Summary: Using the true story of Kitty Genovese as the illustration, this sermon deals with the apathy many Christians have about the Lost.


Haggai 1:1-11

1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

2"Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ’This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built." ’ "

3Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4"Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?"

5Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!

6"You have sown much, and bring in little;

You eat, but do not have enough;

You drink, but you are not filled with drink;

You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;

And he who earns wages,

Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."

7Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!

8Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may

take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD.

9"You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it

home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house

that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

10Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth

withholds its fruit.

11For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and

the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and

livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD.

13Then Haggai, the LORD’S messenger, spoke the LORD’S message to the people, saying, "I am with you, says the LORD."

14So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,

15on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

The prophet Haggai addressed a particular spiritual condition

that prevailed among the people of God

who had returned to Jerusalem after the 70 years exile in Babylon.

They had Spiritual apathy.

God’s Work was being Neglected.

God’s People Were Contented.

Empty Excuses were being offered for not doing God’s work.

The root causes of their spiritual apathy --

Self-centeredness, Worldly-mindedness, and Ungratefulness.

Why do you suppose many church seats are empty today?

Why do so many pastors leave their churches?

Why do so many churches have to eventually close?

Why do so many people die and their souls go to hell?

Today I’m going to tell you another true story. Kitty Genovese was a 28-year-old woman who lived in Queens, New York. Her home was in a quiet residential neighborhood. Kitty was employed as the manager of a bar. When the bar closed shortly before 3:30 a.m. on March 13, 1964, Kitty got into her car and returned to her home. She parked her car in a lot adjacent to her apartment building and began to walk the 30 yards through the lot to her door. Noticing a man at the far end of the lot, she paused. When he started toward her, Kitty turned the other way and tried to reach a police call box half a block away. The man caught and stabbed her. She started screaming, "Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!" Lights went on in the apartment building across the street. Windows opened. One man called out, "Let that girl alone!" The assailant shrugged and walked away. Windows closed and lights went out.

I want to ask 3 questions.

Question #1. Does God Care?

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

YES, God cares!!!

If you’ve ever felt like God doesn’t care, you are not alone.

The disciples in a ship on the sea of Galilee.

Mark 4:37-38 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"

Mary and Martha whose brother had just died.

John 11:21 Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

Job who had suffered the loss of his 10 children and his fortune,

Job 10:2-10

I will say to God, ’Do not condemn me;

Show me why You contend with me.

3 Does it seem good to You that You should oppress,

That You should despise the work of Your hands,

And smile on the counsel of the wicked?

8 ’Your hands have made me and fashioned me,

An intricate unity; Yet You would destroy me.

9 Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay.

And will You turn me into dust again?

10 Did you not pour me out like milk, And curdle me like cheese,

Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal

but allowed his fear to cause him to run away.

1 Kings 19:9-10 says:

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 So he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."

The Disciples, Mary & Martha, Job, and Elijah!

They all wondered if God cared.

It’s human nature to wonder if God cares when things go bad!

Here’s some of what the Bible has to say about God’s caring.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you;

He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Would God sustain you if He didn’t care?

Psalm 95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture,

And the sheep of His hand.

We are under His care.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble;

And He knows those who trust in Him.

God knows when we are in times of trouble.

He cares for those who put their faith and trust in Him.

Many people believe that God doesn’t care.

They say, "If God really cared,

He would put a stop to all the pain and suffering that is out there."

How should we answer that?

I would say 3 things.

#1 Mankind caused the pain and suffering

when he chose to disobey God’s word

and brought sin into the world.

#2 Mankind keeps pain and suffering here

through his greed and refusal to do things God’s way.

#3 Jesus entered into that pain and suffering

when he came to earth to experience all that we experience

and to pay the debt that we owe on the cross.

Would Jesus have been willing to do that if He didn’t care?"

The assailant returned and attacked Kitty Genovese again. This time she screamed, "I’m dying! I’m dying." This time many more windows opened and many more lights went on. The assailant walked to his car and drove away, leaving Kitty to crawl along the street to her apartment building. Somehow, she managed to drag herself inside. The man return ten minutes later. He systematically searched the parking lot, train station, and small apartment complex, ultimately finding Ms. Genovese, who was lying, barely conscious, in a hallway at the back of the building. He proceeded to further attack her, stabbing her several more times. While she lay dying, he sexually assaulted her. He stole about $49 from her and left her dying in the hallway. The attacks spanned approximately half an hour A few minutes after the final attack, a witness called the police. Police and medical personnel arrived within minutes; Genovese was taken away by ambulance and died en route to the hospital.

