Transcript based on a Sermon given 6 June 2009

Fruit of the Spirit - Gentleness and Goodness

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

If you turn with me to Galatians 5:22 again, we will continue with the series that we have been looking at in this particular section of scripture. We'll have a look at these various qualities, these various attributes, that you find where it says:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Things that actually flow from a mind that is in tune, and actually following the Spirit of God, will have certain attributes, will have a certain way of doing things. And Paul here in Galatians chapter 5 sums up the direction in which this mind is going to go. It is interesting when we look at a preceding verse, in verse 16 it says:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit [if we follow that spiritual mind, that Spirit that is given to us, that flows into us and flows out of us, walking in life, doing the things that we need to do on a daily basis, whatever we accomplish, whoever we are talking to and dealing with, if we are walking in the Spirit then], ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

When you look at that statement and you really start to meditate on that one statement, that if you; "...Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). You are not going to go in that direction. This is a means of actually overcoming. As it says, those that overcome will inherit the Kingdom of God (Revelation 3:21). So this subject on the fruit of the Spirit is a vital one.

In the introductory sermon, I talked about the fact that it is a singular fruit being mentioned here. And I drew the comparison with gifts of the Spirit. Because gifts of the Spirit are given to benefit the Church, or something that God directs and allows us to have. Yet the fruit is something that all of us need to develop. All of us need to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, and this fruit of the Spirit is certainly part of that.

Also the sermon I gave on love, which is the principal mind and character of God - this agape love - I pointed out that the Spirit of God flows in and it flows out. It flows in through prayer and Bible Study and fasting and it flows out in a controlled way. It flows out in the character, the very mind of God Himself, which is of course love, this agape love. It is expressed as the very laws of God. So you can go into the law of God and you can go back and see the sermons I gave on the Ten Commandments. You can see the expression of that outflow of the very Spirit of God.

I talked about joy in another sermon, about human joy, and the fact that we enjoy doing things. We go out and work, and we get enjoyment in actually doing. That is human joy. But the everlasting joy that we have is God-breathed, which is coming from this breath of God, from the Spirit of God. It is something that will in fact allow us to enjoy the doing for eternity, because we will be doing as it says here. Galatians 5:16:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

It is lusts of the flesh that will give us misery and heartache. But if we are walking in the Spirit, doing according to the mind of God all the time, then we can look forward to having eternal joy.

The one on peace - in the Hebrew, 'Shalom' (Strong's 7965) means the abundance of all good things. If it is good and right, and something that we certainly do look forward to. We enjoy a nice meal, and the abundance of good things within our lives. But 'eirene' (Strong's 1515) which is being used here in the Greek means a bit more than that. It means 'joined together'. So we are all of one, as of one people. The peace is making peace between us on an individual basis, much, much more. So it's not just an abundance of good. It's not just peace with everybody having a good time. It's that we are all joined together and all going in the one direction.

In the case of longsuffering, there are a couple of words; 'hupomeno' (Strong's 5278) which as I mentioned, this is like the patience of a fisherman who sits and waits for a bite. There is more to this word here being used as longsuffering, which is 'makrothumia' (Strong's 3115) which is a long passion. It's long passion like a mountain climber climbing up a hill. It is walking in the Spirit. If we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). It is a continual thing. It's walking on a day-by-day basis and is therefore longsuffering and long passion. It is continually plodding in this way, as Ranulph Fiennes, the mountain climber said; "You just keep on plodding for eternity." Never stop plodding and you'll get to wherever you are going, or to whatever you are aiming for, as long as you don't stop plodding. Even if it was ten million light years away, you could, but your life is going to be a little bit shorter than that!

