familyrestingod.org http://familyrestingod.org/_rss.blog Blog Rss Feed Follow me and I will make you “FISHERS OF MEN” Mark 1:17     Pastor Desmond McLarty //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/follow-me-and-i-will-make-you-“fishers-of-men”-mark-1-17-pastor-desmond-mclarty-2 What does it mean to be “FISHERS OF MEN”?

 

*The Believer's Armor is to prepare for combat

*In Ephesians 6:14-18, Paul identifies several pieces of armour with which God supplies His children to withstand the onslaughts of Satan and his demons.

*Just like a soldier preparing himself for war with his several pieces of equipment, we as Christian soldiers, must always be equipping ourselves with God’s armour.

 

To clothe ourselves or to put on the full armour of God:

*To put on the shining light of right living – (Rom. 13:12)

*To clothe ourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus - (Rom. 13:13-14)

*We must be a typical example of the qualities Jesus showed while He was here on earth.

*Be a representative of Jesus Christ – (Col. 3:17)

*Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Jesus displayed them all.

*If we are chosen to be God’s people, then we must imitate Christ compassion, tenderhearted mercy, have a forgiving heart (Col. 3:12-13).  

*As we clothe ourselves, or put on all the virtues that we try to develop, the most important garment we are to put on is love which holds the others in place (Col. 3:14).

*To practice all the other virtues without love is meaningless (1 Cor. 13:3-5).

*The Belt of Truth – Ephesians 6:14

*Knowing the content of God's truth is absolutely essential for the believer if he is to battle successfully against the schemes of Satan.

*Without knowing basic biblical teaching, he is subject to being carried about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).

* Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

*Christ is the truth (John 14:6)

*Holy Spirit – Spirit of truth (John 16:13)

*Jesus Christ claimed that His reason for coming to this earth was to testify to the truth (John 18:37).

*He claimed to speak the truth (John 8:45-46).

*Jesus prayed, "Thy word is truth."(John 17:17).

*The Breastplate of Righteousness - Ephesians 6:14

*Righteousness is to conform to God’s standard of holiness, to his moral commandments, and to be pure in our thoughts and attitudes.

*(Eph. 4:24) Let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. (Rom. 12:2)

*The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace - Ephesians 6:15

*The gospel of peace" refers to the good news that believers are at peace with God. (Rom. 10:9-10)

*When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan. (2 Tim. 4:2)

Therefore, when our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, we stand in the confidence of God's love for us, His union with us, (John 1:12)

*The Shield of Faith - Ephesians 6:16

*Hebrews 11:1 & 6

*Satan continually bombards God's children with the flaming arrows of immorality, hatred, anger, covetousness, pride, doubt, fear, despair, distrust, and other temptations.

*Faith does not keep the enemy from attacking us, but it helps to extinguish what the enemy throws at us.

*The Helmet of Salvation - Ephesians 6:17

*The helmet of salvation protects our minds.

*Satan's blows are directed at the believer's security and assurance in Christ.

*Discouragement

*Doubt

*We must always be on guard to protect our minds or we will open up ourselves to head wounds that will hinder our walk with God.  In this, the enemy's spiritual strongholds are basically patterns of thought that conflict with the Lord and His ways.

*The Sword of the Spirit - Ephesians 6:14

*The Word of God.

*When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, His defence was a passage of Scripture that precisely contradicted the devil's word. (Matt. 4:4)

*"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he shall flee."(James 4:7)

*The word of God is alive and active. (Heb. 4:12)

*Know the word of God and use it to counter the strategies of the enemy.

*The Blood of Jesus:

*It justifies us and saves us from wrath (Rom. 5:9)

*It is a covering that keep us safe from the enemy’s assault or ambush.

*The blood of Jesus signifies protection

*The enemy has already been defeated (Rev 12:11)

*In the Book of Exodus, Chapter 12:7, we learnt from the Passover how God, when he sought to destroy the Egyptians, protected the household of Israel by telling them to take the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses.

*The Name of Jesus:

*We call upon the name of Jesus

*We pray in the name of Jesus

*There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain of the enemy.

