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A Witness Unto All Nations

Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

There are about 200 nations in the world today, and there are Christians in every one of these nations. But Jesus was not talking about today’s political entities, nor was he talking about the kingdoms of his day, most of which no longer exist.

The Greek word for nations in this verse is ethnesin, derived from ethne, which is the root of the English word “ethnic.” This word means more than simply “nations” in the political sense. It refers to ethnic and cultural groups – groups of people who share a distinct ethnicity, language, and/or culture. Anthropologists simply call these groups “people groups.”

Whosoever!

Lately I have been thinking about the word “whosoever.”

The Bible says “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Whosoever means whoever. It means anyone. It means everybody.

Jesus died for the sins of all people… all 7,000,000,000 of them. He loves all people of the world and is working to draw all people to himself. His death on the cross tore down all racial, national, and cultural barriers. So why do I put limits on whosoever? Why do I think “whosoever… except that guy”?

Philosopher, scientist, and Christian apologist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) observed that “all of man’s miseries come from him not being able to sit still in a quiet room alone.”

Give a dog a bone to chew on and a warm fireplace to curl up beside, and it’ll be perfectly content. Give a cat a scratching post and a sunny windowsill, and it’ll be perfectly at peace. But give a man everything he could ever want, and he will eventually grow restless.

In my previous two posts, I wrote about the importance of going into all the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  But in our zeal to carry out the Great Commission through preaching, we sometimes forget that the Great Commission also contains another command from the Lord Jesus Christ: the command to baptize.

Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  

Sometimes, we are so focused on what God is going to do in the future that we miss what God is already doing right here and now.  We often think, “Someday, God will call me to be a missionary,” or “after I retire, then God will use me for the Great Commission.”  But the truth is, God has already called us.  Jesus has already commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. So what are we waiting for?

Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Recently I have been driving down some country roads at night. It always amazes me when I come across people riding a bike along a busy road in the middle of the night, without any lights or reflectors to make themselves visible. One guy was skateboarding at night in a t-shirt and shorts despite below-freezing temperatures, and wearing all black. Fortunately my car headlights always enabled me to see (and avoid) these travelling daredevils.

© 2011 Matthew Elton
matt@faithfirstmedia.com

Two Views: Eternal Torture vs. Soul Sleep

According to a popularized Christian belief, when a person dies his or her soul departs from the body and either floats up to a place of eternal paradise (heaven) or down to a place of eternal torture (hell). This belief has become so widely accepted among Christians that it is often assumed that it must have originated in the Bible.

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