Aflame for the Gospel
There is a man in Ethiopia for whose salvation I pray several times daily. In two weeks I plan to visit him in his rural village. Christ’s love “controls and urges and impels us” (2 Cor. 5:14, Amplified Bible) to share God’s love with this revered Muslim leader. He is very close, I feel.
King Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time you think to make me a Christian.” Paul’s answer resonates strongly with me. “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I!” Alan Redpath writes in his book Blessings out of Buffetings, “Paul had looked with Spirit-enlightened eyes into the heart of God, and Christ’s love for him gripped him, propelled him, impelled him along one line of life to the exclusion of any other attraction.” What Redpath is saying is that the Gospel is our business, our commission, our concern, our aim. Paul was even willing to say to unconverted Jews, “I would be willing to be damned forever if that would save you!” (Rom. 9:3).
Does this say anything to us today about our lukewarm attitude toward evangelism? Is sharing the Gospel a drudgery or a delight for us? I often think about these things and find myself embarrassed and ashamed at the level of my own spiritual temperature. The early Christians had no such cause for shame. “Every day in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42). It is almost impossible for me to grasp the enthusiasm of the early church, which makes a complete mockery of my own lack of affection for the souls of men. The New Testament knows nothing of a two-tiered system of Christianity, where only educated, or experienced, or mature, or “called” Christians share their faith. The genuine disciple, the true Christian, is an evangelist with a small “e” even if he or she is not an Evangelist with a capital “E.”
Today, in America as in Ethiopia, there is no greater danger to Christianity than a superficial consent to vague theological concepts. Paul was aflame with an inextinguishable desire to tell others of Christ’s amazing love. Are you? Am I?
December 8, 2006
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.