Does Compassion Move You to Action?
What moves your heart?
In Matthew chapter nine we see Jesus traveling and ministering with His disciples. In this chapter alone we see Jesus: forgiving sins (9:2), healing a paralyzed man (9:6), a hemorrhaging woman (9:22), two blind men (9:29), casting out a demon allowing a mute to speak (9:33), raising a dead girl to life (9:25), eating with social outcasts (9:11), and calling Matthew to follow Him (9:9).
In the midst of all those miracles people asked Jesus 3 questions: How can you forgive sins? Why do you eat with sinners? Why don't your disciples fast? That is what you call a tough crowd.
"Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest'"
I. Christ's Commission (v.35)
Jesus went "about all the cities and villages".
1. To Teach
Jesus was attracted to the synagogues, for they were natural gathering places. There He could meet people who had come to worship, sing psalms, and hear from the Scriptures. He could teach there to everyone who came. Paul employed this strategy on his missionary journeys because he was simply following Jesus' example.
2. To Preach
He did not preach about the popular social problems of the day, or how to be a better person. He preached the gospel of the kingdom, how to be reconciled to God and live for eternity.
3. Healing every sickness
Sickness is a constant reminder that the body of flesh is temporary. We think of demon possession as mimicking psychotic behavior, but there was one who simply could not speak because of his demon. Others had paralysis, blindness, hemorrhaging, or even death. These were all beyond what medicine could cure. But in healing, Jesus could demonstrate the power of God to change lives. The miracles validated his identity as the son of God, and his message about the kingdom of God. Healing temporary bodies was about giving eternal life.
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
[Jesus wasn't just compassionate toward the sick, he was compassionate for the multitude. Even those with healthy bodies still had broken lives. They were separated from God by sin, they had a spirit as mute as the demon possessed, and as unseeing as those with blind eyes, even their hearts could not hear the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus described them as sheep without a shepherd. Ever watch one of those nature shows to see how a pack of wolves attack herd animals like sheep. They run right into the middle of the herd to divide them. Then they pick the smallest group and run at them to divide them again, and they keep doing it until they separate one lonely sheep that they can chase and harass until he's too tired to run anymore. Then they devour that one. But if they have a shepherd, he will chase away the wolf and gather the sheep so he can watch over them, care for them, and feed them.
The world is the same today. People are wandering around throughout life following the dead-end trails of humanism, communism, and materialism and false religion. No wonder the Lord's heart was moved with compassion!
Compassion is - a feeling of deep sympathy for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Compassion is caring driven to action.]
<<A friend of mine was reading a book by atheist Sam Harris "The Moral Landscape" that said this:>>
"I know that helping people who are starving is far more important than most of what I do. I also have no doubt that doing what is most important would give me more pleasure and emotional satisfaction than I get from most of what I do by seeking pleasure and emotional satisfaction. But this knowledge does not change me. I still want to do what I do for pleasure more than I want to help the starving."
So I asked my friend: So if Sam's morality cannot change his behavior then what is the point?
Morality refers to your character and behavior; your feelings apart from your actions are irrelevant. Saying you care for the poor does not matter unless it motivates you to put some rice in the bowl.
Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18)
But Sam Harris said "these beliefs are not sufficient to change me"; this is the part is dislike the most. I don't think that a belief that is contrary to your actions is a belief that you actually hold but rather a belief that you wish you held.
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things." (Matthew 12:35)
Put yourself in the shoes of the poor man. What is the difference between someone who does not care about the poor; and someone who says that they care about the poor, but does not try to help them?
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (James 2:15-16)
[This example was referring to the poor, but Jesus was moved with compassion for the lost.]
37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
A. The Problem
In this world, 156,000 people die every day. How many of them have heard about Jesus? Even the most generous estimates, including all groups who claim to be Christian, put the Christian population at about 1/3 of the world population. Meaning 100,000 people die every day without knowing Jesus. The grace of God and the gift of eternal life is lost to these people.
