I am amazed at how our personal comfort can often lead to deeper levels of contentment. We see this in almost every aspect of life. I reach a certain level or achieve a specific goal and my emotions delight in satisfaction. I would argue that the apostle Paul is a great example of a person that lived in the zone of being “contently-dissatisfied”! In his personal life, those areas where we typically wage war to experience contentment and never seem to find it, Paul was completely content. He expresses this in Philippians 4 where he says: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Philippians 4:11
Remember this is the letter he is writing while in prison. However, if you read 2 Corinthians 11 it may appear that Paul is somewhat conflicted.
I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? 2 Corinthians 11:27-29
How do we deal with this discrepancy? I think the key to understanding this dilemma is that Paul was deeply passionate about salvation through Christ and the purity and holiness of the church. He was driven to tell the world of the saving power of Jesus. He was not content with good numbers from the Sunday morning offering or the growing attendance at the weekly gathering. Paul grieved over sin and brokenness. He understood that apart from justification in Christ people are eternally separated from the grace of God. As a result he lived a life of evangelistic
urgency and continually called the church to pursue holiness.
As a church we must not enter into the level of contentment that our ears are closed to the call of evangelism. God has placed each of us in a world filled with people that must hear the gospel. Preach this message from most evangelical pulpits on a Sunday morning and you will hear a resounding “Amen”! We know evangelism is biblical and we are called to proclaim the good news. Unfortunately, we have become so content in our current state that the idea of urgency is not very compelling.
It is estimated that Paul traveled over 10,000 miles on his 3 missionary journeys. Obviously he would visit churches but he also preached the message of repentance of sin through Christ. On his second missionary journey Paul delivered this famous message at Mars Hill Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
I love to read the stories of Paul and I desire his evangelistic urgency! It is a call to the church that simply cannot be overlooked. I want to encourage you to pray with me that God would develop a culture of evangelistic urgency at New Life. Easter is a great time to begin the conversation with people concerning the gospel. The rhythm of our society has many open to a conversation about Jesus. You have been encouraged to invite family and friends to either the 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. gathering on Easter Sunday. That invitation is not the evangelistic conversation. The gospel will be proclaimed on Easter Sunday but this is not a substitute for the one on one conversations that must take place. Pray that the gospel is proclaimed with clarity on April 21, but also pray that God will give you opportunities to talk with people about how God has given you hope through Jesus!
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Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.