God Shows Compassion, 27 October 2019

God Shows Compassion
Jonah 4:1-11

Series Big Idea:
The prophet Jonah reveals God’s grace for all nations.

Big Idea:
God showed compassion to the Ninevites…and Jonah…and He shows it to us, too.

Do you like the LORD’s prayer? It would seem sacrilegious to say no. Jesus said,

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ (Matthew 6:9-13)

Many of us have prayed the Lord’s Prayer countless times, either out of tradition and ritual or in seeking to earnestly pursue God and His participation in our lives.

But since all relationships require participation from both parties, I want to draw your attention to verse twelve.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

Do you see it? There’s an assumption, a condition. Jesus tells us to seek forgiveness as we forgive others. Do we deserve forgiveness any more than another?

Before we finish the book of Jonah today, I want to give a quick summary of the first three chapters. The book of Jonah begins…

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:1-2)

Jonah disobeys God and hops aboard a boat going the opposite direction from Nineveh. He hates these people. God causes a terrible storm which results in Jonah confessing his disobedience and being thrown overboard.

God causes a huge fish to swallow Jonah, sparing his life. Jonah prays during his three-day stay in the fish’s belly before God commands the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land (you can’t make this stuff up!). Jonah learns his lesson, he goes to Nineveh, the people repent—turn from their evil ways—and

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:10)

What great news…right?

God relented.
God forgave.
God showed mercy.
God offers compassion.
God loves.

That’s our God!

I’m going to say something very radical, maybe controversial, and certainly outrageous…

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. He really does. He loved the evil Ninevites. He loves sex traffickers and drug dealers, atheists and even politicians! He doesn’t just love Christians! God doesn’t just love church people! He loves sinners…which includes you and me and the other 7+ billion people on the planet. And catch this: He doesn’t love us because we’re good…which is good…because we’re not good!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Our culture is so binary, forcing people into categories: Republican or Democrat, Christian or non-Christian, embrace and endorse and celebrate LGBTQ+ or hate them, black or white, rich or poor. We’ve got to get beyond labels. We’ve got to go beyond friend or enemy. That’s the way the world operates. God says we’re all sinners, we all need forgiveness, we all have an opportunity to receive mercy and grace, and we all choose now how we’ll live eternity—with God or without God. We all choose now who we will worship—God or our desires.

I love the late Dallas Willard who said, “
The sinner is not the one who uses a lot of grace... The saint burns grace like a 747 burns fuel on take off.”

Just because I made a decision more than forty years ago to trust Jesus as my LORD and Savior doesn’t mean I don’t need God grace or love…or that I deserve it more than anyone else. This might be the big idea of the entire book of Jonah.

God shows grace to Jonah by giving him a chance to preach to Nineveh.
God shows grace to Jonah by sparing his life through a fish.
God shows grace to Jonah by giving him a second chance to preach to Nineveh.
God shows grace to Jonah by giving him a front-row seat to witness revival.

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. (Jonah 4:1)

Jonah hates the Ninevites. They were enemies of Israel. He wants God to destroy them. He wants them gone! Instead, God forgives them. He shows mercy. He is compassionate. That’s who God is, and He loves the whole world. Period.

Does that mean everyone will spend eternity with God. No. Many choose hell, eternity apart from God. But my Bible says

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

The world. Whoever. Anyone who believes…trusts…surrenders will have eternal life. Anyone who surrenders to Jesus Christ and receives the love and grace and mercy and forgiveness provided by the cross and the empty tomb will spend eternity with God, which, by definition, is what we call heaven…it is where God is present.

God was willing to spare Nineveh, but to do so He could not spare His own Son.

Jonah actually knew God is forgiving, gracious, compassionate, and love.

In chapter one, he was like the Prodigal Son, rebelling against God. Now he’s like the elder brother, angry that God would extend forgiveness and love to others.

In chapter one he asked God to spare his life.
In chapter four he asks God to take his life.

He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:2-3)

Are you kidding me?! Jonah should’ve died when he was thrown overboard. He deserved to die for his disobedience, but God still uses him to deliver a message of repentance which is successful. Jonah think God only loves his people, his kind…or that he should.

But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)

God is compassionate. Jonah is angry.
God spares Jonah’s life. Jonah wants to die.

The story continues with one of the most interesting accounts in the entire Bible.

Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. (Jonah 4:5-6)

He wants to see God change His mind and destroy the city. He’s hoping he misunderstood God and that his people, the Israelites, would celebrate the destruction of their enemies. And then Jonah is excited about a plant. A plant! No, it was weed for him to smoke or even food for him to eat, but shade. It says the plant made Jonah very happy! Have you ever had a plant make you very happy because of its shade?

