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Sermon No: 1459-Last words of Jesus - The great commission



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SERMON TOPIC: Last words of Jesus - The great commission

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 15 June 2014

Topic Groups: MISSIONS, EVANGELISM, GREAT COMMISSION

Sermon synopsis: When someone is about to leave us (e.g. death or a departure to a faraway land), the last words they speak are ones that they consider to be the most important.

There’s no time for wasted words when you have little time left with your loved ones. You want to utilize what time is left to impact them and, as we see in the case of Jesus, to leave any final instructions.

Among the last words spoken by Jesus after his resurrection and before his return to heaven are the words which have come to be known as “The Great Commission”.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
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THE GREAT COMMISSION

Sometimes we are so close to something we don’t see “the forest for the trees.” We fail to see the big picture.

So let’s have a look at the big picture of the Great Commission rather than just focusing on our own experience in our local area and country.

When someone is about to leave us (e.g. death or a departure to a faraway land), the last words they speak are ones that they consider to be the most important.

There’s no time for wasted words when you have little time left with your loved ones. You want to utilize what time is left to impact them and, as we see in the case of Jesus, to leave any final instructions.

Among the last words spoken by Jesus after his resurrection and before his return to heaven are the words which have come to be known as “The Great Commission”.

LAST WORDS

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)

Often people ask, “What prophetic event remains unfulfilled to prevent the return of Jesus?”

Well consider this prophecy by Jesus.

“… this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come .” (Matt 24:14)

UNFINISHED WORK

NOW ASK YOURSELF:

Has the gospel of the kingdom been preached in the whole world?

Have all nations heard the testimony?

In “the Great Commission” Jesus instructs his disciples.

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19-20)

“… you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Have we been witnesses to the ends of the earth?

Have we made disciples in all nations?

Have we gone into all the world? Has the good news been preached to all creation?

AGAIN ASK YOURSELF:

2007: 70,000+ people die everyday in the unreached world without Jesus. 1

2013: In 42 countries, at least 50% of the population has never heard the Gospel. 2

According to Joshua Project there are 7,06 billion people alive today (2014) in 238 countries in 16,588 people groups. 3

Estimates of how many people have not heard the gospel vary greatly, ranging from 1.1 to 2.9 billion (2013).

1 Baxter 2007, 12 2 http:// globaldisciples.org/ wp-content/ uploads/ 2013/ 11/ Pray-For-The-Least-Reached-Web.pdf 3 http:// joshuaproject.net/ global_statistics

UNFINISHED WORK

1.8 billion people standing shoulder to shoulder would go around the world’s equator 38 times.

1 World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2000

In 2007 researchers David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson estimated the number of unreached people to be 1.8 billion people. 1

“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” (Hudson Taylor)

Despite Jesus’ command to evangelize, 28% of all humans have never even heard of his name. 1

So while we all look forward to the return of Jesus WE HAVE UNFINISHED WORK.

“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” (Oswald J. Smith) 2

1 SOURCE: World Christian Encyclopedia, David Barrett, George Kurian, Todd Johnson, Eds. 2001, p. 2: 538) - This is a big improvement from the 58% in 1900, but an increase from the 24% in 1980. Currently about 87,000 are evangelized per day. 2 Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986) was a Canadian pastor, author and missions advocate.

UNFINISHED WORK

10% DEDICATED CHRISTIANS

20% NOMINAL CHRISTIANS

40% HEARD, BUT NOT RESPONDED OR REJECTED

30% (VIRTUALLY NO EXPOSURE TO GOSPEL)

Approximate Percentages

UNFINISHED WORK

WHY HASN'T THE GREAT

COMMISSION BEEN COMPLETED?

Q: WHY IS THE WORK UNFINISHED?

WHY?

RESOURCES

Lack of resources

Uneven distribution of resources

UNBELIEVERS

Opposition from atheistic, Muslim and pagan governments.

CHRISTIANS

648 million Christians today (called Great Commission Christians) are active in Christ’s world mission; 1,352 million Christians ignore this mission. 1

GREAT COMMISSION CHRISTIANS

In 1900: 14% of all Christians

In 2005: 32% of all Christians 2

While this is a move in the right direction, it still means that two thirds of professing Christians do nothing about this command of Jesus.

1 Table 1-1 in World Christian Trends, William Carey Library, David Barrett & Todd Johnson. 2 International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 1/ 05, David Barrett and Todd Johnson, p. 29.

