I want to see the gospel advance quickly and rapidly. I want to see as many people as possible hear the good news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. I deeply long to see a movement of the Holy Spirit that brings real awakening for Christ and the new birth of affections that are real, lasting, and impacting in our cities. I want to see the gospel make progress. So how does that happen?
Although the Apostle Paul wasn't primarily a physicist I think that his words in 2 Corinthians 5:14 provide a template for a formula that could produce real and lasting gospel advance. At least the components are there.
Here's my attempt at it:
(Gospel Momentum) x (Degree of Contemplation) = Advance of the Gospel
(gm) x (doc) = aog
Now how does this work out in its parts?
Gospel momentum is the creation of two things. Paul's use of the word synecho in 2 Corinthians 5:14 is the clue for me. On one hand synecho can be translated "controlled" as if some external force was operating on the subject to direct, move and lead that object. So Paul in some way see's the love of Christ as a controlling force upon him. He is focused and restrained because of Christ's love for him. He has nowhere to go (nor does he want to go) because he has seen Christ's love as so powerful. Christ has come and stood in the place of sinners who have rebelled and offended their Creator and King. Jesus' love is shown in taking the penalty himself for our offense and bearing the wrath of God in his body. That demonstration of love for us makes us his. "You are not your own, you've been bought with a price" (1 Cor 6:19-20). That's how the love of Christ controls us. It locks us into Christ and his ways for us. It fences us in (in the right way) to glorify Christ with all our lives.
But there is another defintion for that verb synecho, "compel." Compel is an action word to me. It sounds like movement. Compel has the idea of forcing or bringing someone to do something. So for Paul the love of Christ is a force that propels him out. Christ's love brings Paul to go with Christ's love. The love of Christ for us is a motivating, propulsive agent. The love of Jesus is so great for me that he died in my place and took my penalty that perceiving that causes me to go those who do not know or have not perceived his love and declare it to them.
All of this to say that "gospel momentum" is the combination of seeing how the love of Christ directs and drives us forward with the gospel. This is why the second part of my formula, degree of contemplation, is essential. The deeper our degree of understanding of our sin and rebellion, and the further in that we understand how much Christ loves us and gave himself for us multiplies the force of that original gospel momentum so much so that gospel advance occurs.
The greater and longer and deeper we contemplate Christ's love for us the more momentum for the gospel it generates within us so that the gospel is advanced in our lives and to our neighborhoods, and in the world. So let's look to Christ. Let's gaze upon his love for us and his kindness to us so that the momentum that both controls and compels us is generated. Let's fix our eyes on Jesus!