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February 24, 2011 – Luke 10

Click here to read Luke 10 on BibleGateway.com

What should our strategy be to reach the lost? Do we engage them on their own ground? Learn as much as we can about evolution, satanism, post-modernism, cults, or the like? Do we spend our time studying the enemy’s moves, or focusing on our’s? Do we adapt our Christianity to make it easy for people to come to Christ, or do we keep the bar high to encourage holiness? Sometimes it’s hard to know which battle to fight, but at least regarding evangelism, we have Jesus’ own words to help us out. (always a good thing)

OK, THIS HALF GOES NORTH, THIS HALF GOES SOUTH

In Luke 10, Jesus is sending out his disciples to preach to Israel. It’s interesting that this is not only the inner group of 12 disciples, but a group of 70 (or 72, depending on your translation) of his followers.  Who were these people? Why weren’t they included at the Last Supper? Did they all fall away?

In any case, as he was sending them out, Jesus gave them some basic instructions. In verse 9, he tells them that if they visit a town that is welcoming, their message should be “the kingdom of heaven is near you.” Seems pretty clear; plus, it should be an encouagment to those who were anxiously awaiting the Messiah.

Jump down to verse 11, where Jesus is giving instructions for towns that don’t lay out the welcome mat. What is the message for them? “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Isn’t it interesting that the same message would be given to both the welcoming and unwelcoming, but for one it was an encouragement, and for the other, a warning.

THY KINGDOM COME

So how should we apply this to our dilemmas? In the first place, our message is clear: the kingdom is coming. It’s so easy to get our minds and energies focused on things that seem important, but may not in fact be the message of God. We need to commit ourselves to “preaching Christ and Him crucified,” as Paul says.

Secondly, our message should stay the same regardless of the recipient. God doesn’t tell us to give one message to believers, one to almost-believers, one to non-believers, and one to never-believers. Our message stays the same: the kingdom is coming. Regardless of the hearers’ reactions, once the message is delivered, it’s time to move on to another audience. (of course, there’s a place for discipleship, too, but that’s another article). Preaching about Christ’s coming should always be our first priority.

That’s always a winning strategy.

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