There Is Always Time For Compassion

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There Is Always Time For Compassion

Good morning. Our new memory verse is Matthew 9:35. Let’s continue to remember that compassion makes a difference. Please bring your attention briefly to the record of Matthew 14:12-14. This is the beginning of the account where Jesus feeds the five thousand. But, we want to notice the event that brought about this opportunity for the Lord. His disciples had just taken the body of the beheaded John and buried him. They came and reported the death to Jesus. Keep in mind that Jesus and John were cousins.  Keep in mind that John had prepared the way for the salvation Jesus brought into the world. Keep in mind that John never wavered from his task, his faith or the truth. And, keep in mind that John died for preaching the truth.

No wonder the text says that when Jesus heard of it, he departed to a desert place. This man who loved the wicked world so much that he would die for us, must have indeed loved John. He would have had much to contemplate and grieve about upon his death. The man of prayer would have wanted to talk with his Father about the recent events. His grieving was interrupted, but not by the great crowds who came out to be healed and helped by him. He might have simply ignored them for the day and remained in quietness and prayer. How many times in our life when tragedy strikes our life do we put everything on hold for a day or two? Family, the bill collectors, friends, yard work and job can all wait while we are making funeral arrangements or sitting at the hospital with a son, daughter or spouse.

No, it was not people who interrupted Him. His grieving was interrupted by his own compassion. The text says that Jesus went forth from where he was secluded, saw the multitude and was moved with compassion. He who should have been receiving compassion as He dealt with the death of John, was instead, so moved with compassion toward the people that he forgot his needs and started healing the people. Many of you who are caregivers by choice have experienced this same compassion and have moved to help people in the same way. May we all learn from this example that there is always time for compassion. Compassion makes a difference.

-Mike Glenn

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Acts of Compassion

Acts of Compassion

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Good morning. Remember, compassion makes a difference.  I opened this character month with a lesson about compassion. Someone once said, “If we wipe out poverty but neglect to tell the poor the good news about Jesus Christ, we will have failed in our mission, but if we preach the gospel and ignore the plight of the poor, we are false prophets.” That is, our life teaches the wrong thing if it is not full of compassion. The Old and New testaments alike are full of admonitions to care for the poor, injured or abandoned. Matthew 25, in the picture of the sheep and the goats, makes compassion part of the criteria of our salvation. Without it, we are among the goats (the lost). It was compassion for our lost condition when we were without strength that moved God to give His Son on our behalf (Rom. 5:6-8).

The point I made in my sermon is one that I want to share with those reading this article. Compassion involves action. I can pity someone, sympathize with someone, empathize with someone without action.  But, just like I cannot love without action, I cannot have compassion without action. John makes this abundantly clear when he says in 1 John 3:17, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” To shut off action is to shut off compassion. James, in his discussion about faith, in chapter 2, also implies this truth, “14: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15: If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16: And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

The following is a list of passages where Jesus is said to have compassion. It is worth your time to read and consider that action is always involved in His compassion.

  • Mt. 14:14 healed the sick
  • Mt. 15:32 feeding the 4000
  • Mt. 18:27-33 forgave servant of debt
  • Mk. 1:41 healing the leper
  • Mk. 5:19 cast out the devil
  • Lk. 7:11-15 raised the son of the widow of Nain
  • Lk. 10:25-27 – good Samaritan bound up and paid
  • Lk. 15:20-30 – father forgave

Brothers and sisters, we will have to work at it. Let’s make compassion part of our life.

-Mike Glenn

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Compassion Makes a Difference!

Compassion Makes a Difference!

The first Joshua Generation characteristic for the new year was COMPASSION.  Our slogan for the month of January was the title of this article, Compassion makes a difference!  The memory verse is 1 Jn. 3:17.

This slogan is taken from the thought contained in Jude 22-23 in KJV.  While the literal translation of this passage is somewhat different, there is no question that the inspired writer is saying that compassion plays a big part in the work of saving the souls of others.  Souls are to be gently led along to understand the truth and its application to their lives.

We see Jesus practicing such compassion when he had healed the blind man of John 9.  A little while later in the day, or perhaps a day or two later, the blind man was cast out of the synagogue by the Jewish leaders because he acknowledged Jesus to be from God.  When Jesus learned of the man’s plight, he sought him out and led him to believe on him as the son of God.

Consider the compassionate way he dealt with the woman caught in adultery in John 8: 1-11.  He taught her not to sin while showing his care for her physical welfare and already bruised self-image.  I like to think she was so moved by his method of dealing with her that she followed his instruction to “sin no more.”

His brief encounter with the rich ruler has impressed us many times with the words in Mark 10:21.  Jesus felt a love for this man who would come, bow down to Him and acknowledge Him as master.  Through faith’s ear, you can hear the gentleness, and perhaps, sadness, in His voice as he tells him to sell his possessions.  Compassionate feelings and words continually marked the work of our Lord.

