THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 8-25-02

LESSON TITLE: UNDESERVED BLESSINGS FROM GOD: "COMPASSION AND CARE"

WELCOME

Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord' Day morning. We thank God that you have chosen to be with us today, as we commit this time to our wondrous Creator. What a great privilege we have today to join in this opportunity to praise our God and glorify our Savior. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

(Prayer)

What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. Furthermore, what a sweet smelling savor the fruit of our lips is to our Creator. So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song "It is Well With My Soul!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

How many times have you felt like you're the only one with troubles in this world? Doesn't it seem like every time things are going good, something else happens to burden us down in the troubles of the world? In fact, it doesn't matter whether you are of God or of the world, we are all affected by the troubles of everyday life.

However, David reminds us that troubles are different for those who are followers of the Lord's will. In Psalms 34:19, we read, "many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." In this verse, we are assured that the Lord is always there to deliver us from problems if we are following Him according to His will. Another fact, that is pointed out in the same verse is - even the righteous have afflictions. Think back to the many Bible characters that suffered great trials in life to prove themselves worthy of God. Job is the first to always pop in my mind, because he was a righteous man before God, yet he suffered greater temptations than you and I will ever understand. However, he did not turn from God or blame God through any of his afflictions. Now, how many of us are that good? Usually, the first thing you and I think is, "why is God allowing this to happen to me?" You see, we always put the blame where it is not due for God does not and will not tempt man. James stated this very idea in his book, when he said, "let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone," chapter 1, verse 13. This inspired writer tells us that God can not be tempted nor does He tempt anyone. So, why do these trials and problems come our way? The answer, because God allows us to be tested!

Again, think about the story of Job. Why were those awful things happening to him? It was because God was allowing Satan to test him, to confirm his faithfulness to God. When we are tested, this brings suffering, because Satan uses our fleshly desires and weaknesses against us. In verses 2-3, of the same opening, James also said, "my brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." Problems and trials in this life test us and make our faith stronger, because we learn to rely more on God, as we read earlier.

A final exhortation in dealing with troubles is found in Paul's words to the Corinthians, where he said, "no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it," 1 Cor. 10:13! Have you got it now? We will be tempted, but God will help - even to the point of showing us a way of escape to remove ourselves from the situation.

Are you trusting in God and allowing Him to be by your side in troubles? Have you forgot your friend, Jesus, who has promised to always be with you? Let's face every day stronger knowing that God is there and will guide, guard and protect us always - as we are laboring in His vineyard.

Today we will continue our study on those, "Undeserved Blessings From God." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "compassion and care." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now have the opportunity to look directly into God's Word in connection to many of the undeserved blessings from God.

We want to introduce our topic this morning by beginning in Matthew chapter 20 and verse 34, and we notice here a situation that was taking place with our Lord Jesus Christ and how that actually as these things were happening He was moved with compassion. In verse 34 it says, "So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes and immediately their eyes received sight and they followed Him." This is a story about two blind men who had come to Jesus as He was there coming out of Jericho and how that Jesus restored the sight of those individuals and gave them the opportunity to see. How powerful and compassionate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was.

In the book of Luke, if you'll turn there in Luke chapter 7, we find again another illustration that helps with our topic and in verse 13 we read the following about Jesus' compassion in relationship to a mother who had lost her son who had died. In verse 13 it says, "And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, 'Do not weep.'" Again, as we might read on we would find that He actually raised this young boy from the dead and brought him back to life. Why? Because He was moved with compassion and moved with the faith also of the individuals who came to Him and said, "Lord, we know that you have the power to save. We know that you have the power to restore our sight in one situation and to the life of my son in another."

In John chapter 11, we recall another interesting story about a great friend of Jesus, that was Lazarus. In fact, his sisters also, Mary and Martha, were also very close to Jesus and Jesus loved that family, the Bible tells us, very much. But actually His friend, Lazarus, died and as he died, we read actually in verse 35 that it says that "Jesus wept." Compassion. Why? Because he saw that they were weeping and that his friend was now in the grave and that all of this had transpired. He was moved. He was moved and had compassion on them.

