Compassion

1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”

Acts 4:32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul:  neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

The word compassion means:  sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  It is to have sorrow or pity for those under distress or misfortune. 

Christians should be a compassionate people.

I.                   GOD IS FULL OF COMPASSION.

A.    The Heavenly Father has compassion for mankind.

Psalm 86:15, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

1.      God has compassion for weak and sinful men.

2.  This compassion of God is beyond our human understanding.  

Rom. 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

B.    God has compassion for the entire human race.

Rom. 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

C.    The Heavenly Father is especially compassionate toward His faithful children.

1 Pet. 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:  but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

II.                THE SON OF GOD HAD GREAT COMPASSION FOR LOST HUMANITY.

A.    Jesus Christ had compassion for both the physical and spiritual needs of mankind.

Matt. 9:35-36, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease among the people.  But when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”

1.      Jesus was moved with compassion because of the condition of the people who followed Him.

2.  These people were ignorant of God’s will; and thus, were in a helpless and hopeless state.

B.    On another occasion, He said, “…I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat:  and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way” (Matt. 15:32). 

1.      By a miracle He provided enough food from seven loaves of bread and a few fish to feed 4,000 men, plus some women and children.

C.    The Son of God had compassion for those in sorrow.

1.      After Lazarus died, when Jesus came to where Mary, the sister of Lazarus, was located, the scripture states, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him?  They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept(John 11:33-35).

D.    We can have consolation of knowing that Jesus Christ is a sympathetic High Priest.

Heb. 4:15, “For we have not an 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.”

1.      When Jesus ascended back to heaven, He became our High Priest.

2.      Jesus is a compassionate High Priest in that He lived in the flesh and experienced suffering and temptation.

3.      We can be thankful that we have a sympathetic High Priest to plead for us before the Heavenly Father.

1 Tim. 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 

1 John 2:1-2, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation for our sins:  and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

       III.    HOW CAN WE SHOW COMPASSION TOWARD OTHERS?

A.     Love is a motivating emotion of the compassionate.

Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

1.         Because of a mother’s love for her child, she has a deep compassion for that child.

2.         It has been said, that, “Sympathy flows from a mother’s heart like a sparkling stream of pure water.

3.         If we possess love for our fellow man, we will have compassion for them like a mother has for her child.

B.     A compassionate person is more inclined to give generously toward the needs of others.

1 John 3:17-18, “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?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

C.     If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we will take pity on all people who are in distress and hurting either mentally or physically because of their situation.  This would include showing sympathy to those whose loved ones have become seriously ill or have died.

Rom. 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

1 Cor. 12:26, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

D.    A compassionate person will give liberally toward the work of the local congregation in reaching others with the gospel of Christ and assisting in the physical needs of the less fortunate.

1 Cor. 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

2 Cor. 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:  for God loveth a cheerful giver.”              

E.     Our compassion for the lost will motivate us to teach them the gospel of Christ.

Mark 6:34, “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd:  and he began to teach them many things.”

1.         The mission of the Son of God is also our mission.

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

III.             THE COMPASSIONATE WILL RECEIVE COMPASSION.

Psalm 19:17, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

Matt. 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful:  for they shall obtain mercy.”

A.  Those who have pity on the poor and others in need will receive pity.

1.    However, if we have no pity toward others then we will not receive any from the Lord.

Matt. 25:31-46, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations:  and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee?  Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  Or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in:  naked, and ye clothed me not:  sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:  but the righteous into life eternal.”

Matt. 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets.”

B.  The story of the rich man and Lazarus is a vivid illustration of how the unmerciful will not receive the least bit of mercy from God after this life (Luke 16:19-31).

Gal. 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Conclusion:

“If I knew that a word of mine,

a word not kind and true.

Might leave its trace,

On a loved ones face,

I’d never speak harshly, Would you?

If I knew the light of a smile

Might linger the whole day through,

And brighten some heart,

With a heavier part,

I would not withhold it, would you?”

 

--Dub Mowery

  

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