Always remember who you were before you met Jesus.
Now, friend, I did not say beat yourself up about your past. I said, remember who you were before you met Jesus. So because when you remember that hopelessness and that anguish and that emptiness, it helps you have empathy or a compassion for people who don't yet know Jesus.
Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. As we continue in the book of Romans, we read more and more about how Paul remembers where he came from, in the life of sin and persecuting of the church. But we also see how he rejoices in the forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ. Find out how you too can find the forgiveness of sins and rejoice in what God has done for you. As Pastor David continues in the book of Romans with soft hearts. So we're starting Romans chapter 9. Before I start, let me go ahead and tell you this. Sometimes when I'm teaching a section of scripture, I'm like, oh, you know, somebody, these folks will be convicted by this passage or these folks will be convicted by that passage.
And, you know, of course, we're always trying to get convicted for somebody else, right? We're sitting there and we go, oh, godly, this is for my wife. Are you listening, honey? You know, and buy her several CDs so she doesn't miss it. But, you know, you hear a message that's really meant for you and you're like, oh, I so wish my neighbor was here.
He so needs to hear this. But this one today, this one's for you. This one's for you. This is a message that if you're breathing and you're sensitive, open to the Holy Spirit, you're going to be convicted today. And it's not my intent to condemn you, but to perhaps to stir you up, encourage you to what the Lord wants you to do. And so with that, and so now you can, if you want to, you know, go ahead, have your your excuses. Maybe you want to jot a couple down before I get in, you know, so you can, why it doesn't apply to you and it's good for somebody else, but not for you.
And that sort of thing before it just wanted to get you, you know, your little deflection shield ready. So Romans chapter nine, verse one says, I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying. My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit. So Paul here is sharing and keep in mind that he had been accused of being against Jewish people, which was kind of weird because Paul himself was a Jewish man. I didn't say he used to be Jewish. I said he was Jewish. He is Jewish as the writing. Matter of fact, there's a section of scripture in the book of Acts that says he continued to celebrate those customs. Now we're going to get into this and let me go ahead and say that if there's any anti-Semitism in you, if there's any dislike towards the Jewish people or towards Israel, that's going to be weeded out over these next few chapters.
Chapters nine, chapters 10, chapters 11 that speak to this issue. And understand that anti-Semitism, not liking Jewish people, is extremely demonic and dark. Jesus himself was a Jew.
We're going to be looking at that. And you know, it's like I grew up in church, but I didn't discover Jesus was a Jew until I was in my 20s. And I would argue, no, no, no, Jesus wasn't a Jew. Well, maybe he was a Jew, but then he converted to Christianity.
No, he was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, was the prophesied Jewish Messiah, chose 12 Jewish men as his disciples. So we're going to weed that out and went totally, totally from the Bible. Now, Paul says in here and talking about his conscience and, of course, we're all reminded of probably the little, you know, Pinocchio, little Gemini cricket, you know, singing let your conscience be your God. It sounds like great advice until you realize that, well, some of our consciences are really fairly messed up.
I mean, we've kind of trashed them and seared them and we can do something and not feel bad about it when we really should. And so you can't just let your conscience be your God. You really need to let the spirit of God be your God and the word of God be your God. Now, Romans chapter nine is going to be dealing with Israel's past. Romans chapter 10 was going to be dealing with Israel's present. Romans chapter 11 will be dealing with Israel's future. Now, you may be sitting there and go, well, I don't understand what the big deal about Israel is. I don't understand the significance of Judaism.
Well, you will. But keep in mind, these next three chapters are just not about Judaism or Israel. They're really about the character of God. Some of our arguments about Judaism and Israel in concerning the relationship to God, the really disconcerting thing is they speak poorly of God's character.
And here's what I mean by it. We say, well, God had this deal with Israel and Israel messed up, misbehaving. So God broke every covenant that he ever had with Israel. Now, friend, is that the God that you worship and you follow?
See, because if it is the first time you ever messed up after asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins, God's done with you. See, obviously, that's not an accurate rendering or picture of God's character or personality. So what we need to do is dig in here and see what his character and personality are composed of and what his attributes are. And so Paul is going to say, you know what, I still care about Israel. And let me ask you a question, why does Paul have a heart for Israel? Well, as I said, he was born and raised a Jew. He was born and raised studied under Gamaliel, the Bible tells us. He was a rabbi, Saul of Tarsus.
And he was actually persecuting people who had accepted Jesus as the Messiah. And I think Paul always remembered. He always remembered of who he had been before he met Jesus on that road to Damascus.