*There is healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:6-7)

*There is salvation in the name of Jesus (Rom. 10:13)

*(Phili. 2:10-11)

*Prayer and Fasting:

*We must seek His wisdom and guidance in all our fishing expeditions – through prayer and fasting.                (Acts 13:2-3)

*To ward off opposition from demonic forces who don’t want to see people get saved by the Gospel of Christ. (Acts 16:16-18)

*(Mark 9:29; Luke 10:19)

 

Conclusion

*2nd Corinthians 10:3-5 states that “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.  Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

*God’s weapons in this warfare are sufficient for every test.

* The mighty power of God can melt the hardest hearts of men.

*His power can overcome the awful Goliath in the land today.

*We need not quake and fear in the presence of the enemy. (2 Timothy 1:7)

*God guarantees us victory if we use his spiritual weapons because He said we can conquer the enemy. (Rom. 8:37)

 

 

 

]]>
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:21:06 GMT //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/follow-me-and-i-will-make-you-“fishers-of-men”-mark-1-17-pastor-desmond-mclarty-2
Follow me and I will make you “FISHERS OF MEN” Mark 1:17      Pastor Desmond McLarty //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/what-does-it-mean-to-be-“fishers-of-men”-pastor-desmond-mclarty What does it mean to be “FISHERS OF MEN”?

Countering the enemy

*Just as we need equipment to be fishermen, we need equipment to be fishers of men.

*First, (Spiritual Warfare) - we need to equip ourselves at all times with the Full Armour of God.

*(Eph. 6:10-18) – Spiritual warfare and the believer's armour.

Spiritual Warfare

*In spiritual warfare Satan employs a variety of strategies to oppose and to defeat the Christians, but as Christians, we must be engaged in this spiritual warfare to counter his strategies.

*Therefore, spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy.

*Spiritual warfare is also the concept of taking a stand against supernatural evil forces.

*Be strong in the Lord – Ephesians. 6:10

*The strength of the Christian life is depending on God, on being "strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might".

*Our own strength is never enough to oppose Satan, but when we are strong in the Lord, even a little of His strength is sufficient to win any battle.  (Philippians 4:13).

*When the enemy comes at us God does not leave us alone.  God stands beside us, teaches us and strengthens us to face the enemy. (Psalm 18:32-35)

*Be on guard – constantly watchful and alert for spiritual enemies that might slip in and threaten to destroy us, whether by division, pride, disorder or any other sin.

*Stand firm in what we believe – the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

*Be courageous – to stand against false teachers and deal with sin in the church and straighten out other problems (1 Cor. 16:13).

*Be strong with the strength given by the Holy Spirit.

*It is not the amount of strength we have that is important, it is the source from where we get it. (Zechariah 4:6)

*The Armor of God – Ephesian 6:11

*To take advantage of the strength of God's might, a believer must also "put on the full armor of God, so that he/she will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil"

*To put on carries the idea of permanence.  The full armor of God is not something to be put on and taken off occasionally but is something to be put on permanently.

*To stand firm refers to holding a critical position while under attack.

*Living an obedient, Spirit-empowered life is what enables us to stand firm.

*The Christian struggle is against not only Satan himself, but also the host of his demon subordinates, a vast army of adversaries, who, like the devil, are not made of flesh and blood.

*Our greatest enemy is not the world we see, corrupt and wicked as it is, but the world we cannot see. In Eph.2:2, Paul describes Satan, the devil, as the commander of the powers in the unseen world.

The Battle Against Demons – Ephesians 6:12

*Each mention of those supernatural powers seems to represent a particular category of demonic activity or hierarchy.

* Our response should be to turn to God, who is our source of protection and victory.

*God has provided us with supernatural power to defeat Satan by giving us his Holy Spirit and his armour to surround us.

*Standing Firm (Ephesians 6:13)

*We have God’s provision in being His children (John 1:12)

*In having His Word (2Tim. 3:16)

*In possessing His indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)

*Having every resource that our heavenly Father possesses (Eph. 1:3)

Conclusion:

*In the great spiritual warfare in which we do battle, we are called only to resist and stand firm (James 4:7).

*Peter counseled us to be sober and alert because the devil wants to devour us (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Deut. 20:3-4 

"Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."