Brethren and friends, the reality is that in this life that we live, and as we've looked at even in weeks past, we serve a God who is a great God for many reasons and one is because of the great compassion that He has on His followers. In fact, another word we might also consider in relationship to compassion is the concept of care. I know that we're familiar with the verse there again in 1 Peter 5 and verse 7 where it says, "If we will cast our cares on Christ, He will..." What? "...care for us." Jesus is there. He's there to care and to show concern and to have compassion and to be moved, to do things for us because He does love us so much. In fact, we can find that not only Christ but also through other examples that the same thing took place. Why? Because of the great compassion that individuals have.

One of the most familiar stories I think sometimes comes to mind when we think of one who helped others or who cared about someone or that is one who had compassion is the story that is familiar to us in Luke chapter 10 around verse 33. We remember here this is the story of the good Samaritan and how there we are told that Jesus told the story about a man who was going down the road there and how he actually found someone who had been stripped and was wounded and who had been harmed in many ways. But notice in verse 33 that it says, "But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed came where he was and when he saw him, he had compassion." You see, there's that word again. Jesus is telling a story about a man, who as Christ was, compassionate. Showing compassion to the point of doing what? Unlike those people of God, the Levite and the priest who had passed by, this Samaritan showing compassion enough to pull money out of his own pocket, to carry this man in and to try to help his wounds, and heal him and to really restore him. Again, I think we see the great compassion and care that God also desires for us.

Another great story that we might look to and are very familiar with is found there again in the book of Luke, few chapters over in chapter 15 where we find the story of the son, the Prodigal son, the one who really had gone off and lived riotously but had returned at one point to the father, realizing that what he had done had been wrong. I want you to notice in verse 20 the reaction by the father as it says, "And he arose and came to his father and when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had..." What? "...compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." Many of us would say, "Why have compassion on such a wicked young man who had done this and really squandered his living and done wrong with those things that had been entrusted to him by his father?" Why? Well because that's the spirit of Christ, and that's the spirit that you and I must have today as we are followers of God, as we are Christians, and as you and I well know as Christians that we strive to be Christ-like. If we want to be like Christ, we must likewise be compassionate. We must have care as Jesus showed care.

The story we want to focus on for the rest of our time this morning though is found in the book of Mark. We've not yet looked at the gospel account according to Mark but yet it in parallel shows so many of the same stories as well as other stories that show the great compassion and care that the followers of Christ had. Why? Because they were following that example that Jesus had left them.

There in Mark chapter 2, we begin in verse 3 with the story about someone who actually again was healed in a certain situation but yet if we look at the context we find there that "he had entered Capernium after some days," that is in verse 1, "and it was heard that he was in the house." In other words, he was in the house of someone and immediately many had gathered together and were there to hear him preaching the Word. But in verse 3, it says that "they came to him bringing a paralytic, one who was paralyzed, who was carried by four men. They came to the situation. They saw,' as it says in verse 4, "that they could not get to Jesus because there was a mighty crowd, a wondrous crowd there assembled." Why? They wanted to hear the Savior. They wanted to hear Him and they as well as this paralyzed man understood that really Jesus had the compassion and care to even heal and help those who were there and who had faith in Him. So when they saw the crowd, what did they do? Look again at verse 4. It says there that "when they saw the crowd, they uncovered the roof where he was so that they had broken through. They let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying and when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." Notice here the compassion of the situation. Don't you know that maybe the owner of the house was wondering, "What are you doing to my roof? You're tearing my roof up." Jesus didn't look up and say, "Why are you destroying someone's house? Why are you doing something against something that is not your own?" But what did Jesus do? He was moved with compassion by their faith. Now the first things He did if you'll notice compassionately dealt with the sins, the spiritual side of this man. He said, "Look, your sins are forgiven. Your sins are forgiven. You as one who has shown that I am so one to be believed. I am so worthy of belief that you will even tear a hole in the roof and be let down so that you might be healed. Your faith has caused you to have forgiveness of sins." And as we continue on in verse 6, it says, "And some of the scribes were sitting there and they reasoned in their hearts, "Why does this man speak blasphemy like this? Who can forgive sins alone but God?" And why does this man do it? In verse 8 it says, "Because He was perceived in the spirit. He was one who was of God." You see, they began immediately through these things to see that Jesus Christ was the son of God. Isn't that what miracles are all about? Isn't that why Jesus and the disciples as we often call them apostles, isn't that why they performed miracles? To confirm the Word. Well certainly it was. And that's exactly what Jesus was doing. He was proving to them that He had that ability.

