See With Compassion

Posted on

Matthew 9

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Tens of thousands of sermons have been preached on this passage, hundreds of books have been written on it, and rightly so.  Jesus had been on the move in cities and in villages teaching, preaching, healing, and raising the dead.  On occasion Jesus fed multitudes of people.  Everywhere Jesus went, the crowds thronged him, sometimes reaching to touch him so that they might be healed by that touch.

The word “compassion” has to do with a feeling that comes from the very core of who you are.  It is a compound word that can be stated “with passion.”  Jesus, from the very core of who he was, had great passion for every person that he came in contact with.  Caring for people was the very essence of Jesus’ public ministry.

However, Jesus knew that his time on earth was short and that when he left this earth there would still be multitudes of people in need.  As they came to him from the cities and from the villages Jesus looked out on the literal sea of humanity and told his disciples to look and to see what he saw; he wanted them to see through his compassionate eyes.  So Jesus cried out to his disciples, “Look at this crowd of humanity coming toward us, they are scattered like sheep without a shepherd, they are a harvest of souls waiting to be cared for.  As you see them, pray to the God of heaven that he would send laborers to this great harvest of souls.”

The disciples did not miss the message for after Christ ascended and Holy Ghost descended, they went out and spent their lives caring for the harvest of souls.  Let’s not miss the message of Jesus here.  We live in a sea of humanity, people like sheep that are scattered and lost.  We should pray for God to send laborers out into his harvest; while praying we should be showing compassionate care to these scattered sheep whom Jesus loves.

 

I received a message from Pastor Mark that Victory needs our prayers today.  An incident that took place in February just came to light.  Pray for the staff to have God’s wisdom, patience, understanding and compassion.  Pray for the boys involved to see God turn something intended for evil into something God uses for good.   

Tonight is our regular Wednesday night prayer meeting, Bible study, youth program and kids4truth. Pray for lives to be affected by the Word and through prayer. 

I met with a man named Aaron last night.  Twenty-five years ago he was a boy at Victory.  He told me that his time at Victory saved his life.  I am so thankful that God used our feeble efforts to bring a boy to know the Lord and to bring that man ultimately to live for Christ. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Are We Surprised At The Work Of God?

Posted on

Matthew 9:32–34

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed.

33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!”

34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”

In this passage there are two surprised groups. The first surprised group was the people who marveled that Jesus could cast out a demon and make that mute man able to speak. They had good reason to be surprised for no one else could do these amazing miracles. It was as though anyone with any condition, medical or spiritual or intertwined, coming to Jesus, could be made well. Never in Israel, never in the history of the world, had this been seen.

 

While the world has had people who called themselves “faith healers,” none have been like Jesus. Jesus caused a man who literally could not speak to be able to speak. Furthermore, Jesus knew that the cause of this man’s physical problem was an evil spirit that possessed him. When was the last time a physical doctor performed an exorcism to heal one of his patients? How many physical doctors even know to look into the spiritual realm, if they could, to heal a patient? Jesus both knew what was wrong and had the power to fix the problem. No, this had never been seen in Israel and the people were surprised.

 

The second group of surprised people was the Pharisees who hated everything Jesus did. (We have people like this today who hate everything good about anyone.) Since the Pharisees could not deny something miraculous had been done, they decided to give the praise for the miracle to Satan, not to Jesus. When the lost of this world witness a spiritual miracle, they are surprised but don’t know what to do with it. They ascribe the change to everything and everyone but God. Those of us who have enjoyed the miracle of spiritual healing, i.e. salvation, we are surprised at what God has done for us and we give God the glory for we know who did this great work of grace.

 

It is normal to be surprised at the miraculous work of God. When we see it, let us ever give the praise to God. May we never think we had a part in it so we could share in God’s glory nor may we ever think that some other cause brought about the miracle of salvation. Greater works than these we can do and greater works we do when we tell people of the saving power of God, help them from their sin to the Savior and then marvel with them at the amazing work of the Lord Jesus.

 

A teenager named Haley is in need of our prayers today. She is the relative of a church member and is in a dark place. Pray that God would send the loving hands of a child of God to care for this girl.

Pray for Dasha who had a surgery yesterday. Pray with her for healing and restoration.

 

Thanks to those who came to my concert on Sunday. It was a lot of fun! Steven did a great job directing and Bonnie formally retired from the group. At the end we invited all former members up to sing a couple of songs together. It was a great time.

