Summary: There's a difference between pity & compassion. Pity is a mere emotion; compassion compels action. God wants us to exhibit this true compassion, the same kind He had for a lost and dying world, which compels us to DO something for the lost.

Compassion for a Lost and Dying World (Shorter version)

Missions Series

Chuck Sligh

October 12, 2014

NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available by requesting it 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.”


This Thursday through Sunday we will have our bi-annual missions conference. In your missions bulletin, you’ll find a Faith Promise commitment card for you to pray about giving regularly a certain amount towards missions through Grace Baptist Church. In this week’s conference, our keynote speaker, Rodney Kidd, will preach, and missionaries will 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 challenge our hearts for missions. At the end of the conference, we’ll take up the Faith Promise commitment cards from all who participate, which will be what we will use to support our missionaries. [EXPLAIN HOW IT WORKS FROM FAITH PROMISE CARD SLIDE.]

¿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. Now, 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 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.

THE FATHER didn’t look out of the portals of heaven and say, “My, my, what a mess they’re in. Well, it’s their own fault”—and then go about the business of heaven. No, His very essence 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)

THE SON 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 ACT—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 me.

I hope you’ll attend the conference this week, and in it you’ll be challenged to 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.

Illus. – It’s thought that the world’s population in Jesus’ day was about 250 million.

• It took until 1650 for the world’s population to double to 500 million.

• It only took another 200 years for the world’s population to double again for a population of 1 billion in 1850.

• Only 80 years later, in 1930, it had again doubled to 2 billion.

• Today there are 7.3 billion people in the world.

• Every single individual in that population total represents a human soul who will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

Can you visualize them walking down the wide road that leads to destruction? Can you envision adults and kids without Christ, the Gospel or a Bible? Can you visualize what a wonderful thing it would be if an army of missionaries could go and give to these lost billions the message of the Gospel?

Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields…”

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