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Good morning once again, and blessing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me begin by thanking Pastor Kevin DeYoung by the invitation offered to me to come and share the word and share my heart with you this weekend. I have been with Kevin in a number of conferences and every single time we have been together, I said this morning I have learned something from him and I always left uplifted from that place.
So again I don’t take for granted the opportunity to share Kevin’s pulpit and I consider it a privilege. Keep your pastor in prayer and I am sure he will keep you in God’s Word.
I also want to thank Pastor Mike Miller. From the very beginning I met him through Zoom. It was my impression that I was dealing with a pastor’s heart and a man that was gentle and humble, and it has been a real joy to be able to converse with him on several occasions, and thank you again for the hospitality shown to us and to my wife Cathy, who is sitting here to my left, as well as your wife Connie. So thank you by making things possible.
Having said that, why don’t we bow and visit the throne of grace one more time.
Father, it is always humbling and at the same time rejoicing to be able to come before You in humility and in reverence to address You, knowing that You will listen to us and at the same time that You would either answer the prayer that we order or You will answer the prayer that I should have ordered. I just pray that You help me through the power of Your Spirit to be able to use Your Word to glorify You and to encourage Your people. Allow me to be and to do everything that I could be and do at this time. Once again, since this is a mission conference, I will ask that You will send workers to the harvest because it was and it still is plenty and the reality is that the workers were few and still they are. So I pray that this weekend will be fruitful and we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I shared this morning with those of you who were here that on one occasion someone visited Hudson Taylor and was trying to convince him to allow him to go to the mission field, and Taylor was not convinced and at one point he asked this young man why would you like me to send you to the mission field when you are even lacking one of your legs, and his answer was, “Well, the reality is that those who have two legs are not going,” and with that Hudson Taylor sent him to the field.
That is the reality that a lot of the missionary agencies and churches have faced through the years. It is not easy to mobilize the people of God to engage in battle for the cause of Christ. The reality is that the Great Commission is war. It is a spiritual warfare. And it is also true that it is becoming more and more difficult to go. The global conditions in which we find ourselves today are not getting any easier, so honestly, it is going to take more than good intentions, it is going to take more than willpower, it is going to take more than just guilt to go and face the situation that we will probably face in the mission field and at the same time share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with joy.
However, I think one way or another we know, we should know that we need to go or at least we need to hold the rope of those who are obeying the commandment.
So I have a question for us today that I’m trying to answer, and that is, how do we motivate people to go?
The answer to that question was really what moved my wife and I, Cathy and I, from New Jersey at the border of the George Washington Bridge after 15 years of being there, practicing medicine, and even teaching medicine, and when we answered that question we went and it was the best decision we ever made and I think we believe that it’s still the best decision we could have made.
So the passage that I picked is a passage upon which I have reflected through the years, and I think it does contain the answer to the question what will it take to go, or what does it take to live a passionate life for Christ? Those two things go together. And I think as we read the passage, you will see some of what drove the Apostle Paul to reach the lost.
Paul understood not only the charge, but he understood the urgency of the moment. There is an urgency as we live this life, time will not last forever. We live in a kyros, in an opportunity, a window of opportunity, that Christ has given to us that we may do certain things.
On one occasion this English minister William ___ wrote this phrase, which I think is going to allow us to sense some of the urgency of the moment. He says, “If God’s today be too soon for thy repentance, thy tomorrow may be too late for His acceptance.”
So that’s the reality. Paul knew that at his time, and it’s even more today, there are, there were, there are thousands of people going into a combination for all eternity without having any opportunity to get out of it ever. It has been estimated by mission agencies that every day about 50,000 people go into perdition, into hell, without ever hearing the word other Gospel.
First time I ever heard that, it was shocking to me. It was sobering at the same time, and it was tears provoking. So I think in this passage that we will examine, and then the second part of the passage next service tonight, I think we will see the fuel behind the ministry of the Apostle Paul and that it is the fuel behind our ministry, it is what at one point, I think, God used to help us go to the Dominican Republic and keep us there to this day, 23 years later.
If you have your Bible, I will ask you that you would open up at the second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5. This is a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to them in many ways explaining and at the same time defending his apostolic ministry, was a church that did not accept his ministry so easily, and he was trying to justify it in a good way, in a holy way, his ministry to them.
And then he wrote in this portion, chapter 5, verse 10 to 17, tonight we will cover 18 through 21, and this is what I will read to you. This is the word of the Lord.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is also known to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.”
