Core Value: Prayer
Pray for an open mouth
The issue with the lost being saved has little to do with our praying for them and more to do with our praying for ourselves to have boldness to share with the lost.
We are in a spiritual battle. The enemy knows that the best way to keep people from being saved is to stop the messenger.
When I read through the NT, I find the emphasis on God working through the saved through prayer and that leads to them sharing the Gospel with others.
God deals with His people first in order for them to share the TRUTH of the GOSPEL with the LOST.
Acts 10:9ff God dealt with Peter during his prayer time to show him that all animals are declared clean to eat. The point the Lord Jesus is making is that the saved are not defiled by associating with the lost – it is that very association that allows the aroma of Jesus to permeate the air and the gospel truth to penetrate the heart.
Peter had to get over his fear of being with Gentiles in order to share Jesus with them. We must break through barriers to share Jesus and those barriers are destroyed as we pray.
Peter went to a gentile’s house and they were all saved!!!!
From the book of Acts to Revelation the word “Pray” is used 27 times. Over half of those times he deals with believers being who God wants us to be so that we will do what God wants us to do and what he wants us to do is share Jesus.
*Acts 10:9 God deals with Peter about cleanliness
*1 cor 14:13,14,15, 15 all about praying in tongues & the lost
*2 cor 13:7, 9 you do not wrong and be made complete
*Eph 1:18 that your eyes be opened
*Eph 6:18,19 pray for all saints that we are alert and my mouth will boldly proclaim Jesus
*Phil 1:9 make wise choices
*Col 1:9 you be filled so you live worthy and bear fruit
*2 thes 1:11 God will be glorified in you
*2 thes 3:1 word of God spread rapidly and be glorified
*1 tim 2:8 men to pray without wrath and dissension
*Heb 13:18 a clear conscience
My goal today is for us to uncover the absolute key to overcoming incredible obstacles in sharing the truth about Jesus.
The most effective and prolific soul-winner in Christendom – the Apostle Paul. What drove him? What motivated him? Why did he suffer so much and continue to do so much? How did he overcome all the incredible obstacles he faced? What made Paul one of the greatest Christians in history?
One passage reveals the riveting truth about Paul’s heart. It is Romans 9:1-3.
Rom 9:1-5 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 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,
4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen NASB
Paul’s love for the lost motivated him to grieve, pray, and share.
Where did this love come from? Earlier his letter he wrote in chapter 5:5 “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Listen to 2 Cor 5:14 “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf…. We are ambassadors… we have the word of reconciliation…
LOVE OF CHRIST CONTROLS US – the word “controls” means to hold together. To press on every side.
This love is a selfless love. A love that is God centered and others oriented.
We see this love that was poured out in his heart pouring out of his heart.
When God’s love has been poured out in your heart, it pours out of your heart.
Now we see that love being poured out of Paul’s heart in Romans 9
Rom 9:1-5 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.
He is saying, I am telling you all the truth about my heart, I am not lying, Not only does my conscience bear witness the Holy Spirit, who knows my heart, bears witness. Why would he invoke such a strong witness? Because he is about to tell them something that is so unbelievable that it is important that he have a witness:
That I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.
When we read about the prophet Samuel who declared that King Saul’s reign would be taken from him, “Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul….” 1 Sam 15:35
Samuel grieved over Saul until the day he died.
Jeremiah was broken over the people of Israel. “Oh, that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.” Jer 9:1
What is in his heart?
Great sorrow and unceasing Grief. About what? Lost people.
To what extent did he grieve over the lost people of Israel?
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,
Paul is saying, I myself would become accursed, I would lose my salvation and be condemned and separated from God if it meant the salvation of my fellow Jews.
Oh dear friends, I pray that His love that has been poured out in us would be poured out on others, especially the lost.
People motivated by love for the lost will take extreme measures to reach them.
John Knox reflected Paul’s great love when he prayed, “Give me Scotland or I die,” Henry Martyn when he said, “O that I were a flame of fire in the hand of God,”
Paul was often beaten and stoned, he was slandered, he was threatened, he was rejected, but he kept on sharing. What drives a person to overcome all these obstacles? LOVE. For God which is poured out in your heart that is then poured out from your heart.
