The Compassionate Savior

The Compassionate Savior

Scripture: Matthew 9:36, John 3:1-36, John 4:1-54
Date: 08/09/2008  Lesson: 6
A look at the compassionate character of Jesus gives us an example to follow in our own lives.

Lessons from Job (5 Part Series)

Lessons from Job (5 Part Series)
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sacramento central this morning for our study. I wanted to welcome our members and our visitors that are here in our sanctuary. A very special welcome to you that are joining us are from across the country and around the world. Either live on the internet this morning streaming through radio, television, however you're joining us, welcome and Happy Sabbath.

Our first hymn we're gonna sing this morning is "nothing between," hymn number 322. This comes as a request from robert in papua new guinea, tisha from jamaica, doreen and rohan in jamaica. Robert in australia. Hines and miriam in switzerland. Kenneth in Virginia and emily sime right here from Sacramento central.

And emily wants to dedicate this song to three very special people on their July birthdays, her lovely husband, nash, her sweet niece, onka and her friend, gudrin. And it also comes as a request from marlene in the netherlands antilles and marlene wants to dedicate this to her daughter, marla, who is studying in holland and her friends edward and alitha in bonaire. Hymn 322, "nothing between," all three verses... If you have a special request you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at www.saccentral.org. And there you can click on the "contact" link and that will direct you through.

You can request any hymn in our hymnal, and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn this morning is hymn number 2, "all creatures great of our God and king." Stanza's 1, 2 and 4. And this comes as a request from marique from south africa, irish from the Philippines, silvana darsantos from brazil. Kalisha in jamaica, ollie in malawi, Joel in grenada. Donovan m. j. From saint lucia. Michael and rolly in California and raquel and jason in florida. Hymn number 2, the first, second and fourth verses... Let's pray.

Our Father in Heaven, dear Jesus, we praise you this morning. We thank you for Sabbath that we can come apart from our daily activities and worship before you. We're thankful for the promise that we have that we will spend eternity worshiping you. As we open Your Word this morning, Lord, please just grant us your mercy and your grace that we are willing to open our hearts and our ears to what you have to say to us. Help us to follow you, to live your will so closely that we are your will.

We pray these things in your name, Jesus. We love you. Amen. Our lesson study will be brought to us this morning by pastor mike thompson. He's the outreach and health pastor here at Sacramento central.

Thank you very much, jolene and the choir. Don't they sing well? You know that last song reminds me of when I was about 5 years old, little boy at school in england. Used to sing some of those old songs. It brings back so many very warm and very precious memories. I'd like to wish you all a Happy Sabbath and welcome to "central study hour.

" And we have a special offer this morning that's an Amazing Facts Bible lesson. It's number 26 from their actual Bible study course. And it's called "a love that transforms." You can call 1-866-788-3966 or -866-study-more. And the lesson of our title this week is "the compassionate Savior." Jesus is very compassionate and he's very loving, very kind and exceedingly merciful, and best friend anybody could ever have. There is a memory text in Matthew 9:36.

And it says, "but when he," that is Jesus, "when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion." And that's our keyword this morning. "He was moved with compassion on them because they fainted." In the n.i.v. Which is in the lesson book, it uses the word "harass." Yeah, they were most certainly harassed, but I'll use this term here. It says they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. When Jesus saw the sheep just scattered, I try to imagine how he felt in his heart.

I don't think I come anywhere close. Every day I pray, "Lord, give me a kind heart." Every day I say, "Lord, give me a heart that's full of compassion," and he does, you know? I think I look back and I can see, I think I've become more tender hearted. I hope so anyway. My family would be a good barometer of that. But, you know, however much we may have compassion, the compassion that Jesus had when he walked to this earth, must have been, well, it was something very--it just moved him intensely.