 

Pray for our service this morning.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

According to your faith…

Posted on

Matthew 9

27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.31 But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country.

 

In the context of time, these blind men came to Jesus on the day that he had first healed the woman with the issue of blood and then raised the girl from the dead. When he departed from the girls’ house, two blind men followed Him, wanting Jesus to open their blind eyes. Certainly these men had heard about the two miracles already performed that day and certainly their hopes were raised that Jesus could help them too.

 

When Jesus asked these two blind men if they believed he could heal their eyes, they quickly answered, “Yes, Lord.” While this was undoubtedly the right answer, I want you to consider the next words of Jesus to them and apply these next words of Christ to your need. In verse 29 we read that Jesus touched their eyes and said to them, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Suppose that one believed and one didn’t believe. We have to assume that one would have been healed and one would have remained blind.

 

What if Jesus said to you in your hour of need, “According to your faith be it unto you.”? Would your need be met according to your faith or would your need remain unmet because in your heart you really did not believe God could or would help you? This is a legitimate question. The Bible’s teaching on the need of faith is the primary call from the beginning. Adam and Eve did not believe what God said. Their faith collapsed in the presence of Satan’s lies. Cain did not believe what God told him and then killed his brother. At the end of the book of Revelation we find that those who do not believe are cast into the Lake of Fire.

 

Jesus taught much about faith. We particularly like the teaching about faith as a grain of mustard seed. But today’s question is this, do you believe God can and will help you through your current and next problem? If God is going to act according to your faith, how much is He going to do? If the person next to you sees answers to prayer and you do not, you might need to check your level of faith. Remember John 3:16 ‘…whosever believes in me shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Would your eyes have been opened according to your faith?

 

This Sunday I will be bringing a message from the book of Ruth on the act of hesed. This is a beautiful and wonderful study from this great story and has continued application for us. If you want to read the book of Ruth before Sunday it will prepare your mind for the message.

 

There is no answer yet to the request I mentioned yesterday so please keep this matter in prayer. It would be wonderful to see God intervene showing His power and love to those involved.

 

Thanks for your prayers for my son Justin. He lands in San Francisco some time today. The boys, and Kaitlyn, are ready for him to be home. Overall, Justin taught 17 men in the last two weeks, developed deep friendships and carefully opened God’s word with them.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Raising the Dead, it’s what Jesus does

Posted on

Matthew 9

23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25 But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went out into all that land.

On the way to heal this girl Jesus was stopped by the woman with the issue of blood. The crowd was all around Jesus as we can tell by the disciples comment that many people were pushing up against them, why would Jesus be surprised that someone “touched” him. So after this woman is publicly healed of a twelve-year condition, Jesus continues to the house of the ruler. When they arrived it was announced to them that the girl was no longer sick but was dead, nothing more could be done.

 

If you have ever been in a busy hospital room when the patient dies, something immediately changes. All of the work to keep that person alive, all of the beeping machines, all of the coming and going of the hospital staff, all of the effort to keep this person alive comes to an immediate halt. All machines are unplugged, no staff comes in, and an eerie quiet falls over the room.

 

The home of this little girl had just experienced this shift from care to mourning when Jesus showed up. And just as we would tell a new doctor coming into the room that the patient no longer needs that doctor’s help, so the family and friends of this little girl told Jesus that his services would no longer be needed. So when Jesus said to the grieving crowd that the girl was not dead but was only sleeping, they ridiculed him. Can you hear them, “Don’t play with our emotions, don’t try to excite our hopes, you got here too late to help, just leave us with our grief.”

 

Twice in my life I have attended a funeral of someone whom I did not know at all. I went with a mutual friend but found myself in a place that I did not belong. I suppose the family of this girl really felt that Jesus and his disciples did not belong there. It was their time to grieve.

 

It is important for us to set the stage for Christ’s actions of raising this girl. She was dead. There was nothing more that anyone could do. Jesus may as well take his bag of miracles and go home. But Jesus had a different plan. (We should be smiling by now.) He pushed past the mourners and the grieving family, he went to the room where the little girl’s dead body lay, he reached out and took her hand whereupon she opened her eyes, breathed, sat up, stood up and not only was alive but was no longer sick.

