Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Command, Not the Call

My family. Friends. Basketball on Sunday afternoons. Oreos. Watching the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys. Driving fast. Competion. Money. Education. Career. Marriage. Future. Dreams. Goals. Life.

I love/want/enjoy/like/think about/prepare for all of these. I could write a 5,000 word blog about all of these things—with 4,500 words being dedicated to how much I love my friends and family.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about a number: 6,685.

This is the number of unreached people groups in the world who have never heard the gospel according to the IMB.


There are 11,571 people groups in the world and over half of that number (6,685 people groups) have less than 2% of the population reached for Christ.

I was floored when I read this statistic. It is 2011. We live in a world with the IPhone, IPad 2, Skype, and other amazing technological advancements. We live in a world where over 90% of the world knows what Coca-Cola is, but over half the people groups have never heard of Jesus.

What in the world are we who are called Christians doing? A “Christian” is someone who is following Christ. If we were truly following Christ we would be urgently carrying out his last words:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

These are the last words that Jesus said to his church, and they were important. Yet somehow we have missed it too often. Sometimes I miss it. Followers of Christ are supposed to follow him in all that we do as he has commanded us.

David Platt says, “Thousands of people groups have not yet been reached with the gospel, and Jesus has commanded (not merely called but commanded) us to get the gospel to them. So for you and me not to be intentionally engaged in taking the gospel to unreached people groups is disobedience to the command of Christ.”

Do we ever think about it that way? That it is disobedient to not be carrying out the great commission? I think that we explain it away by saying that it is the pastor’s job, or we don’t have time, or that God has not called me to do that, or some other weak argument that is nothing but disobedient to what Christ commands us to do: make disciples of all nations. This is not a call; it is the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to be intentional about sharing the gospel with people of every nation. Sometimes I know that I can fall into this trap. It is the trap of planning. I am not saying planning is a bad thing, but sometimes I can be so focused on planning that I never get to work. I could spend too many hours trying to figure out what an unreached people group is, which groups are “reached” and “unreached,” or what is God’s plan for my life? This can get in the way of actually doing the work that Christ saved me to do.

George Ladd, a Baptist minister in the 20th century says it this way, "God alone knows the definition of terms. I cannot precisely define who 'all the nations' are. Only God knows exactly the meaning of 'evangelize.' He alone...will know when that objective has been accomplished. But I do not need to know. I know only one thing: Christ has not yet returned; therefore the task is not yet done. When it is done, Christ will come. Our responsibility is not to insist on defining the terms of our task; our responsibility is to complete it. So long as Christ does not return, our work is undone. Let us get busy and complete our mission."

Now what does all this have to do with the people I love dearly, Oreos, and the World Series?

I got to thinking—in light of all of the billions of people who have never heard the gospel, am I willing to give up everything to tell them about Christ? Will I leave it all behind to take the gospel to the furthest corners of the earth? Do I, like Paul, “make it my ambition to preach the gospel,” to people who have never heard? Do I count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord?

Do you?

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