Here’s another sign of God’s grace, His unmerited favor toward Jonah.

But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:7-8)

God provided the plant.
God provided the worm.
Now Jonah is suicidal again…because of a worm!

This guy is a hot mess, proving yet again that God can use anybody.

He can use a murderer and stutterer like Moses to speak to Pharaoh, leading the Israelites for forty years.

He can use a loose-lipped, compulsive person like Peter who denied Jesus three times to build His Church.

He can use a suicidal, prejudiced patriot like Jonah to lead a great city to repentance.

He can use you and me whenever and however He chooses…if we make ourselves available…if we say yes…if we surrender.

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” (Jonah 4:9)

What audacity!

But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

And the book ends there—somewhat abruptly—with a question. Jonah’s angry and wants to die. God is compassionate and forgiving and the great city of Nineveh becomes a repentant, God-fearing city. And don’t forget the animals!

So What?

Warren Wiersbe writes, “When reputation is more important than character, and pleasing ourselves and our friends is more important than pleasing God, then we’re in danger of becoming like Jonah and living to defend our prejudices instead of fulfilling our spiritual responsibilities. Jonah certainly had good theology, but it stayed in his head and never got to his heart, and he was so distraught that he wanted to die!”


What makes you happy?
What makes you angry?
What makes you want to give up?

Jesus’ half-brother, James, said that Jonah was “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8,
NKJV). What about you?

If we return to Jesus’ words following his prayer instruction, he adds…

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

I know it’s hard to love…especially people who are different.
I know it’s hard to forgive…especially people who don’t deserve it (which is everyone!).

But this is the test of our faith, of our devotion to Jesus, of our obedience.

Agreeing with a statement of faith does not make you a Christian.
Going to church does not make you a Christian.

The only thing that makes you a Christian is repenting of your sins and following Jesus. Acting like Jesus. Loving like Jesus. Forgiving like Jesus.

Jason Horton:

Keep forgiving. It doesn’t mean you forget. It doesn’t mean you necessarily trust. But forgiving frees you from bitterness and anger.

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. He wants them forgiven.

Do lost people matter to you? Do you have compassion for those far from God? Do you have a passion for the broken masterpieces in Toledo that need to be restored? Do you rejoice when sinners repent and trust Jesus?

Tragically, Christians are often known more for what we’re against instead of what we’re for…which should be God…and people. All people.

We’re beginning a series next week on discipleship…becoming like Jesus. It’s easy to get sucked into the binary arguments of our day, seeing everyone as a friend or enemy, us versus them. Jesus looks at all of us as broken, sinful, selfish, messed-up people…and he proved is love for us by giving his very life, dying in our place, taking our sin upon himself, crucified on a cross so we could experience forgiveness, reconciliation with our Heavenly Father, peace, faith, hope, joy, and love. How can you resist that?

Many have, not because of Jesus, but because of those of us who claim to follow him.

Don’t be a Jonah. Be like Jesus (who himself taught about Jonah in Matthew 12 and Luke 11). Forgive. Show compassion.

We may have impeccable doctrine, perfect Sunday School attendance, and give generously to the church, but if we don’t have compassion and forgiveness, we don’t share in the life or character of God.

"God judges, the Holy Spirit convicts, we are to love." -Billy Graham

Credits: some ideas from Warren Wiersbe.

  • You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.
  • Radical Giving, 16, October 2011

  • Big Idea: We have been blessed to bless others.

  • Luke 16:19-31

  • Last week we said that we must have a radical urgency for the things of God and the two things He cares most deeply about are the lost and the poor. The Bible is jam-packed with God’s heart for the spiritual and physically needy.

    I believe the primary reason why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not taking root and flourishing in our nation is our lack of need.

    Think about it.

    Do we need healing? That’s what Advil and the doctor do.
    Do we need daily bread? Most of us have a pantry full of food plus a refrigerator and maybe even a freezer.
    Do we need education and knowledge? We have more information in our pockets than could fill a library 20 years ago.
    Do we need relationships? We connect with our deepest friends at bars and on Facebook.

    Friends, our world is filled with needs, and God wants
    us to meet them. That’s our purpose. That’s why we’re still here and not zapped up to heaven after begin to follow Jesus.

    Last week we focused on urgency for the spiritually needs and today we turn to the physically poor. Today we’re talking about radical giving.

