TEEN TREE         OF LIFE

The Doctrine of Compassion

Part 2

January 12, 2020

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

When we ended last week’s Teen Tree, we learned that as Christians, we should be aware that God comforts us when we go through hard times. In addition, He brings us to others who are going through hard times, so that we can be there for them, just as He is ALWAYS there for us. As believers, we need to be aware that we’ll have plenty of hard times which are a result of following Jesus Christ. But His incredible Comfort will be even more abundant, too. The key is to remember that and to allow the difficult things He puts in our paths, to draw us closer to Him!

 

Look at what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in (2CO 7:11-13 The Message Bible): I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets. If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! It helps to understand this verse better, if we look at the sequence of events behind Paul’s writing it. Things were going badly among the Christians in Corinth, and in an attempt to get them on track, Paul made a quick, unplanned visit there, which only seemed to make things worse. This visit is mentioned in 2 COR 2:1 (The Message Bible): That’s why I decided not to make another visit that could only be painful to both of us. If by merely showing up I would put you in an embarrassingly painful position, how would you then be free to cheer and refresh me? So, after the failure of the first visit, Paul decided not to visit Corinth again. Instead, he sent Titus to the believers there, with a strong letter which scolded them for what was going on there. Paul was very worried about how the Corinthians would receive the letter, and if it would turn them to Our Lord and Savior or just make them angry. But when Titus came back with good news from the Corinthian Christians, Paul was greatly relieved.

 

Remember last week how we learned that Philippians is called a “Prison Letter”? Colossians is also a “Prison Letter,” along with Philippians, Ephesians, and Philemon. Paul wrote them all during his first Roman imprisonment. The exact dates he wrote each of the them is unknown, but the two-year period he spent under house arrest in Rome has been narrowed down to the years AD 60–62.

 

Now, Paul doesn’t tell us in Philippians precisely what had happened, but in the book of ACTS, Luke tells us (in some detail) about the events leading up to the writing of this book. Four years before, Paul had gone to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. He had been worshiping in the Temple and, because the Jews of the city thought he had brought a Greek into the sanctuary, they had dragged Paul out into the street, had beaten him very severely, and had nearly lynched him. It was only through the action of a very alert Roman soldier that his lynching was avoided. Then, Paul had to appear before the local Roman authorities. A plot was hatched against his life in which forty Jews took a vow not to eat or drink until they had killed the apostle. So, he was taken away under cover of darkness to Caesarea, where he was protected while in custody.

He suffered in prison for two years and appeared before Felix, the Roman Governor. Felix hoped to squeeze some money from Paul, and while he was waiting for payment, he kept him in prison. Finally, because of Paul’s appeal to Caesar, they put him aboard a ship and sent him to Rome. On the way there, they had a shipwreck and all on board were forced to spend the winter in Malta where Paul was bitten by a snake. In the Spring he went on to Rome and was placed under house arrest. Wow! Can you believe what Paul went through in his Christian Walk???!!

 

During his house arrest, Paul was chained to Roman soldiers in four-hour shifts. his imprisonment in Rome is verified in ACTS 28:31 (The Message Bible): Paul lived for two years in his rented house. He welcomed everyone who came to visit. He urgently presented all matters of the kingdom of God. He explained everything about Jesus Christ. His door was always open. Do you see how he took a time of great adversity and used it as an opportunity to let the distress bring him closer to God – just as he had complimented the believers in Corinth for doing? Paul was such an incredible believer that he actually witnessed to those who came to the house in which he was bound in chains to soldiers!! And look at what grace and compassion he showed by writing the four “Prison Letters” during this difficult time in his life.

 

Believers who show God’s Grace and Compassion have a special place in God’s Heart. Let’s learn some synonyms for compassion. Thesaurus.com lists these words: empathy; grace; humanity; kindness; mercy; sympathy; consideration; heart and humaneness. In JAM 2:13 (New International Version) James, Jesus’ brother uses the word mercy: … judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. 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 19:41-44 (The Message Bible): When the city came into view [Jerusalem], he wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.”

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ understood that His Destiny was the Cross of Calvary. He knew rejection would be His destiny, but He still intensely wanted to reveal His Mercy. He delights in forgiving, edifying, and reconciling. He finds great joy in mending broken hearts and minds and is pleased to minister compassion to the sinner who brings his need before Him: He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” (LUK 18:9-14 The Message Bible)

 

The compassion Jesus Christ showed in this verse is how He wants us to treat our fellow believers. After all, He is our Perfect Example of how-to live-in God’s Plan for our lives. Paul’s message in GAL 6:1-2 (The Message Bible) says it allLive creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. This is how you show compassion!

{to be continued}

 

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