Filled With CompassionSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
FILLED WITH COMPASSION
Sermon By Terry Siverd / August 27, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Our thanks to Vic Rossi and Rob Espinosa for last preaching the last two Sundays.
On August 16th Doug Holestine passed away.
During the heyday of our Camp Judson Youth Retreat Doug was one of a band of brothers who helped spearhead our retreat.
He was faithful co-worker for many years, super-reliable and tireless. He loved the kids and excelled as a camp counselor.
This past Monday afternoon, Vic Rossi & I had the good privilege our assisting Lee Simpson in being baptized into Christ.
This morning I want to speak to us about the virtue of COMPASSION.
John's gospel is structured around several (seven) of Jesus' miracles. He concludes by noting (Jn.20:30-31/NIV) - -
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
Have you ever noticed how many of Jesus' miracles bear witness to our Lord's compassion?
Someone has calculated that three-fifths of Jesus' miracles testify to the Lord's compassion. Among Jesus'
many miracles some 20+ were undertaken for the relief of the sick in mind and body. Here are seven examples.
Mt.9:36 / Seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and downcast...
Mt.15:32 & Mk.6:34/ I feel compassion for the multitude because...they are have nothing to eat and are hungry.
Mt.20:30-34 / Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and promptly the (two blind men) regained their sight.
Mk.1:41 / Moved with compassion, (Jesus) reached out his hand and touched (the leper) cleansing him
Mk.3:5 / With courage and compassion, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
Mt.5:19 / healed a man possessed with demons - - Jesus told him to go home and tell others, He had mercy on you.
Lk.7:13 / When the Lord saw her (a grieving widow of Nain), He felt compassion for her raised her son from the dead.
Every once in a while we are struck by random acts of compassion and kindness (directed towards us or others).
Years ago, while driving home from Harding College (with two female classmates) to enjoy a Christmas break with our families, we got caught in a monster snow blizzard on the tail end of our journey home. Nearing the outskirts of our homes in Ashtabula, we became stranded - - deep snowdrifts caused the roads to become impassable.
A family, not known to the three of us, took us in for the night - - offering warm shelter and food.
Surely we've all tasted the sweetness of compassion, but sometimes it seems to be in short supply. One rather cynical writer has observed: The world is basically unsympathetic. Cruelty lurks close to the surface of civilization. Much of humanity is rough and tough, calloused and cold, indifferent to the distress of fellow men. Emotionally jaded by the staggering weight of the world's woes, and often selfishly wrapped up in our own interests, we fail to extend a helping hand.
About a month ago I briefly watched an attractive woman standing at the corner of Bazetta & Elm in front of Carter Lumber.
I was turning right and she was across the street, holding a sign, and going from car to car, obviously seeking assistance.
In the few minutes that I watched, I saw no helping hands. Actually there were many responses but few seemed favorable.
This same kind of lack of compassion was apparently common in the days of Jesus.
In the book of Acts, Peter speaks of Jesus as an exception to the norm: (He) went about doing good (Acts 10:38).
Jesus not only engaged in frequent acts of compassion, but He also taught His followers to do the same.
Luke's gospel was written by the beloved physician (Col.4:14) - - one who recognized the value of compassion.
Dr. Luke records three stories that underscore Jesus' high view of compassion.
In Lk.10:30f we read about a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who fell among robbers and was left half dead.
A priest passed by on the other side as did a Levite. Lk.10:33f records, A certain Samaritan, who was on a journey,
came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him, and bandaged his wounds, pouring
oil and wine on them; an he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the
next day he took out two denarri (two days' wages) and gave them the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.' Jesus then asked, Which of these three do you think
proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands? Jesus said to them, 'GO AND DO THE SAME.'
In Lk.15:11f Luke records Jesus' story (allegory) about a prodigal son. It tells of a disgraceful son who demands his inheritance before his father's death. When his father grants his request, he travels to a far country and squanders it all on loose living. This wayward son becomes destitute in the midst of a famine. Vs.16 notes that when he was
desperately hungry no one was giving anything to him. Finally, he came to his senses and headed home
with plans confess his sinfulness and ask his father, not to take him back as a son but to accept him as a hired hand.
Vs.20 notes, While he was still and long way off, his father saw him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
This is a short story about the dire predicaments of both of his sons. The son who stayed home was also prodigal (wasteful). He was angered by the actions of his younger brother and a father who was full of compassion,
The elder brother was full of greed and unwilling to show any compassion to his younger brother.
The story is a cliffhanger, leaving the reader to wonder if the senior sibling ever came to his senses.
In Lk.16:19f we encounter a third story recorded by Dr. Luke, which goes right to the point.
Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine lien, living in luxury every day.
And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the
crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
After both men died, it is revealed that the rich man was in torment in Hades. While not stated precisely, it seems
clear nonetheless that that which determined his fate was his refusal to show compassion to the poor man.
While I was convalescing after recent minor surgery, I read a biography about Fanny Crosby.
She was an amazing God-loving woman. She lived to the age of 95 (1820-1915), pretty much active until death.
She wrote the lyrics to some hundreds (9,000) songs - - many gospel songs that have dear to us.*
As a chief part of her personal ministry, Franny was also committed to serving the hurting of society.
One song, among several, that was written as an appeal to God's mercy begins with these words:
Pass Me Not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.
As we attempt to accrue the aroma of Christ and cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, COMPASSION IS A MUST!
Vic spoke two Sundays ago about the importance of LOVE. And Rob spoke last Sunday about KINDNESS & HUMILITY.
These three are essential marks of a Christian. And so is COMPASSION towards others.
Peter writes (1Pet.3:8) - - To sum up, let all be harmonious, SYMPATHETIC, brotherly, kindhearted and humble in spirit.
Paul writes similar words (Col.3:12) - - And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a HEART OF COMPASSION, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and
forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, SO ALSO SHOULD YOU.
As Christians we must not conform to the world around us by becoming calloused and cold-hearted, but rather we
must be transformed by a renewing of our minds that expresses itself continually with a heart of compassion.
* Some of the many gospel songs written by Fanny Crosby include:
Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross … Tell Me The Story of Jesus … A Wonderful Savior … Redeemed ….I Am Thine, O Lord …
Safe In The Arms Of Jesus … Rescue The Perishing … Blessed Assurance … 'Tis The Blessed Hour Of Prayer …
To God Be The Glory … Praise Him! Praise Him … Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet … Jesus Is Tenderly Calling.