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The World Is Distressed and Scattered 

He who has something in his mind has more than him who has something in his hand

Matthew 9.35–38

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 21, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader: Jerry Thomas


  1. He who has something in his mind 
    1. has more than him
    2. who has something in his hand. 
  2. As I drove one morning to a job with my backhoe in Cucamonga, California, 
    1. I suddenly came upon sheep with their shepherd crossing the road.
    2. The sheep stayed close to the shepherd.
      1. They did not like getting to far away from the shepherd, but
      2. quickly crowded into him.
  3. The character of sheep on a journey without a shepherd is that of 
    1. distress—that is, troubled and unhappy;
    2. scattered—disunited, each going his own way.
    3. They need leadership.
  4. This is characteristic of man without God. 
    1. Isaiah 53 even uses the imagery of sheep
      1. to speak of us when we have wandered from the Lord.

        6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
        We have turned, every one, to his own way;
        And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
        (Isa 53.6).

        1. Sometimes trouble fills our lives.
        2. Life becomes vain, because
          1. we have gone our own way and
          2. get into trouble.
      2. Hosea 4 shows what most of us already know.
        1. If you know the word of God,
          1. how it affects people’s behavior, and
          2. if you know how the world goes,
        2. you will not be surprised by these two verses,

          1 Hear the word of the LORD,
          You children of Israel,
          For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:
          “There is no truth or mercy
          Or knowledge of God in the land.
          2 By swearing and lying,
          Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
          They break all restraint,
          With bloodshed upon bloodshed.”
          (Hos 4.1–2)
      3. Ephesians 4 shows a progression of how
        1. we go from bad to worse.
        2. People outside of Christ,

          18 …have their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness (Eph 4.18–19).

          1. They have darkened their understanding,
          2. leading to alienation from God,
            1. because of blind hearts,
            2. leading to an unfeeling nature,
            3. filling their lives with
              1. lewdness,
              2. uncleanness, and
              3. greediness.
    2. Man, therefore, like sheep, needs a shepherd.
  5. Christians Have a Shepherd
    1. First Peter 2 shows that there is no need
      1. for us to be distressed.
      2. We have confidence that our Shepherd will lead us, and
        1. restore our souls,

          25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1Pe 2.25).
    2. Having observed these things,
      1. let us now consider a reading from Matthew 9.
      2. From the passage learn to see the world the way Jesus does,

        35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, 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 for them, because they were weary and scattered [NASV, “distressed and downcast”], like sheep having no shepherd (Matt 9.35–36).


  1. Jesus Saw the Multitudes
    1. A chief had three sons.
      1. He told his sons to climb a certain mountain and
        1. bring back a token of where he had been,
        2. also showing what he had experienced.
      2. The first son brought a flint rock.
        1. The chief knew this mountain,
        2. so he knew where flint rock was found.
          1. He knew that his son had gone high on the mountain and
          2. commended the son for his achievement.
      3. The second son brought a flower from above the timber-line.
        1. The chief knew where that flower grew on the mountain.
        2. He knew what his son had seen and experienced, and
          1. that he had gone high on the mountain and
          2. commended the son for his achievement.
      4. The third son came back empty-handed, for
        1. for he had climbed to the summit and
          1. saw the other side where two rivers merged
          2. into one mighty river,
          3. bringing fertility and abundance to the land.
        2. He spoke of these things to his father.
      5. So the chief blessed the third son,
        1. though empty-handed, because
        2. he had a vision in his soul.
          1. He was empty-handed, but
          2. not empty-minded.
            1. With a full mind the problem of the empty-handedness
            2. would soon go away.
        3. He who has something in his mind
          1. has more than him
          2. who has something in his hand.
    2. Likewise, in Matthew 9 Jesus had a vision in his soul for the multitudes.
    3. In Acts 16 Paul had a vision from God.
      1. God can see things that men and women cannot.
      2. The gospel was saturating Asia.
        1. Another continent needed the gospel,

          9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16.9).

          1. There were millions of people in Europe, and
          2. they all needed help; the kind of help
          3. that only the gospel gives.
    4. We have a vision,
      1. stated in the Great Commission,
      2. that we preach the gospel to the world.
    5. People in the world need God’s word.
      1. They are sheep without the Shepherd.
        1. Without the vision of God they only have a rock or a flower, and
        2. miss the valley with an abundant river.
      2. Proverbs 29 speaks of the danger of doing without the revelation of God,

        18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
        But happy is he who keeps the law.
        (Pro 29.18).

        1. America has cast off restraint, but
        2. the church has the revelation people need.
    6. Jesus saw the multitudes and we have multitudes here.
      1. Over 84,000 people live in Josephine County.
      2. There are over 35,000 in Grants Pass, and
        1. thousands more in the greater Grants Pass area.
        2. What are we going to do about it?
  2. Jesus Was Moved with Compassion
    1. The multitudes touched, stirred, and prompted Him to action.
    2. He had compassion.
      1. Pity and mercy moved Him
      2. in the deepest part of His being.
    3. How should we respond to the multitudes here in our town?
  3. The World Needs Our Compassion
    1. Many people enjoy their lives, but
      1. plenty of people are empty.
      2. Distress and depression fill their lives.
    2. Our world resembles the people Jesus saw,
      1. scattered from the Lord, but
      2. they do not know it and
      3. they do not know the problems it causes,

        18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun,
        That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
        19 The way of the wicked is like darkness;
        They do not know what makes them stumble.
        (Pro 4.18–19)
      4. Many of them see that all is vanity.
    3. They have no shepherd.
      1. Yet, later in Matthew 11 Jesus invites them
        1. with words that were spoken to you and
        2. that you accepted,

          28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11.28).
      2. He cares for us and for them.
  4. What Then Shall We Do? 
    1. Jesus tells us what to do back in our main text of Matthew 9.
      1. We continue where we left off,

        37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt 9.37–38).

        1. How can we reach the tens of thousands in our area and
        2. that does not include the rest of the world?
          1. Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest for more laborers.
          2. Let us pray that we use every opportunity and every means.
        3. Pray for the children who just attended our VBS.
        4. Pray for our upcoming seminar and think on what you can do for it.
        5. Pray for our World Bible School-Connect Bible studies.
        6. Pray for a radio program.
        7. Pray that the Lord send you and me to people who hunger for Him.
        8. Pray that the Lord send people to you and me for the same reason.
        9. Pray for someone in your life whom you want to see saved.
    2. The next thing that happens in the story (chapter 10)
      1. is Jesus appoints His apostles
      2. whose main work was to preach!
    3. Not everyone can preach, but
      1. everyone can support preaching in some way.
      2. Be sure to contribute financially to our work every Sunday.
        1. If you cannot go teach,
        2. enable someone to go!
      3. Prayer
      4. Verbal Support


  1. We all have a vision in our minds 
    1. given to us by the Lord in the Great Commission.
    2. Now we have something in the hand to fulfill that vision locally.
  2. Jesus sees the distress, and the weariness of your soul. 
    1. He also sees how things are scattered in your life.
    2. He is moved with compassion toward you.
      1. Will you not receive Him?
      2. If you receive Him,
        1. you have the right to become
        2. a son or daughter of God.
          1. Receive Him today through baptism.
          2. What do you believe about Jesus of Nazareth?