It just moved him to tears as he saw these precious souls. And you know he brings precious souls our way as well, and we need to pray for a heart like the heart of Jesus, shouldn't we? So Jesus was many things. We read the Scriptures and we find in Hebrews and Colossians and Ephesians, he is the creator. He's one with The Father in creatorship and power. He spake this universe into existence.

And this great God became one with us, emmanuel got with us. The creator came down and was encompassed and condensed in a finite, humanly, a finite human frame very much subject to death, very much subject in every way to the same temptations and trials that we experience. This is why the Scripture tells us. He didn't take upon him the nature of angels to come out of the seat of Abraham. He was, in all points, tempted like as we are, yet he didn't sin.

So he lived a perfect life in an imperfect body with a nature that just was as much a liability for him as it is for us. So don't ever say there's any excuse for sin, right? 'Cause there isn't 'cause Jesus is our example. We're not going so much to touch on that this morning. We're dealing with another aspect of Christ which is his compassion. In the lesson here it uses the definition compassionate, to feel with, that you feel for somebody.

You feel the same as they do or to sympathize with them. And the kind of compassion that Jesus had, that he felt for fallen and afflicted human beings when he walked this earth, was something very intense. And a few moments ago I mentioned that it would move him to tears. And his compassion was not just a compassion, his compassion was a passion that just burned in his soul. Have you ever had something inside that just kind of just burned inside? You had a passion about something? I remember when I was 18, I got in rock 'n roll band.

I don't want to sound like a broken record. And excuse the pun broken records and rock 'n roll bands. But I had a passion for being in a rock 'n roll band. I had a passion, you know, for being the fifth beatle. I had a passion for this.

Well, you know, praise God, he took that passion away 'cause it was worthless. But he replaced that with a passion for the Word of God and a passion to want to know about Jesus. And, you know, the passion I have in my life today is far different than when I was 18 for the things of this world. And the passion that Jesus had was for the salvation of men and women and boys and girls. He breathed it.

He ate it. He infused it. It was there all the time. And he didn't try to get away from it. You know sometimes things bug and say get away from it.

He welcomed it. He embraced it. It was all consuming. And I pray God I can be like that. Do you want to be like that? And so we find Jesus' unselfish, self-sacrificing love.

And such was this passion of compassion that burned in the heart of Jesus for sheep scattered all over this world, not just jews but for the gentiles as well. And praise God here we are, we're the gentiles and yet we're grafted into that vine of Jesus Christ. But Jesus had this passion. It was this, this love that burned in this heart that drove him down to this world. His love, the love of God is like a scourge.

You know the devil has a scourge and he's cruel with it. But the love is God is like a scourge. It just drives us out of our comfort zone. And Jesus was so filled with compassion for this lost, undeserving wretched little race. I mean let's face it.

But it drove him from heaven because to him, heaven was not a place to be desired while we were lost. The interesting thing is when Jesus came, the jews who professed to be looking for him, a lot of them were amazed, especially the leadership that the Messiah turned out to be this kind, loving person. What were they looking for? They wanted a warrior. They wanted somebody who'd strut around Jerusalem and gather the troops and say, "let's get rid of these Romans." They were ready to do that, but he was very unassuming. He would pass in a crowd.

And yet, they shouldn't have been surprised when they found out the true nature of what he was like because it had been prophesied from ancient times. And the book of Isaiah written something years b.c. You find in chapter 6:1, you find that prophecy about Jesus, and we'll read it in a second. And when Jesus began his ministry and he went to the temple--sorry, the synagogue there in nazareth he quoted that Scripture which had been given years before in respect to himself describing what kind of Messiah he would be. Let's turn to Luke 4:17-21.

"The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written. the Spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free and that the time of the Lord's favor has come. He rolled up the scroll and handed it back to the attendant and sat down.

All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently then he began to speak to them. The Scripture you've just heard has been fulfilled this very day." Thank you very much, Pauline. So this Scripture's been fulfilled in your ears. They must have left and thought, "well, what did they say? Isn't this the carpenter's son, who is he?" Well, who is he was the Messiah and he was the one who in his life and the very expression on his face and the softness and kindness of his voice and sometimes when it was raised even in rebuke, we're told there were tears in his voice when he rebuked the hardness of the pharisees and the sadducees. And he said, "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.

