Summary: Our nation has just experienced what many are saying is the worst natural disaster America has ever seen. I would propose to you that through this disaster, the church has a great opportunity to show her love to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is our opportuni
Turn Your Bibles to Matthew 25:34-40
Title: Ministering to Christ in the Midst of Disaster
Theme: Loving Christ by Ministering to His Disciples and Having Compassion on the Hurting
Introduction: Our nation has just experienced what many are saying is the worst natural disaster America has ever seen. According to an e-mail that I received from Pastor Rick Warren, of Saddle Back Church, hundreds of thousands of people have lost literally everything they own. More than 1 million people are without a home to live in right now. Hurricane Katrina has caused more than $100 billion in damage.
Proposition: I would propose to you that through this disaster, the church has a great opportunity to show her love to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is our opportunity to show the world a church that is pleasing to God. James writes, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27a) Jesus can be ministered to and God will be pleased with the church that reaches out in compassion to those who are in distress form Hurricane Katrina.
Interrogative Sentence: Just how can Christians minister to Christ and be a witness to a people that are in distress?
Transitional Sentence: The results of Hurricane Katrina is an opportunity to show love to Christ through practical means in meeting the needs of those affected by this tragedy, this includes the children of God and the lost.
Listen as I read Matthew 25:34-40, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Pray!
It is best translated in the New American Standard Bible as “…Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Jesus identifies Himself here with the human family. This includes the Christians who are poor, persecuted, and companions in suffering. “…The least of these…” here is like the answer Jesus gave the expert of the law when he asked, “who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus spoke the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” Our neighbor is who ever needs the ministry of mercy and helps. “The least of these” includes the poorest, the most despised and afflicted. (Barnes Notes; The Pulpit Commentary; William Barclay; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon)
This ministry involves a whole lot more that just shouting, raising hands, dancing, singing and the preaching of God’s Word in beautiful buildings. This involves getting your hands dirty, a little sweat, spending some money, some time and some risk taking.
The story has often been told of the man who was at a prayer meeting. He was praying asking God to show His hand upon a man who had a great need. He soon stopped, stood up and left the prayer meeting. Later, one of the deacons asked him if he was ill, the brother who left said, “No, I felt in my spirit that someone said, you go and be My hand.” So he went and did his part to meeting the need of the man he was praying for.
It does no good for us to pray for a man to be well fed, clothed, and have shelter, if we have the means to help him and not do anything to provide food, clothing and shelter. If we have the food, clothing and the shelter, then God gave it to us and He expects us to use it for His glory.
Transitional Sentence: The first thing we are to do as we enter into this battle of meeting the needs of those who are suffering from Hurricane Katrina is to pray. Ephesians 6:18 says to “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” We are to be specific in our prayers knowing that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. (James 5:16)