Summary: A look at God desire for everyone to be saved and the human freedom that keeps that from happening.
A CONTRADICTION? The Bible says it’s God’s will for all people to be saved, but it also says that the road is narrow.
- Look at both passages.
- Unpack each idea and its implications.
THE ANSWER: Human freedom.
- It is God’s desire that everyone would be saved, but people have the choice of whether to receive Him.
- Some are far more interested in running their own lives than in receiving God.
- Some don’t see the point in receiving God.
- Some don’t believe in the idea of Jesus dying for our sins.
- Some are too into their sin to care about God.
- Some don’t believe God can reach them where they are.
- Ideas to discuss:
b. Calvinism’s insistence that some are damned from the beginning.
A COUPLE IMPLICATIONS:
1. HOW OFTEN HAS GOD ALREADY BEEN AT WORK WITH THE PERSON YOU'RE TRYING TO WITNESS TO? Every time.
- We can be confident that God has been working in their life, even if we don’t see much evidence. We know that from the passage we began with this evening: that God wants everyone to be saved.
- This means, I believe, that in this life there are not people whom God has given up on. [Only possible exception I can think of: the unforgivable sin?]
- We act sometimes like we’re the first to work toward bringing this person to the Lord, especially if they’re in a situation where they’re not surrounded by Christians.
- The truth is that God was working in their lives long before we showed up and will continue working long after we walk away.
- Why is this important to understand? Because we are partnering with God.
- It’s not all up to us. (Not even close.) He is the One who empowers what we do.
- Further, He is the One who comes before and after us. This is a freeing and empowering truth: God is active in this person’s life and He simply wants to use us as part of that work to draw them to Him.
2. THAT PERSON YOU'RE DEEPLY DISTURBED IS LOST? God is even more deeply bothered.
- When we do have a deep burden for someone, we need to remember that God’s burden is even deeper.
- We may act at times as though we’re the only one carrying this burden and that God somehow is not pulling His weight. In truth, His burden began sooner and goes deeper than our’s.
- A similar example: every now and again we’ll see something in the news or have something happen in our lives that jolts us concerning the evil that is in the world. Shocked, we cry out to God about how unfair and horrific it is that there are such things in the world.
- In that moment, we often feel pretty smug about our awareness of the evil in the world and pretty self-righteous about the fact that we’re so bothered about it and obviously God is not.
- In truth, God is deeply bothered by all the sin in the world. Further, God never has the luxury of turning aside and ignoring the evil in the world. Further still, God deeply loves every person who is hurt by that sin as though they were His own child (because they are).
- In the end, God carries a far heavier load than we imagine. And when evil and pain of the world impact us and we cry out, I have to imagine that God is tempted to respond, “Yes, I know. Where have you been?”
A FINAL THOUGHT: How many do we want to see saved?
- What’s the level of our passion and burden?
- Do we come into church actively hoping and expecting that today will be the day someone commits their life to Christ?
- Are there people we are regularly and faithfully praying for to be saved? Are we committed to praying for them until the breakthrough comes?
- What’s our joy level during a baptism? Are we overwhelmed that someone else is expressing publicly their faith in Christ? Does it fill us up?