So what I want to do today is continue this series. We have come to two words. One is 'Gentleness' and the other one is 'Goodness'. I want to do the two together, because these two words, gentleness and goodness, in this particular series, we can actually explain both by comparing the two. The two mean something different. Let me say this, that gentleness is only translated gentleness here, nowhere else. Everywhere else it is translated as goodness and various other things. So it's actually translated in a different way here, because it has already got a goodness here, and they couldn't put goodness and goodness, so they used the term gentleness. It doesn't really mean gentleness, it doesn't mean to be gentle Gentlemanly might be good. The trouble is it's womanly as well, so gentlemanly and womanly, or you can use certain other ways of looking at it. So I want to do is:

The Two Greek Words (PLAY FROM 07:48)

So these two words - and first of all, I've been asked by somebody to give the Strong's numbers so they can do a study. For gentlenss, in Strong's we are looking at 5544, 'chrestotes'. Probably the nearest word you can get is 'usefulness'. It is actually coming from another word which is 'chrestos' which means 'useful', and that comes from another word which is 'chraomai' which is 'use'. So again you have use, useful and usefulness. It actually comes from a root which is 'cheir' which is 'a hand'. In other words, it's giving a hand to somebody, lending a hand, having a helping hand. We use the same kind of terminology ourselves in this particular respect.

But this chrestotes, which could mean usefulness, or another way of looking at it, is something which is fit or useful. So you are providing something that is fit for use. Providing something that is useful. It's a moral excellence; it's character or demeanour. It's translated as gentleness, good, goodness or kindness. It is used in several different ways. As I say, the only time it's translated gentleness, is here in Galatians 5:22

The second word, the one that is translated as goodness; most of the time you will actually have this chrestotes translated as goodness as well. But the word that is actually translated here as goodness is Strong's 19, 'agathosune' and also Strong's 18, 'agathor' as well, which is where it comes from, which literally means good. Therefore agathosune does literally mean goodness. Agathor literally is translated good. It is translated good over and over again in so many areas. Where it says in Matthew 19:16:

"...one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [the word there is agathos, where Christ replies] ...Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God..." (Matthew 19:16-17)

That again is agathos. Where it says in Luke 23:50:

"...there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:" (Luke 23:50)

Again agathos is being used. So it does literally mean goodness. When we are looking at these two words, the one that is translated as goodness, agathos, literally means what it says.

The one that is translated as gentleness doesn't mean gentleness. It means more than that. It means being useful. It means providing what is needed. 'Furnishing what is needed' is a good translation for that particular word. Seeing something that's needed and providing it. It's being good, but it's being good in a practical way in providing for something.

Whereas the way in which this particular word is being used (Strong's 19) - and is translated as goodness, - you will find it's referring to God's Law, and the way of God and making sure you are obedient to God. You are being righteous in that sense. Whereas the other one, is where you are actually providing something. You are actually giving something. You are able to help somebody and give them something that is needed.

So those two words are obviously different. Both mean goodness, but they mean goodness in a slightly different way. One is providing and giving something, the other tends to be more a case of being obedient to God and going in God's way. So this is the slight difference and that's why I'm putting the two together, gentleness and goodness. The gentleness, I suppose is gentle-manliness. It's being courteous, being considerate of others. A gentle woman-liness or that type of thing. That's why you can translate it as gentleness.

The Scriptures that Use the Word 'Chrestotes' (PLAY FROM 13:02)

Now let's have a look at the first word - gentleness. Let's call it furnishing what's needed, providing what's needed. Let's look at it that way, this chrestotes, and let's see how it is actually used in other scriptures. Turn to Romans 11. The actual word is used over in verse 22, and it is translated goodness there. But I want to look at the introduction, and how it goes through, and the context in which you will find it, Romans 11:1:

"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." (Romans 11:1)

As we will go on and see, it is something that actually comes from God. God furnishes what is needed to us, we then use it, and furnish what is needed by the very Spirit of God, to others. If we don't, God says He is going to cut us off. It is that serious. That is how important this particular word is. The way in which we express this characteristic is vital. It is what God is looking for in the future. It is an expression of agape and a very important expression of agape. Romans 11:8:

