Some years back we were correcting our kids as they dragged their feet and moaned instead of promptly obeying. Then one of us boldly proclaimed, “Delayed obedience is disobedience!” It just rolled off the tongue so easily. Then it hit our ears also.
Uh-oh, how have I delayed my obedience to Jesus when he has clearly told us what to do? Does God, like a parent, “need to repeat Himself?” Have I understood and obeyed? Instantly? Or have I dragged my feet and “in my own time” maybe… eventually… given some portion of my life to God’s mission?
In two previous blog posts we have claimed briefly that 1. People only have this life to know and respond to Jesus, that there is no other way of salvation, and there is also no “post-death evangelistic appeal,” even for those who never hear of Jesus. And 2. God empowers and entrusts his people with the responsibility to reach all people, even those with no access. Therefore, while God is Just and Holy and can do what he wants, Jesus also humbly limits himself to partner with humans in this great mission of announcing and demonstrating his kingdom.
So, we have looked at the lost and their options, and we have looked at God and his generous trust of his people. Finally, in the next two posts we will examine “WHAT ABOUT US?”
Yep, we turn the focus from “What does God think of them and their salvation?” We turn from “What do we think of God’s plan, and the fact that many don’t know?” Let’s now consider first, “WHAT DOES GOD THINK OF US?” and later, “WHAT MIGHT THE LEAST REACHED THINK OF US?”
Enough with the theoretical “what about those who have never heard,” and enough with the load-shifting “Isn’t God in control and responsible for all of this?” Time’s up for that…now what about you, what about us, what about our church, what about our families? We have the light, the forgiveness, the salvation, the Bible, the knowledge, the resources, the time, the technology, the education, the transportation, the maps, the prayer guides. We also have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit! Essentially, we have NO excuse! None.
With so many who have never heard the Gospel, consider God’s potential thoughts toward our:
- Timeframe – Are we urgent, or comfortably pacing ourselves, or flat-out delaying our obedience to Jesus? Is his commission to disciple the nations our priority? Do we make sharing Jesus a daily priority – with our neighbors, on social media, at work, at places we shop, as we go, etc.?
- Generosity – During the Great Depression, US Christians gave 3.7% of their income to church and charity, so now with a booming economy, why do Christians give an average of 2.4%?
- Strategy – Out of $100 placed into the US offering plate, why does only 1 to 5 pennies (0.01% to 0.05%) make it to work among the least reached people groups?
- Balance – Could a person spend $2,000 on a 10-day mission trip to a Christianized area of the world, and then give or raise that same amount for ministry among those who have never heard of Jesus?
- Consistency – Do you (or your church) regularly focus on the least reached and the persecuted church with times of prayer, videos, regular updates, testimonies, or sermon illustrations and offerings?
- Intentionality – Maybe God asks, “If you know I chose you to be my ambassadors to the ends of the earth, why do you do the same things in the same places year-after-year?”
Yet many Christians do not know what to do, or where to go, or how to engage. So, Satan plants excuses in our minds that help us dodge our responsibility and pin “lack of access” on God instead. So… excuses abound and Christians involve themselves in other pursuits that either are not eternal or “reach the reached” again and again (“Excuses” and “The Top Nations Receiving People and Funds” will be blog posts for a later time.) All the while, Jesus’ commands to us remain un-obeyed and God’s untapped potential in our lives and churches’ lives remains just below the surface. All the while, masses remain ignorant of the Gospel.
What do you think? Since God told us what to do, and then gave us his own power, will God hold us responsible for the people who have never heard of Jesus?
Ponder these questions.
- When I stand before God will I have blood on my hands? Will certain people end up in hell because I did not do my job?
- Are there specific people that God intends for ME to reach?
- What is holding me back from sharing the Gospel with people? Am I ashamed or confused or distracted or too busy? Are those sufficient reasons for withholding the Good News of salvation from someone?
- Do I really consider heaven a worthy goal? Do I really consider hell?
- Did I make Jesus look good today? Did I share the Gospel by my words and my deeds with people I met today?
- Does my generosity/checkbook show I am doing what I can financially to move the Gospel to the unreached?
- God has trusted me, so am I proving myself worthy of that trust? How can God use my life to impact those who have never heard the Gospel?
- What might the Holy Spirit want to do in and through my life to reach those with no access?
In light of those direct questions, here are a few truths you all probably know:
- God expects us to follow through. – In Matthew 25 Jesus shared the parable of distributing talents. Those who responsibly multiplied what they were given received rewards and honor, while the one who buried his gift in the dirt suffered loss.
- God will hold us accountable. – Hebrews 4:13 states, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Or Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
- God receives our service to others as serving him. – Also, in Matthew 25 the King replied, “Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me.”
- Sin is greater for those who know more. – In one of the Bible’s most sobering passages, James 4:17 states, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Oh wow. That puts us all of us delayers and procrastinators in a terrible situation.
Indeed, it has taken us a long time to obey since Jesus gave the Great Commission. Yes, the Holy Spirit now indwells us and enables us to accomplish God’s plans. And yes, we Christians have the responsibility to follow through on what we know God desires. This means of course, that we really have no excuse.
So, we hope this blogpost has provoked a few questions in your mind as you consider what God thinks and expects of us in light of the great global harvest. Obey and don’t delay!
Tune in to the next post as we look at additional practical ways to engage and consider the cost of Christian inactivity and mis-focus from the perspective of the least reached.
P.S. We recommend you read the book Engaged in Love and War. This book takes you on a journey of the partnership Christ entrusts to you His Bride to move God’s global purposes throughout the earth. It helps equip and empower you to do just that.