Why is it important for us to know what heaven is most passionate about on earth? Because that’s where God is working and investing the majority of His resources. And that’s what we need to focus on if we want to be a part of what God is doing.
One day Jesus ministered to a group including some publicans and sinners. “The Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). What’s so said about this event is that these religious leaders thought something was wrong with what Jesus was doing.
The Lord responded, “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (verse 7). Of course, God loves His children. He loves to see us gather in His name. He loves it when we praise and worship Him. It pleases Him when His Word is being preached to His people. But there is something that tops all of that in the eyes of God. It’s when a sinner repents and accepts Christ as his or her Savior. That’s the heart of God. That’s heaven’s greatest joy. That’s what Calvary was all about.
Since the salvation of the lost is heaven’s greatest joy, that should become ours as well. Currently, I don’t believe the Christian church is nearly as focused on reaching the lost as it should be. No, soul-winning is not a mandate for our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. But having a burden for the lost is required of us if we want to obey Christ. It is required if we want to have a heart after God’s. And it is required if we want the power of God operating in our lives more completely.
There is nothing you and I can do as Christians that causes heaven to rejoice more than winning the lost. In some Christian circles, for instance, the so-called “prosperity gospel” is the main focus. But God is far more interested in the salvation of the lost than He is in the material prosperity of the saved. Moreover, when He does bless us to prosper, it is primarily for investing in Kingdom work.
Let us not be like the Pharisees and scribes who deemed it wrong to eat with and welcome sinners. Suppose those who were saved had that view toward us when we were lost? And how can we reach the lost if we have the flawed view of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day?
Rather, let us follow the example of our Savior. He understood that we cannot reach the lost by withdrawing from them. We should invest time in them. We should show ourselves friendly. In doing so, we increase our chances that they will receive our witness for Christ. When we do this and a sinner says yes to Jesus, this constitutes the greatest joy in heaven. And the Lord wants that to become our greatest joy as well.
Copyright © 2015 by Frank King. All rights reserved.