Jonah – An Example To Reject
Good morning. We all know the story of Jonah to some degree. The four chapters of Jonah are our text for study today. He is a man whose lack of compassion should not be our example. Please examine with me what we know.
Chapter 4 and verse 1 records Jonah’s lack of compassion in this whole affair. He is disgusted that they have repented and are going to be spared by God. He did not want his preaching to be successful. Please remember that Jonah is a prophet of God. Of all people, he should be concerned that people hear and obey the word of God for their soul’s sake. In this case, Jonah views the Assyrians (Nineveh) as enemies. He wants them destroyed, not saved. Have you ever considered someone your enemy and been happy at their misfortune (even a little bit). Have you ever said of someone, “it serves them right,” when punishment or accident has happened to someone. Of course, there can be truth to such a statement. But is the attitude behind the statement usually compassionate or somewhat gloating? Have you ever held back from trying to take the gospel to a person whom you disliked? All of these are the same attitude Jonah had.
A second thing to notice is the willing disobedience to God because of this attitude. In 4:1, he says that he fled from obeying the command of God to preach to Nineveh because he did not want God’s grace extended to them. Friends, seldom is an attitude just an attitude. Nearly always it causes an action or inaction. When we are not compassionate about the lost, we do not go to teach them. That is all Jonah did. He did what thousands of God’s people are still doing today – fleeing from preaching the truth. God had commanded him and God has commanded us. Are you a Jonah or are you a Paul?
Jonah did not take into account the innocent and the misled. God tells Jonah this in 4:9-11. He had more feeling about things than compassion for people. If we look at our actions in the church, do not many have more strong feelings about their things than they do for the lost or for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
What about you? Do your actions indicate that things are more important than the myriads of lost around us. Could it be that one of the reasons that gospel meetings are poorly attended by our brethren and have become so short in length is that we want to spend more effort on things than on bringing the lost to hear the gospel preached. We often say that people will not attend a long gospel meeting. What is true is that the brethren do not want to take that much time from their recreational evening schedules. What about you? Wouldn’t you like to see the return of, at least, a full week long meeting so that you have more opportunity to bring people who are not yet dedicated to Christ, but who might break away one night in a whole week to accept your hospitality. Three day meetings become a mighty narrow window for the community to hit. And this is just about gospel meetings. What about other evangelistic chances? Do you run to them or away from them.
Brothers and sisters, we may be more like Jonah than we care to admit. Let’s change. Let’s love the lost. Let’s have compassion for souls that will lead us to do what it takes to save them.
Job’s Compassionate Friends
Good morning. Our Joshua Generation text today is Job 2:11-13. It is an amazing story of compassion in action. I realize that the three friends of Job were incorrect about why Job was suffering, but their friendship and compassion cannot be doubted. Remember that Job has lost his possessions, his position of prestige and all of his children. His own wife suggested that he curse God and die. His grief was overwhelming. After you read the three verses of our text, consider the following lessons.
- Job’s three closest friends were children of God. Though they lived at a distance, Job had somehow made their acquaintance and the four of them had become good friends. May we cultivate such friendship in the Lord’s church.
- They came to mourn “with him.” Many times, with someone who is stricken with grief, our presence with them and grief for them is all that can be helpful at the time. Their grief was heartfelt over the condition of Job. Perhaps this is a little of what Paul was teaching in 1 Cor. 12:26, “when one member suffers, all suffer with it.”
- The friends compassion moved them to expend considerable time, money and energy to be there with Job.
- They said nothing, but sat with him (apparently sleeping near him) seven days and seven nights. Brothers and sisters, I know that most of us are not in a work situation that allows us to do something like that. But it is a lesson that, sometimes, compassion requires time. Let us be willing to give it.
- As this event unfolds in the rest of the book, they do try to comfort Job. Most importantly, they give him a chance to talk out his feelings. Sometimes, just listening is very important.
Let’s learn from the compassion of these true friends of Job that “compassion makes a difference.”
Our Compassion As Priests
Good morning. Our text today is Hebrews 4:14-5:3. 14: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15: For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 1: For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3: And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.”
