong, lifelong marriage. This approach brings friendship back into relationships between men and women, breaking down barriers of race, culture, and gender.

3. We need to put friendship at the heart of our relationship with God

Many claim to follow God, but don’t really become His friend as Jesus taught us, which involves unconditional obedience and openness. Real conversation with God through prayer and His Word is crucial, as we all struggle with self-doubts and fears, needing a perfect love to heal us. Jesus, as the ultimate friend, provides this healing love, giving us the ability to build meaningful relationships.



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