Over the past couple of months, our Governing Board has read through and discussed a book by Elliot Clark titled Evangelism as Exiles. Clark writes to give biblical insight from 1 Peter concerning what evangelism looks like for children of God, exiles and strangers in this world.
Last evening at our monthly meeting, we reviewed and discussed the last two chapters of the book. The chapters discussed were centered on holiness and hospitality.
Concerning holiness, Elliot writes “We’re saved to be holy, and we become holy so others will be saved.” Think about that for a moment. You may be thinking “I thought holiness is what God desires because He is holy. It’s for Him.” That is true. As we will hear in our preaching series in 1 Peter, Peter makes that statement twice in chapter one alone. But what Elliot is saying is this, “In the gospel we’re recreated to be like God so we will then demonstrate who God is to the world.” Personal holiness is twofold.
Our lives speak much about what we believe. Not just the things we do or don’t do, but what and who matters to us. What and who we live for is seen by how we live. Take time to read the story of Daniel in Daniel chapters 1-6. Note how he lived differently unto God and how it was a testament to those around him.
The last chapter of the book was about hospitality. Concerning this, Elliot makes this insightful statement, “We need to recognize that the greatest hope for our unbelieving neighbors isn’t them coming to us, but God sending us to them.”
In recent years, the church in America has done a variety of creative things to reach people. Vacation Bible School, service projects, concerts, special speakers, etc. have all been means by which the church has attempted to evangelize. None of these efforts are bad, but what has happened is that over time, these things have “replaced” our personal relationships and investments with those in our ‘day to day’ lives. To some degree, we have even pulled away from any connection with those who do not know Christ.
What Elliot points out, along with many others in these times, is that we are often missing the most obvious tool for evangelism we have: our homes – our dinner table, our couch, our patio, our yard, etc. Hospitality often happens first there.
As your pastor, I want to always be challenging you in your walk with Christ. I want you to think. I want my thinking to be challenged as well. May God continue His work in us so that He may be glorified and others see in us the Savior they so desperately need.
Walking with you,
*Evangelism as Exiles, by Elliot Clark, copyright 2019 The Gospel Coalition