Yesterday was national daughter’s day. I’m not sure when that national day came into being, but we have a daughter who merits being recognized for at least one day out of a year if not every day. Michaela and I were having another one of our great theological conversations. They are getting increasingly rare, not due to a lack of desire, but rather to her life work as a social worker and a graduate student. Nevertheless, as I was concluding chapter 10 of Ephesiology: The Study of the Ephesian Movement she had just begun to attend a Bible study on the book of Revelation. As she shared with me that evening about her perspective of Rev 21:4, her words seemed to ring true: “Daddy, I believe the tears that God will wipe away are due to the fact that we will recognize all the people we did not share Christ with and realize that they will be eternally separated from us and God.”
An absolutely tragic thought. Can you imagine a world without those loved ones—family, friends, even neighbors and colleagues—knowing that we had a sacred duty to share the gospel with them and did not?
We are getting closer to those streets of gold John wrote about (Rev 21:21) as the church continues on her mission. Unfortunately, in the United States, people are increasingly disillusioned by Christianity and the church as they move further and further away from the God who desires nothing more than to have a relationship with them. Many are predicting an untold number of churches closing this year and the need to equip more than 2,000 people every year to start new churches that will defend the faith, care for the marginalized and exploited, and declare the glory of God so more and more people will worship Him (Rev 2:1-7).
If the challenge in the United State were not overwhelming, around the world, as near as we can tell, two-thirds of the global population does not know Christ and 2.1 billion people are completely outside the reach of the gospel—a number that is increasing daily as the population continues to swell. Additionally, nearly 6 million people, representing 269 distinct ethnic groups living in their homelands, have never been contacted by a missionary. We estimate that it will take another 311 missionary units to risk all for the gospel to engage these people with the love of Christ. These people have stories of searching for a God they do not know. The Holy Spirit is at work among them, yet they do not see Him. Now the church must fulfill her responsibility to make God’s story known.
A movement of God is happening in the world today. He will accomplish his mission, as John prophesied (Rev 10:11). The question for us is this: Will we demonstrate our love for Christ by joining God in His mission to see every tribe, nation, language, and people worship Him?