 

 

 

]]>
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:06:55 GMT //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/what-does-it-mean-to-be-“fishers-of-men”-pastor-desmond-mclarty
Follow me and I will make you “FISHERS OF MEN” Mark 1:17     Pastor Desmond McLarty //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/follow-me-and-i-will-make-you-“fishers-of-men”-mark-1-17-pastor-desmond-mclarty What does it mean to be  “FISHERS OF MEN”?

*The phrase “fishers of men” was spoken by Jesus when He was calling two of His disciples, Simon Peter and his brother  Andrew, to follow Him (Mark 1:16-18, Matthew 4:18-20).

*FISHERS – Christians - Believers - Evangelist

*MEN – in the context of human beings (people) – male and female.

*The phrase “fishers of men” is also one of the most well known lines in the New Testament and the most important expression for evangelism.

Evangelism:

-The preaching of the Gospel (The Good News of Jesus Christ). In Christianity, the Gospel, or the Good News, is the news of the coming of the Kingdom of God, and of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection to restore people's relationship with God.

-The practice of giving information about a particular doctrine (set of beliefs, teachings or instructions). 

-Set of beliefs to others with the intention of converting them to the Christian faith.

Barriers to Evangelism

*Churches and Christians seem to be failing everywhere with evangelism. No matter how prepared we are in being fishers of men, as Jesus called us, the fish (people) are not coming in. There is such a failure rate, that most Christians don’t bother with salvation activity anymore, if they ever did. They find it difficult to do, because people they witness to are not interested. When there are successes in evangelism, these persons eventually seem to go back to where they were or perhaps worse, continuing to live an evil lifestyle.     

*Examining the first problem of not catching the fish, Paul tells the Ephesians in Chapter 6:12 that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

*Notice our initial problem is not with the fish (people), but with evil spiritual forces.

*Evil forces have a plan in place to try and disrupt God’s plan, the Church and Christians, and God’s evangelization.

*The evil spiritual realm is highly organized, with some of its main goals being to prevent, to discourage and to make the evangelism process very difficult or even a failure.

*One way we know this is that Paul tells us that the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers.         (2 Cor. 4:4) 

*Satan is not omnipresent like God and he cannot do it all himself , so he sets in place around the world his powers, principalities, rulers of darkness and wickedness in high places, lesser evil spirits and evil people. (Dan. 10:20)

*Overcoming the barriers

*Spiritual warfare against evil powers and principalities has to be done first, before success in evangelization in an area can be achieved.

*Jesus told us in Matthew 12:29 that we have to bind the strong man and then spoil his house.

*Jesus’parable referring to a strong spirit, can be applied to a spirit in a person or over an area.

*In an area governed by evil, you cannot get the spoils (in this case captive people), until the governing evil is dealt with.

*Jesus told us, which is a command, in Mark 16:17 that all Christians shall cast out devils (drive them out).

*We will and shall cast them and drive them out of anywhere they are: in people, in physical objects, in towns, in cities, in neighbourhoods, over financial institutions, over government, over educational systems, over the earth, the waters and in the heavenlies.

*God gave us the power and the authority to do so. Luke 10:19

 

Conclusion:

*When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, their goal was to be successful fishermen.  In asking them to forsake this goal, He commanded them to follow Him and He would make them fishers for men’s souls.

*There are many barriers to evangelism, but with God’s mighty weapons we can overcome those barriers set up by the enemy.

 

 

]]>
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 23:14:58 GMT //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/follow-me-and-i-will-make-you-“fishers-of-men”-mark-1-17-pastor-desmond-mclarty
“FOLLOW ME” The Pathway to Becoming Fishers of Men   Deacon Janette Pearson //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/“follow-me”-the-pathway-to-becoming-fishers-of-men-deacon-janette-pearson-3 Compassion

Definition

Compassion is defined as:

Rachum: Hebrew- from the root word meaning “mother’s womb”. It means a yearning of our inward emotions, with  tender love and affection.

It means: (1) a deep awareness and sympathy of the sufferings of another.  (2) the   humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.

Splagchnizomai: Greek “bowels of compassion”, to have mercy, to feel sympathy, to have pity, having empathy

Having one’s heart reach out towards the needs of others

To be kindhearted, tenderhearted, to be moved with feelings over the pain and suffering of others

To be sensitive and affectionate

Introduction

Genuine compassion is an integral part of agape love. Agape love is a self-sacrificing love that is not fulfilled apart from action. (Love in action, the same love that caused God the Father to send His Son to die for us.) Jesus demonstrated this kind of love on many occasions. As God’s love is perfected in us,we will be moved with compassion by the various difficulties we see experienced by those around us.

