Today, we’re continuing with the “Best of” 2015 broadcasts. Over the next couple of days, we’ll be digging into the latest edition to the That the World May Know video series titled, Israel’s Mission: A Kingdom of Priests in a Prodigal World. God’s Word is always timely, but given the seismic shifts in culture in recent years the message for this film set is especially meaningful.
Using the parable of the prodigal son as the backdrop for his lessons, Ray Vander Laan explores God’s mission for His people to a lost and broken world. Jesus begins telling this well-known story after He is challenged for eating with sinners. As Ray explains, the Greek word used in that passage is a word that means Jesus was welcoming sinners into fellowship.
To the Jewish listener, Jesus’ parable would have removed all doubt as to His Father’s mission for them. All sinners are like God’s prodigal children. He wants them back.
That message was given first to the Jewish community, but then to all of us.
But people who are called to reflect God’s presence in a broken world tend to do one of three things. We isolate because that’s safe. Or we assimilate and become just like the world around us and have nothing live-giving to offer. Or we obey His will, and we engage the culture.
That is the heart of evangelism and discipleship – living among and interacting with the lost in order to say, “This is what it looks like when you allow God to be present and active in your life.”
Unfortunately, that perspective is often criticized within Christian circles. I’ve been accused of losing my principles because I’ve engaged in conversation with homosexual activists or talked to people in the abortion industry.
But nothing could be further from the truth. I haven’t backed down from any of my convictions. In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to expose these people to the Gospel.
I hope you’ll join us for the next couple of programs. I believe you’ll be inspired by Ray’s teaching, and challenged by Jesus’ charge to His church. Will you eat with sinners? Will you look for lost sheep and lost coins? In other words, will you look for and reach out to lost people with the love of Christ? That’s what God is calling each of us to do.