I have had something on my heart for sometime but some recent Facebook conversations have made it more urgent for me to write about. Not for any purpose but to get it out in the open to reference back to. For this reason I will take a break from the Seeker Church series of posts that I have been writing.
I will start with a passage of scripture that has had a deep impact on me and my heart for people who may not know God. To set the stage a bit, Stephen has just presented one of the most indepth and uncompromsing gospel messages. This is what happened next.
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Notice what Stephen said as the stones were beating against his body.
“Lord, they hate me and the message you have commanded me to preach. But, I don’t care. All I care about is that they might come to know you. What they have done and what they are doing is wrong, I know this, but please don’t let this be the end. Don’t let this be the thing that disqualifies them once and for all. I know where I am going and even though they are treating me and you this way, I still want to see them there as well. I want them to know you as I do.”
So maybe I did paraphrase a bit but the truth is, that is what my heart hears as I read this passage. It is this ideal that my Father in heaven is calling me to walk in. It is with this understanding that I lead LifePoint and preach the gospel.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
On this Good Friday let us remember that Jesus Christ our Lord died for those who do not know what they are doing. Let us love people more than we love our own idea of repentance, salvation and good Christian living. Like Stephen, it won’t change the rich truths of these doctrines but it will change our heart for those who don’t understand them.