Broken for Your Place: Part 2by Nick Gatzke on February 22, 2013
Dr. Nick Gatzke
Osterville Baptist Church
Series: The 1.5 PUSH
Broken for Your Place: Part 2
Luke 19:41-44; Romans 9:1-5
The following is a dialogue from the once-popular sitcom, Seinfield, between Elaine and her boyfriend, David Puddy.
Elaine asks, "Do you believe in God?"
"Yes," her boyfriend replies.
Elaine asks, "Is it a problem that I'm not religious?"
"Not for me," David answers.
"How's that?" she asks.
Her boyfriend says, "I'm not the one going to hell."
I can’t live like this! David, I’m going to hell! The worst place in the world, with devils and those caves and the ragged clothing. You should be trying to save me!” Elaine says while hitting David…..“If you think I’m going to hell you should care that I’m going to hell, even though I am not.”
I encourage you to take a few minutes as watch the video clip. You can find it HERE.
“If you think I’m going to hell you should care that I’m going to hell, even though I am not.”
To be honest with you, I’m not a big Seinfeld fan, but that clip strikes a chord. It mirrors how our culture is today. You have a bunch people who don’t think they are going to hell…..and a bunch of Christians who are completely indifferent about it.
Today we continue ours series that we are calling “The 1.5 Push.” If you have read our previous messages you will remember that we have learned from the Scriptures about God’s desire for Christians to function ambassadors for Him, as if we are His mouthpiece in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5). We’re calling the series the “1.5 Push” because statistics shockingly show that Barnstable-Yarmouth, Massachusetts has been found to be the 2nd least Evangelical metropolitan area in the United States of America. 1.5 percent of people in this locale have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
By any definition this is an unreached people group for the Gospel.
We’ve been asking the questions: “What does God want?” and “What does God want from us?” and few months ago I introduced the idea that part of the reason why are not more effective at spreading the gospel is because we are not adequately broken for our place. We love this place. This is a place we enjoy. This is a place where there are days when we wake up, look out the window, smell the fresh breeze coming off the sea and we say to ourselves, “this is why I live here! I love this this place!” And yet, we are not burdened by the dark spiritual reality that exists here.
We saw in the Scriptures that the first step to becoming broken for your place is to become invested in it. We do this because God has called you to this time and this place to accomplish His purposes. And when you come terms with that reality, that God has called you, here and now, to accomplish His purposes, it changes the way that you look at the people around you. It also means that you dig deep roots, you invest, because that is one of the ways God works to accomplish His purposes through you.
Today we turn focus again on what it means to be broken for your place. This place that we love, this place that we are invested in, this place that God has called us to be during this specific time in history. What does it mean to be “broken” for it?
Let’s read together from Luke 19:41-44
41 As (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another,because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
In Biblical Studies, we not only look at what a text says, what it means, and then what it means for us while merely focusing on the content of a passage. We also look at the “tonal quality” of a passage. What is the tone? Because we all know that in a conversation, a book, an email or a phone call the tone of what is said, changes the way something is communicated.
What is the tonal quality of this passage? The parade ends and immediately Jesus weeps for His people. I would say that the tone could be described as Desperation or Brokeness.
I. Jesus Weeps for His People. As he enters the city, a mixture of sorrow and compassion fill his heart. That is what being broken for your place is: a mixture of sorrow and compassion. Jesus just entered the city on what we call Palm Sunday. People were praising, people were cheering, people were holding him in high honor. And yet, he knew what was about to happen, as a week later he would be crucified. He also knew how quickly they’d turn, as their outward expressions lacked the backing of genuine faith. He was coming to die for these people. His heart contained sorrow and compassion for them. He wanted them to “get it.” He wanted them to be reconciled to God, but they would not put their faith in Him.
VS. 41 Vs. 42 – the nuance of the word for “tears” here is strong. “Klaio” - It is a word that communicates inner turmoil to the point of sobbing or wailing. This is the type of pain that is felt by a parent who is watching a child destroy their life. This is the type of intense sorrow that comes from the sudden loss of a loved one, when reality sets in and there is nowhere else to turn. And Jesus weeps for these people. He was notindifferent toward them. They were sealing their fate through unbelief and the result was that he was broken for them.
Why is He broken for them?