"(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day [so here is Israel, it has got the spirit of slumber, verse 11]. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy." (Romans 11:8,11)

So here he was, he was the apostle sent to the Gentiles. He was saying; "Look, the Israelites have rejected God's way, but you have been given something, and something has been provided for you." This is what he is leading up to, Romans 11:12:

"Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" (Romans 1:12)

So he is looking forward into the future when they finally do come to repentance in Israel, and look at the future time and the fulness of that repentance, and the direction they will go in at that time. Romans 11:17:

"And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou [that's talking to the Gentiles now], being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." (Romans 11:17-18)

So he is saying, "Look, you must be careful. You be careful because something is being given to you. You are being provided something - something that is needed." We need to be very careful in the way that we handle that. Romans 11:19:

"Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well [that's true]; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:" (Romans 11:19-20)

We are Israelites, but the Gentiles are there by the goodness of God. It is the providing of something that is needed by God that allows them to stand there, allows them to understand the things that are necessary. Romans 11:21:

"For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee [don't think that we are immune from what God is doing, God is consistent and this is the warning that Paul is giving. And here in verse 22 is where this word is used:]. Behold [look, make note, be careful, take note of this] therefore the goodness and severity of God..." (Romans 11:21-22)

This word goodness is this word, chrestotes. It is translated as gentleness in Galatians, but here it is actually used as goodness. It is not gentleness - it is providing what is needed. It is giving what is required. Romans 11:22:

"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness..." (Romans 11:22)

So you see how it is actually a case that it is provided for you, so that you can then yourself, provide. So if we put in there, 'providing what is needed', it says:

"Behold therefore the [providing of what is needed] and the severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, [providing what was needed], if you continue in [providing what is needed]: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." (Romans 11:22)

So this quality is vital. This quality of having the nouse, the common sense, to say; "Well look, something is needed in this particular case." If we walking in the Spirit - "...Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16) - and if we really do that, then we will go in life, wherever we happen to be, and one of the qualities that we will have is that, we will be able to recognise that something is needed. We will recognise that we are able to provide it in a certain way.

It's not always just giving something, like a child - you don't just give things. It says; "...though I give my body to be burned, and have not [agape], it profiteth me nothing." (I Corinthians 13:3). It's not just giving stuff. It's giving what is needed. It is being attuned to the person that needs something. Sometimes it's just to sit down and talk. Sometimes it's to go through hell and high water with them, and be there completely. It's not just talking. We will come on and see how Paul actually had somebody who was there and put his life on the line and may well have lost his life for doing so for Paul. That is something that is providing what is needed. He was doing what was necessary at that particular time.

Let's look at a few other places where this word is used. You certainly can look it up yourself through Strong's, both 5543 and also 5544 these two different types of this same word. 5530 is 'use' chraomai. 5543 is 'useful' chrestos. And 5544 is 'usefulness' chrestotes. So they are all related in that sense, but look up 5543 and 5544. Note Luke 5:39 where it talks about the wine:

"No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." (Luke 5:39)

Christ says that the old is better. When you have new wine it is not as good as the old wine, which is better. The word 'better' there is this 'furnish what is needed'. The old hits the mark. You can use all kinds of terminology in that way, but that is this word. It is also translated as 'easy', Matthew 11:30:

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)

"...my yoke [furnishes what is needed]..." (Matthew 11:30). It provides what's needed, it gives what is required at a certain time. Which again puts quite a different kind of aspect on the phrase. Another one is translated is 'gracious'. In I Peter 2:2:

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (I Peter 2:2-3)

The Lord is somebody who provides what is needed. He provides the qualities. It is translated as 'good' in several places. One of which you can put down is I Corinthians 15:33 where it says:

"...evil communications [company, associations] corrupt good manners." (I Corinthians 15:33)

The word good, or good habits, there is this word. Habits which will provide, or giving what is required. Let's turn back to Romans 3:9 we will read some of the context first of all:

"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good [that's the word -there is none that provides what is needed], no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:9-18)

So you can see here that there is no goodness, no actual giving, it is all incoming. It's grasping, it's selfish and so on. It gives this indication in verse 12 that there is none that does good, there are none that are actually providing what is needed, not one. Not one person is doing what really needs to be done. Now Romans 2:1:

"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself [notice: it's talking about the way in which we deal with others, whether we are providing what's needed or not]; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" (Romans 2:1-3)

In other words, here is somebody doing exactly the same thing and condemning. He is not approaching somebody in the right way. It's not righteousness that is being talked about - it has an implication on righteousness - but it is providing, or not providing for somebody else. Romans 2:4:

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness [that's the word - of His furnishing what is needed, of providing what's needed] and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the [providing of what is needed by] God leadeth thee to repentance? [God gives to us and He provides what is needed to lead us to the repentance itself] But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, [Trial] and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God." (Romans 2:4-11)

Notice, God is providing what is needed in every case. He is giving to those that are going in a certain direction, a certain way of life, and having repercussions from that way of life. Those that are going in a different way are having repercussions of that different way. He is providing what is needed in every case. Paul is saying to the Jews in Romans 2:4, he uses this word where he is saying:

"Or despisest thou the riches of his [providing what is needed] and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the [providing of what is needed by] God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

God will provide what is needed in the problems that we have in leading us to repentance, because we have problems and we need to change the direction we are going in. Therefore, the problems will help us to change. He is providing that which we need. It is not just gentleness as far as some of the things that are being mentioned here. It is gentle-manliness, it's being concerned for the person, but it's giving what is needed. It's trying to help them.

Sometimes with our children, it's not good to give them everything. In fact, many, many times it's not good to just give them everything, because they will grow up spoiled. It is much better to provide what is needed. I remember with our children, to try and get money as far as the children were concerned; yes they had pocket money but it was a relatively small amount, which then encouraged them to be inventive in how they actually obtained what was really needed, which was more money.

I would take the tractor and trailer down to the bottom of the field, and they had permission to go into our neighbour's woods and gather moss. They gathered a trailer load of this sphagnum moss, and providing what's needed, I would cart this up the track, and back it into the shed, and set up benches, and they would bag up this moss in the spring time. I printed out labels which they'd stick on the bags, and provide the transport as well. We'd take it across to a garden centre in Swansea, where we'd sell the moss, and they made several hundred pounds apiece from selling this sphagnum moss - it goes in hanging baskets in the spring time.

You don't just give them a few hundred pounds when they ask. That doesn't do them any good. Beside the fact that you don't have it yourself anyway, but what they learned in actually doing that was exactly what they needed in growing up, exactly what was required. And God as a loving Father, doesn't just go ahead and say, "Oh well, never mind." As it says here in Romans 2:8:

"But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness [then what do you provide for them?], indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:" (Romans 2:8-10)

It is what's required. Why? Because God knows that in the future, He has His plan. He has His plan for all of us, as sons and daughters; as born sons and born daughters in the very family of God for eternity. He will use what is necessary to provide what is needed for that purpose, that ultimate goal that He is looking forward to.

Take a look at another place over in Ephesians 4:29. I hope you see that it is not gentleness. It can be gentleness, but it is not the meaning of the word:

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers [notice, when we open our mouth, we have to be careful that we provide what is needed, that's what he's talking about]. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God..." (Ephesians 4:29-30)

Why would that grieve the Holy Spirit of God? Because the Holy Spirit of God, flows in from prayer, study, fasting and meditation, and it flows out in a certain type of life. That type of life is not one that has corrupt communications coming out of the mouth, which is not providing what is needed for the listener. So we see here how we can grieve the very spirit of God;

"...whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption [that Spirit has got to have access to have ability to work]. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted [that word translated there as 'kind' is 'furnish what's needed' to one another. It is being kind, but it is more than that], forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:30-32)

You provide what is needed through your mouth, through the way you deal with somebody. This again gives you another flavour, another branch, another way of looking at this particular word that is used.

