GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 11/07/04
The main passage in our current study is PHI 4:10, “Now, I have received much inner happiness by means of the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your concern or thinking for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.” The word “concern” is the present active infinitive form of the Greek verb phroneo, meaning to care or be concerned about others with objective thinking, or to be compassionate and caring for others. This was the attitude of those believers in the Philippian church, even though Paul had made a great mistake in Jerusalem. A believer can serve God faithfully for years, and then difficulties begin to wear him down, and he begins to stumble and struggle. Then someone motivated by the love of God and compassion begins to minister to him, and the grace of God becomes more real to him as he finally sees the eternal purpose behind each situation in his life.
Paul recognizes the grace of God being manifested through the compassion and caring of born-again believers. He discovered victory in his situation, and it was someone else’s tenderness and compassion that made the difference. He wrote in GAL 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Paul rejoiced to see individuals applying what they learned; in fact, this is such an important function that God the Holy Spirit has specifically given some believers certain spiritual gifts for this purpose, called exhortation and mercy, ROM 12:8,“He who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” He comforts us when we go through hard times, and He brings us to others who are going through hard times, so that we can be there for them, just as God was there for us, 2CO 1:3-6.
We will have plenty of hard times that come from following the Lord, but no more so than the good times of His abundant comfort. When we go through suffering because of our relationship with God, as Paul did, it works out for the comfort and deliverance for others, 2CO 4:12, “So death works in us, but life in you.” Paul was in prison because of his compromise of grace and doctrine, but he was still God’s child. Death was working in him so life and deliverance could work in us, as he wrote the four prison epistles. Those who reveal His grace and compassion have a special place in the heart of God.
JAM 2:13 states, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” Mercy rules over judgment; it takes total precedence. The word for “triumphs” is the present active indicative form of the Greek word katakauchaomai, which means that mercy holds a more excellent position than judgment. Mercy reigned in our Lord’s heart in LUK 19:41-42, when He looked down at Jerusalem and wept. He understood that His destiny was the Cross of Calvary. He knew rejection would be His destiny, but still He intensely desired to reveal His mercy. God delights in forgiving, edifying, and reconciling. He finds great joy in mending broken hearts and minds, and is pleased to minister mercy and compassion to the sinner who brings his need before Him, as in LUK 18:9-14. Spirituality is not measured by how well someone exposes another in his sin, but by how well he restores his fellow believer, GAL 6:1-2.
When the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, makes the compassion and mercy of God real to a Christian, he will not be passive, but will exercise mercy, understanding that he himself could be overtaken in fault at any time. We tend to promote intellect, knowing how to solve problems and identify an advantage and seize it, but the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy. There should be a passion for compassion among the Royal Family of God, ACT 20:33-35.
Our Lord served His generation during His stay on earth, in Mat 9:36-38, “And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'” In MAT 14:14, “When He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.” The compassion of God cannot deny those who are in need. If you wish to serve your generation, you need to have the mind of Christ, and the mind of Christ is compassionate.
The Doctrine of Compassion
Definition. Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another’s suffering or misfortune, accompanied by a desire to alleviate the pain and remove its cause. It is a sympathetic consciousness of others and their distress, with a desire to remove or help correct their situation. Compassion also means to handle tenderly and lovingly, to be merciful, to show pity, and to be gentle of the mind. It is overt graciousness because of a gracious system of thinking in the soul.
There are three categories of compassion-(1) genuine compassion, (2) pseudo-compassion, and (3) misuse of compassion. In the downfall of every client nation to God, pseudo-compassion and the misuse of compassion are involved. All three categories of compassion are operational in both believers and unbelievers. Therefore, compassion is not a Christian virtue; it is even found in unbelievers, as in Exo 2:6 when Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion on the baby Moses. Compassion is not a Christian virtue, though Christians with virtue will have compassion.
The Lord is compassionate toward His people and expects them to be compassionate toward others, 1KI 8:50. We have all experienced the compassion of God toward us, and we are to share that same compassion with others around us. There is no place for revenge or rejoicing when we see our enemies fall. Your attitude of compassion should always aspire to an unbeliever becoming saved and a believer restored to fellowship.
The Lord sends messengers to warn, reprove, correct, and rebuke His people because He has compassion, 2CH 36:15, Mat 9:36-38. In compassion, the Lord will send doctrine to those who desire it, even when there is a famine in the land, not a famine of food but of the Word of God, AMO 8:11. In His compassion, the Lord will find a way to get doctrine to those who desire it, in spite of all satanic opposition and false doctrine, 2CO 13:8.
Because of compassion God forgives sin, PSA 78:32-39. In 2Sa 12:1-7 the prophet Nathan went to see King David and described an event that made David very upset: “Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said, ‘There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. [David now pronounces a judgment on the rich man, which is actually a judgment on himself.] And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.'” [David is disciplined by God because he passed judgment on someone who had done the very same thing that he had done. David is the one who has no compassion. He wants the Lord to be compassionate toward him, but he was not compassionate toward others.] Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man!'”
At this time, David is very arrogant, and arrogant people do not exercise compassion for others. David has been in reversionism for over a year and has not even come outside the castle for air. He has become psychotic through his preoccupation with himself, and there is no lower point in life. David has become a psychopath, a mentally ill and unstable person, manifested by his lack of care for others. He has become neurotic, with emotional disorders affecting his personality and producing anxiety, guilt, and fear. He has also become a sociopath; he is antisocial and can no longer function around people properly. God is very gracious and compassionate and He could have let David stay in the castle and die in his sins. However, He is sending a man of God to reach out to David.
