One lesson I learned as a kid was that if you were planning on going to the DMV (now the MVD), you better be prepared to wait. I remember going with my mom, and waiting forever for our number to be called. So as an adult, if I ever had to get a title transferred or get new plates, I knew that urgency is not a key word at the Motor Vehicle Division. However, there are many times when urgency is extremely important. For instance, at the ER, a head injury gets you seen more quickly than a broken bone. Although a head injury may not look bad on the outside, it can be much more serious in terms of damage. Similarly, as followers of Christ, there are many activities we participate in, but the task of evangelism (sharing our faith) is something that should done with a sense of urgency.
By “urgency” I don’t mean that we simply speed through a conversation about faith. No, I mean we must remember the reason behind that task of evangelism. According to the Bible, there comes a time in every person’s life when they will die. Shocking, right? However, the Bible goes on to tell us that after death comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) The Bible is clear: not every single person goes to heaven. It makes some people feel better at funerals to imagine all our loved ones “watching over us from heaven”, as if a person’s whole life, choices, and beliefs no longer mattered. Recently, famed scientist Stephen Hawking died. Hawking was a self-professed atheist who once stated, “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Yet, the moment the news went out of his death, social media was flooded with images of Stephen Hawking walking towards the clouds of heaven and leaving behind his now-unneeded wheelchair. Talk about a worldview clash.
Urgency in gospel proclamation means that followers of Christ must keep in mind that about 150,000 people on this planet die each day, and whether or not they believe in God, they will stand before Him. It doesn’t matter what we say we “believe”; some things exist and are true regardless of what we think about them. Don’t believe me? Say you don’t believe in gravity and then jump out of a plane without a parachute. That’ll make a believer out of you! The problem is, we’ve lost the idea of objective truth in our modern day. We’ve come to understand “truth” to be whatever we want it to be at any given time. However, ultimately, truth is what God says is truth. And God says death and judgment go hand in hand. We can practice self-deception, imagining everyone saved from the punishment of Hell, or we can do what God called us to do and be His ambassadors, calling people to be reconciled to God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
The reality of judgment doesn’t give us a picture of God being mean or cruel. Rather, judgment gives us a picture of God being holy, righteous, and just. You see, our problem is that God is love. (1 John 4:8) How is that a problem? If God is love, then God must punish that which is NOT love. True love cares about truth and justice. When people carry out heinous crimes, we call for justice. Whenever we perceive that an individual is guilty of a crime and yet they are able to go free without any consequences, there is public outcry. Why? Justice MUST be served. Similarly, God, being the greatest good, will be perfect in His judgment and punishment of sin. So every thought, word, and deed will be brought into account before our holy God. “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17) The only hope fallen mankind has, then, is in the finished work of Christ upon the cross. We have no goodness in us, so we must turn to the One who does, Jesus Christ. He is the one who was without sin and who willingly went to the cross to die as the substitute for His people. Gospel urgency means calling all people, at all times, to turn from sin and to turn to Christ.
Every day is a gift from God. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Thousands of people wake up each day unaware they are living their last day on earth. The big question is, “Are you ready to die?” This is not intended to be a morbid question, but an urgent question coming from a place of love and concern. Dear Christian, hear my plea: do not let another day pass without telling your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors about the amazing, saving work of Jesus Christ. Urgency in evangelism means we do not put off sharing the gospel, because another day may never come. Charles Spurgeon once said, “If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” This is the urgency we must have!
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