Compassion can be described as a divinely inspired action compelled by:-

a) True understanding or knowledge

b) Moral outrage

c) The capacity to truly identify with the object of one's compassion

True Understanding:

To be truly compassionate like Christ, we must understand the nature of man (his sinful and fallen state) and his real need. Sometimes we try to express compassion from two extremes:-

  1. Naivety: lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement, (May cause us to be taken for granted.)
  2. Cynicism: an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism. (May prevent us from expressing compassion because we expect the lowest of motives from others.)

Jesus was completely aware of man’s condition (Jn. 2:24-25), yet He remained open and reached out to the lost around Him.

  • Compassion that is expressed to others does not guarantee thankfulness or gratitude from the recipient. Therefore, it must be expressed out of a heart of obedience to God, trust in God and love for God and others.
  • Jesus was moved with compassion for mankind so He healed the sick, delivered those  oppressed by demons, opened blind eyes and fed thousands, yet it was the recipients of His compassion who crucified Him. (Rom. 5:8, Lk. 23:34)

Moral Outrage: The Greek word Splagchnizomai, is a very strong word conveying a powerful emotional feeling; it describes more than just pity, it describes an emotion that moves one to the very depth of his being. This Greek word is the same word used to describe: the compassion the forgiving king had for his servant who was unable to pay his debt (Matt.18:27), the compassion that compelled the father to run to his prodigal son to welcome him home (Lk. 15:20), the compassion of the Samaritan who rescued the wounded traveler on the Jericho road (Lk. 10:33).

The Greek word Splagchnizomai is also used to describe Jesus’ reaction upon: seeing the multitude as sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36)

  • Seeing the leper who came to Him for healing (Mk.1:41)
  • Seeing the two blind men who cried out for mercy (Matt. 20:34)
  • Seeing the bereaved Widow of Nain whose son had died (Lk 7:13)

True compassion also speaks of a controlled mature anger at the forces of darkness at work that trap men and women in desperate and unfortunate circumstances. The Greek word used to describe this is Embrimaomai, which means to have indignation (anger, annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment). Jesus out of His compassionate nature experienced outrage at the devastating effects of sin. (John 11:33, 38)

The capacity to truly identify with the object of one's compassion:

Genuine compassion is able to identify, empathize or bond with the object of its compassion. When God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, and dwelt among us, He also identified with us. (John 1:14a, Isaiah 53:4a) Jesus is depicted as the “Suffering Servant” in Isaiah 52:13-15 and 53; no other “god” is depicted as suffering for mankind.

Hebrews 4:14-15

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Compassion: Motivation for Evangelism

What motivated Jesus to minister to the lost?

It was His compassion that  motivated Jesus to minister to those who were lost and in need. He was moved with compassion when He saw people:

a) weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:35-38)

b) suffering from diseases, demon possession and hunger (Matt.9:18-33)

  1. A leper- (Mk. 1:40-41)
  2. A demon possessed man (Mk. 5:1-20)
  3. The widow of Nain who had lost her son (Lk. 7:11-15)
  4. The two blind men (Matt. 20:30-34) 

The Story of The Leper: Mark 1:40-41

People with leprosy were declared unclean. This meant that they were unfit, not allowed to participate in any religious or social activity. To touch or to have any form of contact with an unclean person made a person unclean as well. However, the bible declares that Jesus touched this leper. Compassion should move us to touch others (Touch: to affect with tender feeling, concern, to have to do with. To lightly stroke, to impact the life of another.) The real value of a person is on the inside, (the heart, the place we cannot readily see) not necessarily the outside. Everyone is valuable to God. No one is beyond His ability to touch them. Compassion should cause us to reach out to everyone, not just those deemed acceptable by society.

The Demon Possessed Man: Mark 5:1-20

“5. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.”

As a ministry that is called to bring deliverance to those who are oppressed and possessed by demons, it is compassion that should move us to intervene in the lives of persons who are suffering in this manner.

