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When I consider the reasons why all Christians should be engaged in evangelism, the number one reason that comes to mind is the glory of God. So let me make a few observations about how evangelism promotes the glory of God.

The Message

First, evangelism promotes the glory of God because the message itself is a proclamation of God’s glory in the gospel. Paul describes the gospel message as “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). While Paul sees gospel proclamation as proclaiming “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8), Peter describes it as proclaiming “the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). If we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, we will be exalting the person and work of God in and through Jesus Christ rather than mans efforts. The gospel calls for us to find our hope in God, so that rather than boasting in our own efforts or accomplishments, we will “boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).

The Messenger

Furthermore, the evangelism magnifies the glory of God by using underwhelming people. God does not seek the most gifted people to carry his message, but ordinary or even sub-ordinary people.”For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many powerful, not may were of noble birth” (1 Corinthians 1:26, emphasis added). God does not seek people who are great according to the worlds standards, but those who are weak by worldly standards “to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Christians need to get a grasp on this concept. When we feel we and inadequate that may actual the best time to talk with others. After all “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27b)

The Church

Finally, the glory of God is on display in evangelism, because it seeks to further God’s glory in the world. While we are quick to talk about our desire that people believe the gospel, so that they may be saved from their sins, we error if we make this the final end of evangelism. We must bind together our good in salvation with God’s being glorified in it. The ultimate end of our salvation is not our salvation but “the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12, 14). A proper response to the gospel cannot be limited to an individual in isolation, because the goal of evangelism is the building up of the church, so that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).

So we see that the purpose of evangelism is integrally connected to the glory of God. In one sense, evangelism is proclaiming the glory of God in a way that glorifies the need of God to act in saving a people who will glorify him.

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:8-11)

In this passage, we see the four living creatures gathered around the throne of “the Lord God Almighty”. As they behold the one seated upon the throne, they are compelled to draw attention to His self-existence. He is the One, “who was and is and is to come!” He has no beginning or end. He is the same now as he was and as he will be. The Lord Almighty does not change! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!!!

But this vision of the throne of God also includes the praise of the twenty-four elders, who praise the worthiness of the One who sits upon the throne. But of all the works of God they could consider in their praise, they focus their attention upon God as the sovereign creator of all things – “for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”. God was not compelled to create anything! You and I were not created by our will, but because of the will of God!

Questions to Ponder:
What are the implications of the reality that God is self-existent? How often do you remember that you exist by God’s will? You and I exist because God!! Do we exist as instruments to fulfill the will of God? Or does God exist as an instrument to fulfill our wills? If God is the Creator and we are part of His creation, who has the right to tell whom what to do?

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-3)

“The LORD of hosts” is the one to whom these seraphim ascribe the title “Holy, holy, holy.” LORD in all capital letters indicates to us that they were declaring Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Holy. This is not some unknown deity that is declared to be holy, but the very God who revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush (Ex. 3) and then delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. (Ex. 14) and led Moses to declare: “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11).  This same God had revealed Himself through the law and the former prophets, and now was making Himself known through the prophet Isaiah.

Twenty-five times in the book of Isaiah God is referred to as “the Holy One of Israel”. Therefore, it seems that this revelation of the holiness of God to Isaiah left a lasting mark on his prophetic ministry. In his vision, Isaiah, beholds seraphim ministering in the presences of the enthrone Lord of Israel and worshipping Him for His unrivaled holiness. Notice the immensity of this God – “his robe filled the temple” and “the whole earth is full of his glory”. His presence is pervasive. His glory is immense! He is so massive and majestic that “the whole earth is full of his glory!” There is no square of inch of all creation that does not in some way and in some measure display the glory of God. As we look around, we should see the glory of God, the glory of the LORD! As the Psalmist says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

Now here is something to think about: Do you see the glory of God displayed in the creation around you? Do you see the weightiness of God displayed in the thunderstorm or the calmest day? Do you see how the wonder of God is set forth in the solo sun that shines by day and millions stars that shine at night?

Before leaving Isaiah 6, we should take note of Isaiah’s response in verse 5: “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”” Isaiah’s concern is over this “unclean lips” and that he “dwells in the midst of a people of unclean lips”. This is no little concern. He declares, “Woe is me! For I am lost…” He not just convicted but terrified. He is undone. He is uncomfortable (to say the least). What has brought on this fear? It has been brought about by His beholding “the King, the LORD of hosts!”

