Compassion For Souls
Title: Compassion for souls
Scripture Reading: Luke 7:11-15
This morning I want to talk about the compassion for souls. I believe we are living in the dispensation of Grace. I am not saying that this dispensation of Grace will continue forever. This dispensation will usher in a dispensation of Judgment, when Jesus Christ returns. I believe the dispensation of judgment is just around the corner. I believe we are in the 11th hour of Grace and when the clock strikes 12, the dispensation of judgment begins. But for the present moment, it is the dispensation of Grace. And we must cooperate with God and do as much as we can in this dispensation of Grace.
Grace in the dictionary.com is defined as a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior. For the world, this superior is definitely God. The synonym for Grace is forgiveness, charity, mercifulness, clemency, pardon. When Jesus came into the world, he ushered in the dispensation of Grace. The bible says Jesus was full of Grace and Truth. Jesus was a man full of compassion for mankind. We who are his disciples must likewise follow his footsteps.
When two blind men, sitting by the way side heard that Jesus passed by cried out saying “have mercy on us, O Lord thou Son of David”, the bible says on Matthew 20:34 ‘Jesus had compassion on them’ and healed them. When four thousand men, besides women and children were with Jesus in the desert, and they had been with him for three days and hath nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples and said ‘I have compassion on the multitude’. (Matt 15:32) And he fed them.
I was just reading the bible yesterday and I read in Exodus 21:2 that ‘If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out for free.’ A Hebrew’s God is Jehovah. God cannot bear and allow a Hebrew to be a servant (counted as a slave at that time), under burden, bondage permanently. We may receive judgment, or trials, or suffering for 6 years but on the seventh year, it is our year of pardon, forgiveness, freedom. That is compassion. The devil never opens the prison doors of his slaves, but God never allows the prison doors to be closed permanently on any one of his children. That is Grace. That is compassion.
Look at the world right now. There is a great deal of general dissatisfaction among the population of the world because the poor has been left out, forsaken and I think they are suffering quietly and painfully. It has happened to the Middle Eastern countries under the brutality and tyranny of a cruel despot. Then we see this same thing happening to South East Asian countries. We are witnessing upheaval in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Now we are seeing protests from a disgruntled populace in England, and even Germany. The London police killed a protester from the slum of England, and it led to so much anger and riots because they have suffered and have been ignored for too long. And this is happening in Germany right now. In Berlin, we are witnessing very expensive cars, like BMW, Mercedes being torched on fire. There is an anger that is fermenting because they have been oppressed for too long.
I believe God is allowing all these uprisings to take place because God has heard the cries of these people. This morning my message is on the compassion for soul, especially those who have suffered too long. God wants us to understand and experience, and embrace this compassion so that we can be the instrument to deliver these people. In Matthew 21:31 Jesus said ‘Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.’ Why? Matthew 21:32 gave the answer, ‘For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him.’ Who are the ‘you’ referred to in Matthew 21:31? Many people have joined the church and are religious and think they are Christians, but they are not. They have a religion of exterior decorum with nothing real inside. They can perform their church rituals and give mental assent to the doctrines, but they are not genuine believers unless there is a transformation in their lives and thinking.
The publicans and harlots recognized their sinfulness. They came late, yes, at first they said no to God, but because of the trials of life, they came and repented. Who are the publicans and harlots? They are the people in the highways and byways of life. It is the publican who beats his chest before God and cried, ‘God be merciful a sinner.’ The publicans are translated as the ‘tax collectors’ and the harlots are replaced with the word ‘prostitutes’. Jesus’s words are astounding but it is a kind of prophecy that we have to cooperate with God. The tax collectors and prostitutes were representatives of the despised classes, those who were the most despicable to the self-righteous leaders. These are the people we see involved in the uprising in the Middle East, Asian countries and even Europe right now. They are the despised classes and consider the most despicable to the self-righteous leaders.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister of England came from the aristocrat family and instead of empathizing and trying to understand the seething anger among this people, in view of the current uprising, he called them thugs, sick, hooligans and wanted to take away their social benefits. I felt that David Cameron cannot understand them. Actually I see him as a self-righteous leaders who despised these classes of people.
That is how the former Prime Minister of Thailand behaves. He graduated from Harvard, came from the rich aristocracy, was close to the King of Thailand but was never compassionate to his people. Brothers and sisters, I believe that God wants us to understand the signs of the times and cooperate with God. I believe that in this recent move of God in our church, the ultimate purpose was for these people. The touch is for the task.
As we read the word of God again and again, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, have been doing our devo, we will also hear the cry of the wilderness. When the children of Israel suffered under the tyranny of Egypt (a representation of the rulers of this world), God heard their cries. When Israel was in this most difficult dark ages lasting for more than 400 years, a voice cried out in the wilderness, ‘repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand’. That was the cry of the Holy Spirit through John the Baptist. Likewise, I strongly believe that this cry is happening again. It is the cry of the Holy Spirit in us. It is crying because of the suffering of people. Of course the publicans and prostitutes had obviously strayed from God and had for a certain moment refused to go the church of God, but their pains caused them to repent of their sin. And they will be the ones who will enter the kingdom of God.