DISOBEDIENT CHRISTIANS

14%

32%

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 2010, drew more than 4,000 Christian leaders from over 190 nations to Cape Town, South Africa. Mission leaders there said the hardest obstacle to overcome in reaching unreached people groups was the disobedience of Christians.

“In my 14 years working with Muslims, mobilizing churches in Korea, I came to realized that Muslims haven’t been missing people to God, but to God’s people,” said Henry Lee, a mission leader based in Seoul, South Korea, and part of Ethne to Ethne (Greek for “people to people”), a global mission network focused on getting the gospel to unreached people groups. 1

1 http:// www.christianpost.com/ news/ african-churches-need-to-connect-bible-to-life-says-mission-leader-47294/ Michelle A. Vu

LAUSANNE CONF 2010

Kent Park, president of US - based Mission to Unreached Peoples, explained why churches do not share the Gospel with people groups that need to hear it.

“The Indonesian church, by its own confession, said we have ignored them (difficult unreached people groups in Indonesia) because we didn’t want to pay the price, we were afraid, we didn’t think it would work, we didn’t think they would change. That’s what it means to be unreached.” 1

1 Ibid

LAUSANNE CONF 2010

Arychiluhm Beyene, who has worked in the mission field for the last 15 years, including 6 years with the most difficult people in Somalia, told a touching story of a “scary” looking Somali man who converted to Christianity from Islam. After the Somali man converted, he told Beyene:

“When you look at us from outside with the long beard, with the cap, and jalabiya (traditional loose fitting clothes worn by some Somali men), we look scary. But I just want to give you assurance, don’t stop telling the good news. Although we look scary from the outside, our inside is looking for the truth.” 1

1 Ibid

LAUSANNE CONF 2010

The large amount of nominal Christians

Ignorance

Indifference

Mistaken belief that it’s not our responsibility

Hyper-Calvinist fatalism

Laager mentality of some Christians

Rise of self-centred, self-absorbed materialistic gospel

Q: Why are Christians also to blame for the Great Commission not being completed and why are many professing Christians unconcerned about the Great Commission?

A:

DISOBEDIENT CHRISTIANS

Many Christians are what we term “nominal Christians”, whom the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) defines as “a person who has not responded in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord.” The LCWE notes that such a one “may be a practising or non-practising church member. He may give intellectual assent to basic Christian doctrines and claim to be a Christian. He may be faithful in attending liturgical rites and worship services, and be an active member involved in church affairs.” 1 The LCWE also suggests that nominal Christianity “is to be found wherever the church is more than one generation old.” 2

1 Christian Witness to Nominal Christians Among Roman Catholics, Lausanne Occasional Paper 10. 2 Witness to Nominal Christians Among Protestants, Lausanne Occasional Paper 23.

(a) NOMINAL CHRISTIANS

A good Biblical definition of a “nominal Christian” is what Paul refers to in 2 Timothy 3:5, when he speaks of people “having a form of godliness but denying its power”.

As such, nominal Christians have no passion for the lost:

The reason some folks don’t believe in missions is that the brand of religion they have isn’t worth propagating.

If your Gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you! (Curry R. Blake)

“If we have not enough in our religion to share it with all the world, it is doomed here at home.” (David Livingstone)

“Where passion for God is weak, zeal for missions will be weak.” (John Piper)

(a) NOMINAL CHRISTIANS

Many Christians are unaware of the challenge of the unreached and of their obligation to the lost.

(b) IGNORANCE

Here is an astonishing statistic about US Protestant pastors:

Based on interviews with 601 Senior Pastors nationwide, representing a random cross section of Protestant churches, Barna reports that half (49%) of US pastors do not have a Biblical world view! 1

Defining such a world view as believing that absolute moral truth exists, that it is based upon the Bible, and having a Biblical view on six core beliefs (the accuracy of Biblical teaching, the sinless nature of Jesus, the literal existence of Satan, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, salvation by grace alone, and the personal responsibility to evangelize). 1

1 SOURCE: www.kicksforchrist.com

(b) IGNORANCE

Barna also report that 90% of US Protestant believers do not possess a Biblical world view as the basis for their decision-making or behaviour. 1

The most important point, Barna argued, is that you can’t give people what you don’t have. The low percentage of US Christians who have a Biblical world view is a direct reflection of the fact that half of their primary religious teachers and leaders do not have one. In some denominations, the vast majority of clergy do not have a biblical world view, and it shows up clearly in the data related to the theological views and moral choices of people who attend those churches. 1

1 Ibid

(b) IGNORANCE

Out of 648 million evangelical Christians, 70% have never been told about the 1.6 billion unevangelized individuals in the world. 1

Remember as with the law of any country, ignorance is no excuse – it is our duty to be aware of the facts and to read God’s Word so that we know what is expected of us.

