One of the biggest limitations as to why we are not the presence in our city that God desires us to be often has less to do with how opposed the world is to the church or not enough resources. It comes down to God’s people embracing God’s heart for all mankind and his desire to see all come to salvation. Only by faith and prayer can we have the impact we desire in the places God has us.
1. A Big Enough Heart
When you consider the context of the Ephesians church that Timothy was leading, the gospel was the most rebellious, revolutionary truth you could proclaim. God giving us Jesus as the ransom for all who believe flew in the face of the performance-driven spirituality of that day. The gospel reveals the very heart of God, that he loves to love and is merciful and gracious to all who receive him.
2. An Open Enough Offer
God’s heart shapes the way in which the gospel is offered. It is universal and free, going out to all people and making no demands of its recipients to earn it. This challenges the common misconception that God enjoys doling out punishment. The church is to proclaim the gospel of Christ with that very same heart, placing no limitations on who hears and responds to it.
3. A Wide Enough Prayer
To proclaim the gospel well, we must pray well. Our prayer must cast a net as wide as God’s desire for those who would be saved. Prayer keeps us from tunnel vision, humbling us, and reminding us that those who may have disagreements with have the same need for Christ as we do. We particularly pray for those in authority, not that they might make things easy for Christians but to work for the common good and that the gospel would flourish.
Reflection and Application
When you consider our cultural climate, how revolutionary is the gospel? What kind of reaction would you receive if you were to tell people about it at work or school?
How does the fact that God has ransomed Jesus Christ for us affect how we relate to God? What do you think it would be like if you had to pay the price to earn God’s pleasure?
How do you reconcile God’s desire for all to be saved and the reality that not everyone believes in Jesus? Does this make him less powerful or a liar?
Why does the gospel and God’s universal, free offer of it destroy the common misconception that God enjoys the destruction of others?
How might your prayers change in reflection of the gospel and God’s heart for the lost?