That’s terrible...isn’t it?

Question #2. Does Your Pastor Care?

Jeremiah 23:1-4 "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: "You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the LORD. 3 "But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD.

When you are consistently not here,

you are going to get some kind of contact from me.

I don’t do it to annoy you or make you feel guilty.

I do it because I care.

Do you really think that I would have stuck with this little church

for the past 7 years through all the struggles that we have faced

if I didn’t care?

Most churches see their pastors come and go!

Preachers are constantly moving on to get a better salary.

Do you think that I would resist looking for another larger church

if I didn’t care?

Two weeks ago, the Elders offered to raise my salary.

Do you think I would have turned down that pay raise

if I didn’t care?

I turned down that pay raise

because I knew it would be a financial drain on this church?

Do you think I would have done that if I didn’t care?

Jesus spoke of those who are ministers to his flock

only because of what they can get out of it.

He called them hirelings.

John 10:13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

When danger comes along, they run away.

That’s not me.

I care.

Do you know why I get up here

and tell you about problems in your life

and sometimes step on your toes?

Do you think that I get a thrill out of that?

No, I don’t.

I do it because I care for you!

I want what is best for you.

Do you know why I try to get people to come to church?

It’s because I care about the souls of those people.

Winston Moseley, a business machine operator, was eventually arrested and convicted of first degree murder. His motive for the attack was simply "to kill a woman." Moseley stated that he got up that night around 2:00 a.m., leaving his wife asleep at home, and drove around to find a victim. He spied Genovese and followed her to the parking lot. The initial death sentence was reduced to a sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment on June 1, 1967. Moseley remains in prison after being denied parole a 13th time on March 11, 2008. He still shows no signs of remorse for his actions.

Does God care? YES.

Do I care? YES.

The third question, only you can answer.

Question #3. Do you care?

In our church covenant are the words:

"We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure reconciliation without delay.

How many of you have some kind of burden that you are bearing?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else come along and say,

"Here, let me help you carry that load."?

Some burdens, I can actually physically help you carry.

Others, I can help by listening.

Still others, I can help by praying.

Why don’t we care more for one another?

1. We don’t have time

"I’m too busy to care!

I’ve got too much going on in my own life to help you.

#2 We don’t think about others.

-- we haven’t trained ourselves to start thinking beyond ourselves

#3 We don’t want to get involved

-- If you’re going to care for someone else,

you have to get involved in their lives and their problems.

#4 We don’t know what their needs are

-- share some of the needs in the church

#5 We don’t know them

#6 We don’t think that it will do any good

During those three separate attacks over the course of 35 minutes, not one of Kitty Genovese’s neighbors tried to intervene. No burly neighbor picked up a baseball bat and dashed outside to save her life. Worse than that, of the more than 30 people who saw at least one of the attacks and heard Genovese’s screams and pleas for help, not one of them even called the police. After much deliberation, and one phone call to a friend for advice, one man finally urged another neighbor to call authorities, which she did. Police arrived in two minutes, but by then, it was too late. Interviewed afterward, the residents admitted, sometimes sheepishly, "I didn’t want to get involved," or "I didn’t want my husband to get involved." One said he was too tired to call police and had gone back to bed. Several couldn’t say why they hadn’t helped. Many of them said they’d been afraid to call. They couldn’t say why, within the safety of their own homes, they had been afraid to call the police -- even anonymously.


We ask the question, "What was wrong with those people?"

Would we have reacted differently?

If the answer is "yes"

then why do so many seem to not care about the church

or about the people around us who are dying in sin?

Why don’t we try to do something to help them?

God cares about them!

Your preacher cares about them!

Do you care?

If you really do, get actively involved in this church!

Join it and participate in efforts to save the lost and dying!

The deeper our fellowship with one another...

the more that we care about one another,

the more committed we will be to be here every Sunday!

The more we are excited about this church,

the more we want to tell others about it.