It is true, in Jude 23, we learn that some more hard-headed souls can only be saved with much more sternness and directness.  Even in such a case, it is compassion that moves us to care about the condition that others are in the first place.  This is also obvious in Jesus’ work with the prideful leaders of the Jews.  With exceptional hardness and condemnation, Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees in Matt. 23.  But then listen to his words that show his compassionate motivation in verse 37.  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but ye would not.  Behold, your house is left to you desolate.”

Jesus had compassion on the multitudes because they were as “sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).  Compassion causes us to care.  Hence the cliche’, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  It was biblical before it was ever popular.  There is much truth in the words of George Washington Carver,

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday, in life you will have been all of these.”

Bertrand Russell wrote a great statement about compassionate feeling as he wrote about himself:

Three passions have governed my life:  The longings for love, the search for knowlede, and unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].  Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.

In the union of love I have seen in a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.  With equal passion I have sought knowledge.  I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].  I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens, but always pity brought me back to earth; Cries of pain reverberated in my heart of children in famine, of victims  tortured and of old people left helpless.  I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.  This has been my life; I found it worth living.

To the condition of mankind which Russel saw, I would add the ‘lostness’ of their souls, their unfulfilled purposes in life, the unrealized search for happiness.  Unlike Russell, I see much that can be done, not all at once, but one compassionate act at a time.  May these conditions of man ever motivate our daily lives in the pursuit of lifting our fellows to a higher plane.  Let’s have a year of compassionate action.  Compassion really does make a difference.

-Mike Glenn

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Cooperating To Do Evil

Cooperating To Do Evil

Cooperation is a virtue of every faithful Christian and Christian leader. But, cooperation in that which is good is not the only kind of cooperation possible. It is also possible to cooperate in that which is evil. Judas cooperated to do evil in betraying Christ (Matt. 26:14-26). Ananias and Sapphira conspired together to do evil (Acts 5:1-12). Felix cooperated with the Jews when he kept Paul bound after determining there was no reason (Acts 24:27). The Jewish council cooperated to do evil in trying to suppress the preaching of the gospel by arresting, beating and threatening the disciples (Acts 4:16-17, 5:28, 40).

You might be thinking that you would never do as these above did. You would not cooperate to do evil. But, it might be that Satan calls upon us to do evil with more subtlety than we know. For example, did you ever stop to think that when you listen to gossip, you are cooperating to do evil? When you hear a man teach truth that proves to be unpopular and you either support others who speak against him (Acts 26:10) or try to remain neutral, you are cooperating to do evil. Consider the attempted neutrality of the parents of the blind man (Jn. 9:19-23). When some unrepentant sin in your life persists (forsaking the assembly, foul language, lying, bitterness, backbiting, etc), you are cooperating with Satan to do evil (1 Tim. 5:13; 2 Pet. 2:2; 1 Tim. 5:14).

We must be careful not to cooperate to do evil (1 Tim. 5:22; 2 Jn. 11).

-Mike Glenn

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Cooperation Through Faithfulness

Cooperation Through Faithfulness

Our text on cooperation today is 1 Thess. 1:3-8. Paul went into Thessalonica to preach the gospel. A congregation was begun, but Paul did not have a very long opportunity to stay in the city because of persecution (Acts 17:1-10). However, those who were converted were very dedicated to the Lord. It is that dedication that brings our lesson today. Let’s notice three statements that touch on our subject.

  • They received the word in much affliction (1:6). If you read the reference in Acts 17, you read about some of that affliction. Brethren, persecution is personal. We often encourage others to stand strong because we are not the ones suffering. If I am faithful even when persecuted, my faith will encourage another to be strong (Heb. 10:32-34). If I am unfaithful and unwilling to suffer for the Lord, then my lack of faith discourages others. Simply by being faithful to God individually, I will collectively, cooperatively, and sometimes unknowingly, strengthen the hand of other Christians.
  • Pursuant to this same idea, Paul says of the Thessalonians that they were an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia (1:7). Brothers and sisters, faithfulness begets faithfulness. People will hear about our life. They will see our life. The will know about the results of our work and godliness. One individual Christian in one congregation can strengthen and encourage a struggling or a strong Christian in another place. Our character and faith will be passed along on the grapevine (talk, bulletin, article, relatives). When you are faithful to God, you are holding hands with every other faithful child of God in the struggle against Satan. God used this truth when Elijah felt alone. Elijah did not know them, but there were yet 7000 that had not bowed the knee to Baal.
  • The faithful cooperated in evangelism. Paul’s purpose in life was the same as the Lord’s, to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10; 1 Cor. 9:22). But in regard to Macedonia and Achaia, he had a great deal of help. The Thessalonians “sounded out the word of the Lord” so that Paul “need not speak anything” (1:8). Without Paul being there, they were cooperating with him in the great commission. When we take the gospel to our community individually, we cooperate with every faithful Christian everywhere in saving the world. Great works are going on in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America. But it is no greater than you teaching a friend or relative the truth in your community or family.

Let us determine that the Lord’s church will be a mighty force of “one” by all of us cooperating through faithfulness where we are living. Together, we are more.

-Mike Glenn

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