This is one of my favorite pictures of the earth. It's on my computer desktop, it's on my phone, I just love looking at the beauty of this little green and blue ball hanging out in the middle of a vast universe.
I think one of the reasons I like looking at this whole world is the comprehensive nature of all involved.
I mean look at it.
Look at all the systems that have to take place for life to exist.
The weather patterns.
The relationship of humans, plants and other animals.
The cycle of water.
The transfer of energy.
It's just amazing to see from a 20 mile view, all the interesting things that have to take place to make it all work.
That's why, I believe, the discussion of the end of the world is such a hot topic. You see, for all the good and intricacy we see, there are certainly bad things happening too. And, it's those that make it so hard to live peacefully knowing there's SUCH GOOD, dwelling among SUCH BAD.
The disciples wanted to know when Jesus was going to come and make all things new and right again. They asked Him when the 'end of the age' was coming, and he began painting a picture in Matthew 24.
Continuing with our reading, this morning I read this section, "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:9-13)
Doesn't sound real positive does it?
Death, Hatred, People turning from the faith betraying each other, Wickedness, Loss of Love; but He who stands firm to the end will be saved. It's almost like SURVIVOR for keeps or something, right?
But the interesting part of this section, in my opinion, is this gospel preached around the world as a testimony to all nations.
It's interesting to think how the gospel started off being preached from church to church. They actually circulated letters from community to community. It was a one-to-one type of ministry.
Certainly there were conferences, councils, and big ecumenical meetings, but it wasn't until radio until people could broadcast the gospel over long range geographic regions.
Television brought even more of an audience, and now; with satellite television and simulcasts, the gospel can go all over the world at the same time.
It's amazing how communication is changing so fast.
I was cruising the internet last night and found several sites dedicated to the Signs of the Times, all looking for the end of the age, and this was one of the most critical points. They were almost pushing the gospel for the motivation of Jesus' return. Almost like if they could reach all the people groups of the world, then heaven would open up, and Jesus would come back.
Is that the reason?
Should we share the gospel so this beautiful world will rid itself of the evil it's so entangled with?
I'm pretty sure the gospel wasn't meant to be a key that unlocks a cosmic turn of events. Rather; what if the gospel was meant to show us the intimate way humanity can return to a right relationship with the creator of the Universe.
I guess I'm trying to say, If your motivation to share your faith is to trigger some Armageddon type of event, maybe you need to check your reasons. Maybe you should check your understanding of the gospel. Maybe…??
Maybe we as a people need to fear less about what's going to happen in the future, and focus on what's happening in the now.
Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19) For no other reason than it was our duty to share with people the beauty of Jesus. It's not like we're making a club, an army, or some secret society that's here to take over the world. God's already promised He'll do THAT in His time.
Let's don't be people that try to ad-on to the great commission. Rather; let's be people who love Jesus so much, we're willing to share His love and His death on the cross to people who need to know how much God cares for them.
God has chosen to use us to be the agents of hope to the world. Can we take the challenge without twisting it to our own agenda?