Because he anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He sent me to heal." A lot of people in this world need healing. They did in his day, they do in our day. "He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives." Are there a lot of captives today? There was in that day under the power of satan and there sure are a lot today. You know yesterday--i might tell you later on.

"To preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty them that are bruised." And so in fulfillment of this mission, Jesus walked this earth for another 3 1/2 years, suffered privation, hardship, had nowhere of his own where he could lay his head and yet, he came to heal the brokenhearted and give the people of his day, even his own people a correct understanding of the character of the Heavenly Father because the devil had done such a wonderful and successful job as a propaganda agent of just painting God as this dark-hearted, sinister, brooding tyrant that was just waiting to crush the life out of the first one that stepped out of line. But when you saw Jesus, you saw the master. And so in Matthew 4, this is what we get. This is the consequence of him coming unassuming. But yet with the power of God because he was God, this is the response.

Matthew 4:23, "and Jesus went about all Galilee preaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout syria, and they brought to him all sick people and them that were taken with diverse diseases and torments with devils, and those who were lunatic and those that had the palsy and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee and from decapolis and from Jerusalem and from Judea and from beyond Jordan." They just came in their droves. And it is exceedingly tragic to see that the response of the pharisees and the sadducees and the leadership of the nation that they hated him for this, they were jealous of him. They were so high above the people, they were so wrapped up in themselves, that they could not stomach this carpenter's son that came to be compassion and mercy personified.

And this is one of the reasons why they crucified him. I'm not gonna read it this morning, but if you have the book, "sanctified life," you read page 14 and it tells you there why the jews rejected Jesus, why they rejected him. And it grieved his heart that these men should be like this. Hence, Jesus was grieved and again in Matthew 9:36, it says, "but when he, Jesus, saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered as sheep having no shepherd." Now I want to say something on the side here, but I still believe it needs to be said about the false shepherds. You know God calls every one of us to minister.

And when he calls a person to be a minister of the flock, that person's no better than anybody else, not at all. But they have a responsibility resting upon them which by the grace of God, they need to fulfill. And these shepherds of the flock were not doing that. And I want to read from Jeremiah 23 about what it tells us there how God views the shepherds that are unfaithful that scatter his flock, his precious flock. I'm gonna read verses 1-2 and then 11-12.

God says this, "woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people or are supposed to. He hath scattered my flock and driven them away and hath not visited them. Behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doing, saith the Lord." Then in verses 11-12 it says, "both prophet and priest are profane. Yea in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.

" Right there in the church. "Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness. They shall be driven on and fall therein for I will bring evil upon them even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord." Pretty strong words. And again, I don't want to dwell on that this morning but again, those of you here or those of you watching, if you have the book story of redemption, go to page 415 and see how the author of that particular book, story of redemption page 415, describes what will be the lot of unfaithful pastors, especially those living when Jesus comes. She ascribes to them the passage in Zechariah 4:12.

Read it, it's pretty bad. Anyway, I'm gonna move on here this morning. But we have to bear in mind moving on from the unfaithful shepherds, we're all God's people. We're all called upon to accept the responsibility of also being those who nurture the flock and look after those who are new in the church. Those who we find in the church who are struggling with infirmities, who are afflicted.

You know we're all called to minister. It's the priesthood of all believers, and it's the priesthood of everybody to minister, to one another. And we need to do this because if we have compassion, right, shouldn't that be the natural thing that just flows from our lives? A love for souls because Jesus lives inside us. As we walk in his footsteps as he had compassion, so we should have compassion as well. Turn to Matthew 25.