(Verse 18) Jesus’ compassion moved Him to set this man free so that he could go out and set others free through evangelism. This man became a follower of Christ. The ultimate expression of compassion is in the desire to relieve the root cause of suffering (sin); not merely the symptoms of suffering such as pain, distress and hardship. This is achieved through salvation.

The Widow of Nain: Luke 7:11-15

This woman was in serious trouble, she had lost her husband and now her only son had died. When Jesus raised this young man from the dead he restored him to his mother. As a ministry, we are called to restore families; compassion is the vehicle that should move us to fulfill this mandate. Jesus’ compassion restored this family; it restored joy to this mother, it restored provision, safety, hope, love. This story illustrates salvation, we were dead in our trespasses and sin and God sent His Son to restore us to life. He has now sent us to present the Gospel that will restore others. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

The Two Blind Men: Matthew 20:30-34 

Satan has blinded the eyes of those who are lost and as followers of Christ we are called to restore sight to the blind. (Lk. 4:18; Is. 61:1) Compassion is the motivating force that propels us to serve others. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem where He knew that He would be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and condemned to death. He would be delivered to the Gentiles who would mock, scourge and crucify him, yet when the men cried out to Him, the Bible says Jesus stopped and asked them. “What do you want me to do for you?”  In verse 34, they said “ Lord we want to see!” and so “Jesus had compassion on them” (KJV)

COMPASSION RESULTS FROM DISCERNING A DEEP NEED

Jesus saw the spiritual needs of the multitudes and had compassion (Matt. 9:36-38).  Jesus looked at the crowds following Him and referred to them as a field ripe for harvest. Many people are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone would show them how.

Jesus saw the physical needs of the multitude and gave healing and food  (Matt. 14:14, 19-20). We are called to not only minister to the spiritual needs of others but their physical needs as well. (Clothing, food, shelter etc.) Healing can also refer to emotional/psychological needs.

Jesus saw the leadership needs of the multitudes and had compassion  (Mark 6:34)Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd that takes care of the sheep. Compassion is a prerequisite to becoming an effective leader. Jesus taught the multitude many things.  Knowledge brings life, freedom and victory over sin. (Prov.10:21, Is.5:13, Hos.4:6)

Suggestion or Command

The character quality of compassion is not a suggestion for those who would follow Christ, but rather a command.

Have compassion for each other: Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  (I Peter 3:8; Eph.4:32)

Clothe yourselves with compassion: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Col. 3:12-13) Gal.6:2

Have compassion and make a difference: Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference. (Jude 21-23)

Character trait: Compassionate

Opposite trait: Indifference

Definition:

  • The disposition of dismissal or reluctance toward a particular idea, person, or group, often experienced as a lack of emotion.
  • lack of interest in or concern about something or someone; not caring; apathetic
  • When someone does not care. Maybe lack of care about life, other people or the things of God.
  • A neutral attitude to God that is as dangerous as hostility. It is condemned as a rejection of God’s love and of the needs of others.

Symptoms: Lack of motivation, pride, lack of involvement in ministry opportunities, selfishness, self-centeredness, service out of duty, empty (meaningless) worship, loss of first love for God and the things of God

Examples of indifference

Haggai 1-2

In 586 B.C., the armies of Babylon destroyed the temple (God’s house the symbol of His Presence) in Jerusalem. In 538 B.C. King Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. So they returned and began the work of rebuilding. However, after a while the people who faced much opposition, forgot their purpose, lost sight of their priorities, became indifferent (apathetic) to the work of rebuilding God’s house and the work came to a standstill. They became more concerned with their own needs and personal interests than doing God’s work. They focused on themselves and building up their own houses while the house of God lay in ruins for more than 10 years. (Haggai 1:1-4)

Malachi:

The Jews, God’s people, had returned to Jerusalem from exile. The prophet Haggai had persuaded them to rebuild the temple and they started using it to worship the Lord, but after a few years they began to lose interest; they no longer cared for the things of God. They began going through the motions and offered God unworthy sacrifices (Mal. 1:6-8). They gave God the worst instead of their best.

God’s law required that only perfect animals be offered to God, but the priests were offering blind, crippled, and diseased animals as sacrifices and God was displeased. Romans 12:1-2 speaks about presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to God as our reasonable act of worship. If we give our leftover time, money and energy to God, then we are guilty of the same sins as the Jews in the book of Malachi.