Again, as I say; "... Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) That is the crucial thing. It will actually give us the power and the understanding to see that something is needed, and not be blind to it. If we've got a problem with this, and let's face it, we all do, all of us, to some degree or another. Some people have a problem more than others. We go around the world with blinkers on. We do not provide what is needed, we do not see, we do not notice.

Here, God through the apostle Paul is warning us, encouraging us to make sure that we don't grieve the Holy Spirit. We allow it to flow out properly. "... Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16). If we go back to Ephesians 2:7 you find it translated as kindness here:

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:7)

Providing what is needed. Other places that you will find it as kindness are II Corinthians 6:6, Colossians 3:12, and Titus 3:4. In this particular one here in Ephesians chapter 2, it is interesting if you look at the context of this particular passage, you find in Ephesians 1:19 where it says:

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places [in the heavenlies, it is a heavenly perspective, it says, "...Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (Psalm 110:1) ], Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all ... under his feet, and gave him ... the head over all to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:19-23)

Here He's given to the Church and it says in Ephesians 2:1:

"And you hath he [made alive] quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience [so it's going in a different direction, it is not providing what is needed at all]: Among whom also we [Jews] all had our [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfiling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others [remember, "... Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16), this is what he is talking about here]. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath [made us alive] together with Christ, (by Christ's grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in [these heavenlies, our perspective therefore changes to God's perspective] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:1-7)

You see how again He is providing what is needed all the time. All the way through this, He is taking us away from Satan's way, Satan's mindset. He is providing what is needed all the way. Ephesians 2:8 says:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God [it is providing what is needed by God]: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works..." (Ephesians 2:8-10)

So that we can, in fact, ourselves, then provide what is needed.

The Scriptures that Use the Word 'Agathosune' (PLAY FROM 36:37)

So coming onto the next word, the word that is actually translated as goodness, 'agathosune', Strong's 19. Let's turn over to Romans again, I want you to notice that this is much more to do with righteousness, goodness in the sense of righteousness. So again, when we are looking at these two words in Galatians 5, you are looking at two different qualities, two different types of goodness. One, is providing what is right, what is needed, and the other one is being obedient to God as we will see. Romans 15:1:

"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification [notice, it's to edification, this is the focus of this particular passage]. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:1-4)

So again, you go back to the scriptures and you find out what is right, and you find out what is wrong, and therefore, you apply what is right. Yes, it is still in the context with other people as well. Notice what it goes on to say in Romans 15:5:

"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, [Isaiah] saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you [Gentiles] with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit [that's where it needs to come from]. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." (Romans 15:5-14)

Notice how it's used. The word goodness there in Romans 15:14 is this word, agathosune, and it is the one that is translated goodness when you are looking at the fruit of the Spirit. I want you to notice what it's talking about, the context in which you are finding it. Yes, it's talking about the attitude of mind towards others, but it is talking about it in the case of learning.

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope...And [you Gentiles] I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." (Romans 15:4,14)

It is the case of admonishing one another, of dealing with one another about the structure of the mindset of God that comes out of scripture. Turn over to Ephesians 5:1, we find here:

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But [porneia], and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints [notice what he's talking about, he's talking about sin]; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient [fitting]: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)" (Ephesians 5:1-9)

Notice the context of this section is talking about sin. That 'goodness' there is this word 'agathosune'. Notice what he lumps it with - righteousness and truth. It's coming from the very Spirit of God and it gives the righteousness of God. It gives the goodness of God that is flowing out of us, according to His Law, according to His mind, according to His Word - as defined by that Word. This is the difference. It is not just providing what is needed when you see someone else needs something. It is actually something that is defined by God as being righteous. Ephesians 5:10:

"Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." (Ephesians 5:10-12)

Turn over to Matthew chapter 5 and just remind ourselves of something here. You see, it is important that we understand that both these words are necessary. Both these qualities are necessary. It is not just a case of doing good to people. We were hoodwinked in some ways, in many ways, by the apostasy because we were told we had to go out and do good to people. We had to go pick rubbish off motorways, or do whatever else was necessary. It is true that we have to do good to people, particularly to brethren, as we will go on and see. But this aspect, this type of goodness that is mentioned in Matthew 5 was then pushed to one side.

