Study Guide: Evangelism Reimagined

Sunday January 20, 2013 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

The ancient Israelites were called to be a chosen people who bless the entire world. But, like the Church today, they often made their chosen status a blessing only for themselves. In this sermon, Greg calls us to become evangelists by living a Kingdom life.

Extended Summary:

God chose Israel to be a blessing to the nations. When Abram (soon to be Abraham) was chosen to be the father of God’s people, God was making a statement that his Kingdom on earth would start by small actions. Abraham’s descendents became the chosen people of God. They were called, from the very beginning, to be a blessing to the nations.

It was suppose to bless the other nations by living a certain way and showing the effects of being chosen by God. While other nations chose to follow kings and the ways of this world, the Israelites were supposed to follow God and the law that God set before them. Israel was supposed to be unique in this world.

However, Israel usually failed at this. They often chose to act like the nations around them. They clamored to have a king instead of having God as their king. They compromised the unique calling for their lives and instead lived according to this world. When this happened, they failed to be a blessing to the nations.

Yet, Jesus comes and embodies the way Israel should have been and also fulfills the call of God to be a blessing to the entire Earth. Jesus lived a life that exemplified the calling of the entire community of Israel. He became the blessing to the nations that Israel should have been. By living a life that was attractive to others, Jesus showed us the way of being evangelistic to the nations.

Living a life that invites others into the Kingdom is not a secondary thing. It can’t be a hobby or an afterthought. We are called not only to receive the blessings of being chosen by God, but also to be a blessing to others. This requires that we live a life that looks like Jesus’. We should have God as our King and live a life that shows the beauty of the Kingdom.

We are called to live a life that sacrifices for others and shows the light of the Kingdom. Sacrifice is a natural part of living a Kingdom life. We are no longer creatures of this world, but rather, we are ambassadors of the Kingdom. With this new station in life, we are chosen to look differently. We prioritize others instead of ourselves. We manifest a character of humility and grace. We are gentler and more patient than what is expected in this world. When we live this way, we become attractive to people that are looking for something else in this world.

Everyday, we should be making space for others and seeking to improve our own life for the Kingdom. God wants us to be intentional towards others in our life. Sacrifice is not giving God a few hours every Sunday for worship and a teaching. God wants our lives to be transformed to bless this world. In order to bless this world, we need to be intentional about making space for others in our life. Instead of only worrying about ourselves, we need to open up our lives to others.

And when we open up this space, we need to make sure that our life reflects the Kingdom. If our space looks like the world, then people will not see the beauty of the Kingdom.

This week, think of one way in which you can manifest the Kingdom. Think of one way in which you can show the unique character of Jesus. And also pray and seek guidance on who in your life you are supposed to open up to. This is not giving this person a tract or starting an awkward conversation. Instead, this is showing that one person God’s love in a way that makes them want to know more about the Kingdom. This is evangelism that is effective and modeled by Jesus.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. How have you defined evangelism?
  3. Have you ever had an awkward conversation or a forced conversation with someone like Greg was speaking about? How did it turn out?
  4. In what ways would a relational evangelism be better, if at all?
  5. Think about that one person that God might be asking you to open your life to. What is one way that you can begin walking a path that leads to being in relationship with that person? What’s one thing you can do to start that relationship this week?