The following is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, THE MASTER BUILDER: Wisdom For Today’s Apostles. Follow this link to obtain your copy of THE MASTER BUILDER today.
“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek.” ROMANS 1:14-16 NKJV
Paul reveals his heart to reach all people with the gospel of Christ and gives three reasons why he will do so.
I AM A DEBTOR.
Here is the reason why all Christians should have a measure of the apostolic heart after having been impacted by the ministry anointing of an apostle. Apostles will impart to us a “sense of obligation,” as Paul says, “I am a DEBTOR.” When the apostolic heart has been revealed to us, we also will sense our obligation to share the good news with others, we will all become missionaries to the part of this world God has called us to live in and influence. Many Christians have no sense of obligation at all regarding the responsibility we have to share what we know about Jesus Christ with others. I remember my attitude to my debts before I was born again, I oftentimes would let them go to collection with the intention of never paying them at all. I was a “taker” and not a “giver” who lived for self exclusively, not unlike many others without Christ. But when I was saved, what a change came into my life regarding my obligations, I make sure all my bills are paid on time and that I have an excellent credit rating. I became conscientious about my debts in the natural and in the spiritual realm, I want to have a good name as a Christian.
I attended Dayton Bible College in the late ’70’s in Dayton, Ohio where I obtained a B.A. in Biblical Studies. One of our courses was on the major cults with at textbook by Jack Sparks. He made a comment that has never left me, he said, “The cults are the unpaid bills of the church.” God impacted me with this saying as I realized that Jesus had paid my “debts,” all the sins I had committed and ever would commit, but He also left me with a debt to pay. My debts include all the lost people of this world, I owe it to Jesus to tell them about what He has done for all of us. I also owe it to them because I “know the truth” regarding Eternal Life, and for me to withhold a lifesaving device from a drowning person would be criminal. The church today that lives in the “me culture,” may never give thought to the obligation we all have to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. The excuses range from, “that’s not my spiritual gift” to, “I don’t have that kind of personality.” But when our hearts are touched with the apostolic grace, we will realize that the “love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts” resulting in a great sense of obligation for the eternal destiny of others…
I AM READY.
Paul goes on to reveal the impact of this “sense of obligation” upon his own life by indicating how he had prepared himself in response. He says, “as much as is in, I am READY.” Wow! No half-hearted effort here, “as much as is in me” means he gave it a 110% effort. In other words, “I have done all to prepare myself to meet the challenges of sharing the gospel in any culture and to any ethnic group.” This is the “missionary heart.” Why do we “go to church,” “attend bible studies and conferences” if not to prepare ourselves to share the gospel effectively. Without the “sense of obligation,” we will study and learn all we can just to enhance our own lives and live the dream of prosperity that we believe God wants us to enjoy. We must lift our vision to the whitened harvest fields and be “prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in our hearts.” God is waiting for the church to bring in the harvest of the “former and latter rains” so that He can send His Son back to this earth (James 5:7-8). Paul urged Timothy to be fully prepared to share his faith by being a diligent student of the Word.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth.” 2 TIMOTHY 2:15 NKJV
Paul was prepared with the “wisdom and revelation” of the Word of God, he was ready to explain the “finished work of Christ” in enough detail to convince the unbelievers of their need to receive Jesus as Lord. It is sad to say that most cults today have gleaned their members from former Christian church attendees or members who never applied themselves to study the Bible and were able to be seduced from the faith with “doctrines of demons” (1 TIMOTHY 4:1). Have you studied what “you” believe, and what the “other guy” believes as well so that you can show them the difference in truth and error? When we have become “debtors,” we will also get “ready.”
I AM NOT ASHAMED.
Finally, Paul says what he knows about the gospel of Christ, “it is the power of God.” Paul knows and expects that the power of God will manifest as he preaches the gospel so that the message will be confirmed and people will be without excuse. Have you ever had the urge to share the gospel with someone but balked because you would be ashamed if God suddenly showed up and “caused a scene.” Maybe the person will begin to cry, or worse yet, maybe they will want you to pray for them and others are nearby and might hear you. How about this, what if you prayed for them and they were slain by the power of God right there in the parking lot? Paul was ready for anything and was not ashamed to be “identified” with Christ who would show up and show out. We see an example from Paul’s ministry in Lystra where he was stoned for manifesting the power of the gospel.
“And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul observed him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.” ACTS 14:8-9 NKJV
The crowd got so excited that they began to proclaim that Paul and Barnabas were Greek gods and they wanted to sacrifice to them. Paul stopped them from trying to worship them as “mere men,” but the word got out regarding this miracle and Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and stoned Paul, and supposing that he was dead, dragged him out of the city (ACTS 14:19). I like the next verse,
“However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.” ACTS 14:20 NKJV
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lived in Paul and raised him up in complete health so that he could go right back to his apostolic assignment without interruption. This same “missionary heart” of the apostle can be our heart as well.
Pray and ask the Father, Give me the missionary heart that has a sense of my obligation to share the good news, the dedication to prepare myself as a workman and the courage to identify with Christ and His power, In Jesus Name. Amen
What you just read is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, THE MASTER BUILDER: Wisdom For Today’s Apostles. Follow this link to obtain your copy of THE MASTER BUILDER today.