But now if you'll go on down to verse 11, it actually says, "I say to you arise, take up your bed and go to your house." You see, Jesus said, "I'm not only interested and compassionate about your spiritual nature thus forgiving your sins and that I have the right to do so." But He says, "I'm also interested in you physically." And therefore He said, "You are no longer paralyzed but arise. Arise and walk and return to your home a whole man, a whole man who is able to serve and to act on His belief." Again, what a beautiful story. A beautiful story that really shows us such a vast amount of individuals in this text. An individual who was helpless. A man who himself could not have come to Jesus without the help of friends. A man who was so helpless that he was lying pretty much motionless and needed assistance, but when he heard Jesus, he had to go and see Jesus because He had great faith in Him. But not only this man, but what about his helpers, his friends? What about those who cared enough about this man to take him up and to carry him all the way to this place where Jesus was? What about his friends who climbed on the roof with their friend and then tore a hole in the roof and assisted to let him down in the presence of Jesus so that he might be healed? Again, notice the great compassion that they had for their own friend to do such a mighty and a wondrous work. But not only that, but we see also the class of people in this situation who were the hinderers. There were many multitudes around who were keeping those who needed true help away from Jesus. But not only those who were hindering, but also don't you know some who were saying, "What are you doing again to the roof?" or "Why would you do such a thing?" or "Jesus, why would you allow such to take place?" And then those who continued to hinder by saying, "How can you forgive sins? Who are you that you would have such ability and power? You don't have that right." It seems they were proclaiming to Jesus. So yes, there were those who were negative. You and I are familiar with those today in the church and maybe in the religious world who were always negative and never want to look positively at things. Well, they had those in that day also. In this situation, they had those certainly who were trying to hinder the good that was being done.

However, once again, we find that still many great things were brought out. And then we find the great compassion not only of his friends but also again of Jesus, the helper again, the one who was willing in the middle of this situation where He was proclaiming the message of His Father that had sent Him to take time out and to say, "What is your need? And because of your faith, I forgive your sins. And furthermore, arise and walk and you will never have this physical ailment that you have had throughout your life."

Notice again how many wondrous things we read here and how really the people were left in awe, and how that in verse 12 we are reminded that "immediately He arose, took up the bed and went out in the presence of them all, so that they were amazed and glorified God saying, 'We never saw anything like this.'"

Brethren, that is the type of man that is now also by the side of His Father, Jesus in the flesh, the man who was Deity, the only individual we can ever look to who has such power and might, Jesus Christ. That's the man that we serve. That's the compassion that He had. Even though He is God, even though He was God in the flesh, He still was willing to do whatever he could to help His fellow man. He came why? Because as we read in Matthew 9:12, "The sick need a physician. The sick physically and the sick spiritually." Brethren, that's the one we serve, the one willing to lead the right hand of the Father, to suffer temptations and trials and problems in this life, even crucifixion for our sake so that we might be saved. Yes, we need to learn the compassion that Jesus had. We need to understand that He has blessed us, although undeserving with such compassion and care and therefore, let's ourselves exemplify that to our fellow man, to our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, our family. Let's show everyone that we truly not only love our God and that He does so much for us and that He cares so much for us, but furthermore, that we want to be like our Savior and that we care for our fellow man, also. Are you like Jesus today?

(SONG # 3 - "I'll Fly Away!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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May we all learn to have the compassion and care for our fellow man that God has for us, because it is by this that men know that we are of our Father!

(Program closing)