Thursday, June 18, 2009

Compassion for the Lost

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and every weakness and infirmity. 36 When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.

Matthew 9:35-38

Too often Christians are freezing in intellectualism or frying in emotionalism and have no concern for others. The soul winner is marked by his compassion for the lost.

Jesus “saw the multitudes” (v. 36). He had to tell His disciples to “lift up your eyes, and look on the fields” (John 4:35). Somehow, though they know about the population explosion, most Christians never really see the multitudes! I was once a structural steel draftsman. Whenever I see blueprints or watch steel beams going up for a building, something is stirred inside me. Others see the same things and are totally unaffected. It’s in my blood, as we say. Soul winning must get in your blood so you are moved at the multitudes though others just pass by.

The Lord saw the multitudes. Remember “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). You can be sure the majority at a ball game, political gatherings and the like will be without Jesus. Look beyond the surface of their laughter and wealth. See them as souls who will live forever in heaven or hell!

“They fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (v. 36). The word “fainted” means to be disturbed or bewildered. With all the psychotics and neurotics, the rebellious and revolutionaries, the degenerates and delinquents today, what could better describe them? No wonder Jesus speaks of the “distress of nations, with perplexity”; and “men’s hearts failing them for fear” in the last days (Matthew 21:25-26). People are scattered with no “shepherd” to lead them to Jesus.

The reaction of Jesus to all of this was to be “moved with compassion.” No candle on the altar will substitute for a flame in the heart. People are more moved at a dead dog in the street or a child lost in the woods than at souls going to hell. Christians want the non-Christians to believe with his heart and yet decry emotions shown for the lost. Paul’s “spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city [Athens] wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). If you show emotions at a ball game you’re a fan but if at Jesus you’re a fanatic. The church needs “a band of men whose hearts the Lord has touched” with compassion.

...the Lord is all I need. He takes care of me. My share in life has been pleasant; my part has been beautiful.

Psalm 16:5&6

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