Views from the Pew – 8.10.21

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What did you learn from last week’s sermon, “One Nation – One Light” ?

Q1: What was the purpose for which Israel was founded?

Q2: How many Moabites did each Jew have to invite to the temple each week to read the Torah?

Q3: Were the Jews disobedient to the Great Commission?

Q4: What is the main reason that people don’t share the Gospel?

Sermon Summary & Answers

On Sunday, Pastor Wilson opened with a shocker, “Nowhere in the Bible is the world ever exhorted…to come to church. The church, everywhere in the New Testament, is commanded to go to the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Wow, had you ever thought of that? It’s true.

Israel, on the other hand, was never commanded to ‘go to the nations’, but rather to live as a light among the nations that they might be drawn to God. What God wanted them to do was clear:

  1. Obey his commands
  2. Live differently than the world – “this was evangelism’s path for Israel.” Evangelism was the very purpose of Israel’s founding so that they might bless the nations (Isaiah 42:5-6). This is called centripetal missions – stay and obey. It was a global gathering, not a global scattering. Evangelism for Israel meant keeping the Torah as an expression of the glory of God in their midst. It is important to note, however, that Israel’s obedience was not their salvation. God wanted others to see these people who loved and obeyed Him and ask, “How can I know your God?” The only answer to that question would be, “Only through the promised deliverer.”

On its face, this would seem contradictory to the New Testament’s mandate to go to the world? That is called The Great Commission.Were the Jews doing it wrong? No, their mandate was pre-Gospel and precisely what God wanted the Israelites to do (Genesis 12:1). He wanted them to be set apart from the world (holiness) and carry the message of a Messiah (Deliverer) to come.

If they obeyed God’s commands, then the world would see that they believed this good news to come. When they failed at their evangelism – as was predicted, Jesus stepped in and changed the course of evangelism. Now there was no need to talk of future good news because it was happening. Jesus laid down his life so that we would be forgiven. Having accomplished that, it was time to tell all the nations the good news (Gospel) of His works so that all who believe can be saved.

Last Sunday, Pastor Wilson sought to answer why the Church today struggles with our mission to go to the world with the Gospel. Romans 1:15-16 tells us not to be ashamed of the Gospel (good news proclaimed). The Gospel is the power of salvation to the Jew first and then the Greek (us). Yep, just the simple message of what Jesus did.

Evangelism encompasses…

  1. Who God is
  2. Who we are
  3. What our problem is – sin
  4. Who Jesus is
  5. What He did about our problem

Sometimes we are not eager to share the Gospel. Studies show the most common reason why is fear, fear of the unknown, or not understanding. Christians often don’t have a proper understanding of what evangelism is. Misconceptions abound.

Evangelism is not…

  • Imposing on others; coercion, using techniques of psychological manipulation. You cannot convince someone to believe. The church embraced a path of psychological manipulation, and we’ve grown quite good at it; but this is not evangelism.

“Unless you or I believe that man’s greatest problem (sin) is at its core a psychological issue, then we should have little or no interest in manipulating their psyche.”

Pastor Steve Wilson
  • Giving your personal testimony. Evangelism must be clear be about what Christ did in living the perfect life we could never live, and dying the sacrificial death for our sins. Your salvation story might be really good news, but it is not The Good News.
  • Social engagement or mercy ministries. Bringing light, salt, and comfort to the world is good, but it is not Gospel evangelism. The popular saying, “Preach the gospel and if necessary use words,” is terrible advice. It silences the message (the gospel) and elevates personal good works over Christ and the message of what He did. Evangelism necessarily communicates the content of the gospel – this demands words.
  • Apologetics. Apologetics is giving a defense of the Gospel to skeptics. Apologetics is always our defense against the world’s agenda. The Gospel calls the world to respond to Christ’s agenda. The Gospel proclaimed is not a defensive position – it is the Good News advancing God’s global agenda to save the world.
  • The results of evangelism are not evangelism (2 Corinthians 2:14). The gospel is called an aroma – a smell of ‘life to life’ for some, and ‘death to death’ for others. The result of the aroma is not the gospel. The results of evangelism are not how we measure the effectiveness evangelism or define it. Paul calls adding anything more to telling the Good News, or less, in order to change the results “peddling the word of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:14). You would be trying to sell something as opposed to declaring something.

The hope of evangelism was never in obedience (Israel’s or the church’s); it was always in deliverance (Jesus). Pastor Wilson makes a fascinating observation about Jesus telling people that he’d just healed, not to tell anyone. Wouldn’t that be good news? It may have been good news for the person, but again, it was not THE GOOD NEWS. Jesus did not want his miracles to be the good news. He had not yet done the thing that was the best news. He had not yet died on the cross and risen again for all of those who would be His. With this, evangelism is and only ever could be the pure Gospel – just the facts with no embellishment. This evangelism is the Church’s mission and nothing else. It isn’t about full pews or great ministry opportunities. We are to live lives of sacrifice, and we are to gather to equip us for the scattering. We aren’t called to invite sinners to church – we’re called to invite them to CHRIST!


  1. Evangelism
  2. None. Their call was to live in obedience and attract the nations to the glory of God.
  3. No, the Great Commission came after Christ’s resurrection for His believers.
  4. According to surveys among Christians, fear is the number one reason believers don’t share the Gospel.

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