Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Passion for Souls?

Stephen David has been a good friend of mine for years by e-mail. He has had “How to Be Free From Bitterness” translated into Telegu, Hindi, and Indian English. Please pray for him. His ministry is in Hyderabad. The following, by Stephen David, expresses my thoughts well.

Do We Have a Passion For Souls?

What does it mean to have passion for souls? I started to think about this seriously. Though many times I expressed to have passion for souls, when in fact, I didn’t. I came to know that genuine passion for souls means—Having a burning heart to see the people being saved from hell and enter into God’s eternal kingdom. And scripturally, no person can be saved without believing in Christ through the hearing of the gospel.

“For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15

As I started to contemplate this fact, I have come to know that if I truly have a passion for the souls, I would passionately share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people I meet, whether known or unknown. However, much of my time was spent with Christians and there were numerous times I deliberately ignored to preach the gospel with the unsaved. I have learned that it is pleasant to sharing the gospel with unbelievers is far more different and also difficult. Believe me; it is even easy to train others for evangelism than personally do the witnessing. Point to observe, our Lord Jesus did not send others without going first.

“Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21

If there is any a person who claims to have passion for souls yet not have a passion to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, wherever he is and whatever he does, I strongly believe, that is not a genuine passion. He is deceived and a sign of contradiction. I am not talking about the occasional sharing of the gospel when we find it convenient. Examining the whole life of Paul clearly demonstrates that he preached the gospel wherever he went because of his passion for souls. Despite the situations wherein he was beaten, insulted, imprisoned and persecute to death, no one could stop him from preaching the gospel. We can’t see him shut his mouth when his heart beat for souls. Paul acknowledged, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—THE TASK OF TESTIFYING TO THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S GRACE” (Acts 20:24).

Oh, how many ministers think they have passion for souls just by preaching to the church, but never grab the opportunities to preach the gospel with the unbelieving souls outside! There are times we do not even witness to the neighbors who live around us. Let us not misunderstand the preaching of the gospel with the preaching to the church. There is a vast difference between them. To share the fact, preaching to the church is far easier than personally sharing the gospel of Jesus with the unbelievers. Here comes the true challenge of our passion for souls!

I have learned that we cannot withhold a person from preaching the gospel of Jesus who is having a passion for souls. Whether he is traveling, walking, shopping, working, playing, sitting or wherever he goes or whatever he does, his heart beats to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knows that without preaching the gospel, people do not have the opportunity to put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I remember, years back, when I was in a church service, all of us were praying that God would save the souls and add them to the church. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit started to speak to my heart—“Can you expect a tree to grow by just watering?” I knew the intended meaning behind that question. I shared with the whole church what the Holy Spirit spoke. The meaning was, “How do we expect a tree would grow without first sowing a seed?” Will just watering do that? No! That’s an unreasonable expectation! Yet, how many of us pray that God would save the souls, sometimes even fast, yet not take risks to preach the gospel when we come across the people.

I remember the wonderful prayer request of Paul to the church of Ephesus, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make know the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19, 20). Oh, I wish I would at least have a drop of his passion in my heart for the lost!

Lord, have mercy!


Stephen David

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you.