Summary: A sermon loosely based on Proverbs 24:11-12 (Title, outline and some material taken from The Pulpit Commentary Homilies by Various Authors under Hebrews 4)
In his book, The Yoke of Christ, Elton Trueblood quotes a letter from a school girl who probes the depth of her soul. She writes, "I’ve been thinking much this year about the importance of caring, of the passion of life. I’ve often realized that it takes courage to care. Caring is dangerous. It leaves you open to hurt and to looking like a fool. And perhaps it’s because they have been hurt so often that people are afraid to care. You can’t die if you’re not alive. And then who would rather be a stone? I have found many places in my own life where I keep a secret store of indifference as a sort of self-protection." That’s a penetrating insight -- a secret store of indifference. We’re to care, because Christ cared -- even though it means a cross.
Thesis: Let’s look at the principles contained in this passage
All human need is a cry for help and we should answer for our own good.
No man is free to live an isolated life. We owe too much to those who have helped us in the past. We are too closely related to those who are around us to allow such an attitude.
1 Corinthians 12:25-26: its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
A mouse looked out through a crack in a farmhouse wall and was distraught to discover a mousetrap. When he went to tell his buddies, the chicken said, 'Sorry, pal, not my problem.' The pig said, 'I'll pray for you.' The cow was busy and said, 'Come back later.' Dejected, the mouse was left alone to handle his problem. That night, a poisonous snake got caught in the mousetrap and when the farmer's wife went to investigate she got bitten. She developed a raging fever, and everyone knows you treat a fever with chicken soup. So the farmer took his axe to the barn for the main ingredient! As his wife's condition deteriorated and neighbours gathered, he had to butcher the pig to feed them. Finally she died. So many people came to the funeral that he ended up slaughtering the cow to make dinner for them all. In the end, everybody lost!
Yes, but that is the church. These verses in Proverbs are probably talking about the heathen. Even so 1 John 3:17-18: If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. If it is within our means to help, why wouldn’t we whether they are a believer or not? How can we share the love of Christ if we are not willing to help?
Philadelphia Revelation 3:8: See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
The urgency of their needs should be a powerful plea to us.
We should have a special place for those “being led away to death” like abortion, sex slaves, drug addicts, those under persecution for their faith.
We should be concerned with those “staggering toward slaughter” Those who are being delivered unto eternal death. 2 Peter 2:19: They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.