Now listen carefully from this point on: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Well, when you survey redemptive history, I said that this morning, it is clear that the Apostle Paul has been the main missionary figure to this day. He’s understanding of the message. He’s passion for the lost, his dedication to the cause of Christ, his disposition to suffer, to see the advancement of the Gospel and the desire to do it all for the glory of Christ, all of that has been unsurpassed to this day. I don’t think there is any discussion about that.
Now the question we are considering as we look at what he wrote, is this: What will it take to go?
And this is what I would like for you to do with me. I want you to notice certain things in this text. First of all, I want you to notice the conviction to go, verse 10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may receive what he’s due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. That’s what Paul wrote. Paul knew, he was aware there was a day of accountability at the end of life. He knew he had to appear before that judgment seat. That word there translated as such, judgment seat, is bema in the original. It basically translated a judicial bench where verdicts were rendered, where judgments were given. Pilate used one of those, Herod used one of those.
Paul imagined the end of his days and he says even though I’m safe and I’m not afraid of losing my salvation, at the end of my days I’m going to have to present all my work, all that I’ve done, the motivation for it, and there is a day of accountability, and I want to be there and be found lacking in evangelistic fervor, or even losing rewards as he explains in his first letter to the Corinthians, 3:15.
So the day of accountability in one way or another motivated Paul to proclaim the Gospel because something that we hear in verse 9, the verse right before where we began, something that Paul said he had, he had an ambition, an ambition, a word that we use so negatively today, Paul used it in a positive sense. I think the ESV translation doesn’t call it an ambition, but that’s a word that is used in many other good translations: I have an ambition to please the Lord whether I am at home or where. It doesn’t matter whether I’m here or I’m not, it doesn’t matter whether it is by life or by death, it doesn’t matter if it is preaching or not preaching, I just want to please the Lord, that is my ambition.
And one part of that that ambition was to evangelize those regions, those places, where the Gospel had not been preached. So because of that, he went. He knew that that accountability day was going to come and he wants to be right there, able to say I did the best I could to reach the lost. He knew the marching orders, he knew the go and make disciples.
So he went. He obeyed. And he kept the obedience to the very end.
So secondly, I want you to notice not only the conviction to go, but the persuasion to move, verse 11: Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.
Now the fear of the Lord here primarily doesn’t refer to the terror of, that sense of fear that people in the Old Testament and sometimes even in the New experience when they encounter the Lord, but rather that sense of awe about God, about the being that He is, the great being, Father, trinitarian God that He is. When you realize all the He is and all that He has done to rescue then there is a reverent fear that enters your bones and that’s what Paul is talking about, right? He came to know the fear of the Lord and now he’s persuading others.
Now the text doesn’t tell us what he’s persuading others about, but if you look at the verse before, verse 10, and you realize that he had already mentioned that we all need to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, more than likely he’s persuading man about the truth of the Gospel, about the Gospel being the only way to salvation, the only way to Christ, the only way to be rescued from the sinful life of this world. He was persuading others because he was a persuading man. He has been persuaded by the Gospel. He has been persuaded by Christ on the road to Damascus.
So Paul has a powerful motivation to go, and that’s what he’s showing us here. He has known the fear of the Lord, therefore will persuade others. He was persuaded about the impending judgment, about the urgent need of the Gospel for those who were lost.
So the greatest apostle of all times says knowing the fear of the Lord, I do something about it. I don’t remain passive. I go.
And then as you read Paul’s letter, you realize that not only he was persuaded, not only he was persuaded by the Gospel, not only he was persuaded that the Gospel was the only way to salvation, but he was persuaded about the power of the Gospel, the power of the Gospel to open people’s eyes, the power of the Gospel to soften the heart of man, the power of the Gospel to convict man of their sins, the power of the Gospel to set the captives free, the power of the Gospel to produce joy in the middle of the worst circumstances.
He had experienced that. He wrote four letters from prison. He wrote the letter to the Philippians, the letter of joy to the Philippians from a dark dungeon in Rome, perhaps, and Paul had a joy that you couldn’t quench, and that was the fruit of experiencing the power of the Gospel.
So once he experienced that power in his own life, he was persuaded and he was persuaded that the lost needed to experience the same thing that he had gone through, or otherwise they will be lost forever.
