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a.Return today to our look at marks of a witness of the Gospel. We have not been in this sine March 22. We are looking at things in the life and teaching of the Apostle Paul that tell us what it means to be a true, effective, witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
b.Real disciple makers
i.Have a real, growing faith in Jesus Christ
(1)they demonstrate the real marks of real believers such as we find in Galatians 5:22f, I John, Acts 2:42, Rom. 8:16f, and many other texts that tell us what real Christians are and do.
(2)they have had a real, life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. We may not be able to say that we have seen Christ with the physical eye, but we have a real relationship with Him.
(3)A non-Christian may be able to recite the Gospel, go to church … but he cannot make a disciple.
(4)Are part of a church that does this work together. No one Christian is on a campaign to win the world all by himself. This is corporate activity.
ii.Have a heart for God
(1)The most crucial element for a Christian to be a disciple maker is not his burden for the lost. It is his burden for the glory of God. I Thess. 2:4
(2)A disciple maker is a believer in Jesus Christ who is so taken up with the God who has saved him that he cannot help but speak of Him to others. II Cor. 4:6 and 7.
Question: If you are walking down a street tomorrow and encounter a drunk – what will you do? What will you say? What will you think? What made my father stop and talk to that old drunk? The point of the story is not to get people to be like Reuben Davis (although that would not make the world a worse place.) The point is – What made him stop? Answer? – what made my father stop was a broken heart, a concern for a man who was enslaved to his sinful passions when he could know the liberty of being a slave of Christ. What made my father stop and talk to that man was a love for sinners.
a.We are talking about what it means to be a witness of the Gospel. We are asking the question
“What are the marks/evidences of an effective witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Answer? A heart that is broken over the lives and souls of lost people.
a.This is what we read in Romans 10 this morning – Romans 10:1-3 (ESV) Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.  I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
i.That phrase “my heart’s desire and prayer to God” is a broken heart. This is not casual desire. This is that desire that Paul tells us about in 9:1-3
(1)Paul’s broken heart for his fellow Jews – Rom. 9:1-3
(2)We see it in Jesus – Matthew 9:35-36 (ESV) – And Jesus went throughout all the cities and
villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. …
The thing to note about this episode in Jesus’ life was that when He saw people, He really saw people as they were. It was what He saw that broke His heart.
What do you see when you see lost people?
(a)Do you see you?
(b)Do you see enemies? How are you supposed to treat your enemies?
(c)Do you see people who are beyond saving – I Cor. 6:9-10 people?
Do you see people whom Providence has put in your path? And if Providence has put them there, could it not be because God has a purpose to save them and you are the one through whom He is going to do it? What ever happened to that old drunk my father encountered? You would like to hear that he got saved and he and dad got hooked up again and went on preaching tours together. But we’ll reserve that story for those who insist on happy endings. We don’t know what happened to that old drunk. We know he got some bit of Gospel truth. We know that God orchestrated that meeting between him and my father and we believe it was for the good of both of them. So maybe the man did get converted. But what about the people that Providence puts in your path from day to day. Will you be able to wonder if because of your encounter with them they investigated the truth a little further and actually came to Christ?
(3)But here are bad examples in the Scriptures as well. The most notorious would be Jonah. Poor Jonah. We tell the incredible account his encounter with the whale and then going to Nineveh to preach and too often we stop there. We most always stop there when we tell the story to children. God called Jonah; Jonah tried to run away; God found him; the whale; Jonah went to Nineveh to preach and many people were converted. He end. But it wasn’t the end. Not for Jonah at least. He still doesn’t want to be there. Why didn’t Jonah want to preach in Nineveh? Fear? That would seem logical. Assyria was a rising power and the enemy of Israel. But it wasn’t fear. It was hatred.
Jonah 3:1-10 (ESV)
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”  So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth.  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.  The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water,  but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.  Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
So far, so good. But the Book of Jonah does not end with the conversion of the Ninevites. It tells us more about Jonah.