I read this in a Sabbath school lesson not too long ago as I recall. But we're gonna read it again this morning. Jesus here in this parable is describing the--it's the parable of the sheep and the goats. And it begins in Matthew 25:31 and he says, "when The Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand but the goats on his left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 'come you blessed of my father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered and you gave me meat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

I was a stranger and you took me in. Naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came unto me.' Then shall the righteous answer him saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?' And the King shall answer and say unto them, 'verily I say unto you inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you've done it unto me.'" So if Jesus lives in my heart, I see somebody who's hungry, what am I gonna do? It's gonna become instinctive part of my nature I want to give them something to eat. If they're sick, should want to visit them, send them a card.

This should become part of our life as it was part of Jesus'. But then we get the other side of the coin in verse 41, "then shall he say also unto them on the left hand. He said, 'depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat. I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink.

I was a stranger, and you took me not in. Naked, and you clothed me not. Sick and in prison and you visited me not.' Then shall they also answer him saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an hungered or in thirst or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister unto thee?' Then shall he answer them saying, 'verily I say unto you, inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life everlasting.'" Well, I'm glad we can say "amen" to that. Either side whether it's sheep or goats, it's an incredible final destiny that we arrive at.

And I want to be among the sheep, what about you? I don't want to be among the goats, and we don't have to be. We don't have to be. But in connection with this passage from Matthew 25, I'd like to share with you a paragraph, if you'll bear with me, from "Desire of Ages," page 825. And it says this, now this isn't just for the shepherds of the flock, the pastors. This is all of us.

It says, divine love-- start again. "Divine love has been stirred to its unfathomable depths for the sake of men," and women and children, "and angels marvel to behold in the recipients of so great love," that is us, "a mere surface gratitude. Angels marvel at man's shallow appreciation of the love of God. Heaven stands indignant at the neglect shown to the souls of men. Would we know how Christ regards it? How would a father and mother feel, did they know that their child, lost in the cold and the snow, had been passed by, and left to perish, by those who might have saved them? Would they not be terribly grieved, wildly indignant? Would they not denounce those murderers with wrath hot as their tears, intense as their love? The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God's child, and those who reach out no helping hand to help their perishing fellow beings provoke his righteous anger.

This is the wrath of the lamb. To those who claim fellowship with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, he will declare in the great judgment day, 'I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity'" do you want to hear those words spoken about you? No, sure you don't. So if this might leave maybe some of us, I don't know, feeling a little uncomfortable, maybe a little guilty, maybe a little condemned. What are we gonna do? Well, rush out after church and find some homeless person or go look for somebody who's sick and do something good before they die or before they die of starvation or before you get called before the judgment seat of Christ in the next 5 minutes to give an account of your actions or lack thereof. If you want to do that, friends, save your time, save your energy 'cause that won't do it.

You see the apostle Paul said in Corinthians 13 he says, you can find the actual verse. He says, "I might bestow all my goods to feed the poor." Might run out and give your goods to feed the poor. But if you don't have love, if you don't have compassion, it's worth nothing. In the same passage there he says, "though I give my body to be burned, but I don't do it for the good of others because I'm prompted by love." Profits me nothing. So while the passage in Corinthians 13 brings to light the wrong motive, it also brings to light the right motive.

If we have love, we will have compassion. And it is this love that is infused into us that drives us from our comfort zone, not out of fear of the judgment, but because we love Jesus and we want to love him back by loving some poor soul that's lost and wretched in this world. That makes all the difference between a Christian that's born-again and is happily, joyfully inconvenienced. Then one who is fearing the judgment and says, "I gotta get my act together. I gotta make sure I've got this that and the--" legalism, friends, Ellen white says, is a troublesome guest.

If you're a legalist, you get yourself to the cross and get broken because that's no way to live. That's no brand of Christianity. There is freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ to be filled with his love and to love others as it comes naturally and flows from you. And when we have that experience, people are gonna look and say, "these people over here, they've got something. Those people are different.

