The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). This was aptly demonstrated when Jesus said to a group of Jews in the Temple at the Festival of Lights, “You do not believe because you are not My sheep (Jn 10:26).” There are some who belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23). These were given to the Son, by God the Father (Jn 10:29; 17:24), and it is the Father who draws them to God the Son (Jn 6:44). These were lost but they are found and never to be cast out, by the Son (Jn 6:37).
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk 19:10), to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). His ministry was to reconcile His own to God. His chosen people had suffered the fall of man, along with the rest of the sons of Adam (Gen 3; 1 Cor 15:22).
God sent forth His only begotten Son into the world (Jn 3:16), in love, to redeem those He had predestined to adoption as sons (Eph 1:4–5). There is no redemption without the shedding of blood (Heb 9:22), and it is the precious blood of Christ that brings us near to God (Eph 2:13; 1 Pet 1:19). God’s elect have been bought for a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), even a ransom paid for many (Mt 20:28).
During His earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated how He would save multitudes of those who had been enslaved to sin (Rom 6:6), in the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18). He did for many what His Spirit would do for millions, in generations to come. In Jesus’ good works, we see salvation from many different viewpoints. Lost sheep are found, the deaf hear, the blind receive their sight, and the dead are raised.
These miracles are not for us to mimic, but they are for us to learn what the Spirit is doing when we preach the Gospel. Spiritually, this is what is happening when Christ crucified is proclaimed (1 Cor 1:23; 2:2, 4). People hear, see, and come to life (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3).
In Jesus’ ministry, no one is asked to make a decision, according to their free will. Particular people had an encounter with Jesus Messiah, and He did miracles for them to see the power of God. What conclusion did the lame man (Jn 5); the blind man (Jn 9), and Lazarus (Jn 11) come to by what happened to them? They believed, having received amazing grace.
Others heard the teaching of Jesus. They concluded He had the words of eternal life (Jn 6). Nicodemus (Jn 3), the woman of Samaria (Jn 4), the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8) were all confronted with their need for the work of God, to rectify a lack of knowledge, or sins that so easily encompassed them. We now turn more specifically to our subject: reconnaissance evangelism.
Evangelism is the telling of the Good News of who Jesus is and what He did, to actually save His holy nation, Israel, His church — an assembly of God’s people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9; 7:9). The evangelist is one who is equipped and sent to tell others this singular message.
Reconnaissance is a French word with military connotations. Something that belongs to the protagonist has been identified behind enemy lines. The mission is to retrieve the object.
Missionary Christianity is not an endeavor to go to the enemies of God and offer them Jesus, as a peace deal for them to choose, yes or no. Rather, Christian mission is to go into all the world (enemy territory) and proclaim an alternative King and kingdom. God makes demands (Repent!), but no offers!
Children of the devil are slaves to sin (Rom 6:6, 16–20; 1 Jn 3:10), and they love the darkness because their deeds are evil (Jn 3:19). They do the deeds of their father, the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), who has been a liar and a murderer from the beginning (Jn 8:44). There is no peace deal offered by God to these reprobate rebels (Rom 9:13, 22). They are not of God, and they do not belong to Christ (Jn 8:47; Jn 10:26), nor will they ever follow Jesus. When the futility of the task has been recognized, the evangelist will gather his pearls and move on.
The evangelist is looking for particular people. He suffers for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10). His labor is a labor of love and certainly not a labor in vain (1 Cor 15:10).
His task is to sow the seed of the Word of God, and to look for those whose ears are opened by the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17). When the evangelist detects the beginnings of faith in a person, he will help them find a Bible teacher, a pastor, who will care for this one’s soul.
The evangelist presses on with his work of heralding the news that God sent His Son. The ramifications of this truth are eternal life. The Holy Spirit aids the evangelist in going to the appointed place to encounter God’s lost, yet chosen people (1 Pet 2:9).
The evangelist is God’s front line worker, who is not ashamed of the Gospel, because he knows it is the power of God unto salvation for people like him, who believe (Rom 1:16–17). He understands his role is to boast in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 15:17; Gal 6:14), and to join in the sufferings of his Savior (Col 1:24), who promises blessing to those who are persecuted for His Name (Mt 5:10–12).
The Apostle Paul remained in Corinth because the Lord assured him that God had many of His lost people in that city (Acts 18:10). They would be found by Paul’s evangelistic work. His mission was reconnaissance and his method was evangelism. Today’s mission is no different. We offer nothing to men, but we proclaim the only Savior of sinners (Acts 4:12; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6). God’s people hear, and they believe because it was appointed for them to do so (Acts 13:48).
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 30, 2022