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel..." (Matthew 5:13-15)

Now they used to say; "Let people see your good works." Therefore giving was all that was needed, but notice the context of this in Matthew 5:17:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to [fill it to the brim]. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be [brought to pass]. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-20)

So that aspect is what we are talking about. Let's look over at another example of the use of this particular word in II Thessalonians. It is interesting, the context of this passage in II Thessalonians 2, is the man of sin. The man who is going away from God's Way, and going in the way of sin, disobedient to God's law. If we pick it up in II Thessalonians 1:6 it says:

"Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense [trial] to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with [age lasting, is a better translation] destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil [fill to the very brim, right to the top] all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:" (II Thessalonians 1:6-11)

The word goodness there is this word that is actually translated as goodness in Galatians chapter 5. So those are the two words and we have seen them used. Notice the context of that particular passage. On the context of the one it is providing what is needed. God providing what's needed negatively and positively to us. And ourselves providing what is needed in the way we speak and the way we actually walk in the Spirit and not fulfil the lust of the flesh. But also, there is this righteousness, this goodness that is also mentioned alongside it, gentleness and goodness. This is different and it is found in the context of righteousness. You will find it in the context of what is good and right according to God's Way, according to God's Law.

The Need for Both Words (PLAY FROM 46:56)

As I say, both are required. The reason why I particularly want to say that is, that what I've found many, many times is that - rather than furnishing, or providing what is needed - people are so preoccupied about 'being right', feeling that being right is more important. Being right is not. Yes, we have got to go ahead and be obedient to God, but so often we try and be right for our own selfish ends.

Again you have to have both. Both have got to be there. You have got to have a righteousness, yes, but the Spirit of God should be flowing out of us. Not just being right before God, but also being right as far as God is concerned in providing for others, in helping others, in doing what is necessary on that side as well. So many times you will find that we are more concerned about being right, than being righteous. This is why it is very important.

Now, there is an area in scripture that deals with this, and I think it is worthwhile going and having a look and seeing how providing what's needed can be expressed, and that is in Matthew 25. I hesitate to actually apply this prophetically, because I believe it is probably talking to us far more directly to us at this time, that we find ourselves in, than we ever really considered before. That is my own personal feeling. I'm not going to go ahead and say definitely that's the way it is.

The principles I am going to go ahead and bring out now, are principles that we should all be able to bring out without any problem at all from this particular passage. They are things that we can develop ourselves as far as the fruit of the Spirit is concerned. It is something that we need to grow in. They are things that we can use as a family, as far as our wives and our children are concerned. They are also areas that we need to be growing in. They are areas that we can train our children in. Again, as a people of God, we need to be training our children, and we need to look for opportunities to help. Even things like pets can help in a family, in order to give our children something to look after, and provide what is needed for them. As I say, both things are true. The righteousness is there according to God's Word, but also this looking for what is needed. This section in Matthew 25:31 says:

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [Notice in verse 40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:31-34,40)

It's interesting when Mr Armstrong was talking about Matthew 15 and Mark 7 about this woman that came to Him saying; heal my daughter of this demon that was there; "But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." (Matthew 15:26). So, it's very clear that Christ made a distinction, and there is a distinction here. He is specifically talking about brethren in particular. It goes on in the end of Matthew 25:45 and says:

"...Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matthew 25:45)

So I do wonder whether, in fact, that group is also talking about a more general case. But where it is talking about the positive side, this is talking particularly to brethren. It says in Matthew 25:34:

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat..." (Matthew 25:34-35)

Again what I want to stress is the fact that this is providing what is needed. I was hungry and you provided food. That food can be spiritual, it can be physical. It can be whatever is needed, whatever is required.

