Have you ever been frustrated? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! Asking a question that basic is almost the same as asking “Do you breathe oxygen?” If you are alive on this planet, you understand what it means to be frustrated. But what is the root of frustration? To say it another way, what is the common thread that leads to our feeling frustrated?
The dictionary definition tells us frustration is “the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to achieve something.” In other words, when we want to accomplish “x” really badly, and we are prevented from doing so, we get frustrated. When our hard work does not lead to a raise or a promotion, we get frustrated. When we cannot seem to get that last screw driven in on a woodworking project, we get frustrated. When our child won’t turn off the TV when we ask them to, we get frustrated. When we cannot complete a homework assignment because we left our paper at school, we get frustrated. We can all relate to the feeling of frustration.
Today, however, I want discuss frustration from a different perspective. I want us to think of NOT what frustrates us, but what frustrates the God who created us. Not what makes us upset, but what upsets Jesus who died for us. Not what we want to accomplish, but what Jesus wants to accomplish through us.
God has created mankind with an innate desire to know Him . . . as Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, God has placed “eternity in man’s heart.” This desire is ultimately met in Jesus Christ who is the “image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15),” and “anyone who has seen Me (Jesus) has seen the Father (God) (John 14:9).” As followers of Jesus Christ, we have come to know God in a personal way. We get to rejoice with Him (Luke 15:17-24), and also to endure with Him in suffering (Philippians 3:10-11). We even have the hope of being with Him forever in heaven (John 14:1-3).
As we live out our life, we get to have a relationship with the Living God. Indeed, “this is eternal life: that they would know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You sent (John 17:3).” In many ways, we get to know God through a study of the Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 indicates that through the Scripture we get to know God and His plans for our lives. The study of Scripture, then, is a theological task. (The word theology means the study of God.) We get to know God through a study of the Bible.
But WHY did God give us knowledge of Himself? He certainly gave us knowledge of Himself for our own benefit (to lead us to salvation, to encourage us with His light as we live in a dark world, to guide us in righteousness, and to inspire our worship of Him), but He also has given us knowledge of Himself SO THAT we would proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That’s right. God has shared with us deep theology (in part) so that we would be His evangelists on this earth.
A theology that does not have evangelism as a central application is a theology that frustrates God. It upsets Him when any of the purposes of His revelation are short circuited before they are accomplished. Of course God WILL accomplish the spread of the Gospel to the ends of the earth with or without us (He has guaranteed it with His promise) . . . but it is His intention that each of us be involved. When we fail to engage in evangelism, our theology is frustrated at some level.
God wants to accomplish the global expansion of the Gospel (see Psalm 67 or Isaiah 66:18-21 for Old Testament anchors to this idea and Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 or Acts 1:8 as New Testament directives). Knowledge of God compels us (as His people) to share His Gospel with others . . . to join Him on this mission as He works through us.
I was thinking about this idea today as we prepare for the final 4 messages in our study of the book of Romans. Each Sunday during the month of November at Wildwood Community Church, we will unpack one of the remaining sections of Romans 15:14 – 16:27. These verses mark the epilogue to one of the greatest (if not the greatest) theological treatises ever written – Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Paul concludes this great theology by reminding us of the mission God had given him . . . and by God’s grace the mission we are to share together. In a sense, this is a co – mission that Jesus shared with Paul and the Romans and us. For Paul to have his theology achieve its intended objective, it needed to end in proclaiming Christ among those who have never heard . . . and he has invited us to join him in that mission.
God has given us a knowledge of Himself to inspire us to share it with others. Will you join this co:mission? Let’s gather together and look at God’s Word as we wrap up our 15 month long study of this great book in November at Wildwood. See you this Sunday as we kick off in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service.