07 Dec God’s Heart For The Lost
Read: Revelation 7:9-10
Last week, Pastor Ken preached on how grace overflows in joyful generosity, exemplified in the Macedonian church. This week, Joel Smith will remind us of God’s heart for all people to know him, revealed in Revelation 7:9-10. As you read the following excerpt from A Gospel Primer for Christians, allow this Divine passion for the nations to become your own, as you conform to His will.
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,” excerpt from A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent
Song List for Sunday
1. “Angels We Have Heard On High,” arr. by Chris Tomlin
2. “Exult in the Savior’s Birth,” by Matt Boswell
3. “Doxology” by Thomas Ken
4. “Let Your Kingdom Come,” by Sovereign Grace Music