I hesitate in this, because quite frankly when you look at this particular passage, it is used by churches in the world to go out and try and change the world now. That is not what this passage is talking about, changing the world now. You don't change the world now. A Band-Aid is not the answer. It is interesting that it talks about a Band-Aid, because this Band-Aid is a plaster. A plaster is not what the world needs now. It needs a change to the very Kingdom of God. It needs providing what is really needed, which is the spiritual side. But nevertheless, it does mention here those who have actually provided for brethren.

Turn over to I John chapter 3. We will find that if we are walking in the Spirit, and we are not fulfiling the lusts of the flesh, where we see something that is needed, that Spirit will guide us, will allow us to see what is needed. As it says; "...though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not [agape]..." (I Corinthians 13:3). Have the right kind of approach, which is a Godly approach, it is totally worthless. So it's not just giving. It's allowing that Spirit, being sensitive if you like, to the needs of others. Being sensitive to righteousness. Being sensitive to make sure what is needed is actually given. I John 3:14:

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death [this was all twisted in the apostasy, it was applied to the entire world as a whole, that is not what it says, it is applied to the brethren]. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren [this also fits with what we read in Matthew 25]. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (I John 3:14-17)

We've got to be very careful of this that we don't use the fact that we can use our goods to feed the poor and all the rest of it, and you have not Agape, and therefore we close our minds to the needs that are really necessary. Notice what it does say however here I John 3:17:

"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need [there is a need there], and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love [merely] in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (I John 3:17-18)

Now I've got to be careful on this one, because quite frankly, I get all of Africa writing to me and quoting this verse and saying therefore give to me. That basically does happen. Again, go back and understand what is needed, when it talks about furnishing what is needed. The scriptures we read in Romans where God actually leads people to repentance, and He does so by providing what is needed, which is not always what we humanly would like. It is not an easy life. That is not what we are looking at. Sometimes it doesn't have to be that way. But we've got to be careful, and make sure we hit the right balance. Again, the only way you can get that right balance is through the spiritual side, the very leadership of the Spirit of God; "...Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16). In this area, it certainly applies.

We can train our children in this area as well, as far as hunger and thirsting is concerned. We certainly should make sure our children do learn to share food. In other words, offer food to their sisters or brothers, and make sure that they learn to share. It is always a very good thing around the table to be able to get somebody to take the food and offer it to their siblings, and make sure that their siblings are able to have the bigger piece maybe. This is part of it, training children in the way that they need to go, so that when they are older they then have the same frame of mind.

I remember one time when my wife was sick with flu. My mother and father brought food up for us during that time. Which I was very grateful for. I am sure all the children were very grateful in not having to eat my cooking! They brought a meal up every time. These kinds of things can be given to the children, so that they can provide what is needed, so that there is a certain goodness that is encouraged there. Because in the future, they again are able to apply the same thing. It is part of when they have the Spirit of God working in them - not just with them, but in them - they will also learn the same qualities of mind.

The stranger; it talks about; "...I was a stranger, and ye took me in:" (Matthew 25:35). As a boy growing up, my father was a haulage contractor, and I remember he would pick up hitch hikers and we would have them sleeping on the floor in the living room. Now today, the way things are, you just can't do it, it is horrendous; in the 50's you could. We lived in a nice area, and had a nice house, and very expensive things in the house, and things didn't go missing.

I remember it was very snowy one time, we were living up in the Northeast, and we came across a group of stranded teenagers. It's the only time we have ever done that, but we picked them up and brought them home. And their parents were very grateful because the snow had cut the village completely off. We put them up that night, but in the main, today it is very, very dangerous to do that. It's a crying shame. Because as I say, I remember as a child growing up that we did have people that my father would pick up on his travels and he would actually bring them home occasionally.