    I want to begin by saying we are not in a building campaign. We are not fundraising today. In fact, we already took the offering! My hope is that at the end of our time together your heart will beat more in sync with God’s heart and recognize not only the needs around us but also how you can change the world, one life at a time.

    If you have your Bible, either paper or electronic, please turn to Luke 16. Luke is one of four biographies of Jesus, written by a doctor who paid great attention to detail in his account.

  • “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. (Luke 16:19-21)

  • Do you identify yourself as the rich man, the beggar, or the dogs?

  • “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ (Luke 16:22-24)

  • Quick tangent: does Jesus ever talk about Hell? How is it described? Why did the beggar go to Abraham’s side (or heaven)? Why did the rich man end up in Hell?

  • “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (Luke 16:25-26)

  • “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
    (Luke 16:27-28)

  • I never noticed this before but the rich man wants the beggar to evangelize the rich man’s brothers. Why didn’t he ask to go himself and leave Hell?

  • “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ (Luke 16:29)

  • “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ (Luke 16:30)

  • This is an interesting point made by the rich man. Is it true? Has a once-dead man ever appeared to people? Jesus did! Did everyone that saw Him repent? No!

  • “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:31)

  • I want you to remember two things today. First, God responds to the needs of the poor with compassion.

  • Listen to just a few verses about the poor. Keep in mind that many religions despise the poor.

  • The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him — may your hearts live forever! - Psalm 22:26

  • My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” - Psalm 35:10

    I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. - Psalm 140:12

    There are so many more. Now let’s look at what Jesus said...

    The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” - Luke 4:17-19

    Jesus came for the spiritually and physically poor. He didn’t come for the religious people. His mission was not to help the rich gain greater wealth. His purpose was not to create a safe, comfortable life for Himself and His friends.

    Perhaps the most famous statement ever made about the poor came in a passage known as the Beatitudes.

    Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. - Luke 6:20-21

    Notice Jesus doesn’t say wealth is bad or wrong or evil, though He did make it clear that it can become an idol. The root of all evil, after all, is not money but the LOVE of money.

    We play now and pay later or pay now and play later.

    I believe that God responds to the needs of the poor with compassion because they are in need, they are broken, they are humble, they are not too proud to beg, so to speak. This does not mean that every poor person gets an automatic ticket to heaven, but it does mean that God cares for them and so should we.

    We hear about the poor all the time, don’t we? Politicians talk about the poor. Guilt-inducing statistics are shoved in our face through various fundraisers and infomercials.

    I often judge the poor. I’m not proud of this, but I sometimes look at the exit guys—the beggars at the exit ramps—and think to myself, “Go get a job!” I look at bums downtown and think, “Quit drinking and smoking and do something with your life.” It’s easy to get callous toward the poor, especially when you hear stories about con-artists that make five or even six figures panhandling or addicts that take your cash right to a drug dealer.

    There are many reasons people are poor, but globally it is rarely the result of their choices.

    I thought about rattling off a barrage of statistics on poverty to help you see the needs of the poor in our world, but you’ve probably heard them already. I will share with you two.

    Nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2 per day. That’s $730 per year.

    Today 50,000 people will die due to poverty-related causes.

    Behind every statistic is a face, a friend, a family member, a person formed in the image of God.

    God responds to the needs of the poor with compassion.

    The second thing I want you to know is
    God responds to those who neglect the poor with condemnation.

    We are the rich man in the story. Yes, I’m talking to you. Most of you children have more wealth than billions of people on this planet. Billions!

    We are dressed in fine linen inside a building that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build. We will soon get into hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cars to go to homes worth millions of dollars combined. Meanwhile, there are poor at the gate, both across the street and across the planet.

    Many of you know about the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The term sodomy is derived from their behavior. Nevertheless, it was not their greatest sin.

    “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
    - Ezekiel 16:49

    God has blessed us with great share.

    Have you ever prayed for God to bless the poor? He probably responded by saying, “Go for it!”

    Have you ever prayed for God to provide for starving children? That’s our job!

    Again, wealth is not bad—unless it is hoarded. Followers of Jesus should be the most radical givers. We should be known for our generosity.

    The rich man was sent to hell not because he had money, but because money had him. He neglected the poor.

    Are we throwing our scraps to the poor while we indulge in our pleasures. Is our giving like an extra chicken for the slaves at Christmas. This is not what the people of God do. Regardless of what we say or sing or study on Sunday morning, rich people who neglect the poor are not the people of God.

    Even the world knows this.