· David = the rich man.
· The poor man = Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba.
· “A great many flocks and herds” = David’s wives and mistresses.
· “The one little ewe lamb” = Bathsheba.
This is a very simple story, and because David is so arrogant and self-righteous, he needs a very simple parable to reach whatever is left of his integrity. This is teaching by “finesse,” designed to cause David to judge himself. David has fallen into transference arrogance, assigning his own flaws to someone else. Instead of teaching on the doctrine of arrogance, Nathan tells David a story, and when David reacts to what he hears, he does not realize that he is judging himself, which is necessary to recover from his arrogance.
How can a man enter into sexual arrogance, rape a woman, get her husband drunk, and murder her husband, and still be self-righteous? The answer is very simple: Arrogance. Self-righteous arrogance is quickly aroused to anger against others. So David said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.” Who is saying this? A man who has not been compassionate and caring for others. David pronounces his judgment, “And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” This was according to the Law in EXO 22:1. And David is going to pay fourfold for his act.
1. The son of David’s adultery with Bathsheba will die in 2Sa 12:14-19. Bathsheba’s firstborn from David will die in place of David, an illustration of the substitutionary atonement.
2. Amnon, David’s elder son by Ahinoam, will follow his father’s rape of Bathsheba by raping his half-sister Tamar, David’s daughter by Maacah, 2SA 13:14.
3. Tamar is the sister of Absalom, and in 2Sa 13, Absalom murders his half-brother Amnon, following David’s murder of Uriah.
4. The Absalom revolution (2Sa 15-18) will be the discipline for David’s rebellion against God.
This is one of the most effective messages David has ever heard, and it forces him to look at himself objectively. God had appointed David king of Israel in his supergrace blessing. However, David’s capacity for this promotion was destroyed, not by lack of doctrine, but by arrogance. The Lord reminds David of all that He has done for him. This is something for us all to remember that the next time we fail to be compassionate. Remember all the times that God showed Himself to be a God of compassion (NEH 9:19,28,31; PSA 23:6; PSA 51:1; Psa 136; LAM 3:22-23; MAT 9:13; COL 3:12-13).
Compassion is not emotion, it is a sympathetic consciousness of others and their distress, with a desire to help; it is an aspect of humility that causes one to be aware of the needs, sensitivities, and problems of other people. Compassion, which is grace-oriented objectivity, is actually in direct contrast to arrogance, which is self-centered and self-righteous subjectivity.
Compassion serves as a motivation for divine good.
· Compassion serves as a motivation for healing to take place in the lives of others, MAT 14:13-14, LUK 15:20. Before the prodigal son came back to the father, the father saw him slowly but surely coming back and ran out to meet him.
· Compassion motivated our Lord to help take care of the logistical needs of others, MAT 15:32.
· Compassion motivates identification with those who have lost loved ones, LUK 7:13.
· Compassion motivates forgiveness toward others, MAT 18:27.
· Compassion motivates the believer to perform divine good, LUK 10:30-37.
The Lord Jesus Christ illustrated compassion perfectly while on this earth, in fact, He even had compassion on the ignorant in Heb 5:2. Peter instructs us in 1PE 3:8, “To sum up, let all be harmonious, compassionate, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” The Lord says in ZEC 7:9, “Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother.” We have another valuable lesson in EXO 33:18-19, “Then Moses said, ‘I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.'” Graciousness and compassion are the highest expression of the glory of God. When there’s absolutely nothing you can do about a situation, and all your strength is gone, make room for divine compassion, DEU 32:36, PSA 103:1-4.
Why does the Lord treat us with compassion? Look at PSA 103:13-14, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” Notice the importance of respect for the Lord, and remember that to respect the Lord you must respect Bible doctrine, for Bible doctrine is the thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ, PSA 119:77, “May Thy compassion come to me that I may live, For Thy law is my delight.”
The Bible teaches that the Lord is waiting to be compassionate toward us; ISA 30:18, “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” Our attitude even toward the wicked and unrighteous must be one of compassion, ISA 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Even if a person is under divine discipline, the divine attitude is one of restoration and compassion, LAM 3:32, “For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.”
The Lord has not called you to give up things and sacrifice for Him; He has called you to grow in His grace and knowledge and be gracious and compassionate toward others, MAT 9:13. Legalistic and self-righteous individuals lack compassion and therefore always condemn others, MAT 12:7, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.”
· Pseudo-compassion is a means used by the arrogant to manipulate other people. Those who have power lust will use pseudo-compassion as a system of propaganda and manipulation, causing others to feel guilty and make irrational decisions under emotional sinning.
· It is a system of manipulation through the use of conspiracy to incite revolution.
· It is a system of manipulation through the function of human good in activism.
· It is a system of manipulation through the use of guilt as a weapon of manipulation in socialism.
· It is a system of manipulation in political power to achieve political objectives contrary to the principles of freedom.
· It is dishonesty and hypocrisy and something that all of us must learn to deal with. People are going to say things to you that they have no intention of fulfilling. Promises are no greater than the integrity of the one who makes them.
Pseudo-compassion results in the misuse of compassion. The victims of pseudo-compassion and those on a guilt trip are sucked into the propaganda of the conspirator and con-artist, as in 2SA 15:1-6.
Pseudo-compassion is characterized by flattery, which the hypocrite uses to give others the impression that he cares. James made a statement about this kind of heartless religion in Jam 2:15-18, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'” If we truly love God, we will open our hearts and show love toward others,1JO 3:16-18, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
For a more detailed study, order tapes 0190-1236 to 0190-1239.