They may be strange. They may go to church on Saturday. These people go to church on Saturdays. Have you ever heard of a thing so strange as that? But you know what? I went in their church and they were such nice people." Just being nice people can cause other people that may think we're strange, make them strange as well and make them Sabbath keepers. Because through the love of Christ in our lives, if we reach out, it will work wonders.

It will just work wonders, friends. And so we cannot manufacture this love. We cannot kind of work ourselves up. We have to go to the source of this love and receive it. If somebody would read Corinthians 5:14.

"For the love of Christ compels us because we judge thus that if one died for all, then all died." Thank you very much, ray. So what do you say the love of Christ what? The love of Christ compels us. Compels, yeah. In the old king James it says constrains. I was gonna mention as he read that from that particular version.

The love of Christ compels. Have you been compelled? I spoke about passion, didn't i? I had a passion to be in a rock 'n roll band. We're pretty well speaking of the same thing. You're compelled to do something. Like the other day I was home on Thursday.

It was my day off and I'm actually trying to get some Sabbath school lesson ready here, and I got this sudden-- I was compelled to call somebody. I thought I've gotta do it. You call that person right now. So I called them. We had a nice conversation.

And you know I hung up and I thought, must have been a reason. Well, I need to call them anyway. I was gonna call them in the day. But you get compelled sometimes. And when God compels you, as you're driving down the road your might see somebody.

Have you ever done that, turn around? And sometimes they've gone. But something compels you. And sometimes God, I think, just tests us, you know? You turn around and they've gone. "Lord, why did you do that?" "Just testing how your level of compassion is today." God tests us. He's watching us all the time.

He looks far beyond, and by the way, he looks far beyond the works that we do and he looks inside to see what prompts it. Even our good works, God can cut right through everything that covers it. Sometimes we can do good works because we want to look good. Sometimes we want people to talk well of us. "You know that person over there, I had nothing and they came and gave me something.

" And we give them something and there can be motives inside that unless we go to the Lord and have him search our hearts, very often a lot of what we do can be just plain selfishness. It can be. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17. And this is why psalm 139, David prayed, "Lord, search me, o God, and know my heart.

Try me and know my thoughts and see if there's any wicked way in me." When I say my prayers in the morning, you know I spend a lot of time just searching my heart, and God shows me things. And you know when it's all out, I say, "Lord, thank you for showing me that." And when it's all out and I've been willing to just open it up and let him see. There's such a--i don't know, there's such a peace. You feel just so clean, you know? You feel transparent. And it's not a transparency that you have.

He's given you that clean heart. You walk out that prayer room and man, I'm a Son of God, you know? I'm ready for the day. It's a wonderful thing. It's just truly wonderful. And so the love of Christ, it compels us to happily, joyfully be inconvenienced to minister to the fallen, the afflicted and the needy.

But we can only receive that love that compels us from God himself. Romans 5:5 it says, for the love of God which brings the compassion. "For the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the holy ghost that is given unto us." The holy ghost sheds his love abroad in our hearts. Now you can disagree with me with this by all means. But last night I was thinking about this, and I came up with four ways, four means whereby the Holy Spirit dispenses this love and sheds it abroad in our hearts.

And you can add to this list. If you think of more, let me know, but I came up with four. If you want to get this love, you gotta receive it from outside of yourself and that is from God. So one of the first ways whereby we're able to receive the love of God into our hearts is to contemplate the love of Jesus, read about his life in the Scriptures. Dwelling upon the ways in which he dealt with fallen, wretched, undeserving human beings and showed compassion to them when they were in their need.

I sometimes ponder the story of the widow of nain. Try and imagine that scene. Here's this dear little woman. She's a widow. And it's her only son, her only boy.

She must have thought the world of him, and he passes away. And you should read it in "Desire of Ages." It just moves you. And so she's walking along, they're going to this place where they're gonna bury her son, and he's on the bier, and she's just walking there. This poor little woman and there's little processions making its way along. And who's coming the other way but Jesus with his followers and his disciples.

