Stewardship of Compassion 1

Faith Church October 23, 2010

Introduction:

#1:  DISCUSS the Stewardship Commitment Card

-  some have already pledged an amount, you may want to consider INCREASING it

-  some are NEW to our church, and have not yet made a commitment

NOTE: Our emphasis is NOT equal giving, but equal sacrifice!

-  Also, emphasize the willingness to SERVE and produce FRUIT, MORE FRUIT, MUCH FRUIT

#2:  Discuss our Stewardship Banquet [this is one of those “ALL HANDS ON DECK” times of participation!]

-  let’s do a quick review and get our subject of Stewardship this morning!

üStewardship = God- given responsibility with accountability!

“. . . We do not choose to become stewards, we are stewards! 

The question is: ‘What kind of steward are you?’”

Q: What are the 4 Factors in Stewardship? [Matthew 25]

#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.

#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.

#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or
Diminish It.

#4:  God Can Call Me into Account at Any Time.

- Now, I want us to think together for a minute…

Input: When you hear the word stewardship, what do you typically think about? 

- various answers  that probably include the following:

Time – Eph.5:16  Redeeming the time for the days are evil.

Money – Matthew 25 – Parable on “talents” (money) of 1, 2, and 5

Your body – 1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 – You body is a temple of the Holy Spirit

Tongue (last year’s focus in ABF) – James 3 – Must control it

-  Rhetorical question:  Have you ever thought about the issue of your stewardship of the attributes and character of God?

- you may say, “Sure, I’d love to be a good steward of God’s Sovereignty…”  (be in control!)

- We’re not talking about the attributes that belong ONLY to Him (omniscience – all knowing; omnipotent - all- powerful; omnipresent - everywhere present) Note: These are NON-COMMUNICABLE attributes – i.e. we can’t demonstrate those attributes

- I am talking about the attributes and character qualities that are COMMUNICABLE – i.e. each of us have the ability to MODEL that attribute!

-  With that thought in your mind, I want to turn your attention to one attribute/character quality of God this morning – that attribute is “COMPASSION” – God’s love!

1.  Let’s look at a few verses that help us to think about the Compassion of God!

  • Psalm 69:16 Answer me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; according to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me.
  • James 5:11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
  • Matthew 20:34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their (two blind men) eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

- that gives us a few verses on God’s compassion, but what about the believer….

-notice that ‘compassion’ is connected to ACTION (compassion leads to actions!)

2.  Believers are to be stewards of compassion!

- when we trust Christ as our Savior, we immediately have the ability to produce the FRUIT of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23 – one of which is LOVE!)

- we have a God-given responsibility with accountability do bring glory to God (glory = the right opinion of God) as we INCREASE what’s been entrusted to us!

- in John 15, Jesus said we are connected to the VINE and we can/should produce FRUIT, MORE FRUIT, and MUCH FRUIT – i.e. evidence that we are connected to Vine (Jesus)

- this fits right into our theme: Taking the Next Step with Joy! (in having/showing compassion)

  • Colossians 3:12- 14  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. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

NOTE: Notice what love leads to ... ‘love, which is the perfect bond of UNITY’ (the Greek word carries the meaning of perfection, completeness, maturity

- you want these elements in your marriage: Learn to love each other

- you want these elements in the church: Learn to love each other!

  • Philippians 2:1- 4 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 

- the Apostle Paul, challenges the people, based on the truths of Philippians 1 to live for Christ

- the literal translation is:  “Therefore, since there is encouragement in Christ, since there is….

Lesson:  Since our God is a God of compassion, and He tells us in His word that we are to “put on” a heart of compassion, we need to talk about our stewardship of compassion.

- to ‘put on’ a heart of compassion – you have to ‘put off’ a heart of pride (thinking of self, etc.)

- if we DO this, it can bring glory to God – if we don’t, it can rob God of His glory

- so we need to talk about our stewardship of compassion.

IMPORTANT:  Before we get into it, let’s pray together and ask the Lord to do 3 things:

  • Help us to recognize and be thankful for His compassion on us!
  • Help us develop a better understanding of what compassion is!
  • Help us to become better stewards of compassion and therefore demonstrate it!

- So, let’s use our time now to answer two key questions this morning:

#1  What Is Compassion? 

A.   A survey of Scripture reveals various components of compassion:

- The first use of the word we find in the context of Lot, Abraham’s nephew

- Lot was living in Sodom, along with his wife, daughters, and son- in- laws

- Lot pursued idols and the wicked lifestyle of those who did not know or claim God

- God decided it was time to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah

>  it is at this point we read where God sent two angels, out of His love for Abraham, to get Lot and his family out of Sodom.

  • Genesis 19:16 But he (Lot) hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.

- a few components of compassion are seen here

1.  There is a provider and a recipient; both are important.

2.  The recipient(s) may not recognize compassion or desire it.

- the son- in- laws did not recognize it

3.  The provider of compassion uses gentle force to protect the recipient

- “the men seized his hand…”

4.  The recipient may accept or reject the compassion.

Point: Not everybody will accept the compassion you show!

   - Jesus faced rejection – we can/should EXPECT it at times!

5.  Compassion is shown toward a person or group of people who made sinful choices, forsook God, but who call out to God, desiring to return. 