    “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” - Stephen Colbert

    One of my dreams for Scio is that it if we ever closed our doors, people would miss us. They would miss the positive impact we made. They would miss the way we lived modest lives and gave abundantly.

    There is good news. Even though we can’t control famines or oppressive governments or other factors that lead poverty, we can make a difference.

    Are we willing to ask God if he wants us to sell everything we have and give the money to the poor? Are we willing to ask and wait for an answer instead of providing one of our own or justifying our ideas of why he would never tell us to do this? This seems a bit radical, but isn’t it normal and expected when we follow a Master who said, “…any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

    That means our wealth. We are not supposed to give God 10%. It ALL belongs to Him! One day we will stand before God and have to give an account for how we used our wealth. This is not only money but also our time and talents.

    What is true and acceptable religion (James 1:27)? We are all so rich, which is not a bad thing. We need to be conduits of blessing to our communities...and the nations.
    One man said the goal of every follower of Jesus should be to make as much money as possible and live off of as little as necessary. To whom much is given, much is required and we have all been given so much.

    So what now? Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Visit
  • 2. Sponsor a child with Compassion International
  • 3. Donate and serve with Hope Clinic
  • 4. Fast in solidarity with those who are hungry…and pray for them.
  • 5. Skip your Starbucks for a day…a week…a month…a year!

  • A story is told of a starfish.

    One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

    "Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything." - Bob Pierce, former president of World Vision

    David Platt notes,

    “We look back on slave-owning churchgoers of 150 years ago and ask, “How could they have treated their fellow human beings that way?” I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, “How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn’t have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn’t even exist?””

    Jesus said...

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21
    Radical giving is not rooted in guilt, but in the Gospel. It’s a part of following Jesus.

    “So how do we care for the poor in a way that glorifies God? Be captivated by Christ. Long for the new creation. Set aside empty promises and earthly ideas of success, and trust that Christ will do what he has promised as we, with thankful hearts for the mercy that God has shown us, extend mercy in word and deed to those who so desperately need it, whether they're down the street or across the globe.” -Aaron Armstrong

    We have been blessed to bless others.

    Where is
    your treasure? Where is your heart?

    You can listen to the podcast here.

    Radical Compassion, 2 October 2011

  • Big Idea: The Gospel demands we sacrifice our lives for the sake of people who do not know Christ.

  • Matthew 9:35-10:42

  • Introduction

  • For the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring our annual theme, Radical. Jesus said

  • …any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

  • I am going to make some huge assumptions—that you’ve encountered Jesus Christ, experienced His presence and power and love and forgiveness, and you are filled with the Holy Spirit. You believe the Bible to be true and are committed to following it, including the radical teachings of Jesus.

  • In a word, we are to die! I know that doesn’t tickle any ears, but I want you to understand what is at stake.

  • Our world needs us. Seriously. Let me rephrase that: our world needs Jesus! There’s just one problem—He isn’t here. In case you didn’t notice, about two thousand years ago He passed the baton to us. We’re it. We’re His ambassadors. We’re His representatives. There is no plan B. Look around the room. We’re it! Say to the person next to you, “We’re it!”

  • There are two ingredients of Radical Compassion:
    - Supernatural awareness of the condition of the lost
    - Sacrificial obedience to the commission of Christ.

  • Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:35-36)

  • Jesus was interacting in a region of about 3 million people. How did Jesus encounter the people? He saw the crowds. He had compassion on them.

  • There are crowds all around us. Nearly 7 billion people. 1/3 claim to be Christian. That leaves 4.7 billion people.

  • Jesus saw their size, their sin, and their suffering. Do we? We often see sin, judge, and shun.

  • Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (9:37-38)

  • Harvest is used as an image of judgment in places like Isaiah 17:10, 11; Matthew 13 (wheat and tares) and Joel.

  • This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power. (2 Thessalonians 1:7)

  • If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

  • You cannot follow Christ and receive some words and ignore others. Do we believe Jesus? If so, we need to ask God to open our eyes to see the lost.

  • Do we care?

  • We need God to move us from natural affections to supernatural affections.

  • Jesus didn’t say to pray for those who were lost. Instead he told the disciples to pray for the church.

  • When Jesus looked at the harassed and helpless multitudes, apparently his concern was not that the lost would not come to the Father. Instead his concern was that his followers would not go to the lost.

  • Then Jesus sends them out.

  • I pray that God would send out workers in this room to businesses and schools and homes across Washtenaw County and ultimately to the nations. I pray for people to leave Scio…and go to the nations.