And he looks at this little woman and he's filled with this compassion. His heart is deeply moved and touched as he looks in the face of this poor, dear mother who's lost her only treasure and possession in the life that's worth anything and that is her boy. And Jesus stops and he, the little procession stops and everybody stops. And you can almost imagine the hush. "Well, what's Jesus doing now?" And there must have been just a moment of silence as he comes up to that bier where that young boy is laid dead.

And to see the look in that woman's face and to see her look thinking, what's going on? And Jesus reaches down and he bends low and he says in that voice which is--i want to hear the voice of Jesus, I really do. One day we will. But you know that voice so resonant and so majestic and yet so tender and full of compassion. He bends over and he maybe even grabbed the mother's hand. I don't know, I don't want to embellish it too much.

But he may have held her hand and says in this wonderful voice, "young man, I say to you arise." And he sits up. And that mother's face. And The Son gets up and Jesus puts his arm around The Son and around the mother and oh, they take care of the rest. You know her boy is back again. The compassion that moved the heart of Jesus.

And the compassion he had for those who were out of the way who would sin grievously. I didn't get time this morning. I forgot actually but again, the woman taken in adultery. Read about that in "Desire of Ages." There's this paragraph and I could almost kick myself for not bringing it. But the way Ellen white describes this love of Jesus for this woman, there she is cowering in the dirt.

And she hears Jesus say, "whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone." And this woman is cowering. She's waiting to feel that first rock just strike her, and nothing hits. It's silence. And if she could have but opened her eyes and looked, she would have seen Jesus writing in the dust. The sins of these pharisees that had come to trick him but also would have happily put this poor women to death.

He writes their sins in the dust till one by one they slink away. They don't want to be around there anymore. Till finally they're all gone. And then the woman dares to look up and Jesus says, "woman, where are your accusers?" She says, "Lord, I don't know." He says, "I don't condemn you. Go and sin no more.

" And the way it's written in "Desire of Ages" is just so beautiful. The compassion of Jesus Christ. And that woman, she was one of his most ardent followers. And you think about it, Jesus didn't lessen the claims of the law. He didn't excuse her sin.

Jesus doesn't forgive one sin. There is never an excuse but oh, there's an abundance of forgiveness. And he forgives this woman and it changes her life. And that is what the compassion of Jesus Christ wrought in the lives and in the hearts of people when he walked upon this wretched earth, 'cause there's a lot of wretchedness here. I want to be like Jesus, do you? I don't want to be a rock 'n roll singer.

I want to be like Jesus, I do. I want to be like Jesus. And so we receive. This is one of the ways the holy spirit sheds this love abroad in our hearts as we contemplate the life of Jesus. But then there's a second way we contemplate his love which brings the compassion to feel for others.

And this is really the most potent is when we go to the cross every day. And we spend that thoughtful hour every day contemplating the life of Jesus Christ, especially the closing scenes. Seeing him nailed there for me. Make it personal. It's for you.

He took your sins. They just crushed out his life. I mentioned this, I think, the other week in Sabbath school. He didn't just take the guilt, he took the sin. He was infused with a putrefying filth of our unrighteous.

It defiled him. He felt violated by it. It was intense agony of suffering. And then there was the wrath of God which should have been poured upon us. Jesus, Jesus received it.

And by that 9th hour in the afternoon when Jesus finally just bowed his head and died, two things were exhausted. The wrath of God was totally exhausted. It had all been poured out till it was all gone. And it had all been poured out and exhausted upon Jesus and now he was all gone. Two things, totally exhausted.

He was done, he was finished. He was gone. For who? For you, you and you and you and for all of us. And that is one of the most potent ways of being in that place where the Holy Spirit dispenses that love of God into our souls and fills us with compassion, so we can leave this church or we can leave our little prayer room and walk out into this world and know that I am a different person after my prayer. Jesus Christ lives in my heart.

