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The Greek word "splanchna" refers to the chief or main intestines in the human body. So what's the connection with our theme? It is also the basis for the word 'compassion' in the New Testament. It refers to the deepest, gut level response; the deepest wrenching of the inner being. It is much stronger than pity or sympathy. It moves one's whole being into active response.

'Compassion' = your pain in my heart

[1] THE OLD TESTAMENT WITNESS

a. Of the 73 times 'compassion' is used in Bible, 60 of those references are in the Old Testament. How unexpected this is, given that there is so much unbalanced teaching around these days that portrays God as vindictive/harsh.

b. Compassion does not conflict with God's holiness or justice anymore than love is out of place when we are dealing with God's righteousness. In all these areas, God is a perfect balance.

*Psalm 51/1 *Psalm 145/8-13 *Lamentations 3/19-26

c. Our conviction concerning God's compassion is based on the words and deeds of God in history.

[2] THE NEW TESTAMENT WITNESS

As with all our understanding of God and His attributes, His compassion is most clearly seen in His Son, Jesus.

A . JESUS' TEACHING

a. Luke 15/20 - Father represents God expressing compassion for the repentant sinner.  It's compassion that moves the father to accept, forgive and restore his son

b. Luke 10/33 - here compassion is expressed horizontally - one person to another. The Priest & Levite may have felt sorrow but the Samaritan was activated by compassion.

c. Compassion was expressed in practical but costly ways - time, risk, money, effort. Compassion is known by what it does - otherwise it is not compassion.

B. JESUS' EXAMPLE

a. Matthew 9/35-38 - compassion is expressed in preaching, healing, appeal for workers.

b. Matthew 14/13,14 - compassion expressed in healing - this quality is vital for an effective, caring healing ministry.

c. Mark 1/40-42 - Jesus is "filled with compassion" - loving, powerful, 'careless' touch (given that lepers were 'untouchable')

d. Luke 7/11-15 - power motivated by compassion results in new beginning for family

[3] THE PRESENT DAY CHALLENGE

a. We are called & enabled to become increasingly like our Father in heaven.

*1 Peter 3/8 - live together with sympathy, love, compassion & humility.

*1 John 3/16-18 - to be able to help "but refuses him compassionů" - where is love?

APPLICATION:

a. If I took this seriously - i.e. acted upon these truths - in what ways would my life be different? Am I a compassionate person?

b. As we have worked through this session, have I felt the tug of compassion in some situation or towards a person/s but have resisted because of the cost involved in time, money, effort?

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