Spiritual indifference is a sin and can begin when there is no sincere love and worship. God desires sincere obedience, worship and service that comes from love.

Hosea 6:6 (English Standard Version)

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

What we give to God reflects our true attitude towards Him. (2 Sam.24:24)

Jesus describes the Pharisees as hypocrites. In the Greek language the word hypocrite means “actor”, “the person who wears a mask”. (Matt.23) They were all about putting on a show but they were spiritually indifferent; uncaring about the suffering of others. It was Jesus’ compassion that moved Him to reach out to the suffering and the lost.

The Good Samaritan: A story about Compassion and Indifference

Reference: (Lk. 10:30-37)

The Wounded Man:

  • Was a Jew. (human being)
  • Suffered much trauma. (abuse of various kinds, sin, generational curses, demonic)
  • Needed help (physical, emotional, spiritual, healing)

The Priest: (showed indifference)

  • Fellow Jew
  • crossed to the other side (not my responsibility, offer excuses, neglected God’s work)
  • knowledge of the Law (knew the word of God but this did not affect his heart)
  • Was unwilling to get involved. (saw the needs but was too busy, selfish, self-centered)
  • He could not identify with the man’s  suffering. (self-righteous, proud)

Levite: (showed indifference)

  • Fellow Jew
  • Temple worker (church member, serves in church, some level of involvement)
  • Walked over and looked at the man (curious onlooker; does just enough)

Samaritan:

  • Had no dealings with the Jews (strangers, no interest in race, religion or social class)
  • Saw the wounded man and stopped (changed his plans, denied himself, put the wounded man’s needs above his own, willing to give of his time, willing to be inconvenienced)
  • Knelt beside him, bandaged his wounds pouring on oil and wine (got close, touched him, Touch: to affect with tender feeling, concern, to have to do with. To lightly stroke, to impact the life of another; oil - the anointing, prayer, to soothe; and wine -to disinfect, to cleanse)
  • Put the wounded man on his donkey: willing to be inconvenienced; willing to sacrifice - he would have to walk
  • Took him to an inn and took care of him (willing to provide shelter; sacrifice; Verse 35; “The next day...”: stayed at the inn with him; denied himself
  • Paid the innkeeper and promised to return and pay any extra expense (willingly gave of his substance, his possession, his time)

What can we learn about compassion from these examples?

Compassion: (1 Jn. 3:16-19a)

  • Demonstrates our relationship with God 
  • Flows out of a pure heart
  • Demands that we deny self
  • Should be extended to all who are in need
  • Requires sacrifice
  • Does not require recognition
  • Important for service to others: evangelism

What can we learn about indifference?

  • The first sign of indifference/spiritual apathy is neglect of God’s work. When people become more and more concerned with their own personal lives, the work of God suffers. The Priest and Levite should have been involved in the work of evangelism, however they were more concerned about themselves. (Lk.10:31-32) The returned Jews in Haggai’s day were busy building their own houses while the temple lay in ruins (Hag. 1:1-4)
  • God’s people became content with not being involved in the work of God. The Levite was satisfied to just remain an onlooker, on the outskirts, displaying low level of commitment to the work. (Lk.10:31-32)  The temple lay in ruins for 14 years and the people were content to worship in the midst of ruins. (Malachi) 
  • People start making excuses and ignore the needs of others. The priest and Levite crossed over on the other side which was equivalent to saying it was not their responsibility to care for the wounded man. (they were in a hurry or they were afraid to help or…) They were not willing to extend themselves in meeting the needs of the wounded man. The Jews in Haggai 1:2 said “The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built”. A person who has become indifferent will always make excuses to cover their sinful neglect of the work of God. (Lk.14:25-35)

CAUSES OF INDIFFERENCE

Self-Centeredness: (concerned solely or chiefly with one's own interests, welfare, etc.; engrossed in self) This is one of the main causes of spiritual indifference. The people were so focused on their own lives that the temple, the house of God was neglected. Their time, energy and resources were devoted to fulfilling their own needs. They became self-centered instead of God-centered. They did not completely abandon the things of God but instead, gave priority to other things and gave God what was left over. (Hag. 1:3-4; Matt.6:33)

Affluence: Shortly before Moses' death, he warned the children of Israel about the tendency to forget God. (Deut. 6:10-12) Prosperity can dull our spiritual vision because we tend to become self-sufficient and eager to acquire more of everything except God. The same thing can happen in our churche. As the church grows and becomes successful in terms of numbers, property and programs, we can lose our sensitivity to God.

