In a world where more than 4.5 billion people are without Christ and more than a billion are on the edge of starvation, we have to begin somewhere. So where you might ask? Jesus answers this question for us. In Matthew 9 we see him surrounded by the multitudes and moved with compassion because they were ” harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” So he turned to his disciples and said, ” The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field
36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
So what happens when we take these words from Jesus and put them in a world where more than a billion people have still not heard the Gospel? A fundamental reality snaps into focus : WE ARE NOT PRAYING. This is the only possible explanation for how there can be such a great need yet so few workers.
The multitudes are waiting to hear, and our most urgent need is to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out Christians into the harvest field
Prayer can lead to effects far beyond what we can imagine. What can your prayer do, as it is empowered by God? Just imagine.
So please pray for the workers to go in the harvest field, just as Jesus told the disciples to, and pray that the Lord might even send you in to the field as well since his will for all of us, is to go and preach to all the nation. Here is a web site that provides spcific prayer needs for every country and is a great way to get started praying for the world. http://www.operationworld.org/
There are 4.5 billion people in this world today, who are without Christ. As if this were not serious enough, more than a billion of those people have never heard the gospel. So what happens to these people when they die?
I invite you to take a brief journey with me through the book of Romans to discover seven truths that help us understand what scripture teaches about people who have never heard of Jesus. Then i implore you to consider the urgent need now in favor of radical abandonment to the person and purpose of Christ
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. - Romans 1:19-21
God reveals himself continually and clearly to everyone. Every person on the face of the earth and every person throughout history- without exceptions- has knowledge of God the Father. of Course, not all people in the world say they believe in God. That leads to the second affirmation
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals andcrawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. -Romans 1:21-25
The Bible says we have foolish hearts and futile minds. We have an inherently sinful nature that rebels against the knowledge and the glory of God. Though this is a fundamental truth of the gospel, it is often overlooked in discussions of what happens to people who never hear about Jesus. many times we bring up “tribe who maybe never have heard of Jesus or have a Bible. but they did have an innate desire to worship, and so they worshiped what they knew-maybe the sun god or something like that, so they were doing the best they could with the knowledge they had. isn’t that good enough” In the words of Paul these natives were worshiping created things not the Creator. So does worshiping the sun God count NO, according to Paul in Romans 1. people don’t get credit before the holy God for worshiping gods they create or imagine. Whether in America or Africa or Asia, no one worships God truly, because in our hearts we reject the true God. So there is another truth to consider
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” - Romans 3:10-12
The case has been made, and it is decide. All people, regardless of religious, cultural, or ethnics background, stand guilty before God. All to often we view heaven as the default eternal state for humankind. We assume that our race simply deserves heaven, that God owes heaven to us unless we do something really bad to warrant otherwise. But as we have seen in Romans, this theology is just not true. All people are guilty before God, and as such the default is not heaven but hell. This leads to our nest truth.
20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. - Romans 3:20
Not only is every person guilty before God, but there is also nothing we can do to change this. The more we try to do good, the more we expose our evil. Even our attempts to obey God only further uncover our inability to do so. This applies to you, me and every other person in the world. As a result, we all stand condemned before God. I can imagine tears in Paul’s eyes when he comes to Romans 3:20. He has painted a terrifying portrait of humanity’s sinfulness. A;; people know God, all people reject God, all people are guilty before God, and all people stand condemned for rejecting God. But i can see Paul wiping away those tears as he pens his next words.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; - Romans 3:21-24
Finally the good news! Christ dies on the cross and rose from the grave, and through him we can be righteous before God and assured eternal life. So God has made a way of salvation for the lost. Not a way, but THE WAY. and this is the good news- the gospel. But the question still remains. What about people who never hear? That leads us to our last two truths
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, - Romans 5:1
Romans ( and all of Scripture) is abundantly clear on this point. Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. So if people can’t go to God apart from faith in Christ, and if more than a billion people have never heard the of Christ, then a serious and eternal problem exists. This problem leads us to the final assertion in the book of Romans.
13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHOBRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”
In these three verse we see God’s design for taking the gospel to the world. God has clearly decided to use the church-and only the church- as the means by which his gospel will go to the ends of the earth.
God Sends his servants. His servants preach. People hear. Hearers believe. believers call. Everyone who calls is saved.
God’s will for our life is to take the gospel to those who haven’t heard it, there are more than a billion people who haven’t heard the gospel, so we can’t waste time. We need to GO! as Jesus commands us to.
“And it was the third hour when they crucified him…and with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.” - Mark 15:25, 27
There were three crosses that day. Jesus had been crucified between two thieves. Two of the three were guilty and deserved judgment. One was innocent and chose to die for the guilty.
It’s interesting how the two thieves reacted to this horrible situation. It’s remarkable how Jesus responded. Each cross bore a significant message. I want to highlight each below. Perhaps you’ll identify with one of them. Hopefully it transforms into something very personal to you.
The first thief was only interested in himself. He didn’t care why the others hung beside him. He mocked Jesus and told Him to use His “so-called” abilities as the Christ to get them all down. He rejected Jesus for who He was and demanded Jesus do as he said. He wanted to stop suffering so he could go on living life as he wanted. Unfortunately, we are all born with this kind of attitude toward God. We are self-centered and proudly decide what we will do. The CROSS OF REJECTION will personally pay for their sin.
The second thief was broken and sorry. He rebuked the first thief for his comments and scolded him for not fearing God. He admitted that he deserved this penalty for his life but that Jesus did not. He did not ask Jesus to take away this deserved punishment but humbly cried for an undeserved mercy and grace. He said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This was the CROSS OF REPENTANCE. There is hope for the one on this cross.
Jesus was crucified between the two thieves. He was dying for their sins. He was being punished for the sins of mankind. He was a perfect sacrificial Lamb being offered for the sins of the world. His sacrificial death would be enough. The demands of a perfect justice were met. The death of Jesus would pave the way for our redemption. The CROSS OF REDEMPTION opens the door to forgiveness and life.
THE CROSS OF REJECTION ignores and turns away from THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION. It is a choice with horrible and terminal consequences.
THE CROSS OF REPENTANCE humbly receives the CROSS OF REDEMPTION. When the thief cried out to Jesus, He said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The mercy and grace of God is available to all who humbly repent and cry out to the One who died on the CROSS OF REDEMPTION.
“One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us! But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’” - Luke 23:39-43
(Reblog from http://pastormikelandry.blogspot.com/2010/04/three-crossess.html)