A few days ago I began to consider where true humility is to be found. In so doing I assert that it is only in Jesus Christ that one can come to a true understanding of what humility is, particularly that it involves dying to self and living for God and for others. However, as I have continued to reflect on this issue, I realized that all I have so far done is shown in what way Christ was an example of humility. Therefore, I would like to show here that Christ not only establish an example of humility in his incarnation, his obedience, his sufferings, and his death, but that he also procured the believers humility as well. To say this another way, that the believer being humble and walking in away of humility before God and others was ultimately accomplished by Jesus Christ.

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15)

First, notice that these verses indicate that “that one died for all, therefore all died”. Those “who live”, those who are no longer “dead in their trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) have died with Christ. When Christ died, they died also. As Paul says in another place, “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;” (Rom. 6:6) or “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). Now recall that the essence of sin in to be a “lover of self ….lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2Tim. 3:2-4). At the heart of sin is to seek our interests before the interests of God and the interests of others. Therefore, when it says that “our old self was crucified with Him…so that we would no longer be slaves to sin”, it is the same as saying that “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves”. Both of these passages declare to us that we are loosed from the bondage to sin, from the pursuit of self-love, from pride, by being crucified with Christ. No man may ever put to death his own pride, He is too proud to do so. No man can every set aside his love for himself, for he loves himself too much to do so. It is for that reason that Christ intervened to put to death the old man, the proud man, so that those who are in Christ might “no longer live for themselves”.

I hope the reader will heed these words, no man pursues interest other than his own, except for those who are. All men apart from Christ seek their own pleasure and their own desires. They live for themselves. Objection. Some may object at this point and say, “But I know atheists and members of other religions that do good to others. They give to the poor and help their neighbors. How can you say they only live for themselves?” Answer. Those who be not in Christ will meet the needs of others only as far as they see in them their own greater interests. How many do good to others in way of religion as a means of securing salvation for themselves? They do not do good to others out of love for them, but out of love for self. Their life is driven by a desire to secure their own eternal interest (i.e. their salvation) and they use others as a way of doing so. Yet Scripture tells us that those “but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” (Rom. 2:8). For those who profess to be atheists and deny their maker, they also live in a way as only to themselves. They may seek the good of others and the good of society as a whole, but it will always be driven by a desire to maximize their own interests. For some this will be a desire to secure their own safety and protect from the evils of men. For others it will be a desire to have others think more highly of them, to maximize their glory in the eyes of men.
Why then is it that only Christians can be rightly said to “no longer live for themselves”? Why is it that the good that they do unto others cannot be rightly attributed as a “living for themselves”? The nature of man made religion is to think that man can do something in order to secure their salvation. The result is that men pursue interests of religion out of their own desire to better themselves, to improve their own lot before God. True Christians on the other hand under declares that man can do nothing to secure their lot before God, rather that God and God alone is able to save. They understand that all their righteous deeds are filthy rags before a holy God and that they stand unable to save themselves. Thus the cast themselves on the mercies of God, who sent for His Son to save them. They look to Christ who alone can save to the uttermost. They see that they do not need anything to secure their greatest good, as Christ has already done it on their behalf. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,”(1Pe. 3:18). Therefore, all that they do in Christ is not done for their own good, but ultimately as 2 Cor. 5:15 says “for Him”. They actions and deeds are not done in a way of promoting themselves or their own interests or their own glory, but rather what they do is to be done in a way of promoting Jesus Christ and pursuing His interests and exulting His glory.
May those of us who have died with Him no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who loved us and gave Himself up for us.

Over the last several months there has been one particular verse that I have often found my attention drawn to, especially when it comes to the issue of dealing with sin in my own life. And that is 1 Corithians 3:18. 

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Later in 2 Corithians 4:4-6, Paul tells us that the glory of God is beheld in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God. It has been a tremendous reminder to me to pursue right behavior not through my doing, but rather through my beholding. The power to life the life that honors God does not come through human invention or adherence to a set of does and don’ts (even if the list is the ten commandments). The life that honors God is empowered by beholding the glory of the Lord in the person of Jesus Christ. It comes through dependence upon “His precious and magnificent promises” which He has given to us by “His own glory and excellence.” (2 Pet 1:2-4)

This morning I was reminded again of one of the most fundamental displays of “His own glory and excellence” in the uniting of two natures (God and Man) in the person of Christ. Why should that seem so amazing? I think it is amazing to think first of the nature of God, who is the infinite, eternal, self-existant, self-sustaining, God who has no need of us and who would be perfectly glorify first without every having created the world, but also in the eternal condemnation of that creation once it had fallen. And then, to think that He would condescend to take on human flesh – not only to further glorify Himself – but in so doing to redeem a part of His creation from their fallen state. And furthuremore, to think that He – The Sovereign Creator – would allow His creation to nail Him to a tree so that He might be able to extend mercy to them and yet uphold His righteousness and His justice. What a great encouragement that is to me that if the One who would undertake such on loving act on my behalf is also the One who governs the course of history and the events of each day of my life.