Paul was also persuaded about God’s purpose for humanity, and that pushed him to go. He knew the marching orders I had mentioned to you, and he realized that Christ before he ascended, He said go and make disciples of all nations, and then soon after that he said one more thing in Acts 1:8, ___ there, that they should be my witness in Judea and Samaria and to the end of the world.
And then the time started to pass and nothing was happening. No one was in Judea. No one was in Samaria. No one was evangelizing outside of Jerusalem, and it’s almost like, I’m not saying that that’s exactly what happened, but it’s almost like the Lord said, “Oh, you’re not going to get out of Jerusalem?” So now in Acts 8 you see the persecution broke out and as soon as the persecution broke out, now you read that all the disciples left Jerusalem and they went where? To Judea and Samaria. What did they do? They preached the Word. They shared the Gospel. And the only people left in Jerusalem were the apostles.
Wow. It took persecution to get the Great Commission going. If it takes persecution to do it again, He might do it again. He did it once. But His purpose will not be stopped.
To be able to go, we need to experience the full power of the Gospel in our lives. The power of the Gospel to change the way we think. The power of the Gospel to change our disposition to suffer for the cause of Christ. The power of the Gospel to change us from what I was back in New Jersey days to what I became, to changes from consumers to givers. The power of the Gospel is what gets us out of our comfort zone. There’s nothing else that is going to do that.
There’s not enough amount of guilt that any preacher can put into the heart of those who listen to get them to go into the mission field. I’ve been in mission conferences where the main purpose is to inject this guilt kind of feelings in you so you would go. That would not do it.
The Gospel may do it. The Gospel could do it. The implications of not going are staggering for a large number of people.
Number three, I want you to notice only the conviction to go, the persuasion to move us, but also the love that compels us. Verse 14: “For the love of Christ controls us.” That’s the ESV translation. Other have it as the “the love of Christ compels us.” Either way, the compelling force is such that He’s controlling you. This is what Paul says, “because we have concluded this: That one has died for all, therefore all have died.”
That is an incredible, powerful verse because Paul is not saying I’m being controlled by guilt; I’m being controlled by this sense of this horrendous judge that is going to come at the last day and is going to judge the world and who knows what might justice is going to be. No, he’s not compelled by any of that. He’s compelled, controlled, by something totally different, which we even sang about, the love of Christ. The reality of the love of Christ for Paul pushed him to go and go and to the every end.
That is compelled, the word translated “compel” or “control” that’s a very special word in the original language, means something like being stuck between a rock and hard place, being hemmed in. It’s like I’m here and I look to the right, I look to the left, look to the front, look to the back. I have no alternative other than preaching the Gospel. It’s something like that.
Why? Because I can’t conceive this incredible love from God that comes down from heaven and He begin the Creator dies for the creature, for someone as rebellious as I was and as lost as I was, I can’t conceive that amazing love and that placed Paul in a position where he felt there is only one choice and that is to go and preach the same message I heard and saved me on my way to Damascus.
I think if you picture that, then you would understand why he wrote to the Romans, a church that he had never been to, but he wrote to the Romans in 1:14 and says, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians.” What do you owe them that you feel obligated? “Both to the wise and to the foolish.”
No, I don’t owe them anything, but I feel under obligation to my Lord who did what He did for me so that I think I should preach the Gospel to anyone, whether they are wise or they are foolish, whether they are Greek, whether they’re barbarian. I don’t see that I could do anything else but to share the Gospel and to be a Gospel message to them.
And I’m convinced, brothers and sisters, that if we have a better appreciation of the love of Christ for us, demonstrated at Calvary on cross beams, we will probably be more engaged with the Great Commission. That doesn’t mean that you would become a missionary necessarily, but you would be taking part in the gathering of the harvest, whether that is even next door with your neighbor.
I think part of the problem about the love of Christ is not in Christ, obviously, part of the problem with the cross is not in the cross, it’s in us. I think we have heard and we have sang about the cross, about Christ, about His love so many times that He has become old news. It doesn’t quite move us. It doesn’t quite impress us. It doesn’t quite motivate us any longer.
But if we really, really consider, and we’ll try to do that tonight one more time, but if we really consider what happened at the cross, the change that took place there, I think we would be better missionaries, better evangelists, better pastors, better church members, better parents, better husbands, better wives, better children, better people. Truly.
One of you came after the first service and he said, “huh, the love of Christ,” and we talked for a little bit about the love of Christ, and I said, “I think Paul really got it, and when he became aware of all that it implied, the God of glory with no need to save anyone, to be joyful and satisfied in His self, came down to be treated the way He was, purely motivated by love, that became a compelling force for Paul.”
