“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” – Luke 15:4.
If you have attended Northstar for any length of time, you know our vision is to help the whole world find and follow Jesus. This vision is predicated on some fundamental truths: God loves people desperately. People are lost without Him so they need Jesus. We need to have more of God’s heart for the lost.
The Apostle Paul famously said that his “heart’s desire” and his “prayer to God” is that his fellow Jews “may be saved” (Romans 10:1). The problem was that these “kinsmen according to the flesh” were lost—bound for an eternity without God—which filled Paul’s heart with “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (Romans 9:2-3). We want that passion, that heart for the lost that Paul had.
As we begin our 21 Days of Prayer, I encourage you to pray for a passion for those far from the heart of God. First, remember the plight of those who have not chosen to follow Jesus. And keep in mind the terrible reality of entering eternity without Christ. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Take a moment and reflect on the joy you would have over one sinner who repents and turns to Christ through your prayer, life, and witness. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?” And John said in 3rd John 4:, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Let your imagination grasp the joy of being used by God to bring a person from death to eternal life.
Pray for God to increase your love for the lost. Listen to the apostle’s prayer for us in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men.” Such love is not natural to us. It is a gift of grace.
Pray that we have the courage to act on the passion and love we have for the lost. 1 John 3:18-19 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:” In other words, if we don’t just talk about caring for others but we take the steps to win our neighbors and friends, even strangers for Jesus Christ.
- Do you have believe that anyone is beyond God’s reach and love? Why or why not? How does your answer impact your view of those far from the heart of God?
- Why do you think the Lord Jesus put such a strong emphasis on proclaiming the Gospel?
- What role does the church play in communicating the words and works of the Gospel? Consider the role that you play in communicating the words and works of the Gospel.
- Think about the significance of us being the salt and light of the world? What did Jesus mean by this in Matthew 5:13-15?