Rhonda, a girl in her midtwenties, grew up in New England and was about as unfamiliar with the Christian message as any American I’d ever met. So I started with the basics—who God is and why Jesus came. She asked a lot of questions. But I wasn’t prepared for the question she asked toward the end:
“You actually believe this?”
“Yes, of course I do,” I said.
She replied, “Because if I actually believed what you are saying—that everyone in my life who didn’t know Jesus was separated from God’s love and headed to hell—I’m not sure how I would make it through the day. I would constantly be on my knees pleading with people to listen. But you . . . you don’t seem that bothered by all this. You are a great debater, but you don’t seem that upset that I am not persuaded.”
I didn’t know what to say. I knew she was right. I was saying all the right things, but my heart did not reflect the gravity of what I was saying.
I’ve come to see this as a form of unbelief—assenting to truths with our mind while hardening our heart to their realities. How does a person who really believes the gospel feel about the world?
Charles Spurgeon was once asked by one of his students whether those who had never heard about Jesus could ever be saved. “A troubling question indeed,” he consented. But even more troubling, he said, was whether we who know the gospel and do nothing to bring it to the lost could actually be saved. He said,
If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself. You will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of his sweet love. . . . Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor.
Burning hearts, he went on to say, will always result in flaming tongues. Anyone who really encounters Jesus won’t need to be compelled to talk about him. They won’t be able to stay silent.
This is exactly what we hear when Paul explains to the Corinthians why he is willing to go to such extreme measures to get the gospel to others: “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor 5:14–15). This love of Christ is both love for Christ and a sense of his love for sinners, both of which will burn in our hearts. — Greear and David Jeremiah, Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on J.D. Greear’s newest book, Not God Enough. These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.