Friday, August 23, 2019

Reaching the Nations for Christ

All Christians understand that Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again from the grave so that mankind might be brought back into a right relationship with God.  But that was not the end of the story.  God’s plan on earth is still unfolding, and it’s the reason why Jesus has still not returned.

There is one last sign that is rarely mentioned that must take place before Christ’s return,
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

God wants the whole world to know about the great sacrifice His Son made on the cross. And He wants everyone to have an opportunity to hear, and have a chance to accept or reject His Son’s sacrificial gift for their sins.

This is what I believe is the most important thing on God’s heart today!  God is bringing in the harvest, but only after the full number of Gentiles have come in will He bring an end to this world in its present form. 

We must understand how God measures the harvest.  The Bible defines the task clearly where we are given a glimpse of the time when the harvest has been fully gathered in Revelation 7:9-10, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

This is exciting news!  We are told there will be worshipers of Jesus around the throne from “…every, nation, tribe, people, and language…”  And just to make it clear, God also mentions it in Revelation 5:6-10, and again in Revelation 14:6. 

God always completes things perfectly.  He created the first divisions among the human race at the Tower of Babel by splitting people into, “…clans and languages, in their territories and nations.  These are the clans of Noah's sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.” (Genesis 10:31-32)

The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation carries two themes. The first is the redemptive story of Jesus, and the second, which seems to have been lost on so many people today, is God’s plan to reach the nations.  Without understanding this, a Christian’s life will lack a key ingredient and sense of purpose. 

Jesus didn’t die on the cross just so you can have salvation; He died on the cross to save the nations.  God doesn’t bless you and me just so we can be happy.  He blesses us so we can reach out and bless the nations!  And not just every country, but every “…nation, tribe, people and language.”  Only when this happens will Jesus return.  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

Let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking the work of reaching all the ethnic groups, tribes, languages, and people groups have been done.  It has not! There are Christians that have sat on their backside for decades while they waited for the Lord’s return.  Tragically, their lives have been wasted and they have done nothing for the Lord.

Ever since Jesus gave us the Great Commission over 2000 years ago, how much progress do you think we have made?  One of the best sources of information is the Joshua Project.  They have classified an unreached people group as having less than 2% Christian.  Using this definition, how many of the 16,586 people groups do you think remain to be properly “reached” with the gospel of Jesus?

The answer may shock you: After 2000 years there are still 7,148 unreached people groups in the world today!   From this point of view, the church is just past the halfway point toward the goal.  No wonder Jesus has not returned yet.

In Asia alone, millions of people are still waiting to hear the good news of Jesus Christ for the first time in their lives. Not only individuals, but whole tribes and ethnic groups remain totally unevangelized.

The Lord Jesus is waiting for His full inheritance to come in, and it is a great privilege to be able to play a part in seeing this happen as we serve a sovereign God together.

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