And I'm ready to be his channel. There's a third one. And it's as we minister to others, it actually increases our capacity to love even more. It increases our capacity to even have more compassion upon others. We may go out, not with our cup really overflowing to love people, but we go out because we should.

But you know what? Even by going out, it affects us as we give of ourselves. There's something, I'm gonna mention it. I'm gonna mention it. But I want to tell you I struggled with it because it's about me. And Jesus said, you shouldn't let the left hand know what the right hand's doing.

He says, when you fast he said, "you know anoint your face, wash your face. Don't let anybody know." He says, "if you give your alms before men, don't let anybody know. So I kind of struggled with this, but I'm gonna tell you it because it's not what I did it. It's so I can explain to you the blessing that I got. So I'm not trying to blow myself up, do you believe me? All right, thank you.

I go down to the jail frequently. There's somebody I visit there, and occasionally one or two other people. But this was just a few weeks ago. I went down to the jail downtown here in Sacramento. And as I'm leaving, I'm in the elevator and there's a lady there with this cute little girl.

And she'd obviously been to visit her husband. The little girl had been with mommy to see daddy who was locked up. I tell you friends, it's sad when you go down to the jail sometimes because you see these mothers with these little children and daddy, where's daddy? He's locked up. It's really sad. It just, it gets to you.

So I'm in the elevator coming down and there's a mother with this little girl and I just said, "how are you, ma'am?" And she said, "oh, fine thank you." And we got down and as you come out, just go around this corner, there's a little service window where if you want to pay some money into the inmates, they put it in their account. And they give them credit so they can go to the commissary and by cookies or noodles or stuff like that. Because prison food, it's not the ritz by any means. So I come out and this dear lady with a little girl, they go around to the service window, obviously, to pay some money in for daddy who's locked away inside. And I thought, you know, the poor lady doesn't have much, you could tell.

And so I leave the jail and I'm walking down the street and for some reason, I don't know why exactly but they're finally in front of me. And we stood at this crossing and I'm there. And when I go to the jail most times I take the "steps to Christ" under my arm because there's usually somebody I can give it to. And I'm at this traffic signal waiting to cross to go across, and this little voice, you know whose voice that was, told me, "give this lady that book." And I'm not boasting, please believe me. I had a little bit of change on me.

But the little bit of change I had, I figured it was probably the same amount that she paid in through that window 'cause when daddy's locked away in jail, mom and the kids don't have much to live on. So we get across on the other side of the road and I just walked up and I said, "excuse ma'am." I said, "I'm a pastor. I have a little hobby, I like to give people books. I want to give you this book." And I gave her the little bit of change I had and she looked at me and it was like... She was dumb struck.

She didn't know whether to laugh, she didn't know whether to cry. And I said, "I just want to give you this." And I was gone. I said, "you have a good day, ma'am and God bless you." And I was down the road and I looked back as I'm crossing, and I could see her walking down with this cute little girl with these little braids and she was looking at the book. Now before I gave that lady and the little girl the book and the little gift of money, I already had compassion. But you know after I'd done it, do you know how I felt inside? That compassion and that love was.

.. I mean it just exploded. So I'm telling the story, not for I did, but just to illustrate that when we do give of ourselves, our capacity to love even more and the capacity to feel even more compassion, God expands that. You know, you can actually--i don't want to make this sound cheap. I use the word "addicted.

" You can get wonderfully, joyfully, gloriously, blissfully addicted on helping others. And when you get that kind of addiction, you can look back in your former life and think, "what was I missing? Why was I so wrapped up in myself when I could have enjoyed these blessings of giving little things?" But you know they can have such a tremendous affect on those that we minister to. And then there's a fourth way and that is another place where we can place ourselves. We don't necessarily put ourselves here. Sometimes it happens by providence.

Another place where we can receive the love of God into our lives to bring the compassion, fourth one and that is by personal suffering. Now who likes to suffer? I don't. I hate suffering. Nobody goes looking for suffering. But you know sometimes I'll say the word again, providentially, God allows that suffering to come.

