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Visit People Who Need Help
Bible study on evangelism and personal work.

There are many things we can do, and should do as we have ability, to help other people and share the gospel.

In last week's article, we explored the use of our telephones in personal work and evangelism. It's simple to make a phone call; it takes little time, energy, and effort. But a phone call can mean the world to someone who is sick and homebound.

In this article, I want to take explore visiting people who are in need.

Visiting People in Need is a Characteristic of the Saved
James gives us some examples of being a doer of the word and not just a hearer. "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (Jas. 1:26-27).

We can tell whether we're a faithful Christian (doer of the word) by whether we control our tongues, visit others and see to their needs, and keep ourselves pure.

Visiting Must be a Habit
"Visit" as used in James 1:27 means "to look upon, care for, exercise oversight" (Vine's Dictionary). Grace, mercy, love, and compassion are qualities required to visit people who have needs, and help relieve their burdens.

James uses "visit" in the present tense, meaning that visiting others and seeing to their needs should be a habit (A. T. Robertson). It's not something we do occasionally; rather it's something we do habitually -- all the time.

How Do We Visit?
The word "visit" means we have to go physically and see people. A couple of Webster's definitions say that visit is "to go to see in order to comfort or help" and "to pay a call on as an act of friendship or courtesy."

To visit people in need, we must physically go and see them. We can't send someone in our place, or try to keep track of them by listening to others who've been -- we must physically go.

For example, when Jesus taught about judgment he said of the saved, "'I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me'" (Matt. 25:36). Then of the lost, He said, "'I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me'" (Matt. 25:43). To visit someone we must personally go, and see to their needs.

In today's technological world, we also visit by interactive communication (telephone, instant messaging, etc.). This type of visitation is helpful between the times we physically visit, but it can't replace physical visitation. If we are able, we have a responsibility to physically go and see to the needs of others.

Who Do We Need To Visit?
The Lord has made visiting our brethren and taking care of them a top priority in our life. Paul says, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Gal. 6:9-10).

We need to visit people who are sick, homebound, and in need -- especially brethren. When we visit, we are to see to their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. If we are unable to meet their needs totally and completely, we should solicit help from other individuals. And for our brethren, we should tell other Christians about their needs so they can help.

What Can You Do When Visiting
Most of all, in our prosperous nation, brethren need us to visit and talk. People who are sick and homebound can't get out and interact spiritually or socially. So, we must go to them. They need us to physically be there, interact in conversation, talk about spiritual things, and sometimes pray.

The sick, homebound, and elderly may need help with light chores such as changing a light bulb, taking out trash, picking something up from the floor. etc. And occasionally taking food is helpful.

Most of all they need to see our faces and hear our voices. Don't worry about what you'll do or say, just go and visit. Everything else will come natural.

Do You Visit People In Need?
Habitually visiting people in need, especially our brethren, is a mark of faithfulness.

There are people in our congregation who need to be visited regularly, mostly for spiritual encouragement and to relieve their loneliness. If members from every family physically visited them every month, besides calling on the phone, they would not have too many visitors.

Do you visit people in need -- especially Christians, and especially members of our congregation?