A Desire for SoulsBro. David Chancellor
1/11/2004 6:00 PM
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
My hearts desire is that they might be saved What do you desire to be accomplished in your life? Pauls desire was that Israel might be saved, even thou most of them wished that he was dead. Paul would go to the synagogue to try to reach them. Usually, the Jews would start an uprising and run him out of town. Paul had a love and a desire for the salvation of his own people, as well as for the Gentiles. He wanted all mankind to be saved. He worked to bring them the gospel. Whats your desire toward those that speak against you? We should desire that men would be saved. This desire springs from the love of God in the heart. Having a burden for the lost is to have a genuine love for them. Its being willing to endure some things so they can be saved. Pauls desire was for salvation for the unappealing. People may do things that make life hard. Does this change the desire that is in you? Keep the desire for their salvation in your heart. Paul saw the zeal, the lack of knowledge, and he desired that they would be saved. The desire for souls salvation isnt what it should be in our day. We need to be concerned for souls.
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
We should have a great desire for the salvation of our loved ones. It needs to go further than this, but this is our first mission field. Paul had a burden for the people of Israel. It made him sad that they would miss out. He wanted them to be saved. If were in the way, we want God to move us out of the way so that they can be saved. We dont want to be the hindrance or the problem. Keep a desire for the salvation of others even in the difficult times of life. Our destruction wont bring mens salvation. Christ bore the curse, so that we could be saved. We desire to see others make it to God. Seek God for the grace to stay in the fight until souls are saved. (Theres a benefit to faithfulness.) Things can be broken down and taken out of the way. We desire to see those about us stirred to seek the things of God. Be willing to commit even to sacrifice.
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Paul had a longing for these because of the love of Christ. He wanted them to prosper in their souls. Our prayer should be that men would prosper in their souls. We want people to be filled with the fruits of righteousness. Paul went to Jerusalem and partook of the ceremony of purification because he loved the Jews. He was doing this when they attacked him. He explained to these that what happened had worked to the furtherance of the gospel. He was preaching to all that he came into contact with. He was suffering, but he still desired that people would be saved. Paul was glad that the message was getting out. Can we be glad that people are getting the message out, even if it brings us pain? Sometimes the gospel gets out as well by those that oppose it as by those that promote it. God can use various tools to carry his message. Persecution can still promote the gospel. Paul was glad the message was getting out. If we dont have a burden for souls, we need to ask God to give us one. We should want the message to get out. What does it mean to take a stand? It means doing right even if you suffer for it. Its not about telling people how wrong everyone else is. Its not persecuting everyone who doesnt agree with me. We want others to find what makes us take the stand. We want others to know Jesus and to be saved.
3 John 1-8
The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his names sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth.
In verse 2, John is pronouncing a blessing on these people. He desired that everything would go as well with them as things were with their souls. If things werent good in their souls, then this would be a curse rather than a blessing. We want to see people prosper, but it starts in the soul. We want peoples lives to get better. We want them to see that life gets better when God is there. We want them to prosper in their souls. This is where real prosperity is found. People are suffering because of a life of sin. We should desire that they would be set free. We want them to have a chance to be saved.