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Reflections on Romans 10:18 (Wed)

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The Net Bible rendering of today’s text.

So recently we’ve been learning how God has made us His co-workers, His partners in the process of evangelism. He’s entrusted us with the responsibility of Prayer, Care, and Share to see people cross the line of faith. “He has no Plan B,” I said yesterday. It’s up to us–our job is to communicate the gospel.

But what about those we can’t get to or don’t get to? Will they go to hell because of our failure? Doesn’t the burden of all the souls damned to hell land on our shoulders? Several years ago we took our youth group to an evangelism conference called Dare To Share. They presented a skit called “Letter from Hell,” which disturbed me greatly. In it, the main actor, unsaved, is killed in a car crash and goes to hell. He writes a scathing letter back to his Christian friends saying in effect, “I am here because you never told me about Jesus. I wish you were here in hell with me.” They presented guilt and fear as the motivator for evangelism and therefore we’ve never gone back to that conference since.

Now it’s true that lost people go to hell and that we have the message that can help them find heaven, but love, not guilt, should motivate us. And if we miss someone due to geography or neglect, they won’t be cursing us from hell–it will be themselves they curse.

Romans 1 talked about how “all men are withouth excuse” and today’s verse revisits that truth. In this quote from Psalm 19, we see again that God’s general revelation (the heavens declaring the glory of God) is sufficient to condemn them for their unbelief. Plus, didn’t Romans 9 just tell us that God decides who gets elected for salvation?

Whew! That’s a load off our shoulders! Or is it?

It seems to me we have to find a balance between thinking ourselves as too important in the process of evangelism or too unimportant. If we think we’re too important (going too far on the Man’s Responsibility side of the coin like the Dare to Share skit) then we are plagued by guilt, always looking at how we fell short. If we think we’re too unimportant in the process (going too far on the Sovereignty of God side) then we can become lazy and negligent and unconcerned about the lost.

The “partnership” idea of us and God working together seems to fit well here.

Which side do you tend to err on? Being overly negligent or overly guilt ridden? As for me, I’d say negligent.

What do you think of this assessment? Am I off base?

3 Comments

  1. Martha Troxel

    March 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I think that you are on target with your comments. I am really looking forward to the series about Walking Across the Room. I need some help with evangelism.

  2. I would have to say I have been in the past, negligent.
    Excellent post Pastor Mark.
    As a well known Pastor has said, “If I take care of the depth of the gospel message, He will take care of the breadth.”

  3. Diane Thompson

    March 4, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Sometimes, Mark, I have difficulty with self-assessments and surveys. I will forever fall short, be inadequate, and wonder if I’m every “a good enough Christian”. Leaving work yest. I felt that way. What difference did I make? And you know what came to mind? That we have the Holy Spirit within us at all times—But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. “In every place”…every place I walked. We all make a difference in what we do…daily. Micah 6:8—He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” I remember in college how spiritually thirsty I was.
    And I remember the people who in one way or another gave me a drink. By myself I get discouraged that I am not doing enough…and that is not the attitude God wants me to have. I look at being a part of the body of believers at NCBC—the big picture—-the family and I know that we as a body of people, collectively, all together are effective in our witness. Some more effective in their outreach than others. And we all have so much to learn and walk out. I know that the Impact series “Just Walk Across the Room” will only strengthen our attitude, drive, and desire to carry out the mission statement of NCBC—“to honor God as a family of growing disciples who are becoming wholehearted worshippers, faithful witnesses, caring community members, Christlike models and equipped servants.” As Paul said let us press on…I don’t have it all together yet…but press on.
    Phil3:12-14. Diane T.

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