II. He is broken for them because he knows the consequences of their choice. He knows the consequence of their choice, even if they don’t. In this case, the consequences are that the city of Jerusalem will be toppled over and many will be destroyed. We know that Israel is a type of all people in their relationship with God and so this story extends to us. But first, focusing on the event for Israel in the near future, this destruction that Jesus is referring will happen in less than 40 years. The Romans will come in and destroy Jerusalem in the year 70AD. The picture is graphic. (vs. 44) “To dash you to the ground, you and your children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on top of another.” If you were to close your eyes and try to picture the scene, you would see two things: dead bodies and ruins. Complete Destruction. Total loss. He is broken for them because he knows the consequences of their actions.
Jesus knows what they have decided about him and that as vs. 44 says, they have failed to recognize the time for God to reveal salvation to them.
I don’t know about you, but I could imagine a scenario in which Jesus thinks to himself:
“They were been told about God’s plan years ago; they have been told about the coming Messiah; they have been told about me specifically and now they have seen me in the flesh. They have seen the demonstrations of God’s power through miracles, they have heard God’s word spoken to them by me – truth into their life. The opportunity for reconciliation to God is before them and they have rejected it. Now, they get what they deserve. They get what is coming to them. They receive the consequence for their actions.”
That’s probably how I would respond in my flesh.
And that response (they are getting what they deserve), I would imagine, would lead to a sense of indifference toward their eternal state.
But Jesus doesn’t respond that way.
Likewise, I wonder if any of you have ever thought to yourself about a friend or neighbor or the 98.5% percent of people around you that don’t now Christ as their savior, “He lives in a Christian country; he has accesses to churches; he has three bibles on his shelf, he can even listen to Christian radio. He was told the truth and he’s rejected it. He’s had the chance to respond to it and now he has to live with the consequences.”
Have you ever thought that before?
And this results in indifference toward their eternal state.
If you’re honest. That’s the logic that vast majority of us live by. Maybe you don’t follow it all the way through to its logical end in your mind, but I imagine, that for 80-90% of us here today, our lives reflect that sort of logic. And when that happens, we become indifferent to the salvation of those around us. And when we become indifferent, we abandon our role as God’s ambassador – and that is why only 1.5% of the people in Barnstable-Yarmouth have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
But here’s the thing….What does God want? What does God want for Barnstable and Yarmouth and Mashpee and Sandwich and Falmouth? (He) wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4) and (He) take(s) no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live (Ezk 33:11).
Now if there is anyone who should be indifferent toward the people of Jerusalem, it is God! And yet, Jesus weeps ,wails and sobs over their impending destruction. If there is anyone who should be indifferent toward the 98.5% of people around us who are lost, its God! And yet, he is patient with them, not wanting any to be lost, but for all to be saved. (2 Peter 3:9).
This is God’s Missional Heart for the lost. Jesus weeps and mourns over their destruction. This same heart or disposition, or longing, or brokenness has been taken up by the followers of Jesus for centuries, because they ask the question, “What does God want?” (He wants all to be Saved) and respond by saying,” if that is what God wants, then that is what I want.” They align their desires with His, and when that happens, He breaks their heart for a place.
Why? Because they understood the consequences.
The Seinfeld clip is indicative of how our whole society handles something of eternal significance. You laugh, I laugh, we laugh together, and it is funny…..in one sense. And in another sense, when you talk about the most serious and severe things of this life, death and eternity, there is absolutely nothing funny about it.
If you are honest, would you say that you are broken for the lost around you?
III. Romans 9 shows us an example of the Christian’s brokenness for the lost. The Apostle Paul demonstrates this in Romans 9:1-5 when he is speaking of the Jews who have rejected Jesus. In Romans 9 he is starting a new section on God’s saving work through unconditional election when He makes his brokenness for His people known.
Remember, Paul is a Jew who has come to faith in Jesus and in Romans 9 he writes, “ I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel….
It was the Jews who were persecuting Paul! If anyone should be saying, “they’ve had their chance and they blew it, now they can have the consequences,” it should be Paul. Yet, instead of indifference, he is utterly broken for His people. So much so, that he even goes so far as to express it in the direst of terms. He himself would suffer the consequences of unbelief if only they would be saved.
Why is he broken for them? Because he understands the consequences. The consequences of unbelief in Jesus and His saving work, is full and complete judgment of your sins, which results in eternal damnation in hell. As a result, he uses the term “cursed” to describe their eternal state. Now, I know that the topic of hell isn’t one that people like to talk about, but if you don’t understand that it is (1) real; (2) that it is the consequence for unbelief in Jesus’s saving work; and that (3) the Bible talks about it in a number of ways, then you will never be fully broken for your place.
Jesus speaks directly hell in a number of places:
Revelation 1:18: I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
John 3:36: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
Matthew 13:24-29 Jesus speaks of the unbelievers of the world burning in this hell in the parable of the wheat and the weeds.
