A Compassionate Heart!
Sermon shared by George Dillahunty
Summary: We are called to be compassionate people - to be aware of distressing circumstances that affect others and desire to alleviate their distress. Jesus, the Christ, was the epitome of compassion and any follower of Him will have a compassionate heart!
Denomination: Church of God
Audience: General adults
So, here we have Jesus, the Christ, saying that we have a Jewish individual that is robbed and beaten lying on the side of the road hurting - The Jewish priest passes by - the Jewish Levite looks and passes by; but, this Samaritan man who is an enemy of the man lying on the side of the road, turns out to be the only one with enough compassion to help this man in need. Sadly, that seems to be the situation with the Christian community today - the sinner is more likely to assist someone in need than the Christian "true believer." There is a lot of irony here; however, the point that is made is this: the person that we would least expect to show compassion is the very one who does - in other words, compassion is shown not because we are the most religious; nor is it shown because the person in need is just like us; but, it is shown because we have a heart like the heart of Jesus, the Christ! We have a "Mary heart in a Martha world!"
In Matthew 14:14 (NLT), the Disciple/Apostle Matthew, tells us: "A vast crowd was there as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick." Jesus, the Christ, had just been informed of the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist, and had gone off by Himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. However, the crowds learned of his destination and they followed him on land and met him when his boat reached the shore.
The Apostle Paul, in addressing the church at Philippi, in Philippians 1:8 (NLT), tells them and us: "God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus." So, tell me, preacher, "What will it take for us to have hearts of compassion like Christ and the Samaritan?"
Well, first of all, we need a heartfelt expression of sympathy! In verse 33, of our Holy Scripture text, for today, reading from the New Living Translation (NLT), we find these words: "...and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity." There wasn’t any hesitation on the part of the Samaritan - somehow he had developed his heart in a way that the Jewish priest and Jewish Levite had not! He didn’t stop to wonder about what others might think; or, about the time he would have to spend; he simply did what had to be done = he went instantly into the "sympathy mode!"
We cannot force ourselves to have a heart of compassion - it comes with time as we fellowship and have relationship with Jesus, the Christ. The more we know Him, the softer our hearts become and the more likely we are to instantly begin to feel the way that the Samaritan felt!
Secondly, we need a willingness to offer healing! The Samaritan understood the truth of that old saying, "If you’re gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk." There needs to come a point in our display of compassion where we are willing to do whatever is necessary to bring healing to the minds, bodies, and souls of the people we are ministering to - no matter how unpleasant it might sometimes seem! We are not fulfilling the call for compassion until we are willing to do whatever it takes to help the person in need!
Thirdly, we need a desire to pay the cost! Not everyone has a desire to pay the cost, do they? The Samaritan was willing
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