TEXT: Matthew 9:35-38
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and 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 on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 130 messages in this series.
This is message #131 titled, Praying for Lost Souls Like Jesus Did (Part 2)
In our last message, we saw clearly that Jesus Christ was not only engaged in praying for more laborers and recruiting more laborers for the harvest field of lost souls, but, unlike many of the religious leaders of His day, He was out in the harvest fields preaching the Gospel Himself.
Today, we notice that another quality which we see in the life of Jesus is His compassion for others. The Bible says, “when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Ask yourself, when you think about the sinful masses in our world, do you have compassion on them in your heart?
The word used for moved with compassion is the strongest word for pity in Greek. One commentator noted that “it describes the compassion which moves a man to the deepest depths of his being.” Charles Spurgeon states: “The original word is a very remarkable one. It is not found in classic Greek. It is not found in the Septuagint. The fact is, it was a word coined by the evangelists themselves. They did not find one in the whole Greek language that suited their purpose, and therefore they had to make one” to describe the compassion that Jesus Christ had in His heart for lost souls. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, this word originally referred to the inner parts of a man — the heart, the liver, and the intestines. Jesus’ compassion was not a superficial, mind-based recognition of the needs of lost sinners, but a real, heart-felt conviction.
What kind of attitude do you have when you read the news or watch TV and are presented with sinful lifestyles? Do you become judgmental? Do you think of them as “those sinners” forgetting that you were once one and would still be one except for God’s grace? Do you avoid places where “sinners” hang out? Are you quick to condemn or quick to show compassion? Henry Ward Beecher said, “Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.”
In order to truly show compassion toward sinners, we must adopt the perspective of Jesus Christ. Jesus saw the lost multitudes as people who were weary and scattered, lost and wandering in the world with no one to guide them. They were like ships being tossed at sea unable to get to shore because there is no lighthouse to guide them. And the lighthouses that did shine cast a false and deceptive light, leading those poor souls onto shores where they would be dashed upon the rocks.
This story is told of the great evangelist, D.L. Moody. He was a hell-fire and brimstone preacher, well-known for emphasizing the reality of eternal punishment for the sinner in his sermons. One week, however, he had to go out of town for a couple of days and he wouldn’t be able to preach at his church in Chicago on that Sunday, so he invited a guest preacher to take his place. When he got back home, he asked his wife how the services went. She told him that the services had gone well, and that several people got saved, but she said her husband would not have liked the preacher’s message. D.L. Moody said, “What do you mean I wouldn’t have liked his message? He preached from the Bible, didn’t he?” His wife said, “Yes, he did. But I’m telling you, you wouldn’t have liked his message.” D.L. Moody decided he had to hear the guest preacher for himself, so he invited him back to preach the next week. As D.L. Moody sat in the audience, he listened as the guest preacher shared a message from John 3:16 emphasizing God’s love and compassion for sinners. The message moved D.L. Moody greatly, so much so that he made the decision to speak more of God’s love and compassion for sinners in his own sermons.
As we read through the gospels, we see that most of Jesus’ words of condemnation were reserved for the religious hypocrites who thought that their good works and righteous lifestyle made them better than everybody else. Often, these religious types looked down on those whom Jesus showed compassion to. It was the religious people who criticized Jesus for hanging out with, talking to, and eating dinner with prostitutes, tax collectors, drunkards, and others like them. However, as Jesus Christ said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He also said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”
What is your perspective on the sick and lost people of today? People are being led astray by the false promise that money, love, success, education, or material things can save them. People are being led astray by the idea that they can better themselves. Many are being deceived by false religions and fraudulent religious teachers. As Christians, we ought not to look down on them but reach out to them.
If your heart lacks compassion for the lost, I encourage you to pray for a change of heart. Ask God to give you the kind of heart that He has for lost people — a heart that led Him to sacrifice His only Son in order to save us all.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul stated that prayers and intercession ought to “be made for all men” — not just the saved. In Romans 10:1, he cried out, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Do you pity lost souls so much that you plead with God for their salvation? Instead of becoming angry at those who ridicule and persecute you for your faith, do you pray for their forgiveness as Jesus did and as Stephen did?
The Scottish preacher John Knox pleaded, “God, give me Scotland or I die.” The great evangelist George Whitefield prayed, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul.” When confronted with false religious teachings, the Anglican missionary Henry Martyn cried out, ‘I cannot endure existence if Jesus is to be so dishonored.’ These men felt deeply in their hearts the plight of lost sinners. They had compassion toward them. Do you have the same? Do you pray for sinners? Do you pray for a compassionate heart?
In closing, consider these words from Puritan minister Richard Baxter: “Oh, if you have the hearts of Christians or of men in you, let them yearn towards your poor ignorant, ungodly neighbors. There is but a step betwixt them and death and hell. Many hundreds of diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost forever. Have you hearts of rock, that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the Word of God, and the danger of sinners, why are you Christians yourselves? If you do believe it, why do you not bestir yourself to the helping of others?”
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second , accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.