And he knew the commandment: Go and make disciples.
He knew that there was no need for a new commandment to go, we needed a new commandment to stay perhaps. And that understanding is what moved Paul and Hudson Taylor and so many others because the love of Christ is so incredible when it comes to the experience of it that I could testify to it because that in many ways is what moved my wife and I from New Jersey, near the border of the George Washington Bridge where we were for 15 years, practicing medicine, teaching medicine, we were very comfortable, we were very well established, too recognized to be moved, I never thought I would go back to the Dominican Republic, I didn’t want to go back to that country. There was not enough organization, there was not enough of this, enough of that. I became an American, I’m not going back, and God laughed and said, “Guess what? That’s where you will be.”
I’m glad He didn’t send me there by a whale, but I ended up there. And this is what came to mind one occasion, on more than one occasion: If Christ came from heaven to earth to rescue me, shouldn’t I be willing to go from the US to my home country so that Christ could rescue people there through me as I preach the Gospel?
If Christ emptied Himself from all His glory, all of it, and came to earth, to a fallen planet, shouldn’t I be willing to leave the comfortable life in North America and empty myself from my career?
We answer that question, or those questions, and then we left.
Fourthly, I want you to notice not only the conviction to go, the persuasion to move us, the love that compels us, but also the gratitude to carry the flame. I think the weekend has been entitled something like that, spreading the flame. We need to be part of that. We need to spread the flame before it is too late and that is an incredible privilege. We’ll talk about that tonight.
It is a privilege, not a burden, that God has placed upon us to be able to be part of the greatest enterprise you could ever conceive.
So, as we consider the conviction to go, the persuasion to move us, the love that compels us, I also want you to see the gratitude to carry the flame.
Verse 15: “So that they who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
How can He die for us and we cannot even conceive sometimes leaving for Him? You see the exchange? I’m going to die for you, and I’m not going to ask you to die for Me because I don’t need it, but I do want you to live for Me. Not because I need it, it’s because there is nothing better that you can do than to live for the One who saved you.
Paul knew that once he understood that Christ died for him, there was no way that he could remain living for himself, for his own agenda. He knew he belonged to somebody else. He knew that he was not his own any longer. He knew he had a Master but he also knew that this Master was not a dictator, was not a slave-driver. He was a loving, faithful, caring, merciful Redeemer and he wanted to go with him.
There is a story from the Civil War here in this country. I take it that it is truthful. On one occasion I’m told, or I read, that Abraham Lincoln went to the slave market and then he bought a young girl as a slave and as they were walking away, he turned to her and said, “Now you’re free.” Then the lady said, “What do you mean that I am free?” And he said, “I mean that you are free.” “Well, does that mean that I could say whatever I could say?” He said, “You could say whatever you could say.” “Does that mean that I could go anyplace I would like to go?” “You could go anyplace you would like to go.” Does that mean that I could do anything I want to do?” And he said, “You could do whatever you want to do.” And to his surprise, she says, “Well, then, I want to go with you.”
That is kind of like Christ. He frees us and He says, “You’re free.” Now when you discover all the blessings that He has to offer you out of love, the only answer would be, “Well, I want to go with you, too, and I don’t want to go with anyone else.” That’s what Paul was understanding clearly.
Friends, it wouldn’t be even logical to live a life for yourself once you have known that there is a day of accountability. Once you know the fear of the Lord, once you know the love of Christ, and once you realize that He died on your behalf, the sense of gratitude in you should well over to the point that the only thing you could do is to live for the cause of Christ.
And especially if you know what Paul wrote, 1 Corinthians 6:19: “You are not your own.” You’re not your own. You don’t belong to yourself. It’s like you’ll have your life, you’ll have better life, but you’ll have your life.
6:20: “You have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body.” Why? Because you have an honor. He paid blood for you.
7:23: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” It is incredible because in antiquity when slaves were bought, quite frequently the way it took place is that the slave somehow got some money, either he worked for it or someone gave it to him, he used to go to a temple of a god or a goddess and will pay money to that god or goddess, and then the owner would receive the money through the administration of the temple and he would become a slave of that god or slave of that goddess and in some sense he was committed to serve that god or goddess for life.