That's important. I think a lot of times as Christians, we forget what it was like before we met Jesus. If you're here and you know Jesus as your Savior, we tend to begin to drift away from what life was like before him or without him.
We forget the hopelessness, the despair, the anguish, the anxiety, the bitterness. In short, we forget what we were like before we met him. And then what happens is we begin to look at people who don't know him and we can no longer identify with them. Except maybe in a self-righteous religious way going, oh, I used to be like that, which is not what they need. Always remember who you were before you met Jesus. Always remember who you were before you met Jesus.
Now, Fred, I did not say beat yourself up about your past. I said, remember who you were before you met Jesus. So because when you remember that hopelessness and that anguish and that emptiness, it helps you have more than sympathy and empathy or compassion for people who don't yet know Jesus.
And it makes you all the more grateful for what the Lord is doing in you. And so I think Paul, as he went through his life, he always remembered how he persecuted Christians, how he was caught up in this legalistic religious trying to find God's approval through works. And he's been accused of not caring about the Jewish people, which is kind of strange because let's remember the book of Romans, it comes after the book of Acts, but actually it was written during the book of Acts.
So what do we see in the book of Acts? Every time Paul goes into a town, what's the first place it goes to? Every time if there's a synagogue, he goes to the synagogue.
Why does he do that? Oh, it just always went so well when he went to town and went to the synagogue. No, no, as we look through the book of Acts, it went horribly sometimes. And yet next town, he goes in the synagogue.
Why is that? He had a heart for the Jewish people. His understanding was take it to the Jews first. We're going to get into that.
I don't know. At some point in Romans chapter nine and chapter 10, the apostle Paul laid the foundation for the New Testament church. And yet few of us in the church today really understand the events and places that shaped this remarkable man. But now pastor and Bible teacher David McGee has created the footsteps of Paul tour through the heart of the ancient world. You'll be a part of a breathtaking three-day tour of the famous Greek islands. Also during the tour, David McGee will be opening the Bible to teach on Mars Hill, the very place in Athens Paul taught about the unknown God. We'll go up to the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon. Also, we'll visit Patmos, the place where John wrote the book of Revelation. We'll continue to Ephesus in Turkey, sharing the history, stories, and reality of these historic places that changed the future of the church. Plus, be a part of an actual television production as we film parts of the tour for our national TV program, Cross the Bridge. The Footsteps of Paul tour with pastor and Bible teacher David McGee. Combine your vacation with an in-depth experience in the reality of God's Word. For more information, visit CrossTheBridge.com or call us at 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Contact us today because space is limited and this tour will fill up fast. Did you know one of the keys to spiritual growth is to daily be in the Word of God? I want to help you to do that. You see, I send out an email every day with a scripture passage, a life lesson, a directed prayer, and some encouraging thoughts. All you need to do is go to CrossTheBridge.com and sign up for our absolutely free Evotional. And also, you'll receive prayer support. You let us know if you have a prayer need and you'll get specially discounted offers. God and His Word promises that His Word always produces fruit, always. So let's get started.
Go to CrossTheBridge.com and sign up for our Evotional. You'll be glad you did. Now let's return to our study. Let's look at verse 2.
It says that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. You know, when we got to the end of Romans 8, or the whole chapter of Romans 8, we took a lot of time in there, and we started out with no condemnation. We ended up with no separation. And in the middle, we found out that everything works together for our good. If we're called, it works to our good according to God's purpose.
We close that chapter, and now all of a sudden, it's like continual grief. First glance, you go, well, that's kind of the opposite. But let's understand, Christianity is filled with opposites, if you will. Opposites like, if you want to find your life, you got to give it away.
If you try to hold on to it, you're going to lose it. A lightness and a joy in your soul, understanding there's no separation. And now this continual grief in your heart towards those that don't know. There's certain things that mark a mature Christian. When I say a mature Christian, I'm not talking about somebody that's necessarily been saved five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, a chronological number. I'm talking about somebody that's really grown in the Lord and is really following the Lord. And there's several things that just mark a mature Christian. One of them is a love for God's Word.
And they're probably in the Bible most days, if not all. Enjoy spending time with the Lord in prayer. Enjoy spending time with God's people. It's the mark of a mature Christian that has made the decision to be in fellowship and to be committed. Tithing is the mark of a mature Christian. Now am I saying that automatically by giving 10% that makes you a mature Christian? No, but I am saying that if you don't tithe, there's no way you are a mature Christian.
That's the clear teaching of Scripture supports all these things. And so now we have another unique mark of a mature Christian. What is it? A burden for the lost. A burden for the lost. You cannot say, I am a mature Christian and not care if people hear about Jesus or not.
