Sermon Illustrations

Ministering to Christ

In The Midst of Disaster

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom… For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in, naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me…’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick…’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ” (Matthew 25:34-40, NAS)

Our nation has recently experienced what may have been saying are the worst natural disasters America has ever seen. These hurricanes have given the church the opportunity to express her love to the Lord Jesus Christ and show the world a church that is pleasing to God. All natural disasters are opportunities to show love to Christ through practical means by meeting the needs of those affected by tragedy -- both Christians and the unsaved.

Jesus identifies Himself in today’s text with the human family. “These brothers of Mine” are Christians who are poor, persecuted and companions in Jesus’ suffering. “The least of them” includes the poorest, the most despised and afflicted of those who do not yet know the love of Christ.

Ministry to Christ in the times of disaster involves a whole lot more than just shouting, raising hands, dancing, singing and the preaching of God’s Word in beautiful buildings. It involves getting your hands dirty, a little sweating, spending some money, giving up time and some taking of risks.

The Bible teaches that it does us no good to pray and then say, “I wish you well; keep warm and well fed” yet do nothing to help a needy brother meet physical needs. (James 2:14-18) Jesus’ parable of the “Good Samaritan” tells us that our neighbor is whoever needs the ministry of mercy and helps. If we have the means to meet someone’s need of hunger, clothing or shelter, then it is God who gave us those resources and He expects us to use them for His glory.

The story has often been told of the man who was at a prayer meeting. He was praying earnestly, asking God to provide for a man who had a great need. While praying, he stopped, quietly stood up and left the prayer meeting. Later, after his returning, one of the deacons asked him if he was ill. The brother who left said, “No, I felt in my spirit that someone said, ‘You go and be My hands.’” So he went and did his part in meeting the need of the man he was praying for.

The heart of our text today is, with a heart of true compassion, ministering to Christ through meeting the practical needs of those who are in want. Christians will not be blessed by the knowledge they have obtained, the fame they have acquired or the fortune they have gained. No, it is how they showed their love to Christ in response to His love shown to them that brings blessing. Many times this is expressed through meeting the needs of others around them.

How is the Holy Spirit prompting you to meet the needs of others for Christ’s sake?

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