Well, Christ says, “I paid blood for you and I am a true God, not one of these false gods, and you are supposed to live your life for Me. But note this: The life you’re going to live for me is better, much better than the life that you could live for yourself.”
So if we live for ourself, it becomes difficult to leave the familiar. It becomes difficult to leave the comfortable place you are in. It becomes difficult to leave the known. It is difficult to leave the certain, the controllable, what which I can manage, that which has my size. And that’s the problem.
But when you follow God, sometimes He shows up in your life and He says things like go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you, Abraham. And the next stop for him was not familiar, had no clue what they ate there, how they lived, how they looked, how they dressed. He just went.
And then on the way there, on the path of obedience, God showed up again and talked to Abraham and told him some of the things.
The familiar places that we live in, or the situations or conditions, sometimes are a hindrance to the work of God, and God needs to undo that. He did that in our lives and again, best decision we ever made.
Now sometimes we don’t want to move from one place to another, or change one thing for another, one place of work for another, because we feel safe, but the reality is that the safest place on earth is the will of God. If you are not in the will of God, it doesn’t matter whether you are at home or some other safe place, you are not safe because you are not where you are supposed to be and if we don’t believe that, let’s just ask Jonah. He wanted to be in a safe place, not with these cannibalistic, angry, ferocious people that the Ninevites were, and God said you’re not safe where you’re going and soon he found himself in the belly of a fish.
So we working on this fourth motivation, which is gratitude, based on Christ giving His life for us and the ability of us giving our life for Him. Those are the people that we read about in the past and we go, ooh and ahhh, the martyrs, they got burned, I can’t believe their faith, and then we applaud them. That would happen again, and it’s happening at present, it will happen in the future. Look at what Revelation 12:11 says, “And they conquer him,” referring to the antichrist, by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
They were willing to die because they did not love their lives. You can’t be willing to die until you lose the love for your life.
This place here, you know, I tell my church all the time, people would like to go to heaven but no one wants to die. We don’t get there without dying. This is a temporary place. This is a place that is not going to last. It is ___. But we live here quite frequently like we’re going to live here forever and then we accumulate stuff and we accumulate all kinds of things, but in reality we should look at this planet they way we look at a camping ground.
Some of you like camping, you go camping, you go to a remote area, you enjoy yourself, if you need to have to do some body functions you have to walk away some distance, there’s no place to do it and you have almost no clothes, and then you come back three days later, it was rainy and you enjoyed yourself. You say, “Oh, we had a great time,” and I don’t like camping so I always go, “You really did? In those conditions?”
But they did. You know why? Because they know that’s not their permanent place. They know they were coming home soon. They knew that it was only for three days, and when you’re there for a short period of time, you can spend the time any way you want, with the bare minimum.
It wouldn’t make any sense you would have seen a full truck filled all kinds of stuff to go camping for three days, you would think that person was a little cuckoo. Well, this is our camping ground on this planet. Our permanent residence is in heaven.
So what are doing accumulating stuff down here? And some of us, we’re not accumulating means or finances or whatever else that might be, I was accumulating titles. Then I realized there are no walls in heaven to hang my titles. Plus, there are no hospitals in heaven. There are no sick people in heaven to do anything with medicine. So the titles became, they paled, they were not as important. I took them and put them in a closet for two years, and then my nurse, who was my pastor’s wife, one day told me, “Miguel, you have to put them back up, because people come here, they don’t know if you are a doctor or a veterinarian, who knows what?” So I said, “You could do it,” but I needed to kill my pride first.
But you see at the time of Moses, Pharaoh had the title, Moses had the testimony. And at the time of Jesus, Pilate had the title, but Jesus had the testimony. At the time of Paul, Caesar had the title but Paul had the testimony. Today, Pharaoh, Pilate, Caesar, none of them has their title. But Moses and Jesus and Paul, they still have their testimony.
That’s the only thing you take to heaven.
Fifthly, I want you to know not only the conviction to go, the persuasion to move us, the love that compels us, the gratitude to carry the flame, but also the new mindset required.
Verse 16: “From now on,” when he was born again, “Therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer.”
When Paul was born again, when he was encountered on the road to Damascus, everything changed. When we read these verses as all things have gone, we only think about all my sins are gone, new things have come. No, everything changed. His heart was softened, his mind was illumined, his rebellion was conquered, but also he had a new attitude towards life and towards people. He had a new world view. He did not look at any man or woman any longer according to the flesh. He did not look at any man or woman according to the standards of the world.
