Summary: This missions sermon challenges believers to give to missions out of compassion for souls.

Compassion for a Lost and Dying World

Missions Emphasis Series

Chuck Sligh

February 12, 2012

A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available by mailing a request to me at

TEXT: Matthew 9:36-38 – “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”


Over the next three Sundays, we’re going to be talking a lot about missions and mission giving leading up to our missions conference on Thursday through Saturday of March 1-4. Along the way, you’ll a Faith Promise commitment card for you to pray about giving regularly a certain amount towards missions through Grace Baptist Church.

In the conference, three missionaries will preach, show slides and tell us about their mission works, and challenge us about missions. On Saturday night of the conference, we’ll have an international dinner and some special things planned to further inform and burden us for missions.

At the end of the conference, we’ll take up the Faith Promise commitment cards of all of you who choose to participate, and it will be on the basis of those commitments that we’ll know if we can take on more missionaries to support.

Why have a missions conference, and preach on missions and challenge people to give their hard-earned money to support missionaries? The answer is compassion.

Our text tells us that Jesus had a true heart of compassion. I want you to understand that compassion is different altogether from pity. Pity is purely an emotion; compassion compels ACTION.

If you see a person in the church with a financial need and say, “Boy, I sure feel sorry for so-and-so. They don’t have any money to pay their bills”—that’s a PITY. But if, as you say that, you give him $50—then you’ve shown COMPASSION.

The Trinity didn’t simply have pity on this world lost in sin.

GOD THE FATHER didn’t look out of the portals of heaven and say, “My, my, what a mess they’re in. Oh, well, it’s their own fault”—and then go about the business of heaven. No, His very essense DEMANDED ACTION for our dilemma. He sent His only son to die for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

JESUS didn’t merely have pity either. He didn’t just feel sorry for the condition of the lost world He saw below. He was stirred to ACTION—to DO something about the world’s plight, compelling Him to leave the ivory palaces of heaven to come and die for sinners like you and I.

I love that song, The Love of God:

The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell;

It reaches to the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell.

The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win

His erring child He reconciled, and pardoned from his sin.

Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole, tho’ stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure! /How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—The saints’ and angels’ song!

I hope in the next few weeks leading up to our missions conference, you’ll go beyond mere pity for the world and like Jesus, show true compassion by being compelled to ACTION. I hope you’ll ask yourself, “What can I DO to help reach the lost for Christ.”

As we look at our text, six words come to my mind about missions and true compassion that should lead to action in missions:

I. FIRST IS THE WORD VISUALIZE – Verse 36a – “But when he saw the multitudes…”

The thing that rent the heart of Jesus with compassion was when he SAW the multitudes.

In John 4:35, Jesus says this: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

What stirred Christ to compassion for the lost?—He SAW their lost condition. Lift up your eyes this morning and see a world filled with people without Christ. Visualize the reality of teeming millions without the Gospel.

It’s estimated that the population of the world in Jesus’ day was about 250 million.

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