For the last year or so I have been slowly working my way through the book of Romans. It has been at times one of the most humbling studies, while at others the most encouraging and up lifting. Let me share some of the hightlights of my last year of study.

  1. Foolishness. For a long time I attributed the foolishness of sin to the harmful effects that it has, such as hurting ourselves or others, but ultimately offending God. After considering Romans 1:22-23, I would suggest that the foolishness of sin does not stem from the consequences of sin, but rather from the surpassing value that we forsake in the act of sinning. “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man …” Notice that folly is connected with the exchange of the glory of God for something else. A series contemplation of sin should lead us to realize the vanity, not to mention the offense, of it. We exchange the worship of insurpassible worth of God for the worship of worthless things – or rather things that must derive their worth from the God. We exchange the eternal enjoyment of God for the fleeting pleasure of sin. We exchange Him who is of infinitely good for the partaking of that which is infinitely destructive. No matter how you cut the cake we are fools for having abandonded the God who created us for the creation.
  2. Fear of God. While this shouldn’t have really seemed to be such a profound topic, I am some what slow to catch on sometimes. When on considers what the fundamental root of all sin is most people would say pride, the exultation of self, which seems like a fair assessment. But let me suggest we look at it from a different perspective – that the root of sin is ultimately the lack of fear (or reverence) for God. “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (3:18) Now if we see God rightly, I think it would total change our perspective on everything. If we saw how holy and righteous and just God is would we not come to hate our sinfulness and rebellion against Him. If we saw how patient and kind and tolerate and gracious and merciful He is toward us would it not lead us to repentance (2:4) and to strive more diligently after personal holiness and devotion to God. If we saw how powerful and wise and good He was would we question His providential workings in our lifes or would we praise Him even in the days of trials and suffering. The way then to deal with sin is to behold more clearly the character of God.
  3. Soveriegnty of God and Justice. By far one of the most humbling passages to study was Romans 9 as Paul lays out the sovereignty of God is salvation. “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (9:16) It is an extraordanary thing to consider that ones eternal destiny is not in ones own hands. Or rather that if left to my own will or running that results would be eternal condemnation and God would be right and just and fair in carrying out my sentence. But yet what great encouragement it is to think that my eternal well fair is the hands of an ever faithful and loving God.
  4. Great Mercy and Great Love. Let me end with this last consideration, over the last year as I have contemplated the love of God particularly in light of Romans 5:1-11 and 8:28-39, I have been utterly amazed that God’s would show such love and compassion, such mercy and grace, toward one such as I. As I have contemplated this amazing reality even today, I am yet aware that I have only begun to scratch the surface of the “depths of both the wisdom and the knowledge of God.” It is my hope and prayer even for the years ahead that I would be more amazed at who Jesus Christ IS that would cause Him to do what He DID, so I may tell others about this great God and Savior.
  5. Christ and the Cross. Ok, I lied, I am compeled to add one more. I have come to realize that the glory of God is not simply found in the Cross (i.e. what Jesus did), but also in the Character of the One who hung upon it (i.e who Jesus is). Without Christ, the God-Man, the Cross is simply and instrument of dead. For it was the very nature of the One who hung on Calvary that gave the cross its meaning. It is Christ who turns a simply blood stained piece of wood into a vibrant demonstration of the glory of God. And without the Cross, we would never have seen the vibrancy and beauty of the glorious God in the person of Christ. For it was by means of the Cross that Christ manifest the glory of the Father in such a way to us that we might come again to fear and adore the one who we had foolishly forsaken. So Christians let us seek to stir one another up not only to love and good deeds, but to the beholding of the glory of God in the Person of Christ and in the Cross of Christ.

The more I talk to people about the grace of God revealed in the gospel and about what it means to be a Christian, the more I realize that most people don’t really get the gospel. They don’t really understand the nature of reality. Any professing Christian that has any sort of biblical understanding would readily admit that salvation is by grace. But how is that we recieve grace? How do I know if I have found mercy from God?