The problem is urgent! So, what is the solution?
B. Pray, Send, Go
PRAY the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
If the Holy Spirit leads you to go – then you need to go.
If are not called, and you stay – pray and pay their way!
Every year God calls new laborers into the harvest for world missions. I believe God has already provided the means to send and provide for everyone he calls into the ministry. And that he provides by putting the means in the hands of his people.]
In Luke chapter 9 when Jesus sent out his disciples to preach he gave them these instructions. 3 And He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece. 4 "Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them."
Matthew recording the same event adds "whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there". Jesus was saying "Not only do I have people who will take care of your needs, but everyone in town already knows who has my provision."
[Good news, all of us are rich. If you saw the Pastor's $4,000 sermon a few weeks ago you heard about how many families live on just a few dollars per day. If you make anything close to the America's average family income of $50,000 per household, then you have a higher income than 90% of the world. America has just 5% of the world population yet we generate 1/3 of the world economy. I don't think it's a coincidence that God sends so many missionaries from the same place where he puts most of the wealth!]
[In Exodus 25 when it was time to build the Tabernacle, God commanded Moses to take an offering.]
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
[In Exodus 38 Moses recorded the inventory of what the people gave that was used to make the Tabernacle.]
24 All the gold that was used in all the work of the holy place, that is, the gold of the offering, was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 25 And the silver from those who were numbered of the congregation was one hundred talents and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary:
[A talent was 75 pounds and a shekel was 2/3 of an ounce so I did some calculations and found they used 2,200 pounds of gold, and 7,500 pounds of silver, using Fridays market prices I figured that just the metal the gold, silver and bronze of the sanctuary was worth over 50 million dollars. Where did freed slaves get 50 million dollars?]
Exodus 12:35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
[As they were leaving Egypt they would ask the Egyptian households for stuff, and whatever they asked for was given to them, so that everything needed for the ministry of the Tabernacle was already in their hands when Moses called for the offering; all they had to do was give it. And they gave willingly, generously, and abundantly.]
Exodus 36:4 Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, 5 and they spoke to Moses, saying, "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the LORD commanded us to do." 6 So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, "Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary." And the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.
[God had provided everything by the hands of His people for the ministry He called them to do.
Over the next two weeks we will be focusing on world missions. The mechanism our church uses to fund both home and world missions is called, "Faith Promise".
Faith Promise is – making a promise, by faith, to give a certain amount of money to take the gospel to the world. We take these anonymous faith promise commitment cards up from you at the end of our missions conference, and total them, so we know how many missionaries we as a church can support. In addition to Faith Promise our church takes 15% of the general fund offering and gives that money to missions, as an example to all of us.
Unless we give what God has provided, missionaries are not able to go. We want to expose every believer in our church to the urgent need of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. We want to stir up your compassion so that compassion can move you to action, like Jesus.
God has commissioned every believer to be witnesses at home, in nearby regions and to the end of the earth. We respond to His command by praying, giving, and going until the whole world hears the gospel.]
Dave asked the teachers to close with a Personal Testimony on missions giving so here goes:
Anyone who has heard me teach knows that I hate "prosperity theology", the idea that you give just to get, or that those with the most faith will have the most possessions. But as someone who has tried to give faithfully over the years, I have to admit that God has blessed me and always provided for my family in substantial material ways. So giving for me is a testimony that God has already provided. Not just for me, but for all the ministries where he calls people to serve. I believe God provides for his missionaries through us, if we would only say "Lord, here is what you have supplied, I know it all comes from you, just show me where you want it to go."
I give so that God can be glorified in my life; I give because I believe in my church and my pastors and the way God uses us; I give to share God's love with poor children through Manna; I give to share the gospel through Faith Promise Missions. Finally I give because I believe Jesus is the righteous judge who will call me to answer for my life; and I don't want to try and explain to my Lord why I lived in the richest civilization in history, but failed to give faithfully. I want God to see me as a faithful steward of his grace.