Key scripture: Psalm 82:3-4
Key idea: I believe God calls all Christians to show compassion to those in need.
James 1:19 – 27.
Showing compassion in the eye of the Storm.
With Peter Veysie
Sunday 11th March 2018 4th week in Lent
A storm is a wonderful thing to watch from a distance, but a very different thing when you are in the thick of it. Compassion which literally means to recognise the suffering of others then to take action and help them in their big and small storms.
Proverbs 31:8, 9 speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Defend the rights of the poor and the needy.
Bill Hybels – Holy Discontent.
Psalm 82: 3-4 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Last week’s soup response was overwhelming.
James gives us an understanding of how to be compassionate and this is what I would like to share with you today. So often we can do something merely to clear our consciences or just to tick the box or maybe even for the possibility of getting brownie points from God, but these are not good reasons for showing compassion.
Break my heart for what breaks yours. Hosanna Hillsong
We often find ourselves in the eye of a storm of life and how we respond to it is what James teaches us today.
- COMPASSIONS STARTS WITH BEING QUICK TO LISTEN SLOW TO SPEAK AND SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY.
- OPEN EARS – QUICK TO LISTEN.
- CONTROL THE TONGUE – SLOW TO SPEAK.
- CALM THE SPIRIT – SLOW TO ANGER.
- WHY ALL OF THIS? – Because if we don’t our anger will not bring about the righteousness that God requires. And so we may observe that it is our duty rather to hear God’s word, and apply our minds to understand it, than to speak according to our own interpretation or the opinions of men, and to run into heat and passion. Be ready to hear and consider what God’s word teaches in all situations. This may be applied to the afflictions and temptations spoken about in the beginning of the chapter. It is our duty rather to hear how God explains his providences, and what he designs by them, than to say as David did in his haste, I am cut off; or as Jonah did in his passion, I do well to be angry. Instead of faulting God under our trials, let us open our ears and hearts to hear what he will say to us.
- COMPASSION MEANS WE NEED TO CLEAN UP OUR OWN LIVES HUMBLE OURSELVES BEFORE CHALLENGING OR AIDING THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
- 1. We need a clean heart to take in truth. When your heart is not at peace it is very difficult to hear the voice of truth. When you are stuck in sin you will have the same problem. James says – put aside filth – Greek – rupos – wax in the ear. Vs 21a.
- Humbly accept the word planted in you.
We also need to be humble when the truth is spoken. So many deaf ears are there because of a lack of humility. Humility opens our souls to the needs of others because we can honestly say there but by the grace of God go I. This could be me and then how would I want someone to respond to me?
When the truth gets planted it takes root. When falsehood gets planted – same thing. But this rooting is a great thing when it comes to compassion because God gives us the ability to do more for others as it is rooted in us and also to pace ourselves. I have seen so many very good and well-meaning ministries come unstuck because they are not rooted well and thought through.
- Vs 22 Don’t just listen to it, but do what it says.
Compassion is a doing word and unless we act on it, it comes to nothing. The great reformation began due to a discrepancy in both Luther and Calvin where they felt the church was purely based on works and no faith. You could enter heaven on the good things you did for others.
Tozer said this: “It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconveniences of being right. So the divorce between theory and practise becomes permanent, though in word, the union is declared to be eternal. Truth sits forsaken and grieves till her professed followers come home for a brief visit, but she sees them depart again when the bills become due.”
Compassion is ongoing action and a doing verb.
- A PARABLE
- Vs 23 – 25 – share a wonderful parable of the man in the mirror who forgets what he looks like as he walks away. If we had to be quizzed on what we read this morning, would we be able to give an account?
The only problem with James’ mirror is that it reflects attitude as well!!!
- Some guidelines for us to strengthen our compassionate muscle.
- Don’t separate truth and your tongue vs 26.
- Don’t separate truth and the needs of others vs 27a.
- Don’t separate truth and your Christian uniqueness in a fallen world.
James then gives us the key to our spiritual walk and that is to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.