The apostle Paul hit the nail on the head when he said, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom. 9:16). The problem is most of professing American Christianity does not realize that recieving mercy does not depend on them, but upon God. What would you say if I told you that reading your bible, going to church, praying, or any other religious duty did not guarantee that God will be gracious to you? Do you think that being a Christian means that God will show mercy to you? Or do you think you are a Christian because God has shown mercy to you?

You see we do not become Christians when we start to do something, but rather when God begins to do something in us “He [God] who began a good work in you” (Phil. 1:6). And so we are called to examine ourselves to see if we have been born of God or whether we are yet in our sins (see 1 John). While I can’t give an exaustive list, let me list a some of the evidences that one is born of God (i.e. that you are not a Christian in name only).

  • You have beheld the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:4-6)
  • You’re life displays the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • You’re life is being conformed into the image of God in Christ, that is, you are becoming more Christ-like. (Rom. 8:29, 2 Cor. 3:18, 1 John 3:2-3)
  • You’re life is being changed not by adhering to a set of rules and regulations, but by beholding the glory of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 3:18, 1 John 3:2-3, 1 John 4:19, Col. 2)
  • You crave the pure milk of God’s Word and delight in it. (1 Pet. 2:2, Ps. 119, Rom. 7:22)
  • You count all your righteous deeds to be polluted rags and rejoice in the the righteousness of another, “the Lord our righteousness” (Phil. 3:7-11, Jer. 23:6)
  • You live a life of ongoing repentence, since “the grace of God has appeared…instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Tit. 2:11-12, cf. Rom. 8:1-13, Heb. 12:4-11).

The bottom line is this: If you have been experienced the grace of God, it will be evident in your life. If your life is not being conformed to the image of Christ, it may be evidence that you have not recieved mercy from God. If you have need of mercy you must come to the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, who offered Himself up as a sacrifice once for all the just for the unjust so that He might bring us to God. There is no other who is fit to be the dispenser of God’s grace, than the Son of God who clothed Himself in likeness of sinful flesh, so that He might glorify the Father through His perfect obedience and His perfrect sacrifice on behalf of those who would trust in Him. “He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4)

“Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:15-16)

Here in Luke 17 we have the account of “ten leprous men” who have come to Christ and have begged for mercy from Him. Christ in His compassion sends them off to the priest to show themselves. I say Christ did this in compassion because as they went they were cleansed. If Christ had not anticipated the grace that He would show them in healing them of the leprosy, then he would have been sending them off to receive a sentence of condemnation and ostracizing.

Yet off all these that experienced the mercy of Christ only one of them responded with a reaction that is fitting for grace. Let me observe the following things about a proper response to grace from this text:

  1. Those who receive grace are change. Those who experience the grace of God are not left as they once were they have “been changed” They were once spiritual lepers, but now they have been cleansed by the blood of the lamb. Or in the words of the hymn, Amazing Grace: “I was blind, but now I see. “
  2. Those who receive grace seek the true source of mercy. It is interesting that this man, having recognized the change in his life, left of his journey to see the priests to come back to the Great High Priest. Would we be content with those things which were a type of Him who was to come or would we seek after substance of them in the Person of Christ?
  3. Those who receive grace glorify Christ. Now some might take issue with this statement, because the text does not read “glorifying Christ” but rather”glorify God“. However, notice that leper does attribute his healing to Christ as is evident by his “giving thanks to Him.”
  4. Those who receive grace bow before Christ. The person who has seen the grace of God transform their life by the work of the Holy Spirit, cannot but help fall at the feet of Christ. And how much more for those of us who live this side of Calvary. Should we not be more intimately acquainted with the holes in His feet?
  5. Those who receive grace give thanks to Christ. If you have received grace from such a compassionate king, how could you not but give Him the thanks that He so rightly deserves. Oh, how often I have failed to appreciate or even take notice of the grace of God in my life and as a result failed to give Him the thanks that He rightly deserves.
  6. Those who receive grace realize God has done all this for a foreigner. “And he was a Samaritan.” Of all those that returned to give glory to God, to bow before Christ, thank Him for His mercy, for His grace, none returned “except this foreigner.” Especially, those of us who are not physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we should recognize how gracious God has been in extending arms of compassion toward us who were strangers and aliens to God.

I was reading through The Glory of Christ: His Office and Grace by John Owen earlier this afternoon and I was reminded about the great priviledge (and duty) we have to behold the glory of God in person of Jesus Christ. I cannot help but think that be struggles with the love of the flesh and the love of this world would soon evaporate if I more clearly beheld the glory of God and allowed my heart and affections to be captivated by the contemplation of such a worthy object as Christ Himself.

