The Necessity of Evangelism And Practicing Justice

In a world of urgent physical and spiritual need like the one we live in. What should be our primary focus as Christians? What should the primary focus of the Church be? Should it be evangelism and sharing our faith and spreading the Gospel so that everyone might have the a chance to come to a saving knowledge of the Lord? Or should it be to practice justice?

To practice. Mishpot is the Hebrew word that I introduced earlier this week in my message from last week from the Book of Isaiah, where it talks about how we are to do justice, to address oppression and the hurting and the vulnerable in our world through acts of kindness and love and good deeds. Sharing God’s love so that people can be treated equitably and treated as human beings and made in God’s image who have great value and worth. Which of those two priorities is more important? Which one should have our focus?

Well, that’s what I want to talk about just so briefly today. I want us to think about that question in light of a couple of things. One is the great commission. In Matthew, chapter 28, jesus, before ascending up into Heaven, shared with his followers. He said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him and that he was calling his followers to go into the world and to preach the gospel to every creature.

Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching people to do all that God has commanded us to do. That’s the Great Commission, and it’s the charge that God has given to all who follow Him. But on top of that, Jesus also spoke in the Gospels about what we call the Great Commandment, which is we are to love God with all of our heart and soul and strength and mind and everything that is within us. That is the first and greatest commandment. And then secondly, we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

And so if we take the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, that’s a great starting place as we kind of think about where our focus and our priority should be. And that leads us as Christ followers, to think about a ministry of Word and a ministry of deed. A ministry of Word is where we say god’s Word is his written revelation to us. It is to be our foundation and our guidebook. And the way that we live our lives is to be built upon God’s Word and we’re to teach others out of God’s Word, because God’s Word is eternal and it’s truth and His Word is living and it’s active and it can change people’s lives.

And so in God’s Word, we have instructions for living. We have the Gospel, we have indications of who God is. So all of those things are vitally important. A ministry of Word is to share God’s word with as many people as possible and to build our lives upon it. There is also, though, the ministry of deed in terms of loving God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind and loving our neighbors, ourself, and going out and sharing our faith.

That is a ministry of deed through good deeds. Where Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, we’re to let our light shine before others. We’re to be like salt. We’re to do good deeds in Jesus’name so that others will see those good deeds and praise God who is in heaven. Paul says in the Book of Ephesians that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works for which God created us to do.

So when we share with others, and we do so in Jesus name, whether it’s food or clothing or shelter or help in some other way, practicing mishpot, we are ultimately showing God’s love to those individuals. So we’ve got the ministry of the Word and the ministry of the deed, both putting the Great Commission and the Great Commandments into practice. So there’s a couple implications there as we think about what is to be our primary focus as Christians as a church, should we be focused more in this world of physical and spiritual need that is so overwhelming? Should we be focused more on evangelism? Should we be focused more on doing mishpot justice?

And one of the implications that I would want to present to you today is the beautiful thing is you don’t have to pick between either. You can do both. Doing one does not cancel out the other. We’re to do both. Look at the life of Jesus.

Jesus did both. Sometimes there’s an opportunity for us to present the Gospel, and we should do that at every single possible opportunity. The Apostle Paul told his protege Timothy said, be ready in season, out of season, preach the Word, do the work of an evangelist. But there are also times where there is great spiritual or excuse me, physical need around us, and we can help meet a practical need. We don’t have to pick between one or the other.

1 may open the door to do the other, and that’s part of the beautiful thing. In fact, I’m encouraging you, don’t pick one. Do both. Share your faith with as many people as possible, but also do justice and practice mishpot to the vulnerable and the hurting in our world around us. Now, I also want to make sure that I’m communicating clearly that doing one does not necessarily the same thing as the other.

When you share your faith with somebody so that they might come to a saving knowledge of the Lord that doesn’t put food on somebody’s plate if that person decides to follow Jesus, a hungry person is still going to be hungry. A person who is in need is still going to have some need in their life. But at the same time. If you feed that hungry person but don’t share your faith with them, that’s not the same thing as sharing the gospel with them, because they still need to make a profession of faith. You may be doing it in Jesus’name, but that’s not the same thing.

That’s not what saves a person. Both are so important friends again. We don’t have to have one fighting the other. Both are found in Scripture, in the great commission and in the great commandment. And one more exhortation I would give you is that let’s think about how the gospel is what motivates us to do both of these things.

Because of what Jesus did for us, we share our faith with others, but also because of what Jesus did for us. We feed the hungry. We help the poor and the needy and the vulnerable and the oppressed. The gospel is what motivates us to do both of those things. So let’s do both.

A word of ministry of word and a ministry of deed. I’m so glad that you could send these questions and that we have the chance, as we do each and every time, to address these important topics. This is such an important one. I hope that we can practice this as we go out into the world today. Bye.