And sometimes it's temporary. For some people, it is permanent. It is permanent. But you know whether it's permanent or temporary, if we will relate to suffering in the right way, it can put us in one of those most unique and wonderful places where we can receive the love of God into our lives and fill us with compassion for others also who suffer, who are afflicted. So that when we may walk through the valley of the shadow of affliction or even through the valley of the shadow of death, we don't have to be bitter.

God can deepen our love for others and puts them in a unique position where we, more than maybe 10,000 other people can put our arms around them and say, "you know what? I know what you're going through because I've been there and what's more, I'm still there." How we relate to suffering can make the difference between us becoming bitter and angry at God saying, "it's not fair, why me?" Or we can relate to it recognizing that whatever we suffer, it's nothing compared to what Jesus suffered for us, right? And if we will relate to it right, we'll find that that suffering will chasten us, will make us sweet and mellow. And there'll be something that God will work in our lives through suffering that he never could have done when we skipped and danced around on the sun-lit hillsides of the easy life. So if God is seeking to shed his love abroad in your heart today through personal suffering, don't complain. Say, "Lord, what do you want to teach me? Here I am, Lord. Do what you must for I know that all things work together for good to them that love you.

" And that is true, is it not? And so Paul tells in Ephesians 4:32, "and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted. Forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." We can be those kinds of people if we will submit to that kind of love that he has for us. And then when you've done that. I've gotta move quickly here. Then pray that God will bring people into your life.

Like that lady at the jail, I pray often, "God, bring somebody." And time and time again, God brings people. And when you pray that prayer, be prepared for God to bring people to you and be prepared to have something to give them. At our church here at central, we have a ministry called shoe box ministry. Roy dennis and bill huss, they originated this. It's shoe boxes.

And they supply people with a shoe box full of all kinds of books. Keep this in the trunk of your car because God will bring people to you. And it's one thing to have compassion, but you need to give 'em something to take away. This little book here, "when days are dark" from the abc by g.r. Nash.

"When days are dark." Melissa has a whole stash of these in her desk. She lent me this one. You get this from the abc. It was printed in 1967 and they're still printing it. A wonderful little book.

Also as well you'll find people who've lost loved ones, "life after loss" by larry yeagley. You'll get this from the adventist bookstore. It's not very big. Larry yeagley lost a son who was only 17, and he's written a lot about grieving. Keep these with you.

I always keep these on hand. And you'll find other things that people need. Amazing Facts Bible lessons, people with marriage challenges. Or there's all kinds of-- and of course, I usually have a big stack of "steps to Christ" here. "Road to redemption" that's a new title from Amazing Facts.

And of course keep some of these, "final events." They're cheap. Keep them in your car, friends. They're there and also along with it, keep a prayer journal and write down the names of these people that you give things to and pray about them because you may pass them once, but God's still got a work going in their life. And through prayer, you will continue to have the angels work with these people. And finally we have the joy of pointing whoever we meet to this sure fact, that the same Jesus who walked this earth and was full of compassion in his day is the same Savior who is full of compassion now and ministers for us in the heavenly sanctuary.

And he can do this because he suffered just the same way that we have. Our time is gone, so I just want to say again, free offer number , "a love that transforms" you can send for this, www.amazingfacts.org. You can call 1-866-788-3966 or -866-study-more. God bless you and have a wonderful Sabbath. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org. A web site whose roots date back to the beginning of time, Sabbathtruth.com is the definitive resource for Bible light on the Lord's day. Clear Bible answers for every question you've ever had about the Sabbath.

Seven key topic headings guide you through the purpose of the Sabbath, which day is the Lord's day, the Sabbath and prophecy, questions about the Sabbath, how to keep it holy, the Sabbath and history and many Sabbath resources. Visit Sabbathtruth.com today and share your newfound treasure with a friend.

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