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Scripture Reading: Psalm 40:6-13
Character Building: Compassion (Part 2)
1. Character - “Inner strength, integrity, constitution;” that which defines the person...It is not what he does, but what he is. (See Part 1)
a. Conformed to the image of Christ, Col 3:10.
b. Christian’s character expressed his/her faith, cf. 2 Pet 1:5-7.
3. Shaping our character requires shaping our hearts, Col 3:12-17.
a. Building character begins with restructuring our heart (Rom 12:2).
b. This is a very determined action (“put on”), Col 3:12.
4. Compassion (oiktirmos): “To have pity, a feeling of distress through the ills of others” (Vine); “bowels of mercy” (KJV). Mercy comes from compassion (“the outward manifestation of pity”, Matt 5:7).
I. COMPASSION: THE CHARACTER OF CARING.
A. God’s Elect have Received Compassion, Col 3:12; Rom 9:15.
1. Having been cared for by God and obtained compassion from God, we must do likewise, 1 Jno 4:19, 10-11.
2. To withhold compassion is to condemn ourselves, Lk 6:38.
B. Compassion is Characteristic of Holiness, Col 3:12.
-Care and pity over the distressing circumstances of others is a trait the Holy One; it must be so of His saints, Rom 5:8.
II. COMPASSION IS THE CHARACTER OF EVANGELISM, Matt 9:35-38; cf. Acts 15:36; 16:9-10.
A. We All Need to do more Evangelism.
1. Is our motivation lacking? What degree of compassion do we have for the lost? cf. Lk 15:1-7
2. Where would you be if someone had not taught you the gospel?
B. Compassion Sacrifices itself to try to Save Others, 1 Cor 9:22, 19.
1. Paul gave up his liberties in order to attempt to save the lost.
2. Compassion compels us to think of others before ourselves; become a “laborer” (Matt 9:38).
C. Compassion Produces a Commitment to Teach what needs to be Taught when it needs to be Taught, Acts 20:18-20. Overcomes fear
1. Seen by some as lacking compassion (unwise and ”insensitive”), but Paul taught based on the benefit for their souls! So must we.
2. Acts 8:20; 24:25: Did Peter and Paul lack compassion? No!
III. COMPASSION IS THE CHARACTER OF FORGIVENESS.
A. Compassion Removes the Limits of our Ability to Forgive, Matt 18:21-35.
1. Forgiveness is boundless when moved by compassion.
2. Illus. Joseph, who wept and comforted his brothers, Gen 50:15-21.
B. Such Forgiveness is Harder than it may Appear, Lk 6:27-28, 35-36.
1. Keeping a compassionate, forgiving heart in the face of abuse is a tremendous test of character, Lk 23:34.
2. Knowing what sin does to one’s soul and being compassionate when the sins of others hurt us is a true mark of character, Acts 7:59-60.
IV. COMPASSION IS THE CHARACTER OF HELPING THE LESS FORTUNATE, Mk 1:40-42.
A. We can Learn to be Compassionate, Isa 1:16-17.
B. “If you are Willing…” (Isa 1:19)
1. Love your brethren, 1 Jno 3:16-17.
2. Help those in need, Lk 10:33-34 (Jas 2:14-17, cf. faith).
3. Comfort those who mourn, Lk 7:13 (Rom 12:15).
4. Remember the distressed, Heb 13:1-3 (10:34).
C. Compassion Sees itself in Others and does what it can to Help, Matt 7:12.
-cf. David toward his enemies, Psa 35:11-14
1. Character is being compassionate toward the distresses of others even when they refuse to show the same courtesy to you (Psa 35:15-16).
2. Building hearts of compassion will help us have godly character throughout life; Compassion is the character of God’s holy ones!