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The Heart of the Matter



Join us as Dr. Crawford Loritts encourages the Church in her calling to make disciples compassionately and explores the proper relationship between religion, actions, and love.

Key Takeaway

Just as Jesus had compassion on people when they were lost without a Shepherd, we too are to be moved with compassion to have others come to know Him.

If you have a "why" for living, you can almost stand any "how." The "why" is the stuff of endurance and perseverance. Your holy "why" is the signature God has written on your soul. Our "why" drives us, so be sure of what your "why" is. The purposes of God are summarized in the Bible and are much bigger than we could ever dream or imagine.

Why does God save us and not take us immediately to Heaven?

He leaves us here to express His plans and purposes through us. We are a touch of Heaven in the context of a fallen society. Permanent lights in a dismal darkness.

1) Our calling.

Matthew 28:18-20 is home of the Great Commission. This was given after 3 years of Jesus pouring Himself out in ministry with them. Their ears heard Jesus when he said "crucifixion", but never heard "resurrection" even though He was clear about it. Jesus was betrayed and crucified for our sins. It's at this point that the disciples are scared to death because they bucked the religious elite and the Roman Empire. If they killed Jesus, what would they do to them?

Then, the resurrection happens. Jesus appears to the disciples and puts them back together for 40 days post-resurrection. So, when we come to Matthew 28, can you imagine the emotion of this moment?

Matthew 28:18—During Jesus' incarnation, His authority was limited on earth. After the resurrection, there was no limitation at all. All authority and power are given to Him in Heaven and on Earth.

Matthew 28:19—has three major parts.

  • Go, therefore—Can be translated as "as you are going" while you live your life; wherever you are and whatever you do is the arena for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
  • Made disciples—This is the Great Commission. He did not say produce converts. A disciple is a follower and lifelong learner. Influence every sphere with Jesus so they have a model of a transformed life of Jesus.
  • Of all the nations—This is the audience. "Nations" is the Greek word "ethnos," meaning "peoples." The Great Commission is not owned by an ethnic group. Every tribe, nation, and tongue that comes across your path is a candidate for the Kingdom to be introduced to the Savior.

Every day, look for the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus. Don't allow anything in your life to distort that focus.

2) A case for compassion.

We don't beat people up and scream at them that they're going to Hell. You may have to tell them that, but it should be with a tear running down your cheek. We share the Gospel because we care. The Gospel is wrapped tightly in a package permeated with love.

Matthew 9:35-38—We see Jesus as the model of love. Jesus was totally immersed and in a hurry to meet needs. Christianity is not a hobby; it's about the urgent need for a Savior.

  • Matthew 9:36—"seeing He felt," not "seeing He criticized/organized/strategized." He felt compassion for them. In His innermost being, He felt profoundly deep empathy. Why? Because the people were harassed and helpless without a Shepherd. They were shepherdless sheep. Commentators believe this is an insult to the religious elite who had a stranglehold on the people. They didn't care about the transformation of people's lives; they just cared about the dominance of religion. The people have been left vulnerable. Yes, they've sinned, and they have to own that, but they've also been sinned against.
  • Matthew 9:37-38—This is the only prayer request of Jesus we have recorded in the entire Bible. Jesus says the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Crops are dying in the field while we're having spitting contests. While we're putting primary passion into secondary issues, people are dying.

There needs to be a strong emphasis on the motivation of love. Think of the Good Samaritan. The power of the story is the set up of the parable found in Luke 10:25-37.

Why did Jesus tell this story in the first place? The Sadducees and the Pharisees were ticked off at Jesus because Jesus was a threat to their self-serving power. So, they get a lawyer, an expert in the Mosaic Law, to ask questions of Jesus and try and trap Him. He ends up asking Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus then tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus tells of a man, probably Jewish, who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. The priest saw him and crossed over to the other side of the road to pass him. Then, a Levite did the same thing. He's pointing out that religious leaders have more compassion for their beliefs than they do for those to whom their beliefs were given. Next, a Samaritan, the ones that the Jews despised because they were the offspring of the mix of the Jewish people and the Assyrian people during the Assyrian captivity. There was a disgusting racism there. The Samaritan, the least likely to care for a Jew, comes to him. He stops his own journey. He bandages his wound. He puts him on his own animal and takes him to an inn. He spends the night with him to care for him. He paid for his care and covered all future expenses.

Jesus turns the question back and asks the lawyer which one was his neighbor. The lawyer can't even bring himself to say Samaritan, so he admits that the one who cared for him was his neighbor. Jesus tells him to go and do likewise. Go. Do. Stop talking and bring authenticity to your religion.

Observations about love:

  • Love is not mired in quid-pro-quo; it's not a negotiation. Love means that we disadvantage ourselves for the care and comfort of another. Love is not cheap.
  • There's no such thing as love without personal sacrifice. See Jesus on the Cross for the sins of the world.
  • Don't love the trappings of Christianity more than we love Jesus and people. The lawyer, priest, and Levite loved the trappings of their religion more than they loved the God of their religion. The warning is that we can love what we do for Jesus more than we love Jesus.
  • A faith that does not produce love for people is inauthentic and dead. See Romans 5:8. John 3:16, 13:35, 15:13.


"We are a touch of Heaven in the context of a fallen society. Permanent lights in a dismal darkness."

Dr. Crawford Loritts

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Scripture References

  • Matthew 29:18-20
Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Dr. Crawford Loritts Dr. Crawford Loritts is the senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He has served as a national evangelist with the American Missionary Fellowship and the Urban Evangelistic Mission and as associate director of Campus Crusade for Christ. He is the author of six books, including Leadership as an Identity, Lessons from a Life Coach, and For a Time We Cannot See.