Practicing the Principle of Compassion
Sermon Summary
This message is the first in a series of sermons entitled “Practicing the Principles!” It begins with two video testimonies from members of our most recent Haiti missions team. The pastor then lays out the reasons our church is involved in missions in Haiti. He begins by sharing that Jesus was motivated by compassion. Jesus cared about the hurts and struggles of people. He had the power to do something about it and did. The need still exist today and we’ve been given the power from God to do something about it. We should care about others just like Jesus did. It sometimes requires personal sacrifice to let our compassion move us to action. However, the reward will always be greater than the sacrifice! During the message, the pastor also discussed the subject of healing.

Small Group Discussion Guide
1. We can’t all go to Haiti on a mission trip, but we can all learn lessons from those who have gone. Share something you’ve learned from either being on a mission trip or from someone who has been.

2. Jesus had compassion on the physically sick, and hungry and well as those who were spiritually sick and hungry. What are some situations you’ve seen in your family, community, school, church, or workplace that needed someone to show compassion?
Mat 25:35  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
Mat 25:36  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

3. Here’s a quote from the sermon. “If you have an infirmity and you've taken it to God in prayer and faith, if God doesn't take it away, it doesn't mean you didn't have enough faith, it means you can still accomplish God's will even with the infirmity! And because you continue to trust God and serve Him through the infirmity, God will use the issue, whatever it is, to show others the truth and power of the gospel!.” Agree or disagree? Why?
2 Corinthians 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

4. God has given us the power to make a difference in our world by sharing the gospel. It  may take personal sacrifice to share the gospel by practicing the principle of compassion. How so and is it worth the sacrifice?
Eph 4:32  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Eph 5:1  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
Eph 5:2  and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.



Full Sermon Notes
Practicing the Principle of Compassion

We go to Haiti to make a difference in their lives. What happens every time is they end up making a difference in our lives! Pam Broussard, one of our team members put it this way...

"This trip was a dream come true. I waited 10 years to go on this trip. I got back much more than i could ever give.  

The 3 hour worship service  on Sunday blew me away; the people were singing, praising , and thanking God with all their heart, soul, mind, strength in the midst of immense physical poverty and survival based lifestyle. Spiritually they were some of  the wealthiest people on earth."

Vickie Saucier put it this way...

"When I came home it helped me to look closer at my surroundings and to see God in all that He does around me."

Some people question whether we should even go to Haiti when every thing's not perfect in our own country. Jesus didn't give us the option of just doing ministry in our own backyard! Listen...

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

So it's not one or the other it's both and! Sometimes we have to get out of our familiar environment in order to gain prospective, and it makes a difference when we get back home! It helps us to see the needs around us here that we had been blind to see.
When we leave our comfort zones it helps us to realize just how much we've been blessed! But we also must remember that compassion is a Biblical principle we are told to practice!

Jesus Himself practiced the principle of compassion. Let's look at Matthew 15:29ff…

Matthew 15:29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
30Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
31The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
32Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Jesus would go on to perform one of two amazing miracles by feeding thousands with with a few loves of bread and a few fish. Today's message is not about these miracles! Today's message is not about the miracle of healing, per say, although I will address something about this in just a moment. Today's message is about practicing the principle of compassion! Why did Jesus practice the principle of compassion?
Three reasons stand out...

They had a Need
He had the Power
He Cared

Jesus had compassion on people and He healed them. He had compassion on people and He fed them. Why? They had a need!, and He really cared about them! He loved them. He wanted to help them. But, there were some other things at play as well.
Jesus was the promised Messiah. and as such, He had the power! He was the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies concerning the one who would bring healing to the nation of Israel. He was the One who would bring about spiritual restoration and usher in the New Covenant with God, the one written on hearts and not carved in tablets of stone.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus was the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah. These prophecies spoke of The Messiah's power to heal the nation of Israel on a national and spiritual level. We rightly focus on salvation for the individual, be we must not forget that God also wants to save communities...

An example of this comes from our team concerning the difference our church is making by partnering with House of Blessing Orphanage in the community of Callabasse… Chris Shields shared...

When explaing how the love of House of Blessing has effected the village, Jonas says because of the love in Callabasse…he is welcomed everywhere, if he is thirsty any house in town will give him something to drink. If he is hungry, any house will feed him something.  Every home  will welcome him.

But there was certainly an individual component to the prophecies. Jesus used that personal component to touch the lives of many, many individuals while here on the earth.

His power to heal did not convince everyone, but it was a sign to many! They knew this was no ordinary prophet! Luke's gospel records the following...

Luke 7:11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.
12As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.
13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”
17This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Jesus didn't do His miracles to increase His followship! He didn't do His miracles simply to prove He could! He didn't want people following Him just because of the miracles. In fact, many times He would take people away from the crowds to heal them. He didn't want to make a spectacle of them. He did His miracles because He could, it was a part of fulfilling the prophecies but mostly because He cared! He was here, He was God, He saw their pain, He touched them and healed them. He was not trying to convey that people would no longer get sick if they had faith. He was not saying people would no longer die if they only had enough faith. Some have tried to put forth this erroneous doctrine, but it's simply not true.