 

When was the last time we expected the Lord Jesus to do more than we could have expected? When was the last time we turned to him when all human hope was truly lost? When in our lives have we seen the Lord pick up those spiritually dead in their sins and restore them to new life in Himself? Pray for the Lord to raise those who are spiritually dead. Pray for Him to do that which only He can do. Pray for the life-giving Savior to give life to those whom you love and whose lives in their spiritual death bring you grief. Just as the people marveled that day, so we marvel every time God raises someone dead in their sins to life in Himself.

 

I am going to need your prayers today as I have to work through a difficult situation. Satan is our enemy and he is the consummate liar of the ages. Every time he speaks he lies and when we are struggling in one area, the enemy will lie in another area. Pray with me for guidance and for humility in a difficult time.

 

We do have a NMGC concert Sunday, just reminding you and inviting you to come.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

A Woman who Typifies all People in Need

Posted on

Matthew 9

20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Mark 5

25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

This miracle of Jesus has a special fascination to me. The woman in the story typifies every person who has tried every thing else before coming to Jesus. Mark gives us more details telling us that she suffered many things from many physicians. Here was a woman whose menstrual flow did not stop for twelve years. This made her ceremonially unclean so she could not go up to the Temple. This made her physically unclean unable to have any normal sexual relationships with her husband. Doctor after doctor took her money, all of it, putting her through different types of treatments some of which increased her suffering, but all to no avail.

 

Do you know anyone who is trying everything else they can possibly try but are not coming to Christ for help? The men and women of this generation are screaming for the meaning and purpose of life and are suffering at the hands of “professionals” who are subjecting them to all types of surgeries and treatments. Sin is excused and even defended. Pleasure is sought at all costs. Personal feelings are greater than truth itself. In the end, those seeking help are still in pain, still unfulfilled.

 

In a sane moment, this dear woman said to herself, “If can but touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, He can make me well.” So she set out on her pilgrimage to Jesus. She had to sneak through the crowds because she was unclean but that did not stop her from her trek. She got through the crowd and quietly, secretively touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. Her touch was a touch of faith and the Lord honored her faith. She knew instantly that for the first time in twelve years she was not bleeding! What peace must have flooded her body and soul.

 

But then Jesus called her out. “Oh no, everyone is going to know now.” She must have thought to herself, but she came to Jesus and He lovingly let her know that her faith had saved her and she could go in peace.   Is this not what our entire culture longs to hear? Do they not long to hear the sweet voice of Jesus telling them that they can go in peace and be healed of the affliction of their bodies and their souls?

 

My friends, we have The Message that this world needs. Instead of getting upset at the perversion of those around you, bring them to Jesus. Their souls are screaming and they are going to all of the wrong places for the help that they need. They are spending all that they have trying to find the answer and are coming up empty, depressed, and even suicidal. Just two weeks ago a mother drove her family off of a cliff. That woman did not come to Jesus and no one was able to bring her to Him. In her depression she acted so wrongly. Pray for God to open your eyes to the hurting around you. They are not far away and their greatest need is to reach out in faith to the Savior.

 

Whom are you praying for today? Bring their name to prayer meeting tonight at 7:45. Reach out to the God of heaven together with your brothers and sisters in Christ and plead with God to bring others to faith in Him.

 

My friend, Bonnie, would appreciate your prayers today. A lung infection has sapped her strength. We have a concert on Sunday and we want her to be there. Pray for God to step in and raise her up in strength from His hand.

 

We do have a concert this Sunday. It is the 30th Anniversary Concert of the Naperville Men’s Glee Club. My son, Steven, will be doing the directing. There will be many fun moments as we reflect over the past 30 years of singing together. For tickets and info just send me a message.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Yes, Jesus even called “them”

Posted on

Matthew 9

10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

 

As those saved from the depths of our sin, as Gentiles grafted into the Vine, we should treasure this section from the life of Jesus and his disciples.  Notice how specifically it describes those whom Jesus sat with.  “Many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus.”  Jesus had just called Matthew from his seat of collecting taxes and the word got out that Jesus was saving tax collectors and other sinners.  When that word got out, tax collectors and sinners came running to the Savior!  And what does it say Jesus did?  It says that Jesus “ate with them.”  He sat down and had a meal with sinners in need of hope.

