Summary: If we are children of God - if we claim to follow Jesus - then when we see a need we will do something. We must be loving, caring Christians. (Powerpoint available - #233)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoint slides used with this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at email@example.com with your request - #233.)
This morning I want you to hear the cry of Jeremiah, the O.T. prophet, as he looks at the ruins of the city of Jerusalem. In the book of Lamentations, chapter 1, vs’s 1,8,11-12, he says, “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave” [1:1].
“Jerusalem has sinned greatly & so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans & turns away” [1:8].
“All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. ‘Look, O Lord, & consider, for I am despised. Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” [1:11-12a]
Jerusalem had once been a great & crowded city - a testimony to the world of the power & glory of God. In it stood the glorious temple that Solomon had built. And inside its walls families had lived, children had played, & love had been shared. It had been a city of peace & prosperity as God had showered His blessings upon them.
But in 586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed, & the scene in the 1st chapter of Lamentations is a scene of destruction. The walls of the city & the homes in which families had lived had all been reduced to rubble - & mixed with the stones were the broken toys of children.
As Jeremiah watched, he saw people passing by the ruins. He was appalled at their reaction, or, rather their lack of reaction. They didn’t seem to care at all. No one seemed to care. They didn’t cry, nor did they laugh. They simply walked on by, showing no emotion or concern at all.
Jeremiah looks at them & cries out, "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?" They were absolutely insensitive to it all. But I wonder, just how sensitive are we?
And to find out, maybe we need to take a test - not an I.Q. test, but an S.Q. test - a Sensitivity Quotient test. How sensitive are we today?
ILL. How do you react when you hear about thousands of men, women & children being slaughtered in the Sudan? Does it bother you to hear that nearly one-third of the world’s population will go to bed hungry tonight, & many are dying of starvation?
More importantly, does it bother you to hear that there are millions of people who are lost & dying without ever hearing the good news that Jesus came to save them from their sins? Just how sensitive are we?
PROP. I have a proposition - an important point that I want to make in this sermon, & I hope you’ll listen carefully & remember it. It is this, "If we are children of God - if we claim to follow Jesus - then we must be loving, caring Christians."
I. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO ARE UNCARING
Now, think about what I have just said, & let’s draw some conclusions from it. The first conclusion is this: “There are many people in the world who are uncaring.”
ILL. Some of you may remember, years ago, hearing about a woman who drowned in Lake Michigan. As she was drowning she cried for help, & three able-bodied men heard her cries - but they just stood there & watched her drown.
Well, someone called the rescue squad, & when they drug her lifeless body out of Lake Michigan, they asked these three men, "Why didn’t you help her?" Their response was revealing. They said, "The water was too cold."
All of us here have heard stories recently about people being brutally attacked & left lying in public places, with people actually stepping over the bodies to go on about their business. Yes, there were witnesses. In fact, some were taking pictures of it all on their cell phones while it was happening. But no one tried to help, or even call 911.
So the question isn’t, "How sensitive are we to the needs of others?" The real question is "Why are we so insensitive?" "Why are there so many people who really don’t seem to care anything at all about what happens to others?"
A. I think there are two possible answers to that question.
ILL. Victor Frankel, who was a prisoner of the Nazis during WW 2, wrote about his experiences, & in his book he tells about the emotional stages a prisoner goes through during captivity. He wrote that the final & most awful stage of all is one where the prisoner actually ends up murdering his own emotions.