Categories
Ministry

Evangelism: Tell of All God’s Works

Psalm 73:28 (ESV):

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

For the Psalmist, he made God is treasure for one reason: to tell other people. He sat at the Lord’s feet, learned from him, was reproved by him, was fed and clothed by him so he could tell of God’s mighty works. The point was not so that he could gather up God’s love for himself and keep it in. In Luke 11:33-36, Jesus said that no one lights a lamp for it to be hidden. Rather, it is to be displayed for all to see.

We must be a city on a hill, burning bright for everyone to see from miles away so Christ’s cross would be magnified. We must be lights in a dark place so that God would be seen as the all-satisfying, all-sufficient, priceless treasure that he is. When Christ is our treasure, we share him with others. Our desire and motivation for evangelism is weak, useless, and dead when Christ is not our treasure. But when we, like the Psalmist, can proclaim, “Whom have I in heaven but you? Who do I desire on earth besides you, Jesus?” then we will relentlessly pursue relationships with others in order to tell of all God’s works. Only then will we be dedicated to live humbly, poorly, dangerously, and recklessly for Christ. Only then will we live radical, Jesus-centered lives where we are able to, like Paul, say, “I would rather be accursed so that you could drink deep of God’s goodness and grace.” With Paul, we would say, “I would be beaten, lashed, stoned, and shipwrecked if I could just see joy in your heart in Jesus.”

O, that Christ would be my treasure! That he would be my satisfaction and my utterly complete joy. O, that Christ would be my only possession in heaven and my only desire on earth. May his cross be my ground for all hope, glory, boasting, rejoicing, treasure, and desire for evangelism.

Amen.

Categories
Life

God, Be Merciful to Me!

Lamentations 3:22-23 says:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I was talking to my discipler from my summer project the other day. I told him how I am continually amazed at God’s mercy more than any of God’s other attributes. What is mercy? Mercy is what you don’t get when you do deserve it. It’s different than grace. Grace is what you do get when you don’t deserve it. In layman’s terms:

Grace gets you in to heaven.

Mercy keeps you out of hell.

That is a very humbling, amazing, mind-blowing thought. How wonderful is thy mercy, O God! I am an unworthy, wretched sinner and all I deserved was to be stillborn. If I died at this moment, God has done me no wrong! God has been putting in on my heart to wake up everyday (at least most mornings) and pray, “Thank you for not killing me in my sleep because that’s what I deserve! I praise you for another day to breathe!”

Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of theHoly Spirit.” God’s mercy saved us from eternal punishment and condemnation! How glorious is God’s mercy on helpless and hopeless sinners.

As I talked to my discipler, he reminded me of a passage in Luke 18 where Jesus tells a story about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying. The Pharisee thanked God that he wasn’t like the other “sinners.” He boasted of his fasting and tithing. The tax collector, however, stood afar and could not lift his eyes to heaven. Beating his chest, he said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” That was all the words he needed and that was all God needed to hear. This man, Jesus said, was justified rather than the Pharisee.

We don’t realize how depraved and gross our sin is. We barely comprehend how much it offends God. I want to grow to hate sin and be immersed in and amazed at God’s mercy every day.

As the old hymn says,

God be merciful to me
On thy grace I rest my plea
Plant us in compassion now
Blot out my transgressions now
Wash me, make me pure within
Cleanse, oh cleanse me from my sin

To that, I sing, “Amen.”

Categories
Life

The Eleventh Hour

In Matthew 20, Jesus tells a parable about the kingdom of heaven. “It is like,” he said, “a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.” This is such a beautiful passage about God’s choice, his property of us, and his love for sinners.

Perhaps the most amazing part of this passage is the men who came in at the eleventh hour and worked for one hour. They were paid the same amount as the men who worked the whole day. These men who worked through the heat of the day were angry, yelling, “They worked only for one hour and you have made them equal with us!”

The master replied, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” Romans 11:35 comes to mind here, “Who has given a gift to the him that he might be repaid.” These workers felt as if the master owed them something. Rather, everything the master gave was a gift. In verse 4, the master says to workers at the third hour, “You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.” The master was not going to wrong the workers. He did not cheat them, for they received what they had agreed to work for. “Friend, I am doing you no wrong” and “I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you,” the master said to the angry workers.

This is such a beautiful picture of how God interacts with us. He owns us, therefore he can choose who he pleases and he can give as he pleases. He hired a few to work in his field and he has done us no wrong for whatever we receive. If we are honest with ourselves, we should realize that all we deserve is hell and damnation. Instead, God went out early in the morning to search for workers, selected a few and said, “Here’s a denarius. You don’t deserve this, but I want you to work in my field.”

Then there are those who were hired in the eleventh hour. How many of us are eleventh hour workers?

I am.

I should have been left on the street, condemned, thirsty, and penniless. I was “dead in my trespasses and sins” and without a hope in this world. But God didn’t leave me there. Some days I feel like my sin is so great and I am so wicked. That should be an everyday realization. All I can do at those times is quiver at the thought of God extending his hand of grace and saying, “Here’s a denarius. I know you only worked one hour, but that’s okay. I love you.”