The first word that describes someone that is gripped by the Gospel is faith because they know that what they are doing with the Gospel matters eternally.
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.” Romans 1:8-10 (NKJV)
Paul tells the Roman Christians about his great desire to come and see them. He had prayed earnestly for the opportunity to go there but so far had not been able to make it. Why was he praying so earnestly? Why was he so determined to get there?
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—“ Romans 1:11 (NKJV)
“Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.” Romans 1:13 (NKJV)
He says that he wants to come there so that he can impart some spiritual gift to them so they can be better grounded in the Gospel. Then he tells them that he expects to have fruit among them as he has among other people.
There is a lot in these verses that I’m passing over but I’m doing this to emphasize Paul’s unwavering belief that he will have fruit among them. Paul was wholly convinced that what he did in sharing the Gospel mattered eternally. Paul believed that by sharing the Gospel he could affect someone’s eternity. That is awesome. What a powerful thought.
One of the main reasons those who are gripped by the Gospel share the Gospel is that their faith that what they do in sharing the Gospel can make an eternal difference in someone’s life. Do you really believe that what you do in sharing the Gospel matters eternally? The unfortunate thing that has happened in the modern church is that sharing the Gospel has become a burden to be born. It may be something we put on our “to do” list but it is way down at the bottom. What a wrong view of sharing the Gospel. When we are gripped by the Gospel we share the Gospel out of a deep seated conviction that sharing the Gospel has eternal significance.
“but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (Jude 1:23 NKJV)
The picture Jude paints of the effects of the Gospel is incredible. The New Living Translation talks about snatching them from the flames of judgment. We should do whatever it takes to ensure that this image of sharing the Gospel is always on our minds. When we share the Gospel with someone and they repent and believe it, they are literally being snatched from the flames of judgment. That means what we do in sharing the Gospel is eternally significant.
Let me use imagery from Jonathan Edwards for a minute here. Imagine those who are lost dangling over the fires of hell by a spider-web thin string that could break at any moment and drop them into eternal damnation. Worse yet, not only could this string break at any moment, it certainly will break at some unknown time in the future. There is nothing in the world that can protect against this. Health and wealth are no sure bets that this person will have a long time. Life certainly demonstrates to us that tragedy can strike at a moment’s notice and a healthy life can suddenly end. Life shows us that one routine checkup can suddenly go sour to find that a deadly disease has infected and destroyed a once healthy body.
The picture we see from Jude is that the lost dangle precariously over the fires of hell and desperately need someone to snatch them from the flames of judgment that will one day consume them. There is only one person who can save them and that person is Jesus. Their only hope is in the saving power of Jesus Christ. They find Jesus through the Gospel.
We may be the only connection between this person and Jesus. The only person who can save them from the fire of judgment is Jesus and if we refuse to tell them about Jesus then they have no hope for salvation at all. In a way, we condemn them to the fires of judgment when we withhold the Gospel from them. There is eternal significance in sharing the Gospel. Let me share a story to illustrate this.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine in Tennessee sent me a message that he had visited someone in the hospital and led them to Christ. Two weeks later he sent me another message that this same man had entered into eternity. Mike’s one visit where he faithfully shared the Gospel with this man snatched him from the flames of hell. Mike’s one visit made an eternal difference in this man’s life. Today this man is in heaven with Jesus instead of hell in torment because someone was gripped by the Gospel and shared the Gospel because he was convinced that what he did mattered eternally. When we are gripped by the Gospel we will share the Gospel because we know that sharing the Gospel can have an eternal impact on someone’s life.
For further study read Romans 10:13-15.
What is the great promise of verse 13?
What does verse 14 say people must do before they will call on Jesus to save them?
What does verse 14 say must happen before people will believe?
What does verse 14 say is necessary for people to hear?
In what ways are you giving people an opportunity to hear, believe, call on Jesus and be saved?