What He was saying, through His actions, was that God cares deeply about human hurt and pain. He was showing the fact God wants to help us navigate through this life.
God offers the miracle of His presence and His strength to anyone who is facing a difficulty in this life, whether physical, mental, emotional, or circumstantial. We actually had someone on the trip do something very spontaneous and I think it was very Christ like. This quote comes to us from Helene Jackson...

“One of the highlights of our trip was during the end of our second day of
medical mission. We had shut down for the day and in comes a lady walking
on a cane.  Apparently her foot had been run over. Dr. Ben examined her
and asked did she have a sturdier shoe. Without hesitation, Kelly flips
off her tennis shoes to give to her so that she could have some support.”

And here's what Kelly had to say...

"It is challenging to find words to describe what it was like to be a part of the medical mission for children and families of the community. A few that come to mind are humbling, motivating, and unending love. What a blessing to be able to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in that capacity."

God did not use our team to instantly heal this woman's foot, but I'll tell you this much, she will never forget the selfless act of that young lady without hesitation giving up her brand new Niki shoes. If she had been instantly healed everyone would have been talking about the miracle. Now everyone is talking about an act of kindness done in the name of Jesus. Nothing wrong with a miracle. I love it when God sets aside all natural laws and does something supernatural.

One last thing about miracles. Sometimes God gives a miraculous healing and sometimes he gives a miraculous grace. Paul talks about his own infirmities and how God had chosen not to heal him, but rather gave him grace to endure and to accomplish God's will through the infirmities.

2 Corinthians 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If you have an infirmity and it keeps you from accomplishing God's will then He will remove that infirmity from you. Yes, He still has the power to do miraculous healings even today. I like this attitude...

I know He can, I believe He will, but I'm going to trust His divine wisdom to prevail. I know sickness and death were not a part of God's original intentions for us, but we live in a fallen world. But I also know this…He has not abandoned me! No, His presence gives me the strength I need.

And let me say this…if you have an infirmity and you've taken it to God in prayer and faith, if God doesn't take it away, it doesn't mean you didn't have enough faith, it means you can still accomplish God's will even with the infirmity! And because you continue to trust God and serve Him through the infirmity, God will use the issue, whatever it is, to show others the truth and power of the gospel! To show that God's presence in our life and His purpose for our life is more important to us  than our personal comforts.
Have you ever noticed that many times the most compassionate people are the people who have suffered themselves. They know what it means to be sick, to be hungry, to struggle, to be discouraged, to have little or no hope. They have experienced God's Miraculous grace, strength and presence!

These people are wounded healers. They can relate. They can help! God wants His church to become more concerned about getting the good news of the gospel to the world than we are with racking up on blessings.

So, Jesus practiced the principle of compassion because ...

They had a Need
He had the Power
He Cared

Now, I need to tell you why you should practice the principle of compassion.

The Need still exist
We've been given the Power
We should Care like Jesus

Here was the situation in Jesus' day...

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Has the situation changed today? I don't think so. If anything the situation is even more critical. People are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. We need to pray the Lord will send workers to into the fields of human crisis and show people the compassion of Jesus! Here at home and in other parts of the world.

Shelda Melancon put it like this...

"On the mountains of Callebasse, I see God like never before! He is in the smiles, the laughs, the teamwork, the friendships, the devotions, the emotions, the grass, the trees, the sunrise, the mountainous terrain, the music. It’s a world so different than America, yet the needs of the people are the same….the need for love and relationships.
Here, the focus is just that…on love and relationships, on things that matter.
The work is such a small part, as I am blessed to be with people that are so gracious.
I am overcome with emotions, as it is so evident that I get more than I am able to give."

But, do we really have the power? Can we really make a difference? Let me refer you back to a verse I already read to you...

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I'll close today's message on practicing the principle of compassion with a quote from a message preached by a pastor back in 1966. It was entitled "Guidelines for a Constructive Church"
Listen to what he said….

 "When you follow God's guidelines it isn't always easy. It isn't easy for a church. It isn't easy for individuals. When you go out here to help the sick, when you go out of here to deal with the brokenhearted, when you go out of here to help the poor, to really preach the acceptable year of the Lord, it isn't easy.
It means suffering and sacrifice. But God wants the church today that will bear the cross. Too many Christians are wearing the cross, and not enough are bearing the cross. Too many churches have a cross sitting at the center, but they aren't willing to follow the true meaning of the cross. The cross means what it says. It's something that you die on. I'm not talking about physical death now. It may mean the death of your prestige. It may mean the death of your popularity. It may mean the death of your budget as it has always stood. But there are too many churches more concerned about a cushion than a cross; more concerned about making the gospel something easy, retranslating the gospel to read, "Go ye into all the world and keep your blood pressure down, and lo I will make you a well adjusted personality." This isn't God's church!

Who said this? Martin Luther King Jr. You probably won't hear that quote on national media, but the man sure spoke truth when he said the guidelines for the church includes being willing to carry the Cross of Jesus! I pray Northshore Church will always be willing to carry the Gospel of the Cross to our world, both here in Slidell and to places like Calabasse Haiti. We must decide whether or not we are willing to practice the principle of compassion even if it means we must make a personal sacrifice to do so. In the end, the reward will always be greater than the sacrifice! Let's pray!