- Let’s look at a passage with the context of a prophet calling out to God’s chosen people and saying:

  • Isaiah 55:6- 7 Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

- these verses, along w/others, tell us compassion involves brokenness from sin & a recognition on the part of the giver of true brokenness & helplessness of the one in need

- now, let me ask you a question

Input: Can compassion ever be misdirected?  (obviously we would say that God could never misdirect compassion)

  • Jonah 4:4- 11 Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

ANSWER: You can misdirect your compassion.

- we will talk more about this later,

- obviously God chose to demonstrate His compassion on PEOPLE, whereas Jonah placed is compassion on an OBJECT instead.

- Needless to say, God was not happy with Jonah

- several ironies here, one being God did not redirect His wrath from Ninevah to Jonah right then and there

 

6.  Compassion involves emotions!

  • Matthew 15:32  And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.”

- nine of twelve uses of the word “compassion” in the gospels has the word feel or felt in front of the word compassion when used by Jesus. 

NOTE:  That does not mean that love is primarily a FEELLING – it’s not

> agapa love is first and foremost a choice, and act of the will –but it also INCLUDES emotions (that’s part of the way God made us – emotional beings, but now, cursed by sin!)

- ‘feel compassion’ literally means to be moved in one’s inward parts, in the bowels or viscera, which the ancients considered the seat of emotions! [1]

- the English word compassion is taken from the Latin, which means to suffer with, but it has come to mean much more than that.

- According to one definition, feel compassion  = “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain and remove its cause” (MacArthur)

Quote: “Jesus had compassion for people’s spiritual needs, which were eternal in their consequences. He had compassion for their physical afflictions, which were often lifelong in their effect. But He also had compassion in regard to their food, which sustained them from day to day. In His model prayer the Lord tells us to ask our heavenly Father to “give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11), because He cares about the practical needs of our daily lives.”– MacArthur[2]

Point:  There is a clear feeling component to compassion

7.  Compassion is shown toward people who have a physical need/helplessness!

- some may have hope in Christ – others may deny that there even is a God!

- the point is, compassion is shown toward the needy and helpless!

  • Mark 1:40- 42  And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

IMPORTANT:  While compassion is not LIMITED to the hopeless or helpless, that is the primary focus!

8.  Compassion responds with action!

- Jesus was not moved by compassion, so He sat and prayed (although praying is showing compassion)….or He cried for the man and did nothing, or point his finger, or shake his head and walk away

Point:  We can’t heal people with leprosy, but we can respond to the need of the sick!

- I want you to be thinking right now about what it looks like practically to be a good steward of compassion…starting in this ABF,  we will talk about that in a minute.

B.   Basic meaning of the word compassion

1.  OT most used word translates as “pity”, “mercy”, “love” (Genesis 19:16)

* Basically, this root connotes that emotional response which results (or may result) in action to remove its object (and/or its subject) from impending difficulty!

Point: It’s starts in the inner man and is demonstrated outwardly with action!

2.  NT most used word translates as “inward affection” and “tender mercy”

Compassion = Authorized Version (AV) translates as “bowels” 9 times, “inward affection” 1 time & “tender mercy”

*  Bowels. were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love;

>  but by the Hebrews as the seat of the more tender affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.).

- one form of the word refers to a heart in which mercy resides.

  • Matthew 20:34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

- to simplify all this, let’s consider a . . .

3.  Working definition of compassion

*  The active and emotional response on the part of God or one of His children to meet the physical and spiritual need of a broken and hopeless person who wants, or is willing to receive help. 

- you can still show compassion to ANY person, whither they want it or not

- you can BE a compassionate person to anybody, but the focus is on the hurting/suffering/hopeless person who really NEEDS help!

Input:  How many of you have ever really thought about the definition of compassion?

Input:  How does this help you?

Now, if we are going to be doers of the word and not just hearers only, let’s think about . . .

#2  What Does It Look Like to Be a Good Steward of Compassion?

      - Here are some answers to that question

A.   You have to know the God of compassion before you can possess and be a steward of compassion.

- You can’t give what you don’t have

Q: Do you know the God of all compassion

Q:  Are you trusting in Him for your eternal security?

Q:  Have you tasted of His compassion upon your life?

- If not, that is where you start…

- We are ready and willing to show you how you can know that you know that you know that you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ!

  • Psalm 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

- It starts by coming to God and admitting your sin and asking for his forgiveness

  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish, but have eternal life. 

- it involves you believing in Christ to pay the penalty for your sins

- another practical aspect of stewarding compassion is

 

 

B.    Thanks God for His compassion toward you through Christ!

  • 2 Corinthians 9:12- 13  For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.  Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,

- in prayer   - in giving

C.   Position yourself to grow in compassion

1.    Be studying God’s word

2.     Be praying and asking God to open your eyes to the needs of people all around you!

3.     Be willingly serving the needy, broken people (we will talk more about next week)

D.   What needs are there that exist in our ABF and what can we do to work together to meet the needs of that person(s)?

 

Conclusion:

Homework:

  • Memorize Stewardship principles
  • Further discuss and act on this lesson with a friend, your family, or Bible study group
  • Invite a friend next week
  • NEXT SUDNAY, BE READY TO GIVE ONE EXAMPLE OF SHOWING COMPASSION TO SOMEONE THIS WEEK

 

SHOWING COMPASSION: Serving in the Living Nativity – turn in all forms!



[1]
MacArthur, John: Matthew. Chicago : Moody Press, 1989, S. 483

[2]Ibid

Faith Church