Jonah 4:1-2 (ESV) – But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.  And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
The final words of the Book of Jonah: Jonah 4:11 (ESV) – And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Not many of us as honest as Jonah about our feelings to some of the lost people we meet. No Christian would ever say that there was someone whom they hoped would not come to Christ.
But let’s look at the opening verses of Romans 10 again.
4.“MY HEART’S DESIRE”
a.My heart’s desire – desire – eudokia – eu – well + dokia – seem – well seeming
i.- a gracious purpose, a good object being in view with a resolve to willingly do what needs to be done in order to accomplish the resolve [good grief, why can’t we get words in English with that much import?] See it in – Eph. 1:5, 9; Phil. 2:13; II Thess.1:11.
Paul’s desire here is a desire that is marked by a resolve to bring what he wants, to pass. What he wants is the salvation of his countrymen. Where that desire takes him is to tell them about Jesus.
b.What is the desire of your heart in relation to the lost? Well, that’s just silly. No one wants anyone to go to hell. No dear ones they don’t – but don’t forget the meaning of the word – a gracious purpose that resolves to willingly do what it takes to bring the desire to completion. Do we want the salvation of lost people that much?
This is where our broken hearts are to take us. Broken hearts for people can lead to a life of such inner pain that it becomes unbearable. We want the war in Afghanistan to end so that our troops and people there will be home safe. We want the abduction of little girls like we have been hearing about lately, to stop. We want an end to abuse and neglect and hunger and suffering .. . There is not much we can do. But we do what we can. We adopt a foster child – even if it is only one and relieve her and her family’s suffering. We teach our children how to be safe. We pray for people. And when it comes to lost people – we can’t evangelize the whole world – but we can give the Gospel to people Providence has put in our path. We can live faithfully before them. We can pray for them. Dear Christian you want people to be saved from their sins. What are you doing to bring it to pass?
Where did Paul go with his desire?
5.AND PRAYER TO GOD
a.Paul started on his knees.
b.This is where action begins for the souls of the lost. Pray for them. See Matthew 9:36… . Dear
ones, the desires of your heart are reflected in what you pray for. What are those things that you pray for every day that whenever you pray you find yourself praying for this thing? What is the default position of your prayer life?
(1)The other day I had lunch with a missionary to Hindus and Sikhs (not Tony Zekfeld) at the Bollywood Restaurant. After the hostess took our order for our drinks Peter prayed for our meal. The first thing he prayed? Lord we thank you for this lady who is serving us. We pray that she may come to know you … . Why did he pray that? Because it’s part of his spiritual DNA. Peter cannot meet people without at least petitioning God for their spiritual welfare. This Wednesday after 222, Peter and I and whoever from 222 is available are going on a “Prayer Walk” around the neighbourhood. Why – because it is our desire that the people of Rexdale be saved. This is something that all of us can do. And we don’t need to kill it by making it a formal ministry of the church. You need some exercise right? Take a walk after supper or early in the morning. When you go by a house and hear people screaming at each other pray for them. When someone smiles at you and says “good morning” whisper a prayer. Pray that you will be able to talk to them about the Gospel soon. Pray to know them. Pray to love them. …
(2)See the Lord’s prayer – “Your Kingdom come” – that is a prayer for the conversion of the lost. That the kingdom of Christ will be a reality in more and more people. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a prayer for people to be saved – that God’s perfect will will be desired and accomplished in the hearts of more and more people. That’s the will of God as reflected in Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11 be realized.
(3)There is nothing we can do to awaken a lost soul. Salvation is God’s work. Every day we rub shoulders with people who are certain they are right with God, who trust in their own efforts, who are sure God is pleased with them because of their charitableness or good parenting or religion… And if you suggest to them that they are not you will find out that you ought not to say anything at all. See who is saying this. Paul has given the Gospel to his fellow countrymen. See Acts 14:1-2, 19; 17:5, 11-13; 18:5-6… But Paul also knows that this was him and he now knows the true Gospel. If God could save him with all his murderous zeal then why not pray for Him to do it for some more. The problem is NOT in God’s power to save. Dear ones, do you believe that God can save zealous Muslims, fanatical Hindus, blinded Baptists, ritualistic Catholics, … … . You should, for such were some of you.
