Thursday, August 02, 2012

World Evangelism: Compelling Biblical Passages

Let me begin with the passage that nearly everyone in will reference when considering world evangelism: Matthew 28:18-20:

            And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

In my opinion any discussion that includes World Evangelism as a topic simply must include the Great Commission.  In addition to the passage from Matthew, it is appropriate to cross reference Mark 16:15, Luke 16:15, and Acts 1:8.  The beauty of these passages is that Christ personally encouraged his followers to go tell the world about Him.

Yet there is so much more in Scripture about sharing the glory of God with the world.  2 Kings 17:27-28 records the king of Assyria commanding that a priest be sent to teach others about the Lord.  1 Chronicles 16:23-24; Psalm 18:49 and 96:3 all tell of the command to declare the glory of the Lord among the heathen.  Thousands of years ago God wanted people to know Him.

A more personal command was given to Jonah to go and preach to the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-2).  It is the personal nature of the gospel that is most compelling to me.  A reluctant Jonah was told to go and after arguing and running away, he was finally obedient to the command of God.  Jonah never really had a choice.  The same is probably true of each member of this class.  For me, preparing myself for the ministry that the Lord has already prepared for me was not a choice of mine. 

In 1 Timothy 1:12-13 Paul expresses his amazement that he had been judged faithful.  The Greek word Paul used here (πιστός pistos) has more meaning than simply “faithful”.  Additional meaning found here includes trustworthy, reliable, sure, lasting, and worthy of credit.[1]  To me, that is personal and a tremendous responsibility that weighs heavily. 

We are to tell the world about Christ so that they may come to saving faith in Him who sent us.  I conclude simply by pondering Romans 10:14.  Collectively, these passages are the most compelling in Scripture when I consider World Evangelism. 

[1] Newman, Barclay Moon. A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies, 1993), 143.

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