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Are you concerned for the lost? (by Stephen Simpson)

Have you ever noticed the words of Paul in Romans 9. Notice what He writes in verses 1-3:

“I am speaking the truth in Christ – I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit – that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (ESV)

As I read those words last week it struck me that I had never actually noticed what Paul was saying before. What Paul writes is truly remarkable. He expresses a desire to literally trade “spiritual” places with Israel. In verse 2, he writes of the “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” which he felt over the spiritual condition of his kinsmen, the Israelites. Notice the intense emotion and passion that Paul felt for the lost. He reaches his climax by wishing that he was “accursed and cut off from Christ” for the sake of his brothers. Paul expresses a willingness to trade his eternal security for eternal separation in order to win his brothers to Christ. What love! What concern for the lost!

I don’t know about you, but seeing Paul’s example brings a horrible conviction. I know of many people, including many of my ‘kinsmen,’ who don’t know Christ. The sad truth is that too often I sit and do nothing. I fail to pray for them. I fail to engage them in conversation concerning the Gospel. I excuse my inaction by saying that “It’s all up to God anyway.” While reading these verses convicts me, it also motivates me and stirs my heart. I see the example of Paul and I think, “God help me to be more like Paul.”

Let us use Paul’s example to motivate us. We must be more concerned for the lost. We must always have a passion for the lost. We must always care about their spiritual condition. We must pray for God to give us the strength and the courage to act.