6.THEY HAVE A ZEAL FOR GOD
a.Verse 2 – “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”. Why did Paul have a desire for his fellow Jews to come to faith in Christ? Because their religion is doing them no good.
b.They have a zeal for God
i.Zeal for God is a good thing – see John 2:17 – Jesus had zeal for God., so it can hardly be said to be a bad thing.
ii.Look around this community. Look around your street. Zeal for God is everywhere.
When I walk here some mornings I smell the incense that some, in faithfulness to their god, light every morning. Zeal for God exists in those who burn their incense to their gods. Zeal for God exists in places of worship where it is believed that God is not triune. Zeal for God exists in those who refuse to go to a place of worship at all because they are so fed up with what religion represents. Zeal for God exists in those who will go to buildings called churches today where they will say religious words, and do religious things and do it faithfully for years … Those who leave money in our doorway have a zeal for God. I suppose those who make it a fairly regular habit of stealing things from this church have some kind of religious zeal. Zeal doesn’t save anybody. This city is full of people this morning who will get very excited about music, and their church, and their pastor. They will shout “amen” at all the right spots. But it doesn’t mean they are right with God. This is what broke Paul’s heart.
c.Not according to knowledge – epignwskis – epi (upon) + knowledge. Upon knowledge meaning full knowledge. They have a knowledge of God but it is a knowledge that is not sufficient. It is a deficient knowledge. It is an inoculating knowledge – it is enough to keep them from being infected with the real thing.
(1)Zeal isn’t enough. They need to know God.
(2)Hosea 4:6 – people perish from lack of knowledge –
(3)See those who are zealous for God yet without knowledge – the door knockers, the religious, the worshippers of idols …
7.A RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THEIR OWN – Verse 3
a.“for” – Paul is about to tell us how it is that Jewish people who do Not embrace Christ have a
zeal for God that is based on ignorance. What is the mark of ignorance? “…” They seek to establish their own righteousness. They deny grace. They are seeking to establish a righteousness of their own. This is what ought to break our hearts dear ones. The religious are doing what they are doing because they think they can earn ponts with God. Or they do it outweigh the bad they do. However it works out the result is the same – they are establishing their own righteousness. Look around you dear ones and have your heart broken. That kind old soul who adopts the children from overseas. Is she thinking this makes her a good person. This young man studying to be a doctor. Is he thinking that his brains make him a good man? The incense burner. Is he thinking that this has appeased his god and now he is well thought of? This one who contemplates a suicide bomb attack. Does he believe that such an act of sacrifice will make his god respond well to him? 20% of evangelicals in Canada are living or have lived with a partner they are not married to. They don’t need to go to the Scriptures to find out if they should. They establish their own righteousness. And you – are you here this morning hoping that the fact that you have come to church means that God will forget about the rudeness, the lie s you told, the temper you lost, the time you wasted … . How all of this should break the hearts of the redeemed. People all around us seeking to establish their own righteousness when the way to God is to have the righteousness of the perfect Son of God counted as his/hers.
a.Dear Christian. You want to be used of God for the salvation of lost people. It starts on your knees and it starts by praying that God will give you the kind of heart that Paul had, that Jesus had, that Jonah did not have.
b.Matthew 12:34 – Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The way you speak and what you say is a reflection of what is in your heart. A frightening thought. But it will show in our giving of the Gospel. A burdened heart will produce a life/mouth that will demonstrate that burden.
c.Be burdened for this – people are seeking to make themselves good enough for God to be pleased with them, or thinking that they are good enough just the way they are, or just don’t believe that there is a God to be concerned about and know that they are just fine the way they are. All seeking to establish their own righteousness – and all lost, and all needing Christ. Pray in a burden for them.