139. Blessed in sharing the Gospel.
'I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.' (1 Corinthians 9:22-23) We had considered the promises of the Gospel and a sure way of partaking in the blessings is by preaching it, against all odds! For Jesus himself had said, "No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for ME and the GOSPEL will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age ... and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29-30) The Gospel holds promises for both worlds; now and then! Once we get to know the Gospel, it is impossible to hold it in because it becomes a 'fire in our bones' as the prophet Jeremiah confessed: 'But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed, I cannot.' (Jeremiah 20:9) We can't help but speak because the love of Christ compels us. 'For 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 Corinthians 5:14-15) It was this conviction that made Paul to take the Gospel to the entire Roman world. Before Paul, the leaders of the Church was unsure whether redemption could even be offered to those who were outside the Jewish law. But after his remarkable career, the tiny Jewish sect became the largest Gentile religion. We too can impact our nation, if we are passionate about Christ and his Gospel. Paul was glad to 'spend everything he has and expend himself as well' (2 Corinthians 12:15) for the sake of the Gospel. 'Unlike so many, he never peddled the word of God for profit' ( 2 Corinthians 2:17) nor did he use his God-given rights in preaching it. 'But I have not used any of these rights ... Yet when I preach the Gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me of I do not preach the Gospel. If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward, if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust comitted to me. What then is my reward? ...' (1 Corinthians 9:15-17) 'Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.' (2 Timothy 4:8) "Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12) The least we can do for Jesus is to share the Gospel. He suffered for our salvation and now he needs our help in spreading the Gospel. In doing so, 'we fill up in our flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions' (Colossians 1:24) in taking the message to the ends of the earth. 'For it has been granted to us on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him but also to suffer for him.' (Philippians 1:29) 'If we endure, we will also reign with him' ( 2 Timothy 2:12), 'if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.' (Romans 8:17) Amen.