17 Feb A Heart for the Lost
Read: Romans 10:14-21
Last Sunday, Jason Finley preached from Romans 10:5-13, where we learned that the only assurance of salvation is through faith in Christ alone. This Sunday, Pastor Ken will preach from Romans 10:14-21, where we will see that our assignment from God is to preach the gospel to everyone. In preparing our hearts for our corporate gathering, let us continue to pray that the Lord would grant us great humility and understanding of his Word. Also, let these words from Milton Vincent lead you to a deeper heart for the lost through gospel meditation, as practiced by Paul in Romans 1-9.
The more I rehearse and exult in gospel truths, the more there develops within me a corresponding burden for non-Christians to enter into such blessings. This is also what seems to happen to the Apostle Paul while writing the book of Romans.
In Romans 5 Paul exults in his righteous standing before God. In chapter 6 he speaks of the freedom from sin which Christ has accomplished in the lives of believers, a freedom which Paul later confesses had not yet become fully realized in his own daily practice (chapter 7). Nonetheless, coming into chapter 8, he recounts the fact that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. With increasing flourish, he rehearses numerous gospel themes throughout the length of chapter 8, and he climaxes the chapter with a triumphant exclamation regarding the endless love of God which enables Christians to conquer overwhelmingly in all things.
What effect do such gospel meditations have upon Paul? What emotions do they produce in him besides the obvious joy he feels while reciting them? Paul bares his soul at the very beginning of chapter 9: “I have great sorrow,” he says, “and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Coming down from the heights of gospel meditation, Paul’s heart is devastated by a burden for his fellow-Jews to experience the saving power of the gospel. His burden existed long before he started writing, but it is undoubtedly intensified by his rehearsal of gospel truths in Romans 5-8, a rehearsal which inevitably leads his thoughts toward the plight of those outside of Christ.
Hence, if I wish to have a ‘Romans 9′ kind of burden for non-Christians, I should become practiced at celebrating the gospel as Paul does in Romans 5-8. Over time, my joy in the gospel will become increasingly tinged with grief, and this grief-stained joy will lend a God-inspired passion to my ministry of evangelizing the lost.
“A Heart for the Lost,” in A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent
Song List for Sunday
1. “Facing a Task Unfinished,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
2. “Hallelujah, What a Savior,” by Breakway Ministries
3. “In Christ Alone,” Arr. by Adrienne Liesching & Geoff Moore
4. “Let Your Kingdom Come,” by Sovereign Grace Music