Compelled to Share our Hope!
Compelled to Share our Hope
1 Corinthians 9:16-27
† IHS †
May the joy of knowing and understanding the love and mercy of God compel you to proclaim that love to a broken world.
As I read the second reading for this week, the one from 1 Corinthians, there is a phrase that convicted me.
I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!
The word there in Greek for preach the gospel is not the word for what I am doing right now, in the middle of a church service. It is the word we get evangelism from, the idea of sharing the hope you have; because you know Christ.
What we are all are commissioned to do, it is the work of the people in church, to share the love of God, and His mercy, with everyone we meet.
I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t share why I have hope for I know Jesus Christ!
I have to admit, there are times where I don’t feel so compelled to share my hope.
There are times where giving people hope isn’t that much of a priority. Where we don’t care, as we go about our day, being driven by our tasks, by our needs, by our desires. We aren’t compelled to share our hope, the hope we have because we know Jesus.
When I heard this how terrible for me, what I don’t hear why it Is terrible when our hope isn’t shared. I think it is terrible because God is going to be up there, disappointed in us, because we didn’t obey and do what He has asked us to do. We’ve let Him down again, we’ve disobeyed, and we might even think we need to be punished. We are wrong when we think those things.
Or we might believe we are being punished because things aren’t going right.
That’s not it either, and I am going to try and explain how we are compelled, why it is terrible for us, when we overlook our hope and don’t share it.
Not of my initiative
In verse 17, Paul tells us that we aren’t alone in this, that he didn’t have any initiative for sharing His faith either. Doesn’t that sound a little strange, that Paul, the great missionary apostle, didn’t do what he did because he was such a mission-driven, natural born evangelist?
He wasn’t self-compelled, he had to be compelled. Being compelled means that Paul was passive, this task was given to him to accomplish, and the drive to accomplish it was external. He had no choice, no initiative yet he accomplished the task,….
You see the text, what does it say?
God has given me this sacred trust…..
God has put His faith in Paul to get this done….
Talk about a heavy load to bear, a heavy weight to carry. God trusted Paul to do this work, to be sent to people to show them the love of God. He was sent to give them hope! He’s one of those about whom Jesus spoke when He said,
“Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” John 20:21 (TEV)
So of Paul and the apostles, Jesus talks of being sent on the same mission, to have the same goal. That God gave Paul this sacred trust, even as we read a moment ago.
It doesn’t end there…for hear what Paul says to the church at Corinth, and to us,
## “You should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”
It is what the love of Christ compels us to do, what the poured out blood of Christ compels us to do. This love, this knowing God compels us to tell people why we have hope because we know Jesus.
But God compelling us, God laying upon us this burden, isn’t His heavy-handed law coming down.
It is about the gospel, it is about knowing the joy that we have, in Christ, and as we realize this, we will desire, we’ll be compelled to share this incredible joy.
Escriva & Jeremiah 9:24
One of my favorite writers struck me like this passage questioning my desire to share my hope with a quote, which turned into yesterday’s blog. It’s a bit long, but the basic idea is that our ## prayers and focus should be on the mission. That we are to help people have the hope that we have. We strive to see God’s desire that all come into this relationship with Him.
if yes, then there is great joy in your life, as you see God working through you, as people hear about this hope we have in Christ.
If no, the answer wasn’t to get out of your pew and go do it anyway. The answer was to trust more in Jesus, to know His promises more, to understand what the Father wants to give us, this covenant relationship.
The promise is seen in the cross – as His body was given, and His blood was shed, to bring us into this relationship, even as our sins are forgiven. This promise teaches us to know that we have life with God, not just now, but now and forever!
We celebrate that every time we share in the Body and Blood of Christ, for Paul says each time we do, we proclaim His death, His death for us until He comes again.
We need to know that desire of God, to rejoice in understanding that this is the aim of God our Father.
All of the sin; all of the things you are ashamed of in your life; all of the things that breaks us down; that kills our spirit; the rebellion and selfishness that is nothing more than making an idol out of ourselves. It is killed off, the sin that blocks us from God, intercepted and the victory prize is Christ’s. We became His, when we were united in His death and His resurrection.
St. Josemaria went on to say,
If you possess joy, then you seek to give it to others!
You might even say, if you possess this joy, you are compelled to give it to other! That God has so shared with you His glory, that you have no other choice for God has given you this sacred trust. Just like Paul, the apostle.
That is the love of God that compels you, the more you experience it, the more you are changed, born, transformed, and the more you want to pass it on to others.
Even to the point where like Paul, you will be what people need you to be, you will be with them, that you might gain them for Christ.
For when one comes… the joy is beyond belief.
Jeremiah put it this way…
23 GOD’s Message: “Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. 24 If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me. I’m GOD, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair and delight in those who do the same things! Jeremiah 9:23-24 (MSG)
Rejoice in this, even to the point where you brag about it!
You understand and know God, the God whose love is yours, the God who sets things right, and you know and understand His faithfulness and His loyalty.
Who makes you His own!
When someone asks you why you have hope? Share His love with them,…..share His mercy with them, and invite them to know His peace!
Posted on February 8, 2015, in Sermons and tagged Abiding in Christ, apostolate, Concordia Lutheran Church, faith, grace, Jesus, joy, mission, peace, relationship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.