The stranger; lonely people, fellowship and letters and cards. All of these things, we need to make sure that we are doing that. That we are furnishing what is needed, providing what's needed, allowing the Spirit of God to impress on us what we need to do. Allowing that to flow out in the right way.

Clothing; as it says here; "Naked, and ye clothed me..." (Matthew 25:36). We don't see people naked, but certainly when we go to Africa we take used clothing down there.

Sick; "...I was sick, and ye visited me..." (Matthew 25:36). Again, when did we last pray for the people on the current prayer request list? Print this out and use it, it is provided there for people to use, the prayer list for people who are ill.

In prison; "...I was in prison, and ye came unto me." (Matthew 25:36). Let's just have a look at this a little bit, because I wonder how much this is going to be an issue in the future. Certainly as we go into the tribulation, if we are not "...accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36), guaranteed this is will be an issue. But here in II Timothy 1:6 notice:

"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:6-7)

So in the context of the very Spirit of God, he then starts talking in II Timothy 1:15 and says:

"This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me..." (II Timothy 1:15)

So here he was in prison, and exactly what time it was that this was written, 64 or 66 AD, something along those lines, we're not sure. But around about 64 AD, Nero had burned Rome. So at this time, the Christians were not the flavour of the month by any means. It was alright for Paul because he would have got his head lopped off if he got judged. If you were a Jew and you came under the wrath of the Roman Government, you got crucified. So you can understand when it says in II Timothy 1:15:

"This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes [now these people were turned away from spiritually as well]. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain [so he actually came and sought him out]: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me [and yet the way in which it is worded here says]. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (II Timothy 1:15-18,2:1)

So he was encouraging Timothy, building up his courage, quite frankly, to come and see him and bring the things that were necessary for the canonization that was taking place. It was furnishing what was needed. It was providing what was needed.

There was a certain amount of righteousness, but there were two different types of goodness. One was doing what was right and not going against what Christ laid down, and not worshiping the Emperor. Being prepared to put your life on the line for what is right in keeping the Sabbath and doing the various things that are necessary. But there's the other side as well, and these two have got to be kept in balance. These two areas - both things - one translated as goodness and one translated as gentleness. It literally means, to provide what is needed.

This passage of scripture where it talks here; "...I was in prison, and ye came unto me." (Matthew 25:36). It is very, very meaningful. Incredibly meaningful as time goes on and we see the future time of trouble. This section of scripture in Matthew 25, because of the way it's positioned, I think it has an awful lot more to say to us than we have ever really understood in the past. I think it is talking very specifically to us, far more than we have given it credence to in the past. Therefore these areas are very important, and that we do sit down, and realise what it is talking about, Matthew 25:40:

"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

As we go into the future, and even those of us that are going to; "...be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36), it doesn't mean to say we are going to get off scot free. It doesn't mean to say that we aren't going to end up in prison. It doesn't mean to say that we are not going to go hungry, or naked or sick. Certainly we have got sickness within the Church.

But the Spirit of God allows us to put these two things in balance. The goodness which is to be obedient to God, the goodness which is to go God's Way, come what may, for eternity and to make sure we do that. That's goodness side of things. But also, the providing of what is needed as well. So that we are able, through that same Spirit, that same Godly mindset that flows out of us, and allows us to see where we can provide the things that are needed.

It's interesting that Francis Bacon made a statement which I think is quite appropriate. He is a writer from the beginning of the 17th century. He laid down the basic principles of scientific thought. That is what Francis Bacon is famous for, the experimental hypothesis, that's the basis of science. He made this comment and he said:

"It's not what men eat, but what they digest that makes them strong. It's not what we gain, but it's what we save that makes us rich. It's not what we read, but it's what we remember that makes us learned. It's not what we preach, but it's what we practice that makes us Christians."