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 before 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.”
– Revelation 7:9-10
This passage in Revelation is one of the most captivating texts in the entire Bible.
Is it possible to read the verses without being mesmerized? One day every people group will be represented at the throne room of heaven, worshiping the Son of God together. And as we look through the entirety of Scripture, we see Revelation 7:9-10 as the beautiful fulfillment of a promise.
In Genesis 11 at the Tower of Babel, God scattered the nations across the earth. In Genesis 12, God gave the promise to Abram, "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." And for years the earth waited anxiously for the fulfillment of the promise.
And then it happened. The Messiah was born. The King of Kings had come and his name was Jesus. He obeyed the Father perfectly and defeated death and sin once and for all by giving his life for ours on the cross. And three days later he rose from the grave victoriously. With his last words, he gave us a command: "go and make disciple of all nations…" (Matt. 28:18-20).
This is the true story of the world.
Pastors and leaders, brothers and sisters, do we really believe this story? If we do, then we cannot sit idly by in our churches while 6,000 people groups making up over 2.9 billion people have never even heard it! We cannot be satisfied with spending our time, resources, money, and lives on a comfortable Christianity that excludes the nations.
If our vision and mission does not include reaching the ends of the earth with the gospel, we are thinking too small. Our belief that the gospel is the true story for the world must move us to proclaim the gospel to the parts of the world that remain unreached.
So how can we do this? How can we obey God's call to "go and make disciples of all nations"? I believe there are only three responses:
God’s plan for the salvation of the nations is the local church. Have you ever considered the fact that God might be calling you overseas? If not, please don't exclude the possibility. Maybe God is sending you as a laborer into the harvest of the nations. Jesus called the disciples to drop everything and follow him; don’t put limits on where God could call you to go.
Those who go cannot do so unless they are sent. Money, resources, and time are so easily invested in temporal things. What if we believed God's promises in the Scriptures and invested our money and resources accordingly?
Honestly, the report of how the North American church spends its money is discouraging. Less than one percent of Christian giving goes to work among people groups that are considered unreached.*
Are you sacrificially, cheerfully, and generously giving to send more laborers into the harvest? Or are you hoarding temporal treasures on the earth that will one day fade away? Let us not forget that "where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21).
Sadly, many Christians have chosen this last option. Their lifestyles and bank statements reflect this. When we choose to disobey the Great Commission, we forfeit our role in God’s plan of global redemption. But praise God there is still hope. He takes the disobedient like Saul and uses them for his glory! Through the Holy Spirit, you too can take part in God’s mission on the earth. Rest in the finished work of Christ and ask God to transform your heart for his global purposes.
Brothers and sisters, I urge you to leverage your lives for the glory of God among the nations. Christ is worthy of the worship of every nation, tribe, people, and language. Do not settle for anything less.
* Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Vol 39, No. 1, (2015) page 29.