You asked, Pastor, who are these people you are referring to that God wants us to reach out to. Of course they are literally the tax collectors and the prostitutes. But they are the representative of the despised and consider the despicable people by self-righteous people. They are those who had strayed away from God and had for a certain moment refused to go to church, but their pain in life has humbled and broken them, and they are ready to repent of their sins and are ripe to enter the kingdom of God. They are the ones who say they would go their own ways but then took God’s way. They claimed to be tough, hard headed, materialists but somehow they are ashamed of their behavior and are actually always wanting to do change in secret. Where can they be found? In the highways and byways of life. A chief characteristic of these people is that they are lost. There found in the public highways out of the city, as well as to the streets in it. Quezon Street, Mabini Street, are examples of such streets. The roads to Capiz, Antique, and Istancia are the public highways out of the city. These are where the people are found. In some translation, the byways are translated as the hedge. A hedge is an enclosure around a field or vineyard, commonly made of thorns. Those in the hedges were poor laborers employed in planting them or trimming them – people of the lowest class and of great poverty. The persic version classifies these people in the hedges as the base, mean, vile and sinful people. God says ‘bring them in that my house may be filled’. I believe Evangel will have a surging birth and the surging birth will come from these people.
You must have compassion for them. Jesus has compassion for them. This compassion has to come from God. Only when you are continually filled with the Holy Spirit and always in the presence of God, will this compassion come upon you. Jesus has tremendous great compassion for them.
Smith Wigglesworth has tremendous compassion for people. To have compassion you need to associate with people, have dealings with them and mix with them. That was what Jesus did. One of the complaints of the Pharisees and Sadducees is that Jesus always eats with the publicans and the sinners. One of the teachings of the Encounter is that you have to go to them, not ask them to come to you. To have compassion is to be moved inwardly, to yearn with tender mercy, affection, pity and empathy. This is possible because as you have your personal devotion and wait upon God, God will move you inwardly, to yearn with tender mercy, affection, pity and empathy for souls around you. Compassion can only arise from the very depth of a person’s affection. It is the deepest movement of emotions possible, being touched with the deepest feelings possible. Again this is possible because God loves souls and he will pour this compassion upon you. Compassion and pity should flood our hearts for the
We that are filled with the Holy Spirit no longer have the right to overlook the needy. We are now a new man. A part of the new man is the garment of compassion; the believer is to be clothed with compassion. He is to have mercy and reach out to meet the needs of the world. The word compassion means sympathy; to actually feel with others. It means to feel for others so much that
One suffers with those who suffers – Jesus suffers when he saw Martha suffers over the death of Lazarus
One weeps with those who weep – Jesus wept with Mary over Lazarus
One rejoices when others are honored
One hurts with those who are criticized and attacked.
One grieves with sorrows of others.
I believe that when we are so full of the Holy Spirit, which we have been having as a result of the new baptism of the Holy Spirit, one has no conception what power he has with the Holy Spirit inside him. In the highways and byways of life, one can be aware of another person’s hurts and sufferings, problems and difficulties, another’s emotions and mental state, another’s physical and spiritual conditions. Suddenly you are tenderhearted towards them.
I want to say that a voice is crying. And it is the voice of the Holy Spirit. We live in a world that desperately needs pity, a world of extreme suffering. So many suffer and continue to suffer without ever having their needs met. The means and resources to meet their needs exist, but so many within the world have become hardened to the sufferings of others. They bank, hoard, and build up asset after asset instead of sacrificing and reaching out to meet the needs of the world.
But this is not to be true of a believer. I really believe that God wants to give you the same compassion that God gives to Jesus. God longs to give you that compassion. Believers are to have pity upon the suffering of others. Believers are to feel pity to the point that they are moved to act, sacrificing and reach out to meet the needs of the suffering. Compassion leaves no room for selfishness. Compassion demands that a person deny himself and help others in their desperate needs and sufferings.
(2) Meeting the needs of others
You may ask ‘how am I going to meet the needs of others’ when I have nothing. Jesus was a carpenter’s son. He does not have a pillow to lay his head on. Moving around, he stays in people’s house, like Mary, Martha and Lazarus’s home in Bethany. At times he was found in Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. Many times his night was spent in the mountain, where he prayed and he slept. He was not rich. He has no wealth. But he met the needs of all those around.
He used his mouth to bring salvation to the Samaritan woman, to Nicodemus. He used his words to bring healing to many. He would use his hands to lay on the sick and they would be healed. He was so full of God, full of compassion that his clothes would bring healing even. You are called to be compassionate. Fill yourself continually with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Always be sure that in your devotion you are continually drinking in the awakened word of God. Then have a little faith.
He said ‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto the mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20). Then he goes on and said in Matthew 18:18 ‘Verily I say unto you “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’. You must believe Isaiah 61:1-3 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek. He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourns; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness; the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified..’
This verse mentions ‘the day of vengeance’ in Isaiah 61:2 ‘. Yes the day of vengeance will be fulfilled when Jesus comes to earth the second time to establish His Kingdom. At the meantime, it is the acceptable year of the Lord. The acceptable year of the Lord is the dispensation of Grace. In the Dutch version, the ‘acceptable year of the Lord’ means ‘the year of the good pleasure of the Lord. It is actually referring to the year of Jubilee.
I already told you that God spoke to me two days ago, that ‘says ‘If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out for free.’ Exodus 21:2 is to culminate in the year of Jubilee. This is the year of rest, peace, liberty, joy, satisfaction and abundance. This year finds its materialization in the Kingdom of Peace. ‘To comfort all that mourn’ means that through us God is going to comfort the people of the highways and byways, the despised, the mean, the base, the vile, the sinners, the people considered most despicable by the self-righteous, those who mourn over their sin, who long in their hearts for help and better days, and who wants to become obedient to God.
Brothers and sisters, I believe we are the channel to the people in the highways and byways. Don’t be afraid to say ‘Who am I?’ Just have a little faith, and God will use you mightily to meet the needs of people all around. Just continually be on a spiritual high by maintaining your relationship with God, constantly receiving the awakened word of God, be not satisfied until you are full of the Holy Spirit. And God will set you an open door that no man can shut.