Many in the church today will tell you that the most important way believers reach out and minister to the world around us is through our compassion for those in need. They put significant emphasis on the works Christ described in Matthew 25:35-36.
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.
But does that have much, or anything, to do with the gospel? Should the primary focus of the church be social outreach and community service? And what about Christ’s compassion—were His miraculous works the focus of His public ministry? And if so, how do we follow that example today?
John MacArthur was recently in studio, and we asked him about the relationship between compassion and evangelism. Here’s what he had to say:
If we’re going to truly display the gracious compassion of Christ to the watching world, we need to faithfully reach out to those in need. But we can’t let those compassionate works be the sum total of our outreach. Our good works are meaningless if we’re not also bringing the light of God’s Word to hearts darkened by sin and rebellion.
In the end, the most compassionate thing we can do is tell people the truth about Christ.