The Mandate For World Evangelism (Parts 1 & 2)

April 21, 2013
Special Guest Editorial by Kip McKean

Part 1: Old Testament Prophecy

“While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces … But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:34-35

Are present day disciples called to evangelize the world in our “generation?” Many teachers have minimized this century’s long dream of God or have simply chosen to ignore it in their treatises concerning “Christian freedom,” “the role of evangelists and elders,” and “autonomy of individual congregations.” Let us also consider that though “Christian movements” have over centuries “gone around the world,” the evangelization of the world in a lifetime has not been accomplished since the first century. (Colossians 1:6) Therefore, in future articles in this series, Scriptures will be shared that will reveal that world evangelism is not only God’s dream for each generation, but that by faith it is possible!

God’s eternal plan from before the beginning of time was to create a people that would love him forever. In the Old Testament God uses prophecy and foreshadowing to reveal His heart for a lost world. We must remember that the Old Testament was the “Scriptures” of the Christians in the first century. Foreshadowing occurs when our sovereign God orchestrates the physical events of the Old Testament to parallel the spiritual truths He reveals in the New Testament. For example, the Hebrews’ slavery in Egypt parallels our slavery to sin in our old lives. The blood of a lamb smeared over the doorposts saved each Hebrew firstborn from physical death. This parallels the blood of Jesus, the Lamb, saving us from eternal death. (John 1:29) Crossing the Red Sea represents baptism (1 Corinthians 10:1-2); the wanderings in the desert correspond to our new Christian lives; the crossing of the Jordan represents our physical death. (We sing about this in the song “Jordan River.”) And finally their Promised Land is our heaven! Understanding the Old Testament foreshadowing of New Testament doctrines is essential to deeply appreciating the breadth of God’s love and His plan of salvation.

Anthony Patterson and Coltin Rohn
Coltin Rohn and Anthony Patterson – awesome disciples visiting as speakers for the campus retreat!

As we begin to comprehend God’s desire to teach us about His love, let us examine some of the most convincing Old Testament prophecies about world evangelism and God’s eternal Kingdom. In Genesis 12:1-3 God tells Abram, “I will make you into a great nation…and all people on earth will be blessed through you.” The first level of fulfillment of this prophecy is in the building of a physical nation – Israel. Exodus 1:7 reads, “But the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so the land was filled with them.” We learn from this passage that it was in Egypt that God began to form a great nation through human families physically multiplying (being fruitful) in great numbers. (This is a foreshadowing of spiritual fruitfulness by the multiplying of disciples under the new covenant.) However, the second level of fulfillment is the concept of all people – Jews and Gentiles – being blessed through Abraham’s seed – Jesus. This promise is further detailed in Genesis 22:17 when God sees Abraham’s faith when he was willing to “sacrifice his one and only son,” (more Old Testament foreshadowing.) Then the promise is given, “your descendants will be as numerous as… stars in the sky.”

In Deuteronomy 1:10, Moses preached this promise was fulfilled in the Jews by the time he led the Jews out of Egypt. However, we by faith understand it also means all Christians of all time because Genesis 22:18 adds all nations on earth will be blessed, both Jew and Gentile! You and I as disciples are part of the fulfillment of this prophecy! God has always desired to be loved and glorified by all nations! Isaiah 2:1-4 is another powerful prophecy of the New Testament Kingdom and world evangelism. God tells a hurting and backsliding Israel there will be a day, when the mountain (Old Testament symbolism for kingdom/nation) of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains and all nations will stream into it. (This initially begins to be fulfilled in Acts 2, see verse five!) Then God adds in verse four, “Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” This is because we will have brothers in all nations and we would not want to kill our brother! Also, in Isaiah 11:1-9, the prophecy of a kingdom built from the stump of Jesse (the remnant Jews) will someday be a unique fellowship where previous adversaries “will neither harm nor destroy” as referenced by “the wolf will walk with the lamb.” Then in verse 9, the great proclamation of this grand vision is concluded by “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the earth.” Only through world evangelism could this be fulfilled.

Finally for this article we will study the vision of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel retells the dream in Daniel 2:31-35 and then interprets it in verses 36-45. In this dream there is a huge statue of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Daniel says these metals represent certain kingdoms. Borrowing from our high school history courses, we know that gold represents the Babylonian Kingdom, silver the Medo-Persian Empire, bronze symbolizes Alexander the Great’s Kingdom and the iron the Roman Empire. According to the dream, during the days of the Roman Empire “a rock was cut out, but not by human hands… it struck the statue on its feet of iron… and smashed it… the wind swept away without leaving a trace…However, the rock struck the statue and became a huge mountain and FILLED THE WHOLE EARTH.” Obviously, if something is “not made by human hands”, it is of God! The rock is Christ! The mountain is the Kingdom – the church – and those of faith in heaven, for this kingdom will never be destroyed! (Daniel 2:44) However, let’s focus on Daniel 2:35. In the dream, the rock becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth! This is what God desires for His Kingdom, to “fill the whole earth!” God through prophecy lays the foundation for Jesus and His Great Commission to the apostles, “Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19) This is how God plans to bless all people on earth! Simply stated, this is the mandate of God for world evangelism.

