A Note from Karl Gessler:
This is the first blog to be written on this website that is not my own. On our recent trip to Texas we were VERY graciously hosted by our new friends, Ben and Kelsey Garcia. Kelsey recently shared her story of coming to Christ on our podcast which you can listen to below (It is DYNAMITE!). Kelsey was radically saved in large part because of the work of street evangelists in New Orleans. Ben and Kelsey now devote a lot of their time and passion to street evangelism. They are living proof that this work is necessary. Because of their passion for the work, I asked Ben to write a blog about why we should do evangelism and he graciously agreed. What he writes below is more or less what I expected. This is, I think, some of the best motivation for doing evangelism when working within the frame work of the goal being "going to heaven." As you may know, if you have read the blog for some time, the reason this blog exists is to correct that understanding. I believe the correct goal is a renewed humanity, renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live on a renewed earth, full of the Glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14, Isaiah 11:9, Revelation 21:1). Another way of saying this is: I believe that the goal of the Gospel is to bring about God's kingdom and will on earth as it is in heaven, as Jesus taught us to pray. The Goal is not heaven, but heaven coming to earth. I told Ben that I would be writing a friendly critique on his blog and he may choose to reply but I want to make it clear that the reason I asked him to write this in the first place is because I deeply respect his passion and commitment to the work of evangelism. For more discussion on this topic, check out the second podcast posted below. The first podcast above is Kelsey's story: From Ben Garcia:
Why are we still here? When a relationship with the Lord begins why aren’t we just beamed up into Heaven? Isn’t that the end goal? There must be more to our time left here on Earth. Our time here is not just a proving ground to make sure we can get in. Jesus left us work to be done. The correct perspective is: WE MUST VIEW OUR TIME REMAINING ON EARTH AS TIME IN THE HARVEST FIELD OF SOULS. This was the perspective that Jesus taught after the resurrection and before the ascension. The disciples had just witnessed the atonement of the sins of man and Christ’s resurrection. Acts 1:6-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” The question the disciples asked here is like our question of “why are we still here? For what purpose?” this is found in verse 6: “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” When you consider this question, it can be understood that the disciples were asking, “Lord is at this time that you will fulfill all the promises prophesied of the messiah? Is it this time that you will dwell with us for eternity? Is it this time that you will restore the eternal kingdom?” Having read the New Testament we may have asked, “Lord is this the time that the New Jerusalem will be established? Is this when the carnal nature is abolished, and we are given our new heavenly bodies?” We see Jesus respond in verse 7:
"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." It’s not necessarily a rebuke, but a redirection, “Stop trying to figure out how everything is going to work out, God is in control!” We know that a similar mistake was made by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots. Each had their expectation of what the messiah would look like and how his promises would be fulfilled. But these presuppositions only mislead them and caused them to reject the Christ. So here Jesus was leading them away from making the same mistake with their time remaining on Earth. Jesus guides the disciples and us with verse 8: "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Jesus directs his disciples to a restatement of the Great Commission. Think of Jesus stating Acts 1:6-8 as, “Yes I will restore my kingdom. It is not going to look the way you expected it to look, and it is bigger than just Israel. This kingdom is going to be restored through my Gospel.” So what should we take away from this? 1. Our atonement and salvation made us partners in the work left for us in Christ. 2. When we understand that our purpose is to bring others to Christ, it gives us the right perspective of how to live our lives. 3. The church of Acts was effective because this was their perspective. 4. As part of the body of Christ we are individually obligated to share the gospel. 5. We are in a Harvest Field and it our responsibility to do the work!