This week I spent a good deal of time trying to get our lift pump to work the way it was supposed to work. I appreciate those who were willing to help out, and right now it is working! Praise the Lord. The problem was it would run, but nothing would really happen. It would stir the water in the pit, but it wouldn't move it out like it was designed to do. It turns out that we weren't getting it connected properly; once we did it began to work.
Now, you may be wondering why I am telling you this sad story. As a pastor, I often see illustrations in the most interesting places. This week in the pit, I saw an interesting parallel. That pump, like many of us, made a lot of noise and expended a lot of energy, but didn't get much accomplished. You ever feel this way? I know that I do.
Read: Mt. 9:35-38
Speaking with Randy the other day, he related to me some of the needs he has seen in the church in Ames. They need workers. He expressed how much he needed someone to help with music, children, and with the teens. He needs someone to help with follow-up and discipleship. He needs help with visiting. But I want you to understand that it isn't just the Heartland Baptist Church that needs workers…it is also Grace Baptist Temple!
Most surveys will agree that 80% of the work accomplished in a church is done by 20% of the people. A recent check of our membership list proves that we fall into that category as well. Why is this true? Why don't more believers get involved in ministry? One problem is motivation.
I. The Importance of Motivation
A. What motivated Jesus to save the lost?
1. What prompted Him to come to this earth?
2. What propelled Him to go from city to city with the gospel?
3. What moved Him to endure the shame and pain of dying on the cross?
B. Several factors could be listed...
1. His strong sense of purpose (to do His Father's will)
John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
2. The Father's love (which He wanted to share)
John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
3. The potential condemnation those He sought to save (of which He warned)
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
4. But the primary factor is what we find in our text today...Compassion
II. Jesus' Compassion
A. Jesus Had Compassion For The Lost...
1. We find His compassion recorded on a number of occasions
a. In our text - Mt 9:36
b. Prior to feeding the five thousand - Mt 14:14
c. Prior to feeding the four thousand - Mt 15:32
d. Toward various individuals
1) A leper - Mk 1:40-41
2) A demon-possessed man - Mk 5:19
3) The widow of Nain who had lost her son - Lk 7:11-15
4) The two blind men - Mt 20:30-34
2. He was moved with compassion when He saw people:
a. Weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd…
b. Suffering from diseases, demon possession, and hunger
B. His Compassion Moved Him...
1. Compassion isn't the same thing as pity.
2. We may pity someone and walk away saying to ourselves, 'My what a shame.'
3. But compassion always moves us to action.
4. Jesus was moved to heal the sick, deliver the demon-possessed, raise the dead, and feed the hungry.
5. To those in need of a Shepherd, He became what they needed.
Mr 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.
C. He Desired To Communicate That Compassion
1. First, to His disciples.
2. He called them to see the need.
Joh 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
3. And then called them to pray for more laborers
4. Later He sends out His disciples as laborers in the harvest.
5. Ultimately, He commissions you and I to do the same!
III. How Is Our Compassion?
A. Do We Have Compassion For Others?
1. Are we moved when we see...
a. Multitudes of people who are without Christ?
b. Individuals who are lost in sin?
c. What people who are hurting and in need?
2. Can we say we have compassion if we've made...
a. No effort to get involved in meeting the needs of others?
b. No effort to share the truth of the Gospel with them?
c. Little effort to even get to know those who are lost?
3. What have we done in the past year to reach someone who needs the Gospel?
a. The answer to this question reveals much about our compassion
b. Are we pleased with the answer?
c. Does it seem that we make noise and stir the water, but not much is accomplished in this area?
B. What Can We Do To Develop Compassion?
1. Let God teach us how to love
1Th 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
1Jo 3:16-17 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 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?
a. God teaches us through the example of His Son
b. By frequent contemplation of God's love for us, the more we will love others!
c. So the Word of God is essential for developing compassion
2. Invest our lives into people.
a. To love people, we need to get to know them
b. The more we come to know people, the more likely we become concerned about their well being
c. We need to beware of becoming isolated from people
d. In our society today it is easy to remain anonymous.
C. Why Should Compassion Move Us?
1. Note the results of a survey taken a few years ago.
2. The survey revealed how people come into a relationship with Christ and the church?
a. 5 % = Walk-ins
b. 7 % = Pastor
c. 3 % = Church programs
d. 1.5 % = Visitation
e. 4.5 % = Sunday School
f. .0001% = Evangelistic crusades or TV
g. 79 % = Friends and relatives
3. If we are to fulfill our God-given responsibility to reach others with the Gospel, we MUST be moved with compassion.
4. We must allow God to open our eyes to the needs of those around us, and to move us to action.
5. That we might do whatever it takes to see them come to Christ, to see them mature, to see their needs met.
The songwriter put it this way:
Let me see this world dear Lord as though I were looking through Your eyes. A world of men who don't want You Lord. But a world for which You died. Let me kneel with You in the garden. Blur my eyes with tears of agony. For if once I could see this world the way You see. I just know I'd Serve You more faithfully.
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
1. To those who are without Christ … come now
2. For those who need motivation … compassion
3. For those who are in the harvest … pray