Summary: Showing compassion to others is a powerful way to draw them to God.
A.Let’s talk about the Case For Compassion.
1.I want us to begin with a probing question.
2.In what ways have you, individually, or have we, collectively, shown compassion recently?
3.Our response might be – What do you mean by compassion?
4.The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines compassion as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
5.How much sympathy or sorrow do we really feel for the misfortune of others?
6.And an even more important question – Do we really have a strong desire to alleviate their suffering?
7.If you are like me, then I sometimes find that my compassion quotient isn’t always what it needs to be.
8.If I’m not careful, then my heart response can often be rather cold – “Well, they did it to themselves.” Or, “It’s not my problem.” “They should have been more careful.”
B.But these kinds of attitudes do not reflect the God whom I believe in.
1.The Bible presents us with a God who is full of compassion.
2.Exodus 34:6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…”
3.His commands, over and over again, call upon us to be compassionate.
4.Deut. 15:11, “I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
5.Jesus taught in the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matt. 25:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
6.James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
C.Wouldn’t you agree that caring for the tangible needs of human beings is part-and-parcel of genuine Christianity?
1.When action-oriented compassion is absent, then it’s a tell-tale sign that something is spiritually amiss.
2.Uncaring and uncompassionate Christianity does not attract seekers into its fold, but a clear and consistent demonstration of Christ-like love is a powerful magnet that pulls people toward God.
D.Jesus illustrated the importance of compassion in one of His most famous stories – the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
1.The story is found is Luke 10 and is so familiar to many of us.
2.It’s a story about a Jewish man who was walking from Jerusalem toward the city of Jericho.
3.As he traveled along, some thugs robbed him and beat him up, leaving him half-dead in a ditch on the side of the road.
4.A short time later a Jewish priest came walking along, but when he saw the man, he moved to the other side of the road and passed by without slowing down.
5.A little while later, another religious man, a Levite, came along. He too quickly passed by on the other side.
6.Finally, along came a man from Samaria, and even though there was a lot of ethnic strife between the Samaritans and the Jews, this Samaritan felt compassion for the robbery victim and stopped to see how he could help.
7.After assessing the situation, the Samaritan knelt down over the man, cleaned and bandaged his wounds, lifted the man onto his donkey and took him to an inn.
8.The Samaritan gave the innkeeper some money to take care of the man, and said that if the care of the man ends up costing even more, he would pay the additional expenses when he came back through.
E.Have you ever wondered what the Jewish man must have thought later when he woke up in a comfortable bed, all bandaged up, and his room and board paid for by someone he didn’t even know?
1.He must have asked the innkeeper – “How did I get here?” “Who did this for me?”
2.“And why would he do such a thing? Why didn’t he turn away like everyone else?”
3.Aren’t those the kind of questions asked by people on the receiving end of compassion?
4.They want to look behind the generous act itself and get a glimpse of the underlying motivation
F.The motivation for us as Christians should be three fold, at least.
1.First, we should be compassionate because that is what God is and we want to be like Him.
2.Second, we should be compassionate because that’s what God commands, and we want to obey Him.
3.And third, we should be compassionate because acts of mercy open up people’s hearts like nothing else can.
4.To put it another way, there is tremendous pulling power in the expression of even a single act of kindness.
5.And God wants that power to draw people toward Him and His Son.
6.Jesus spelled this out in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”