Editorial Note: This is a suggestive sermon outline to be used with the May 12 Disaster and Famine Relief Offering.
A. Text: Psalm 107:6: "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses."
1. Multiplied cries of distress constitute an anguished paradox in today's affluent society.
2. That the Lord hears and will deliver is, next to the promise of salvation from sin, the church's most welcome message.
B. Our study today will develop three basic principles:
1. It is in the nature of God to give relief to the suffering.
2. The church is God's agency for delivering from distress.
3. Seventh-day Adventists willingly accept this divine assignment.
I. It Is in the Nature of God to Give Relief From Suffering
A. "Thy mercy . . . endureth forever" (Ps. 138:8). This is a description of Himself that God endorses.
Of Jesus it was said: He had compassion upon them (Luke 7:13).
B . Psalm 107 is a good illustration of God's willingness to deliver those who find themselves in various categories of distress.
1. Refugees verses 2 to 9.
2. Prisoners, rebels against God and society verses 10 to 16.
3. Fools, victims of their own mistakes verses 17 to 22.
4. Travelers in peril verses 23 to 32.
5. Sufferers from drought and famine verses 33 to 42.
C. God's mercy is not based on the character of those in need, but upon His character.
D. The only qualification for deliverance is an anguished cry for help.
II. The Church Is God's Agency for Delivering From Distress
A. James 1:27: "Pure religion and undefiled be fore God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
B . Isaiah 58:6, 7: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"
C. Illustration: Matthew 14:15-21, the feeding of the multitude. Verse 16, "Give ye them to eat."
III. Seventh-day Adventists Willingly Accept This Divine Assignment
A. Our broad program of welfare service:
1. Outlined in Welfare Ministry, by Ellen G. White
a. Health education and health care
b. Regular Dorcas and welfare programs
c. Disaster and famine relief
B . Our program is motivated by a desire to do the same work in today's troubled world that Jesus did when He was among men.
C. This brings a bonus a favorable public image for the church.
D. Offering for Disaster and Famine Relief.
1. This is to prepare for instant service in time of crisis.
2. Give examples of SDA help offered fol lowing disaster.
A. This ministry of delivering from distress will be the distinguishing feature of those who are ready when Jesus comes.
1. Matthew 25:31-46.
2. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (verse 40, last part).