You see, your capacity to love others is in direct proportion to your openness to the love of Christ. The more you are open to the love of Christ, the more he will pour out his love in your life.
Ps 81:10-12 “I, the Lord , am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. 11 “But My people did not listen to My voice; And Israel did not obey Me. 12 “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in their own devices.
WHEN YOU OPEN YOUR HEART TO RECEIVE GOD’S LOVE, YOU’LL OPEN YOUR MOUTH TO SHARE GOD’S LOVE!!
God will fill your heart with love but you must address the Elephant in the Room, uncofessed sin, a rebellious heart, unforgiveness, bitterness, the sin of silence. Then submit to scripture and cease creating a God after your own image.
God says, Open up! I want to fill your heart with my love…
The openness of your heart for God’s love is seen in your love for those who have yet to be reached for the Kingdom.
If we were to experience a love like Paul demonstrated for those unredeemed, we would see this city turned upside down.
Is there a shortage of God’s love? No. He has plenty of love to pour into you.
So what stops it? Our closed mouths – meaning our pride and rebellion.
God wants to work through you. I believe we often think that God will reward us for how much we know! We Christians are so busy running to bible studies till we have no time for the lost.
May God help us when our passion for study eclipses our passion for souls.
Paul wrote most of the NT. He was extremely educated. He had all the degrees. He was used by God to pen the great theological treaties and letters in the New Testament that we are consumed with studying. We can catch the mind of the Apostle and miss the heart. Why would we want to study his writings without desiring to share his passion? Why would we want to understand what he wrote without getting WHY he wrote it?
We need to grasp the passion as well as the pen.
It is important to know the content of the Scriptures, but it is even more important to know the Christ of the Scripture!
The Pharisees were experts in the Scripture but they did not know the Love of God because they did not love God. they would not submit to God.
Paul’s mind was full of knowledge. He persecuted the church. once he encountered the Risen Christ, his heart changed. His passion changed. God married his intellect with a different intention.
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,
See the word “WISH”? Circle that word. It means to pray.
So Paul is praying that he himself could be accursed for the sake of his fellow friends.
What kind of Heart is that? It is the heart of Jesus!! Who laid aside what was rightfully his in order to take on our sin and hang on a cross and be accursed and separated from God so that we wouldn’t have to be.
Paul sounds like Moses who said about the rebellious people of Israel:
Ex 32:32 But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin — and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!” NASB
When you have a heart full of love, you:
- Share His word.
Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; NASB
Here’s a powerful truth: God’s Word hasn’t Failed.
God’s word is just as powerful today as it was on the day of Pentecost. God’s Word is eternal and everlasting.
We believe the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joint and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:12
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 tim 3:16-17
Isa 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
What did Paul do when he went to a city?
He went to Corinth
Acts 18:5-6 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 And when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles.”
Acts 19:8-9 And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
Paul writes about the faithfulness of the Word:
Rom 10:13-17For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
When you have the Love of God in your heart, you will share the Word of God with others.
- Proclaim His Way.
Rom 10:1-40 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. NASB
When you love others you will share the way to God.
truth: God’s way hasn’t changed.
Israel had a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.
They sought a righteousness of works.
Rom 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
His way isn’t the best way, it is the only way!
You can take all the religions of the world and they are in two categories.
One category – earn your way into heaven by doing good enough.
Other category – accept God’s way to heaven which is through Jesus Christ alone.
- Be encouraged by His Grace.
Rom 11:1-6 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, they have torn down Thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace
Truth: God’s purpose will not change.
Conclusion: Jesus looked at the field that were ripe to harvest. Then He said to his disciples that they should pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into the harvest. Do you know that the way the harvest is harvested is through the workers that must be willing to go into the harvest and work?
Jesus sent the disciples out. He has commissioned us to go into the world and share the Gospel. But we must have a heart full of Love for those who have yet to be reached just as much as Jesus. Actually, we can never have that kind of heart without the love of God in our hearts. Our capacity to love others is in direct proportion as our intake of God’s love. Open your mouth and allow God’s love to be poured into your heart. Then your mouth will be open to share His love.