Tuesday, April 23, 2013
"For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Romans 9:3 Wow, these are some huge words from the Apostle Paul, and these words reveal his heart. They reveal his heart for the Gospel, his brokenness over the lostness of his community and his deep desire to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ. What a beautiful and convicting picture of how the heart of every believer should pound, break and bleed for those who are outside of a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In our ever changing western church culture, we have come to fill our church vocabulary with missional engagement, missional living, relational evangelism, incarnational proclamation, owning the lostness of our community, and all of these terms and the many others that have become a part of the DNA of our churches are all great, but I think they will always just be words and phrases if at the core they don't move us towards the heart of God and cause us to see the world as God sees it. Paul was educated above most, in his culture, and I am sure he knew all the religious lingo and cool Christian terms, but that's not what he led with and it certainly was not what gripped his heart. What gripped his heart was the Gospel. The Gospel changed everything for him. The Gospel gave Paul new lenses to see himself through and to see the world around him through...In 1 Timothy 1:15 he states "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." The Gospel is also what fueled his missional engagement,(I told you I like the terms)...In 2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul states that it is "the love of Christ" that compelled him. And Paul, maintained his faith that the message of the Gospel was enough. That he did not need to dress it up, change it, soften it's blow. No, he just needed to proclaim it unashamedly, with great passion, love and conviction. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul states that he delivered and shared what was of first importance and what was shared with him. We can go on and on about the Apostle Paul's conviction, love for and faith in the Gospel, which served as the foundation and the fuel for all he did, but the bottom line for me is, is that true about me? Is that true about the believers in my circle of influence? You see, we don't have a vocabulary issue, I believe we may just have a heart issue. We just may have become innoculated to the Gospel that we have lost the wonder of it and we have stopped seeing those around us who are deep need of this saving and transforming message. So maybe this morning the simple prayer is, God, break my heart for what breaks yours and reacquaint me with the beauty, power and love of the Gospel. It seemed to work for the Apostle Paul...just another rambling. God bless!