In the discussion of Christ’s priesthood, the following points are made:
- He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He walked among men. He knew what it was to have the desires of men. He knew what it was to be tempted. He also knew what it took to say ‘no’ to temptation.
- Priests taken from among men (under the Law of Moses) were able to have compassion on those they served because they also were men with infirmities and weaknesses. They should have readily empathized with the men and women coming to them in sin. Because they could empathize (put themselves in the same shoes), they could have the compassion to help.
- God’s children, the penitent, the prodigal can come boldly to the throne of God with confidence that he who makes intercession for us (Heb. 7:25) to the Father understands our plight. The penitent can count on his compassion even in the repetitive failures to follow his will.
Brothers and sisters, Christians today are God’s priesthood on earth (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:5). The weaknesses, infirmities, imperfections and vulnerability of our own humanity should motivate our compassion. We, however, have been given the commission to ‘go’. As our Lord “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) motivated by his compassion, should we not also do the same? What lives might you touch with the gospel through such continuous action?
Compassion, A Part Of Evangelism
Hello. Compassion makes a difference friends. Our memory verse is Heb. 10:34. Our text today is found in Mark 1:35-45. Please note two verses in particular as we find a couple of lessons for us in this event. Verse 38 says, “And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.” First, notice the task of the master in whose footsteps we follow. He came to preach. He said it many ways. He told Pilate that he came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). He told Zachaeus and the disciples around him that he came to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). He told the Jews in John 8:31-32 that if they would continue in his word, they would be free from sin. So, everything Jesus did on this earth revolved around his purpose to evangelize the world. Thus, when he left, he gave the commission to all of us to do the same (Mt. 28:19-20).
Having seen clearly the purpose of Jesus, we now consider the implications of verse 41 of our text. As Jesus was going about his purpose, his path crossed that of a leper who asked to be healed. Immediately the text records the compassion of Jesus toward this man and how he healed him. It is in the task of spreading the gospel (an act stemming from the Lord’s compassion toward the souls of men) that we come across myriad opportunities to do good. When our compassion moves us to do good, more opportunities open up as they did for the Lord (Mk. 1:45). Those opportunities lead to souls (Mt. 5:16). Sometimes, showing our compassion takes only a few moments. Other times, it can be a considerable investment of time and effort. But, as with Jesus, our compassion becomes part of our evangelism. Often, we are blind to the needs around us and fail to show compassion because we are so busy or rushed with other things we have chosen. The old cliché is true more often than not, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Let’s always be evangelistic by being compassionate.
Compassion Lost On The Needy
Hello. I would like to draw your attention briefly to one of the saddest statements in scripture. It is found in Matthew 23:37:”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”
Jesus was well aware of the background of the Jews. He knew of their lack of faith and obedience over their 15 centuries of being under the Law of Moses. He knew of their hypocrisy (for much of which he rebuked them in this chapter) that was without justice or mercy. He already knew that they would crucify him. Yet, for these sinners he had compassion. You will remember in our first lesson that we noted that compassion is an action word. It is having such pity and sympathy for a person that you do what you can to alleviate the need (1 John 3:17-18). Jesus felt that about these Jews. But they rejected his compassion. He had tried teaching them, reasoning with them, proving himself with the miraculous and pointing out that he fulfilled the prophetic scriptures concerning the Messiah. They would have none of it. His compassion led him to the cross for them, but they, for the most part, rejected that (Rom. 10:1-3).
There are a couple of lessons here that we need to learn. Sometimes, our compassionate acts will not be appreciated or effective. We cannot let that possibility stop us from trying to reach out to help. Unlike Jesus, we never know when we will have a far reaching effect on the lives of people. Jesus’ compassion was ultimately about the condition of people’s souls, not their bodies. We do our good works out of compassion primarily for the souls of people, not their physical condition. Some of these people did eventually become disciples and Christians. Our work in the world will always affect only the few. This made it worthwhile to Jesus and it is worthwhile for us. Let your light shine and we will let God bring the increase.