EVANGELISM – “Come and see” OR “Go and tell”

As I read the history of Israel and her kings, I am reminded that there is a great difference in evangelism methodology in the Old Testament (Covenant) and the New Testament (Covenant).

In the Old Testament, Israel was God’s chosen nation. When the temple was built in Jerusalem for his Name, God’s presence dwelt visibly in the Holy of Holies. Outsiders (foreigners, non-Jews, gentiles) were welcome to come and worship Jehovah in Jerusalem. When Solomon prayed his prayer of dedication, he said:

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.”

Even when Jesus was in his earthly ministry, it was still “come and see”; e.g. Andrew & Peter and Philip & Nathanael (John 1) and the woman at the well (John 4).

But when Jesus gave what we refer to as “The Great Commission” to his disciples, He told them “go”, “I am sending you”, and “be witnesses” in various locations to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

The most common philosophy today in our churches is more like the Old Covenant than the New Covenant. Many Pastors exhort their people to invite their friends to church. I read on one church web site where members were exhorted to “get them here and we will share the Gospel with them”. And while we certainly should invite our friends to church, this should NOT be our primary focus, but rather one method.

The primary focus should be exhorting and training our people to share Jesus in the “as you are going” of life.

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  1. AMEN! It is refreshing to see this pointed out. I am passionate about evangelism and encourage others to share their faith. I have even trained others in evangelism and it is frustrating when Pastors are up in the pulpit and tell their congregations that they do not need to worry about evangelism if they are uncomfortable with it and to just invite them to church. We are called to take the gospel out into the world and not to bring the world into the church.

  2. We are seasoned believers and RVers. We are about to embark on a trip from Pho AZ to Alsaka. Would like to be intentional in our witness as we travel. Any tips as to how to begin winsome effective conversations with fellow travelers?

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