In Romans chapter 9, verses 1 through 3, Paul wrote these words:
“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow 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… (Rom. 9:1-3).”
To my Christian friends: people all around you are going to hell. The question is, “Do you care?” How bad does it bother you that your co-worker, friend, or family member is destined to spend eternity separated from the heavenly Father if something doesn’t change? Do you share Paul’s concern? Do you have “great sorrow” and “unceasing grief” for the lost?
Paul’s concern for those outside of Christ was so great that he wished he could trade places with them. Notice again verse 3:
“For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…”
Surely no one loves the lost that much? Yet, Paul states, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying.” My guess is that many Christians do not share Paul’s passion, which is the primary reason why the church grows less and less evangelistic. Many great evangelism programs have been established throughout the years. The church has had a plethora of formulas and continues to discuss new strategies for reaching the lost. May I suggest that we don’t need more programming? What we need are more Christians who are passionate about the lost. The church will become more evangelistic when her members make it their mission. Our evangelistic efforts are directly connected to the level of passion and concern for those outside of Christ.
Paul dedicated his life to taking as many people to heaven with him as possible. Such wasn’t always the case. No, before he was a proclaimer of the gospel, he was a persecutor of Christians. Everything changed, however, when he had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Many of you reading this have encountered Jesus as well. Maybe not in the same way that Paul did, but you encountered Him through God’s written Word. You’re eyes were opened to Him as someone helped you see the need for a Savior. You encountered the blood of Christ through baptism. You know what it means to be plucked from the fires of hell. You are well acquainted with sin and the desperate need for redemption. Christians should be fiercely passionate about the lost because we used to be in their shoes. So where’s the great sorrow and unceasing grief?