By Nathan Washburn
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Greenbrier
Passion drives action. We can try to do things we know we should, and we can try to avoid the things we know we shouldn’t do, but eventually, if nothing changes in our heart, we will fail to change our ways. If we want to truly see a change in our actions, we have to reignite and correctly orient our passions within.
One such passion that the body of Christ needs reignited and correctly oriented is the passion to share the gospel. We preach and listen to sermons on evangelism, we attend classes and conferences on evangelism, and we even take steps to try to share the gospel more in our communities. But until we are ignited by a passion on the inside to see an individual repent and trust in Jesus and have his or her life completely turned right side up, to the glory of God, we will be futile in our efforts. From II Corinthians 5, here are three things that will help ignite our passion to share the gospel.
The fear of the Lord. Our first motivation for sharing the gospel is that we fear the Lord (II Corinthians 5:11). The fear of the Lord — knowing His holiness, authority, beauty, worth, and judgment and worshiping Him for these — motivates us to let others know of Him. Knowing He’s holy (thus worthy of fear and respect, especially as it regards our sinful state in His presence) evokes fear in us. His authority evokes fear as well, since He has every right to do whatever He pleases. Every person will appear before His judgment seat one day (II Corinthians 5:10), and it’s the fear of standing before a Holy God with all knowledge and authority that motivates us to tell others.
The love of Christ. We are not only motivated by the fear of the Lord, but we are also positively motivated by love. We have come into the greatest love the world has ever known, and with that love coursing through our spiritual veins, we can’t help but love others when we abide in the vine (John 15:5, 12). So while the fear of God motivates us externally to persuade others to know Christ, it’s the love for God (and others) internally that also motivates us to make Christ known. This love will compel us to spread the news of the person and work of Jesus. If we truly love God, we will talk of Him to others. And if we truly love others, we will talk to them of God.
The transforming power of the gospel. One last piece of kindling that will light the fire of our passion for sharing Christ is that ability of the gospel to transform lives. This news we have changes everything. And it can change anyone. Jesus brings the dead back to life (II Corinthians 5:15), He makes the old new (v. 17), He brings near to God those who were far off (vv. 18-19), and He makes sinners radiantly righteous (v. 21). This will happen with anyone who will trust Christ. This means, then, that those we are sharing with are not those who need no transformation, but are instead dead, old, far off sinners. And we engage them and share in hopes of seeing Christ transform them. This is our hope, our passion, to share the gospel.