  • God delights in answering prayers like this.

  • Jesus says pray and go. We’re not in a position to ask questions and express opinions. We are to obey orders.

  • In this chapter, Jesus is giving specific commands to specific disciples, but the application is universal in different ways.
  • Go To Great Need

  • These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:5-8)
  • “preach,” the Greek word means to to preach, proclaim, tell, often urging acceptance of the message, with warnings of consequences for not doing so.

  • Go to the sick, not the healthy.
  • Go to the dying. Spend time with those near death.
  • Go to the diseased and despised.
  • Go to the demon-possessed.

  • Jesus sends them to the people of greatest need.

  • Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. (Matthew 10:9-10)

  • As you go to the needy, you will have to trust God’s provision.

  • “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (10:11-16)

    Jesus tells them to go to the dangerous.

    What does the shepherd do? He protects sheep from the wolves. Why does the Good Shepherd send the sheep to the wolves?

    Be as foolish as sheep but as smart as snakes. Go without reservation into areas of danger and be wise.

    We do not need the power of God to live comfortable, safe lives.

    “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:21-23)

    The Kingdom of God is divisive.

    When you are persecuted…not if.

  • “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ (Matthew 10:34-36)
  • At this very moment there are men and women around the world choosing between Jesus and their families. I had an acquaintance in college who was a new Christian. He said if he returned to his Muslim family, they would disown him if not kill him. Some of you heard applause when you accepted Jesus but for so many it involves death, socially or literally.

  • You may be hated to the government, by your family, or even by religious people. They will hate us because they hated Jesus, not because we are evil.

  • The danger of our lives increases in proportion to the depth of our relationship and identity with Christ. Don’t follow Jesus if you want an easy life.

  • Persecuted. Betrayed. Hated.

  • USAmericans are among the few that don’t understand this. It’s easy to be a Christian here. We think that the more we mimic and appeal to the world, the better. The more this church becomes like Christ, the more difficult they will get.

  • A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)

  • Does that scare you? It scares me!

  • Do we really want to be like Christ?

  • Jesus is saying this is dangerous.

  • “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:26-28)

  • What really matters?

  • Fear God, not man.

  • “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)

  • Why is this so hard? There were 3 million people back then and today there are nearly 5 billion people that don’t know Jesus. They don’t see Christ today.

  • What’s best for me? What’s best for my family?

  • We have a Gospel that demands radical compassion.

  • Lose yourself. Lose your life. Die! Then you will live!

  • This message and this series is all about life, satisfaction, joy, and the ultimate reward. It’s not just about you finding Christ, but others, too.

  • “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42)

  • David Platt writes,

  • You know that in the end you are not really giving away anything at all. Instead you are gaining. Yes, you are abandoning everything you have, but you are also gaining more than you could have in any other way. So with joy—with joy!—you sell it all, you abandon it all. Why? Because you have found something worth losing everything else for. This is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something—someone—worth losing everything for.

  • The reward of the American dream is safety, security, and success found in more comfort, better stuff, and greater prosperity. But the reward of Christ trumps all these things and beckons us to live for an eternal safety, security, and satisfaction that far outweigh everything this world has to offer us.

  • This is more than just storing up treasures in heaven, though it is that, too. It is finding true freedom by letting go of your life and truly letting God take over.

  • The great theologian Jonathan Edwards said

  • I claim no right to myself - no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members - no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears, or eyes. I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own. I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him. I have given every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace I will not fail. I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness. His law is the constant rule of my obedience. I will fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life. I will adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be. I receive the blessed Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cherish all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort, and assist me. This I have done. I pray God, for the sake of others, to look upon this as a self-dedication, and receive me as His own. Henceforth, I am not to act in any respect as my own. I shall act as my own if I ever make use of any of my powers to do anything that is not to the glory of God, or to fail to make the glorifying of Him my whole and entire business. If I murmur in the least at afflictions; if I am in any way uncharitable; if I revenge my own case; if I do anything purely to please myself, or omit anything because it is a great denial; if I trust to myself; if I take any praise for any good which Christ does by me; or if I am in any way proud, I shall act as my own and not God's. I purpose to be absolutely His.
  • - Jonathan Edwards, The Works Of Jonathan Edwards

  • You are not your own. If you belong to Jesus, you are to sacrifice everything for the sake of those who don’t know Christ.

  • Prayer. Make us a church that sacrifices everything for the sake of the lost.

  • Note: Many ideas borrowed from David Platt and his book Radical.

    You can listen to the podcast here.