Seek Ye First...The Evangelization of the Lost?

If I was an outside observer viewing church in America it would be tough for me to see that people are seeking first the kingdom of God. In many cases I think people are sadly misguided and are seeking first to evangelize the lost. Evangelism isn't a bad thing; however, when it is taken out of perspective it can be detrimental to both the person doing the evangelism and the victim of the evangelistic salvo.

The key to effective evangelism is being in the kingdom. If you live and breathe the kingdom of God and are part of a body of believers that are a glimpse of His kingdom, then you will inevitably be effective at sharing Christ with the people around you. If we aren't part of the physical kingdom of God, then what in the world are we going to win the lost to? We oftentimes bring flashes of the Pharisees: "For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves." We must be part of the kingdom of God in order to effective bring people to God.

Evangelism is about bringing people into the kingdom, not just getting people to say a prayer, be baptized, or believe in Jesus. It is about showing the kingdom of God. The evangelized can make the choice whether they want to enter. We dare not water life in the kingdom down and make it simpler than Jesus made it. "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 8:34).

That passage came immediately after Peter recognized Jesus as the Messiah. To the nation of Israel a Messiah was to come and establish God's kingdom here on earth. They recognized Jesus for what he was but didn't yet comprehend the kingdom he was establishing. We oftentimes fall into the same category. We understand Jesus but not his kingdom. If we are to truly understand Jesus, then we must understand the reason for his coming, establishing the kingdom of God.

When our focus is seeking his kingdom we will grasp and become part of his kingdom. Jesus will be our king, and evangelism will become like second nature to us. Everything that is important should become natural to us when we have the right priority, the kingdom of God. Thing become stressful and too difficult to do when the kingdom is removed from the central priority in our life.

Watch out for the potholes.