So I was in a local church recently and it was a traditional church where they read three Scripture passages in the service. An Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, and a Psalm. Then the pastor is to teach on the verses as he brings the message for the day. The Scripture is always amazing – always! This time, in my humble opinion, the preacher spoke poorly and said little to nothing. But, God can speak regardless. A verse among the many that were read really stood out and jumped off the page at me. Yes, I follow along in my own Bible.
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
The Passion Version: “Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”
I have been mulling that verse over for the last three days – since Sunday morning. Regardless of the situation God can speak and He did.
Think about it … We have the hope of the world living inside us. The most pressing crisis at hand is that there are people who are lost without Jesus and thus live without hope. They are prisoners to their sin, searching for answers, lonely, hurting, confused. Some are suicidal, thinking there is no way out of the situation they’re in currently. Many need healing spiritually, physically, and relationally. The message of the cross is lifesaving, and I am convinced beyond any doubt that the best life anyone could possibly live is one that serves God and obeys His Word. This includes sharing His Word with others that they too may have hope.
My passion is to see this current generation of believers become so compelled by the love of Christ that we cannot help but try to persuade our fellow man that He died for all. I want to see the modern-day church more closely resemble the early church, which was fearless and singularly focused on spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom – to the degree that the early disciples were accused of turning the world upside down by those who opposed them (Acts 17:6). With all my heart I believe that same boldness can be mustered in the church today to transform the world for Jesus!
For those loved ones and family members and all of your acquaintances, hearing the gospel is a matter of life and death. Paul explained unequivocally in Ephesians 2:1-3 that without Christ, we are dead in our transgressions and deserving of God’s wrath. That’s bad news – a tragic reality for everyone on this planet who has not put their faith in Jesus Christ. Now let me show you what Paul wrote in the very next few verses, because it is unfathomably good news:
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV)
Paul also explained this same idea more simply: But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
We have been saved by the excessive love, mercy, and grace of God. And since it exceeds us, we should not keep it to ourselves. The greatest assignment we have been given by Almighty God is to grab hold of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in front of us – which is sharing the gospel with others before they enter into eternity.
Our God wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
Through His extravagant grace, your heavenly Father has made a way for all who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to have everlasting life. To live with hope. Even the difficult coworker or the classmate who uses sarcasm or humour to mask his or her pain. The friend who seems to have it all together and is disinterested in “that Jesus stuff.” The businessman consumed with chasing the next deal. The problematic teenager who won’t listen. The grumpy cashier at the grocery store. The homeless person on the street begging for spare change. Yes, even the family member who seems to do everything in his or her power to flee from the things of God.
Everywhere you go, people need Jesus! And, the hope that He brings into their life. They need answers. They need the truth that can bring that hope to light. They need a solution to life’s greatest burdens.
Yet many people have never heard a clear and simple explanation of how forgiveness and redemption take place through faith in Christ alone. They live without hope. They are hopeless!
It is our obligation to tell them the good news. Paul left no room for debate when he wrote, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15 NLT)
When we truly examine what the Bible says about evangelism, I believe we will find that becoming a messenger who brings the good news is a compelling call. I think we will discover that this calling is so wonderful, so fulfilling, that it is quite irresistible. It’s almost as though we have no choice but to preach and share the gospel.
“For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
No one is out of God’s reach, and He uses Christ followers like you to carry His message of truth that brings hope. What an incredible honour! Starting today, may you look around and truly see those around you, asking the Lord of the Harvest for the courage and the opportunity to share the good news and the hope that Christ brings with them.