 

We should rejoice over this chapter of Jesus’ life.  We should be jumping up and down for joy.  Jesus ate with sinners!  If we had been there and we had heard that Jesus was saving sinners, and if we had come, Jesus would have received us too.  Aren’t you glad we serve a saving Savior?  The Pharisees expected Jesus to act like them, to turn up his nose them like they always did.  Jesus was so counter-cultural that he did exactly opposite what those religious leaders would have done.  They were torched-angry.  What in the world is Jesus doing?  What kind of message is he giving?  Doesn’t he know who he is eating with?

 

As these Pharisees seethed, Jesus calmly turned to them and told them that he did not come to call them, those who in their minds did not need a Savior.  No, Jesus came to call those sick with sin, those sinners who knew they were lost and in need of the Great Physician.  Jesus came to save us, Hallelujah!  Jesus came to save sinners, as Paul said, “…of whom I am chief.”

 

As Jesus calls you to repentance, do you ever look next to you to see who needs that call more than you do?  We have all sat in church and wished so-and-so were here to get this message.  Every time the Word is opened, the Lord is calling us to it.  He came to call the sinners to repent. May we ever identify with the right crowd in this story and may we ever rejoice that Jesus came to save sinners; he came to save me.

 

Yesterday was my dad’s 87th birthday.  We had a nice party for him complete with kids and candles and presents.  We thank God for the continued influence my dad is able to have in this life.  

 

What a special joy the missions’ conference was this weekend!  As we heard from veteran missionaries, people who have spent 25-55 years serving the Savior, we were so blessed and so challenged to do more for the Kingdom of God.  The Kuvshininkovs, the Davis’s, Yashito, and the Massey’s were such a joy to be around.  These faithful servants of Christ are still serving.  They have a legacy and are still moving forward.  It is my prayer that God will call young people and adults from our church to serve alongside of some of these and eventually be able to continue their work.  A great big thanks to the missions committee for all of the work that they did to prepare us for a truly special weekend. 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

Jesus Called, Matthew Followed

Posted on

Matthew 9:9

9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

Jesus has had a public ministry. He has gained the attention of all. On this particular day Jesus waked past a tax collector named Matthew. What do we know about tax collectors? They were Jews who worked for the Romans collecting taxes from their own people to give to the Roman emperor. Because of their job, the tax collectors were disrespected by their Jewish brothers. Do you find it interesting that Jesus called someone in the margin of society? Or do you find it more interesting that Jesus knew the heart of this tax collector and called him based on who he was not on what he did?

 

We don’t know anything about Matthew before this time but we know that later, after the ascension of Jesus, Matthew wrote the first record of the birth and life and death of the Savior.   But on that day of his call, no one expected anything out of this traitor of a man who worked for the enemy as a tax collector.

 

Notice with me that when Jesus called Matthew to follow him, that Matthew did just that, “he rose and followed Him.”   Immediately we see the heart of Matthew as one who wanted to follow Christ and was ready when he was called. Matthew never went back to his profession but changed it totally to become a follower of Jesus.

 

Jesus is still calling people today to follow him. He does not call all people to leave their profession but he does call us to follow Him. What have you done with the call of Jesus in your life? Have you followed Him? Jesus did not give Matthew a contract but just called him. When Jesus calls us to follow Him we don’t get a contract from him either, we are to follow Him as Matthew did, by faith in His call.

 

A final thought from Matthew is this; Matthew changed direction to follow Christ. Every call to follow Christ is a call to change directions. Here is where people struggle with Christianity; while people want eternal life, they don’t want a changed life. Eternal life and a discipled life go hand in hand. All who receive eternal life receive the call to follow Christ with a changed life. Matthew understood this.

 

Church work can be interesting. Last week we had three teenagers show up, last night we had thirteen. Both weeks were good times of fun and Bible study. Pray for our teens. I am working through a series on the life of Joseph entitled, “Living with Pain.” Several of our teens know what pain is and live with it all the time. Pray that these lessons will give them encouragement to trust God with all parts of their lives.

Men, we have a prayer breakfast this Saturday morning and then we have our missions conference beginning Saturday night. We will be ministered to and hear reports of the Kashininkovs, the Davis’s, the Massey’s, and Yashito Kato. You won’t want to miss Saturday night or Sunday morning. Lunch Sunday will be an international dinner with people bringing food from different nationalities for us to enjoy. Be sure and bring your kids to hear these men and women as your kids need to be challenged with missions.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS