Summary: Compassion is not easy in a world full of sin, how do we become compassionate christians?
Have you ever wondered how our Lord, was, and for that matter, still is, so compassionate? Jesus gives us the greatest examples of compassion seen, ever, in our world. I guess to be compassionate, one must first understand what compassion really is. "Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you, too." (Source: Frederick Buechner,) Have you taken time, lately, to walk a while in someone else’s shoes?
This morning I would like to take time to see the command of compassion listed in scripture and perhaps learn a little about becoming more compassionate Christians. Folks, I think we would all agree that compassion is a form of love, and real compassion is love in action. If you have your Bible with you this morning, please take time to turn to the Gospel of John, chapter 15 and we will read together verses 9-17. Let us hear the words of our Lord and Savior as He speaks of love and the way we should love one another, and understand this is what compassion really is. John 15: 9-17. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit -fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus so loved the world . . . he had so much compassion on us, sinners, that He died on a cross! He died a horrible death in order that we might benefit, in order that we might be reconciled to God and have eternal life. So as we study His Word this morning let us see three things from this scripture passage. The first of which is:
I. REAL COMPASSION STARTS WITH LOVE FOR CHRIST
John 15:9-10 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
It involves remaining in love with Jesus, as God the father, loved His Only Son, and Jesus loved us so much He gave His life for us, He asks us to remain in love with Him. See here that Jesus gives us an example, the love of the Father for His Son, and then tells us that HE has loved us in this manner, He died for us!! And this constitutes a love in return, a love that will remain. An ongoing love. And after an example of that love, Jesus speaks of HOW to achieve this love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
If we obey the commands of God given to us by the Word, which according to John 1 is Jesus, we will remain in His love. Now it is important to understand that this is a CHOICE! We do not have to obey our Lord and His Word, but if we do it is a true sign that we LOVE Jesus. This is evident in so many aspects of our lives, when people do as we ask of them, without HAVING to, it is only because they really care about us. NOW, all of us will admit that it is difficult at times to fully obey the commands of Christ.
As I wrote this sermon, I happened also, to be reading a book entitled Simple Church, by Thom S. Rainer & Eric Geiger. Now, I don’t want to get off the subject at hand, however, they state something about another church that really tied in with this sermon. In the book, they interview a vibrant growing church who’s Purpose Statement and process are the same. (“Love God, Love Others, Serve the World”) they accomplish this simply by, first loving God, moving people toward loving God, worship, then loving others, small groups, dynamic fellowship and finally serving the world, plugging into ministry. I reflected on this formula and thought about the 2 greatest commands that Jesus gave us. The first is to love the Lord your God and the second, to love your neighbor. And I thought about how compassion starts - it starts with a real love for God and that is witnessed by our willingness to obey what God has asked us to do.