Why God’s order for world evangelism prioritizes sharing the gospel with Jewish people First
When I think about the impact of the church’s ministry around the world—how believers are joining arms to share the love and gospel of Jesus Christ with others—I’m thankful that the call on the church is so much greater than the challenge. Our God-given commission to help the nations can often feel daunting and sometimes even overwhelming.
That’s because we’re trying to reach people with the message of God’s love while they’re hungry, hurt and oppressed. It’s not enough to simply talk to them. In many countries, people are just trying to survive without the basic necessities of life.
Our challenge is to be a father to the fatherless, a husband to the widow and a beacon of hope where the reality of pain and struggle has overcome people’s spirits.
God’s heart is for world evangelism. He wants to see the whole world saved. And, at Gateway, the way we take the gospel to the world is by taking it to the Jew first.
Even in our first year as a church, we began sowing very heavily into Jewish evangelism. And because of that, we have been able to, by God’s grace, take the gospel all over the world.
It’s incredible to hear about, look at pictures of and go to all the nations where we’re ministering. It’s happened because we’re doing evangelism God’s way; we’re following God’s order.
First Things First
Our church’s Messianic service is the first service we have every month—even before we have our weekend services. We do this for a very specific reason. It’s kind of like tithing. When you give the first portion of your income to God, the rest is blessed.
God has an order, and it’s very, very clear. Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16, NASB, emphasis added). This is a principle that Gateway Church is built on.
Even Jesus made it a priority to take the gospel to the Jew first. He said, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel” (Matt. 15:24, NLT). And everywhere Paul traveled, he always took the gospel to the Jew first.
In Acts 13, it’s recorded that the apostles were sent by the Holy Spirit and that “when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down” (Acts 13:14, NKJV).
When Paul and Barnabas arrived in Antioch, the first place they went to preach the gospel was the synagogue—where the Jews were. Later, in Acts 19, we read that Paul “went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8).
All throughout the book of Acts we see that Paul never stopped going to the Jews. He knew this was God’s order. God wants the whole world saved, and He has a specific way to do it—by taking the gospel to the Jew first.
I’m not saying that Jewish people are more important to God. But they certainly have a plan in history that affects us today, and it’s important for us to understand that.
One day I was having my quiet time with God and I asked Him, “Lord, why are we as a church so blessed?” And instead of giving me a direct answer, the Lord began to tell me a story. Here’s what He said:
“There once was an orphanage with 1,000 kids. Sadly, the head of the orphanage was a harsh, mean man. However, there was a very wealthy, loving father living nearby who wanted to adopt all of the kids in the orphanage. But the head of the orphanage didn’t want him to.
“So the father made an agreement with the orphanage head to adopt 10 of the kids. He planned to bless those 10 and be so wonderful to them that the other 990 would want to be adopted also.
“And so he took those 10 orphans, made them a part of his family and began to bless them.
“When the other 990 orphans saw how the father was blessing those 10, some of them wanted to be adopted too.
“But when the father went back to adopt the other 990 orphans, the orphanage head still didn’t budge. He didn’t want to give up any of them.
“And so the very wealthy, loving father made a deal with the head of the orphanage.
“He offered to give up his own biological son as a payment for the other 990 orphans. The head of the orphanage agreed to the deal and then killed the son.
“But now, all 990 were paid for, paid in full. All they had to do was just walk out of the orphanage at any time and go to the father’s house.
“So some of them started walking out and going to the father’s house. But a very sad thing happened when these orphans started going to the father’s house—the original 10 grew jealous and left.
“And then, something even worse happened. Some of the orphans who came to the father’s house started persecuting the original 10 who had left. They started throwing rocks at them and calling them names.
“But then, Robert, you came to Me one day with tears in your eyes and you said: ‘Dad, I have a burden for Your original 10 kids who left. If it’s all right with You, I want to go try to get them to come back home.’
“And when you did that, I reached in My pocket and pulled out My wallet and said, ‘How much do you need?’”
We’re taking the gospel to the whole world, and we’re doing it by going to “the first 10.” That is God’s order for world evangelism.
He wants the whole world saved, and He’s calling us to help Him accomplish that by first reaching out to the Jews.
The founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, Robert Morris first visited Israel with his wife, Debbie, in the early 1990s and was actually there as this issue of Ministry Today went to press. His passion for reaching and supporting Israel has prompted other Gateway pastors to travel several times each year to help equip leaders in the Holy Land.