There's no way. If you think of yourself today in here or you're listening, the TV or radio or whatever, and you think of yourself as a mature Christian, but you don't have a burden for the lost, friend, let me break it to you as kindly as I can. You're not a mature Christian. Because with this understanding of what Jesus did for you is what he wants to do for others. Now, I understand it.
It's a progression. You know, the moment you come to Jesus, it's not about anybody else. It's just about you and him. As a matter of fact, you have to really forget about everybody else to come to Him, don't you? Because at some point, you know, we have the altar calls here. I give the invitation and at that point, you can't be thinking about what the person to your left or to your right is thinking or the person behind you or the person in front of you.
You're going to be like, you know what, I got to go down there. I got to ask God to forgive me of my sins either for the first time or coming back to Him. So it's not about other people at that point. Come to God, you ask Him. You don't ask Him to forgive your neighbor's sins, do you?
No, you ask Him to forgive yours. But the moment that divine transaction is finished, everything changes in it because you begin to look around at people and you see them differently. I remember just being as a baby Christian, being blown away, going to the mall and it was like I'd never seen people before because all of a sudden it wasn't just a crowd of people. It was, I was looking at their eyes. I was, it was almost like I was looking into their soul in the sense of, oh, they look like they know the Lord. They don't look like they know the Lord.
Why? Because this natural progression of receiving my forgiveness and then wanting other people to receive their forgiveness. And where you are on that scale tells a lot about where you are with the Lord. Where you would, you know, one to 10 or whatever would rank your burden tells a lot about how closely you're following Jesus.
Obviously, Jesus was burdened for the lost. I have two things that kind of molded me as a believer, if you will. One of the things I went back to high school, I went to as a young believer and was going to talk to people about the Lord.
And my eyes met another young man that I knew and I thought, man, I need to go share the good news about Jesus. He can be forgiven, you know, and, but then this, this other guy to my right was wanting to talk about, you know, should you listen to rock music and stuff? And it was like, you know, and so I felt like, well, I got to win this argument here.
So let's do our little debate thing. And at the end of it, nothing productive came. The guy just wanted to argue. He didn't really want to talk. He wasn't open to hearing what I had to say or what the Bible said or what Scripture said.
He just wanted to argue. And so I got finished with that. I turned to look to see the other guy and he was gone. I thought, I'll bummer, man. I'll try to catch up with him and look for him. Four days later, that guy died in a fatal car crash.
And I wondered if God in his mercy sent somebody else to him, but I knew God had sent me and I didn't do it. Now I've got to carry that with me. I'll carry it to the grave. As a matter of fact, it was 20, 20 plus years ago.
I still, Mark Snyder still remember his name. I'll never forget it because I said, Lord, I don't want that to ever happen again. See, there are people in this world that you are supposed to tell. And if you don't tell them, well, somebody else, you don't know. You can't control that.
What you can control is whether you tell them or not, whether you open your mouth and the thing of, well, I just don't want it to be socially awkward. That's just hogwash. That's cowardice. The other thing was I was praying and, you know, when you're a young believer, you pray these interesting prayers, don't you? And I was praying, God, give me, here's an arrogant prayer. I said, God, give me your burden for the lost. And Jesus in that still small voice said, you could not handle it. It's what kept me hanging on the cross.
My burden for the people of this world. And I said, Lord, just give me a portion of your burden for the lost. And the Lord said, put your hand on your heart.
I'd ask you to do the same. Put your hand on your heart today. Lord said, you feel your heart beating. With every beat of your heart every day, every week, every month, every year, with every beat of your heart, a lost person is slipping to an eternity without me.
That's quite a number. Now, oftentimes we think, well, somebody needs to do something about that. Yeah, that somebody is us. We're the ones that are supposed to be done. Now don't sit there and go, well, pastor David, in that kind of your job. Well, it's our job. And I know we'll partner with you. I, you know, we, we every week, Sunday morning, you know, I talk about salvation and, and we give an invitation and, and why do we do that? Because it's important. Because I realize that some of you, some of you bringing friends that don't know Jesus.
And here's the shot. We partner together. You invite them. I'm going to invite them to Jesus. You will know I covenant with you that every time I'm up here on Sunday morning, there's going to be a presentation of the gospel. There's going to be an invitation to come to Jesus. You don't have to sit there and go, well, I hope he does it this Sunday.
No, it's if I'm here, if I'm up here, I'm alive and breathing. It's going to happen. Amen. I, I've been in churches and sat there and thought, well, you know, they brought a bunch of unsafe people.
