Dear brothers and sisters,
The Lord has given us a great calling … the calling to take the gospel to the world. In both this Sunday’s sermon and today’s devotional, we will be considering the high calling of evangelism and outreach. The challenge to us is simple: to be in prayer for the lost and to speak the truth in love to the lost. But as we see in the devotional from Matthew, these actions flow only from a heart burdened for the lost. This week pray for the Spirit to give you such a heart!
Men, be on the lookout for our next men’s breakfast next Saturday, April 5. We will be looking at chapter 1 of Phillip’s “The Masculine Mandate.” If you need a copy, let me know.
Ladies be on the lookout for your next ‘Mugs and Muffins’ and movie night.
Also, next Sunday, April 6 we will enjoy our monthly fellowship meal following worship and will celebrate the Lord’s Supper in worship.
Finally, as I mentioned, today’s devotional is a reflection from Matthew 9 on Christ’s burden for the lost.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Loving the Lost”
Matthew 9:36, “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
We live in a fallen world. We live in a world that is hostile to Christ and to Christ’s church. We live in a world awash in idolatry and sin. But brothers and sisters, Christ has called us to minister, serve, and witness in such a broken and degenerate world. But before we think about the content or the strategy of our witness, we must consider the motivation of our heart. And before we consider the motivation of our heart, we must reflect on the heart of Christ towards the lost. How did Jesus view the lost? How did he view the crowds? Simply put, he was filled with compassion towards them. Consider these words: “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). Jesus saw the crowds in their helplessness and hopelessness and had compassion on them. The word compassion is a strong word signifying the depth and intensity of Christ’s emotion. His burden was not a passing fancy, but rather it was a deep-seated anguish over those wandering in their sinful estate. Jesus’ attitude towards the lost is one of heart-felt burden! Should not this be our attitude as well? Should not we also, who know the love of God in Christ, be burdened deep in our hearts for those who are lost in their sin?
For what is it that makes us differ from unbelievers? Is it our mental ability, our background, our upbringing? Is it anything in us? Absolutely not! We can only say with the apostle Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” It is only because of God’s sovereign, rich, and free grace towards us that we know the love of Jesus Christ. Therefore, knowing God’s unmerited love towards us, may it be our greatest desire to share this love with others. May we have that same burden for the lost that our Savior had. And may others come to know Jesus Christ as Lord.
Finally, it is noteworthy what follows this text on Christ’s compassion for the crowds. In fact, I would argue that what follows gives us a simple blueprint of the action we should take given our heart-felt burden for the lost. Jesus continues in vv. 37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” And immediately following: “And he called to him his twelve disciples … these twelve Jesus sent out” (Matt 10:1, 5). Now there are important redemptive-historical differences between the unique calling of the twelve and the calling given to the church; however, the principle of the text remains clear. We are to pray and to go!! It’s that simple! Pray and Go!! A heart for the lost leads to prayers for the lost which leads to going to the lost. This can be as simple as praying for the opportunity to invite your neighbor to church. And when the Lord opens the door, go and speak!! Or this can be as bold as praying for a heart for missions and joining a short-term mission team. But at the end of the day, the calling to the church is relatively straightforward. Heart, Prayer, Go! The heart of God for the lost drives the mission of God to the lost! May we as a church pray for burdened hearts, pray for opportunities and open doors to speak the good news … and may we go in the confidence and power of our risen King!
I look forward to seeing you all this Lord’s Day,