Summary: This Sermon is about allowing God’s word to flow into our lives causing our faith to increase.
"My Heart's Desire" (Romans 10:1-14)
-Rev. A. Torrence, Pastor
Cross of Life Lutheran Church
The one characteristic that I admired about the apostle Paul is his sense of passion. Paul was man of passion. What ever he set his mind to do, Paul was earnest enough to bring it to reality with fervor. Even when he was doing wrong – he had passion. Before his Damascus experience, he was passionate about persecuting the Christians and stumping out this Christ threat. When Christ opened his eyes and turned his heart around, he began to preach with passion. When he was put in prison, and couldn’t preach anymore, he wrote with passion. Paul was a man of passion. And in this opening verse, he tells us what that passion is. His heart’s desire was the salvation of his own people – the Jews. Paul was a Jew but his ministry was strongest towards the Gentiles. Now, we must understand that for was Jew to have any dealing with those outside their faith was considered blasphemous. The Gentiles were considered un-cleaned, unsaved, and unchurched; yet, Paul had a passion that all men, regardless of race, culture, gender, age, and past, would be saved.
Just think about the frustration that must have existed in his heart as he would preach to strangers, social outcasts, the downtrodden and the forgotten, and witness thousands coming to Christ but those in his own family, his own culture, his own race – those who he grew up with, work with, and probably live with – would not share his passion for Christ. I mean, some of us know about that. We know what it is to wake every Sunday, get dress for church and live our spouses at Bedside Baptist. We know what it is to be saved and husbands are not saved, wives are not saved, and children are not saved. Our hearts desire is just like Paul’s, for them to be saved. Because, deep down inside our hearts, we do not want them to be left behind, like those in the book we are reading. Paul must have had a heart of frustration. Folks were being saved, healed, and blessed all around him; yet, because of their hard hearts, his own people were not benefiting. Paul was following his passion for ministry but his family and friends did not support it.
Have you ever been excited about something and those around just did not seem to care. I mean, I know the frustration I get when I am passionate about ministries and ideas, and the people around me don’t see it, don’t grasp it, and don’t share it. I know what it is to be excited about mentoring teenage mothers or teaching parenting skills and have folks tell you, Pastor-that’s just not for me. I know what it is to see God moving around you and in you, and all you want is for others to experience what you experience. I know the frustration of knowing what God can do for others because I’ve seen it. I lived it. I experienced it and yet, I am still surround by folks who have zeal for God but not according to knowledge. I know what it is to be surround with people desiring to do things their own way and not God’s way. I know what it is to see folks caught up in doing things right rather than doing the right thing. Doing things right to them is doing it out of tradition and ritual. We have to do it this way because we’ve always done it like this. I don’t know about you but I can relate to Paul having a heart desire to see his people saved.
But then I understand why they are not saved. I used to think it was me. But Paul clarifies the situation. Paul concludes that his people are suffering from a heart condition.
His people are perishing and dying because of a poor heart. Someone once stated that the two most important muscles, which operate without direction of the brain, are the heart and the tongue. Our logic and our reason do not govern the passions of our heart or the conversations of our tongue. Yet, our tongues will often indicate the contents of our hearts. What we say to each other will reveal either our mutual love and respect or our animosities and regrets. In ancient times, the heart was thought to be the seat of one’s emotions, appetites, intellect, and moral faculties. It was considered to be the place in which the process of self-consciousness is carried out and in which the soul is at home with self. So in Paul’s time, the heart was center of one’s vital actions. His people are dying because there is something wrong with their hearts. I yet believe and still uphold that the death of many churches come not from declining memberships or the lack of finances. Churches die not because of poor leadership or the lack of discipleship. Churches do not close their doors because of changing communities and transient economies. No churches die and close their doors because of the hardening of human hearts. If I had to preach my last sermon, render the final benediction and Cross of Life had to close its doors for very last time, it would not because of the lack of preaching, evangelism programs, or outreach ministries. It would be a direct result of a poor heart condition within our church. Many churches throughout the body of Christ are experiencing cardiac distress. There is a heart disease spreading throughout the body of Christ. In fact, I would contend that this wave of spiritual revival is an attempt by Christ, the great physician to revive his church with CPR. These spurts of mega churches, chart-topping gospel music, and spiritual awakening are actually Christ giving the church body a “1-2-3, breathe” resuscitation.