I hope they give an invitation and then they didn't. And it's like, well, bummer. And why are we talking about this? If we do it, because it guys, the Bible's talking about it here and we need to understand this has to remain a focus of this church. Because if we don't talk about it, if our hearts aren't sparked towards us, you know what's going to happen?
It'll go away. I'm not arrogant enough to think that we can't follow the path of other churches. Other churches that used to proclaim the gospel, every service and got away from it. Because we could get to the point where somebody shows up. Hey, I want to get saved. Oh, oh, we do that. There's some room around here you're supposed to go to if you want to do that.
No, and I take time every week. And you guys, if you've been here for very long, you see when I'm kind of slipping into that salvation invitation mode. I know that I know some of you are aware because some of I see your head bow, your eyes closed and you begin to pray for me and the people that are in here. And during the services, there's people over in the prayer room that are praying as the presentation of the gospel happens. But maybe some of you, I don't know. I mean, I don't know if you've noticed our church services a little longer than most.
If you own a watch, I guess you noticed. And, you know, some mornings, I'll be honest with you. I think I'm headed for the close. I don't tell you all that. I've learned not to do that. You ever sat under a pastor that now in closing, he does that like eight times. And like 30 minutes later, you're going, what happened to the closing? So I don't say that in closing because I never know when I'm closing, to be honest. People guess when I'm closing, they don't know.
If I don't know, they don't know. And I, you know, sometimes I think I'm headed for, you know, what you call the barn door. I think I'm headed for the barn door. And then, you know, I'll talk about salvation for another 10, 15, 20 minutes sometime. Now, the part of me is like, why did I explain salvation so thoroughly yet again?
Because the Spirit of God is leading me to do that. And how we respond to that, how we think of that, I mean, if you're sitting in, you're going, okay, okay, close already. The line is forming at the restaurant. I got to get out of here. There's going to be a mess in the parking lot, a line in the children's ministry. And I got to go.
Would you close? If that's your heart, friend, something's wrong. Because at that high holy moment, you should be going, oh, yes, yes, God touch him, God lead him, God speak through him. Pray for the people around you. Pray for those people in this very place that don't know you.
Pray for the people who are going to be watching through the television, listening through the radio that are going to hear that. Because it tells a lot about the heartbeat of a church if they have a heart for the lost. Now, I have a heart for the lost, but again, we've got to have a heart for the lost. Life lesson here is followers of Jesus should care and be willing to sacrifice for those that do not know Jesus as their Savior. Followers of Jesus should care and be willing to sacrifice for those that do not know Jesus as their Savior. Paul here is sharing his heart, and I believe this is the heart that we should have towards people who don't know Jesus, to have sorrow and grief in our heart, towards them. And how we're willing to care and willing to sacrifice and give up our time, give up our finances to reach people tells a lot about us. And so we need to continue to nurture and protect this heart towards the lost. And we do a lot of things with TV, the television, the radio, internet stuff, and all that's growing and God's blessing it. And why are we doing all that stuff to tell people about Jesus? Occasionally, I'll talk to a pastor and go, well, that TV show is a lot of work.
Unbelievable amount of work. Well, you know, is that helping your church grow? So, you know, that's the wrong question, isn't it?
What do you mean? It's not about growing the church. It's about telling people about Jesus. So we need to join together, covenant, stimulate, sometimes agitate one another to be sharing the good news with people. Now, what's Paul's burden about?
How much of a burden does he have? Let's look at verse three here. Romans chapter nine, verse three. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen, according to the flesh. Accursed from Christ. Paul here is saying, I am willing to be lost. I am willing to be eternally separated from God if that would accomplish them coming to the Lord. Friend, that's convicting.
That is just flat out convicting. Imagine if I said, okay, hey, in order to reach the lost, I don't know what your favorite restaurant is, but in order to reach the lost, you can't go to your favorite restaurant anymore. Some would be like, can I get back to you on it? What if I said you got to give up your favorite food in order to reach the lost?
Some of you go, not sure. Paul says the very thing that is most precious to me, the very reason I live and have my being, I'm willing to give that up if somehow I can reach other people. So is that your passion for the lost? Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things, I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
So congratulations, friend, you just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you've prayed this prayer with Pastor David, receiving Jesus Christ for the first time, or rededicating your life to the Lord, please call and let us know. We want to send you our exclusive First Steps package for free. This package will help you grow in your new life. Receive your First Steps package by calling 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508, or visit us online at CrossTheBridge.com. When you call, let our Call Team representative know where you heard about our broadcast. You know what, friend?
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