No fear of God: The Greek noun phobos means “reverential fear” of God, a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. The fear of God is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence and awe. It is the only appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer. (Ps. 119:120; Prov.16:6) The fear of God produces wholehearted obedience, worship and service. (Heb. 12:28-29; Deut. 10:12; Prov.14:27;19:23).Those who are indifferent do not fear God.

Loss of first love: (Rev. 2:1-5) The church at Ephesus was commended for working hard, patiently enduring hardship, not tolerating evil people and testing the claims of false apostles; however they were criticized for forsaking their first love. The believers had lost their zeal for God and the things of God.

Consequences of Spiritual Indifference

Lack and Insufficiency: (Haggai 1:1-11)

The harder the people worked for themselves, the less they had because they ignored their spiritual lives. The blessing of God was withheld. The same can happen to us. If we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs. If we put Him in any other place, all our efforts will be in vain. Caring only for our physical needs while ignoring our relationship with God, or the needs of others will lead to ruin.

Judgement: (Luke 16:19-25)

The rich man did not go to hell because of his wealth, but because he was selfish (indifferent). He refused to feed Lazarus, take him in or care for him. He chose to neglect Lazarus’ needs. 

Death: Spiritual/Physical (Leviticus 10:1-2) Nadab and Abihu were Aaron’s sons, born in Egypt, they were eyewitnesses of God’s mighty acts of the Exodus. They had first hand knowledge of God’s holiness. For a while they followed God wholeheartedly (Lev. 8:36) but at a critical moment they chose to treat with indifference the clear instructions from God. The consequence of their indifference was death. There must be a proper fear of God and a recognition of His great holiness.

Overcoming Indifference

  1. Remember the things you used to do. (Rev.2:5a) What were the things you used to do when you had a passion and zeal for God.
  2. Repentance: (Rev. 2:5; 3:15-19) Recognize indifference as sin and turn away from it.
  3. Renew your commitment to God.
  4. Engage in personal study of the Word of God. (2 Tim.2:15 KJV; Prov.3:1-4; 2 Tim. 3:16 NLT)
  5. Be a doer  of the word not just a hearer. (James1:22)
  6. Engage in persistent, fervent prayer and consistent fasting. (Matt. 17:21; James 5:15-16)
  7. Become involved in ministry and service to others. (Heb. 6:10; Gal.5:13; 1 Sam. 12:24, Rom. 12:11)
  8. Fellowship with other believers. (Heb.10:24-25)

HOW TO DEVELOP A COMPASSIONATE HEART

Focus on our great debt to God: The wicked servant who was forgiven a huge debt did not have the same kind of compassion on his fellow servant who owed him a small debt. Remember the grace God has so freely extended to us and do likewise (extend unmerited favor to others).

Channel personal suffering into compassion for others. Do not shut up your “bowels of compassion” when faced with the suffering of others. Do not become impatient or frustrated but comfort others with the same comfort you have received. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

Look for ways to do good to all people. (Gal.6:10; Matt.25:31-46)

Prayer points

Repent : Ask God to forgive you for:

  • the sin of indifference, for failing to have Godly compassion toward others.
  • condemning and judging instead of showing mercy and compassion.
  • not having a reverential  fear of the Lord
  • not extending the same grace to others that He has shown to you
  • the sin of idolatry, valuing things, possessions, people, self, personal needs and desires above the Almighty God
  • not being wholeheartedly involved in the work of God (service to others, evangelism)
  • murmuring and complaining when asked to serve
  • renew your commitment to God, asking Him to help you to return to your first love for Him.
  • ask God to restore zeal for the things of God
  • pray as you are led; give thanks for answered prayer.
]]>
Fri, 27 May 2016 21:56:14 GMT //familyrestingod.org/fremi-blog/“follow-me”-the-pathway-to-becoming-fishers-of-men-deacon-janette-pearson-3