The Campus Ministry Praising God in Song
The Campus Ministry Praising The Lord In Song!

Part II: The Lost World

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

In Romans 1:16 Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew and then for the Gentiles.” In the eyes of God, all mankind is divided into two groups. First are the Jews, those who possess the law and the true knowledge of God. The second group is the Gentiles, those who do not have the law. In Romans 1:18-32 Paul preaches emphatically that all Gentiles are lost, because of “all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Since God has revealed His eternal power and divine nature in creation, Paul states, “Men are without excuse,” to not follow God’s precepts. In the second half of chapter one, Paul specifically details many of the sinful acts of man. The Holy Spirit is very clear, the Gentiles are lost.

n Romans 2 and 3, Paul decrees that all Jews are lost! Many of these Jews “brag about the law,” but “dishonor God by breaking the law.” He goes on to ask the rhetorical question, “What advantage is there in being Jewish?” He answers by saying, “They have been entrusted with the very words of God.” Then he writes that through the law, they became “conscious of sin.” Therefore, since no mortal man can keep the law without at least one transgression, no Jew will be declared righteous by perfectly keeping the law. Romans 3:19 declares, “the whole world is held accountable” by God. Chapters 1-3 are summarized in Romans 3:23, “All [both Jews and Gentiles] sin and fall short of the glory of God!” All are lost and our only hope is “faith in Christ’s blood.” (Romans 3:25) Many through the centuries have asked the question, “What about the man in Africa, that does not have the Word of God? How could a “just” God condemn him?” Romans 2:12-16 specifically addresses this most crucial issue, because if people are not lost without the Bible, there would be no motivation for world evangelism.

In essence, Romans 2:12-16 teaches that those who have the law (which we parallel to the Bible) will be judged by the law – the Bible. No one is perfectly obedient to the Word; all fall short – they sin. Therefore, all who have the Bible are lost. Then Paul says that those without the law (which can be paralleled to those without the Bible) will be judged apart from the law, apart from the Bible. Now that’s fair! “The requirements of law are written on their heart,” therefore God judges them by their conscience. Since no one perfectly lives up to their conscience, all who do not have the Bible, are lost.

Sunrise at Cocoa Beach, where the first annual campus retreat was held!
Sunrise at Cocoa Beach, where the first annual campus retreat was held!

When we come to a deep conviction that we live in a lost world, we must come to an equally deep conviction about what the Bible teaches about salvation. The entire theme of the book of Romans is “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) In Romans 4, Paul explains that being justified before God has always been by faith not works. He shows that the father of faith Abraham was saved, not because of circumcision or the law but by his faith: “Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.” To reinforce this concept, in verse nine another rhetorical question is asked, “Was Abraham justified by faith before or after circumcision?” The answer is before. Then Paul explains this concept so all who are uncircumcised (Gentiles) may call Abraham their father of faith as well as the Jews who do so by lineage. Therefore, the Jew is saved by faith and the Gentile has no need for circumcision. Both Jew and Gentile can only be justified by faith.

In Romans 5:1-10, Paul reminds the Christians in Rome they were “powerless,” “ungodly,” “sinners,” and “enemies” before they became disciples. In chapter six, he reminds all that they died to their old lives in baptism and they were, like Christ, “raised to a new life.” Let us never cheapen the grace of God by under emphasizing our degenerated state without God. Our only hope of salvation is to respond in faith – believe intellectually in the resurrection of Christ, be cut about our sins crucifying Jesus, repent by turning away from sin and deciding to be a disciple and then being baptized for the forgiveness of sins to receive God’s promised Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:36-42) To be saved by faith means to respond to God’s grace through repentance and baptism.

Perhaps the most overwhelming teaching of God’s Word is that the world is lost. Only the gospel has the power of salvation. And as Paul preaches in Romans 10:14-15, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they believe without someone preaching to them?… How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Let us be uncompromising on this truth: the only plan God has provided for the world to be saved, which begins with our next door neighbor, is by our feet taking the gospel to them – world evangelism.

Kip and Elena McKean
Kip and Elena McKean

Kip McKean

1 Comment

  1. by Dionisio on December 30, 2015  5:31 am

    Thanks, as always, for your conmemt. To answer your question: I think the point is that there's not an easy answer. So if you came away from reading without having gotten an answer, then that's good. The early Jewish Christians tried to pin down the question and answer it and modern Christians do the same thing. My point is that it's such an way question to answer. I can't answer it, any more than I did it's only about following Jesus. In response to your observation: Yes, people can always read what I write and come to conclusions different from my own. That's an occupational hazard of writing one I accept. However, I did end on a pretty clear note, saying, The only requirement is following Jesus. And by the way, I would agree with the supposition that no one can tell another person that they must believe a certain way. My only goal is to point people to Jesus He can tell them what to believe. And that's precisely why I don't worry that de-emphasizing (not throwing out) doctrine won't lead to people following a fake Jesus. Because if someone is following Jesus, they will be learning from Him, loving Him, knowing Him and He's a better teacher of doctrine of me Also, I suspect there may be some people who read this blog whose beliefs could be similar to universalism. If so, I wonder if they'd care to share their thoughts?

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