Before that, Paul looked at a man or a friend, and maybe he looked at him as one to take advantage of. Maybe he looked at a boss and thought, well, I just need to obey him. Maybe he looked at a woman and he thought, well, that would be someone good to have children with, or maybe to have pleasure with. From the moment he was born again, he said, “No, these are bearers of the image of God and potentially converts to the cause of Christ.” So a client, a boss, a woman, were no longer what they used to be.
Why? Because all things have passed away, behold, the new has come. My old sins are gone.
But it also means that my old way of living and my old way of looking at life, the old way of life, my old way of elevating people, all of that is also gone.
So after being in the US for ten years, by then very well established and by then teaching medicine, we went to Santo Domingo for two years. And during those two years we went there four times. We did some medical mission trips, I preached the Gospel, taught it here and there, and then suddenly the Lord opened my eyes to a large group of people, educated, well-behaved, mild-mannered, successful people, but totally lost. And I didn’t hear again, but He pressed upon my heart they need to be reached. And they need to be reached and then mobilizing to reach down, because in the third world, the nations of the third world, about 95% of the work has been done with people non-educated so the harvest, and I read this in missiology, the harvest remains unfinished.
Why? Because they not been able to reach up so they don’t have the means or structure, the education, so it started movement so that people who had been educated and who had certain means and human resources, they can be reached with the Gospel and then teach them that they can no longer live for themselves but they have to reach down, and that’s why we visit today the four largest jails in Santo Domingo every single Saturday and there are evangelistic and discipleship groups going there every Saturday of every year.
And like that one ministry, there are many other like it. Because I saw that if Christ was willing to come down from heaven to Palestine 2000 years ago, imagine how developed Palestine could have been at that time, no in plumbing, no TV, no internet, no cellphones, no anything, and He came and lived with them, and became a slave to them, or a servant, then went to a cross, hat I needed to do even more than that.
So one particular night while I was at our church in New Jersey listening to the report of a missionary couple, I still remember their last name to this day, although I never saw them again, the Dillingers, probably perhaps they went to be with the Lord because they were, they had certain age at that time, they were showing, they told the story how they arrived to the Philippines 30 years earlier, no one had been in that place before, they did not speak the language, and they went in and then 30 years later they showing pictures of churches and Bible institute in the mountains and they are like my jaw dropped and whoa.
And again the Lord impressed upon my heart, “Now, Miguel, what is your excuse?” That night I made a decision to go. To Santo Domingo. I didn’t tell Cathy until much later, but I knew that there would be a day of accessibility, a day when I would appear before the judgment seat of Christ and a question would be asked. I have experienced the fear of the Lord, the sense of awe that Paul was speaking about. I had experienced the power of the love of Christ, and not only the power of the love of Christ, I now had a love for Him. Not only Him for me, but me for Him, which is also something that is required to go, because Christ said, “If you love Me, you would obey My commandments,” and the last command He gave was what? “Go and make disciples.”
So then we a monumental sense of gratitude for what has been done for us, and then we realized that I wasn’t looking at the people in Santo Domingo according to the flesh any longer, I wasn’t looking at the people even in New Jersey according to the flesh any longer. We had a Bible study for Aids patients for three and a half years and people came to know the Lord and I was preacher at their funerals many times, and hope to see a number of them there.
Why? Because once you capture the meaning of all of that, you start to feel compassion. Compassion is not something that we’re given to experience. But, if you read this book that now is being recommended, probably a classic already just in a few months, Gentle and Lowly, the author is basically reviewing the emotional life of Christ in many different ways, and he says that the main characteristic of the emotional life of Christ was compassion.
So when you experience compassion for people, you see them as prisoners of their sins. They are so familiar with the situation they have lived in that they done see themselves as prisoners, but they are. And then when the love of Christ is compelling you, all you want to do is to cut their chains. And the only way to do it is by preaching the Gospel. And there is no better way to express compassion to them than to give them Christ, to share Christ with them. The One who came from glory, to shame, to take us from shame to glory.
From glory to shame, from shame to glory.
To be continued tonight.
Father, thank You for Your Word, for the inspiration of it through Your Spirit, thank You for the illumination of it through the same Spirit. Thank You for the application of it through the same Spirit. I just pray that we take it to heart and go to apply it, that we would do it for the sake of Your name, for the fame of Your name, for the glory of who You are, and the exultation of our Redeemer, in whom we pray. Amen.