“In this [beholding his glory], then, our present edification is principally concerned; for in this present beholding the glory of Christ, the life and power of faith are most eminently acted. And from this exercise of faith, love to Christ principally, if not soley, arises and springs. If, therefore, we desire to have faith in its vigour or love in its power, giving rest, complacency and satisfaction to our own souls, we are to seek for them in diligent discharge of this duty; elsewhere they will not be found. In this would I live; in this would I die; upon this would I dwell in my thoughts and affections, to the withering and consumption of all the painted beauties of this world, to the crucifying all things here below, until they become to me a dead and deformed thing, no way suitable for affectionate embraces.” (Owen, page 48)

We as Christians in the 21st century could learn much from men like Owen. When was the last time you stopped to consider that your growth [edification]  as a Christian is principally as a response to your beholding the glory of God in Christ. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) Therefore, it is chiefly to this duty that we should commit ourselves.

There is no greater way to have “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:16) put to death in our hearts than to contemplate the glory of Christ until they appear “a dead and deformed thing, no way suitable for affectionate embraces.” We should put as much effort into cultivating our affections (and others) for the glory of Christ as we have in cultivating our affections for the things of this world. It is a shame to think that we are willing put more effort into convincing ourselves and others of the value of worldly things, than we are to convince ourselves of “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

Last night a couple of friends and I went to the local college campus and walked around sharing the gospel with those who would take the time to listen. In the meantime, I was in the middle of a conversation on another blog debating what the gospel really is. As I stop to think about why I should take the time to talk to others about the gospel and why I should be be faithful to defend the faith against those who teach a false gospel, I find it helpful to remember the purpose of doing evangelism in the first place.

  1. The Glory of God: Like the entirety of the Christian life, evangelismis ultimately about the glory of God. In the preaching of the gospel, we are to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Evangelism should be a task that all believers are eager and excited to do, because it is the really nothing short of telling others about the glory of God as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The gospel does not just set for the glory of God for others to behold, but it is the means by which God has chosen to bring all men to salvation (Rom. 1:16, 10:12-15). (Click here for more on how Evangelism glorifies God.)
  2. The Joy of God:  Another goal of evangelism is to call lost sinners to come to repentance and trust in Christ. And so we see that this brings God great joy, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Lk. 15:10) Even after conversion, we know that the continued repentance brings God joy, because we are told that sin (a lack of repentance) will “grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” (Eph. 5:30)
  3. The Unity of the Church: The furtherance of the gospel is the mission for which the church exists. Thus Paul instructs the Philippians to be “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil 1:27). Even those who are not physically present in the preaching of the gospel are exhorted, “You also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1:11). Ultimately the purpose and aim of all Christian ministry, including evangelism, is “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13, cf. 4:16). This building up is not only to be qualitative as those who are part of the church grow into the image of Christ, but also quantitative as God continues to add to his church through the preaching of the gospel.
  4. The Sacrifice of the Saint: The life of the Christian is one of sacrifice, it is a life of learning to put other people before themselves, to put God’s will before their own will. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mk. 8:35). Those who are devoted to Christ must also be devote to the building of His church, to the building of His kingdom. And so the apostle Paul tells us that it is for the sake of God’s people that he is willing to endure anything. “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2:10, cf. Jam. 1:2-4)
  5. The Salvation of the Lost: While we as men cannot control the outcome of our evangelistic efforts, because only God can open the eyes of the heart to understand and embrace the gospel, we should none the less be deeply concerned about the salvation of those around us. Paul more than anyone understood that only God could remove the blinders that kept his fellow Israelites from believing the gospel (see 2 Cor. 4), yet Paul said, “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. 9:2-3). Look at what lengths Paul would have gone to see them come to faith! Here is a man who understood true humility. If it were possible he would have forsaken his own salvation if only his kinsmen could be saved. It is as though he says, “Oh, I would give all, if they might receive all.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something Christ Himself would say. At the same time Paul understood that ultimately their salvation was in the hands of God, so not only did he preach but he prayed (Rom. 10:1). (Click here for more on how Evangelism glorifies God.)

So let us all labor to bring joy to the heart of God through the preaching of the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let our churches unite around the proclamation of the gospel. Let the sole mission of every Christian and every church be to lay down their lives in the building of the church of Jesus Christ. Let us all labor more earnestly in our prayers for those who are currently without Christ that God would give them eyes to see and ears to hear. And let us all long for the day when all those who stand in opposition to the gospel bow their knees before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.