When you want what God wants, he breaks your heart for the lost around you because you understand the consequences.
We live in a time of indifference. Tolerance, in the cultural sense, leads to indifference toward the well being of your friends neighbors.
Did you get that? Tolerance leads to indifference toward the well being of your friends and neighbors. You can bump shoulders, smile and wave, and talk about the weather or what the kids are up to, but you never get to the truly important stuff in life. And after awhile you might even convince yourself that deep and important stuff isn’t all that important for them. It is important for you, but not for them, right? And before you know it, you find yourself in a place of spiritual indifference toward them.
Be reminded of the words of Charles Spurgeon,
“There is a real fire in hell, as truly as you have a real body – a fire exactly like that which we have on this earth, except this: it will not consume you though it will torture you. You have see asbestos lying amid red-hot coals, but not consumed. So your body will be prepared by God in such a way that it will burn forever without being consumed. With your nerves laid raw by searing flame, yet never desensitized for all its raging fury, and the acrid smoke of the sulfurous fumes searing your lungs and choking your breath, you will cry out for the mercy of death, but it shall never, never, no never come.”
When you want what God wants, he breaks your heart for the lost around you because you know the consequences of your sin.
There once was a man in England named Charles Peace – an ironic name, because Peace was not a peaceful man but a contentious one. Violent, thieving, brawling, he was a career criminal who respected the laws of neither God nor man. Eventually the authorities caught up with him, and he was tried and condemned to death by hanging at Armley Jail in Leeds.
On the morning of his execution, a contingent of prison officials met at Peace’s cell to take him on his final walk to the gallows. Among them was a sleepy prison chaplain whose job it was to prepare the condemned man’s soul for the hereafter. As the group began its solemn death march, this parson began mumbling and yawning his way through a series of unintelligible recitals.
Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder. “What are you reading?” someone was asking. He turned to find it was Mr. Peace.
“The Consolations of Religion,” he replied.
“Do you believe what you are reading?” inquired the prisoner?
“Well, yes, I guess I do.”
Peace stared at the chaplain, stunned. Here he was going to his death, knowing that his earthly deeds utterly condemned him before the ultimate Judge, and this clergyman was mouthing words about heaven and hell as if it were a boring chore. He said to the parson, “Sir, I do not share your faith. But if I did – if I believe what you say you believe – then although England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would crawl the length and breadth of it on hand and knee and think the pain worthwhile , just to save a single soul from this eternal hell of which you speak.”
When you want what God wants, he breaks your heart for the lost around you because you understand the consequences.
If you reading this today and reading about hell in such a direct fashion and you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, I have Good News for you. It’s not too late. You do not need to withstand that sort of penalty and judgment because Jesus offers to pay the penalty for you. It comes through faith in Him.
If you do have faith in Jesus Christ, and yet you recognize very plainly that you are largely indifferent to the eternal state of those around you, I have Good News for you. God has made you an ambassador for him, taking part in God reconciling the world to Himself. That’s what he wants of you. That’s what he calls you to do. Part of that role is being broken for your place.
You might say, “Nick, I don’t feel broken for those around me. I want to, but I just don’t feel it. What should I do?” If you find yourself in that place of indifference, here are a few suggestions:
1. First, pray and ask forgiveness for your indifference, because you know the consequences mentally, but you are not feeling it emotionally.
2. Thank God for your own salvation because when you understand the consequences and began to feel them, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is put into a completely new light.
3. Follow what 2 Corinthians 5 says,
a. Let Christ’s love and a healthy fear of God compel you to take up your role as an Ambassador.
b. Start to look at the lost through spiritual eyes. We have talked about buying a map, circling your sphere of influence and start looking at the people in that sphere through spiritual eyes. Begin to function as a missionary to the people in that sphere.
4. Then, ask God to break your heart for those people. To be honest, it wasn’t that long ago that my own heart wasn’t broken for this place. I understood it, but I wasn’t broken for it. But when you ask God to break your heart for a place, He’s going to do it. Why? Because when you want what God wants, that is what he does. He breaks your heart for them because you understand the consequences.
5. Next, Invest. Dig deeps roots and begin to function in the new reality as an ambassador, a missionary with a great message of hope and dire consequences in eternity for those who reject it.
We need help, don’t we? We live in a culture of indifference and the Seinfeld lesson for today is that we have a bunch of people who don’t think they are going to hell and a bunch of Christians who don’t care. May God spare us from this monumental level of failure to our calling.