Summary: The world we live in is filled with people who are in need of what the church has to offer. The world is hurting and we have been commissioned to go to it with a message of compassion, restoration and reconciliation.
Introduction: Christ prayed in John 17 that God would not remove the believer from the world but that the believer would have an impact on the world in which he lives. The world we live in is filled with people who are in need of what the church has to offer. The world is hurting and we have been commissioned to go to it with a message of compassion, restoration and reconciliation.
I. We live in a hurting world.
A. We live in a world of hurts. Hearts are hurting, homes are hurting, and hopes are hurting. The church must touch the world with the message of hope.
B. James chapter 5 provides us an insight into areas of hurt.
1. James 5:13 asks, "Is anyone among you suffering?"
2. "Suffering" – to undergo hardship: - be afflicted, endure afflictions, suffer trouble. Literally it means to go through hard times. James here is specifically talking about the emotional impact of hard times. We are talking about depression and despair, the emotional stress of broken relationships, broken hearts, bereavement, disappointment, persecutions.
3. Crying is common in this world. It does little good to ask the reason for it. Muddyscuttle is what one might call a weeping planet. Laughter can be heard here and there, but by and large, weeping predominates. With maturity the sound and reason for crying changes, but never does it stop. All infants do it everywhere—even in public. By adulthood most crying is done alone and in the dark. Weeping, for babies, is a sign of health and evidence that they are alive. Isn’t this a chilling omen? Not "laughter" but "tears" is the life sign. – Calvin Miller
4. Emotional pain is the pain of the heart. This internal pain revolves around the experience of the loss of something or someone precious. Grieving can be extremely difficult because it reflects a multitude of complex, intermingled emotions. A variety of emotions such as love and hate, fear and anger, relief and bitterness, panic and calm can all descend upon us. Yet no one person’s grief experience is exactly like that of someone else. - copied
5. James 5:14 asks, "Is anyone among you sick?"
6. Pain and illness are an ever present reality. Many feel that they are going through their suffering totally alone. They believe that no one understands what pain they are enduring either physically or emotionally.
7. Several examples of the reality of the devastation caused by disease are seen in the fact that:
• The number one killer in America is cardiovascular disease. In 1991, heart and blood vessel diseases killed more than 923,000 Americans. More than two of every five Americans die of cardiovascular disease. Today, more than one in five Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, with more than 2,500 Americans dying from it each day.
• In 1960, one woman in 20 developed breast cancer. Today, one woman in eight gets it, and of these, one in four will die. It is estimated that approximately 570,280 Americans will die from cancer, corresponding to more than 1,500 deaths per day.
• Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disorder recently referred to as "the long goodbye" by former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, affects 4 million people. It is believed that as many as 5 million people may suffer from the disease, accounting for almost 1 million people who are living undiagnosed. According to the National Alzheimer’s Association and the National Administration on Aging, the disease, from onset to death can range from 3 to 20 years. 1 in 10 people over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s. It is the 4th leading cause of death among adults.
8. James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
9. In the 1987 AFC Championship football game between Cleveland and Denver, Ernest Bynar fumbled the ball just as he got ready to score a touchdown. That mistake cost the Cleveland Browns the championship, a trip to the Super Bowl and is what most people remember about Ernest Bynar. Even though Ernest Bynar had an otherwise stellar fourteen year career in the NFL and is ranked 16th on the all time rushing list, many angry Cleveland fans will not forget the "infamous fumble".
10. There are many who have "fumbled" in their faith either through moral failure, hidden sin, or lack of fellowship and commitment. They’re hurting spiritually. They consider themselves to have been abandoned by God. Feeling like outcasts and branded they are desperately longing for the closeness to God and His family they once enjoyed or have seen in others.
C. People are hurting, hurting emotionally, physically, and spiritually. They are crying out in desperate need for someone to come and stand along side them.