Prov 24:11-12 Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work? (NASB) 2

1 World Evangelization Research Centre 2 This passage was quoted by Hudson Taylor in the recruiting of workers in the early days of the China Inland Mission.

(b) IGNORANCE

Other Christians are indifferent to the plight of the unsaved – as long as they themselves are okay.

We Christians are debtors to all men at all times in all places, but we are so smug to the lostness of men. We’ve been living in Laodicea, lax, loose, lustful, and lazy. Why is there this criminal indifference to the lostness of men? Our condemnation is that we know how to live better than we are living. (Leonard Ravenhill)

(c) INDIFFERENCE

Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994)

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” (Elie Wiesel – Holocaust survivor)

“How do Christians discharge this trust committed to them? They let three-fourths of the world sleep the sleep of death, ignorant of the simple truth that a Saviour died for them. Content if they can be useful in the little circle of their acquaintances, they quietly sit and see whole nations perish for the lack of knowledge.” (Adoniram Judson, Missionary to Burma)

(c) INDIFFERENCE

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850)

Statistics on US Protestant Christians 1

99.5% have never led anyone to Christ.

99% have no passion for the lost. They don’t really care.

86% have never handed out a gospel tract.

68% Could not define “The Great Commission.”

1 www.kicksforchrist.com

(c) INDIFFERENCE

Many that are aware feel that the unsaved millions are not their responsibility. Let these willingly ignorant Christians note:

“People who don’t believe in missions have not read the New Testament. Right from the beginning Jesus said the field is the world. The early church took Him at His word and went East, West, North and South.” (J. Howard Edington, Senior pastor of Orlando’s First Presbyterian Church)

“If God wills the evangelization of the world, and you refuse to support missions, then you are opposed to the will of God.” (Oswald J. Smith)

(d) NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY

John G. Paton, missionary from Scotland to the South Sea Islands, said, “Some retorted upon me, ‘There are heathen at home; let us seek and save, first of all, the lost ones perishing at our doors. We must evangelize our home front first, before we worry about the rest of the world. Aren’t there millions of sinners living all around us? Isn’t it logical and right to preach to them first?’ “This I felt to be most true, and an appalling fact; but I unfailingly observed that those who made this retort neglected those home heathen themselves. They would ungrudgingly spend more on a fashionable party at dinner or tea, on concert or ball or theatre, or on some ostentatious display, or worldly or selfish indulgence, ten times more, perhaps in a single day, than they would give in a year, or in half a lifetime, for the conversion of the whole heathen world, either at home or abroad.”

(d) NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY

Despite Jesus’ command to evangelize, almost one third of the world’s population – 1 in 3 people - have never even heard of his name.

We have been given a Great Commission, but for many Christians it is the Great Omission.

Jesus has not commanded us to go into “most of the world”, but into “all the world”. In Rev 7:9-10 we are told that the redeemed gathered before God’s throne consist of “every nation, tribe, people and language.”

Oswald J. Smith: “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfil the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”

(d) NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY

Hyper-Calvinists fatalistically assert that God’s intention to destroy some is equal to his intention to save others. This view holds that it is pointless to tell the ‘non-elect’ to repent and believe the gospel. They believe that an altar call or even Sunday School is unscriptural.

A typical Hyper-Calvinist website misapplies the Scripture in Ephesians 2:1 and says the following:

A dead man can’t do anything… He’s “dead in trespasses and sins”. He has no spiritual life. All the evangelising in the world will do him no good!

We may ask then why Jesus gave his disciples a Commission if it was unnecessary or fruitless? Why too did the early church bother to go out and evangelise the known world?

(e) HYPER-CALVINISM

This kind of attitude is the same as the lazy servant who buried the talent his master gave him instead of investing it.

Matt 25:26-27 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! … you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

(e) HYPER-CALVINISM

It’s just as well that William Carey, the “father of modern missions”, didn’t listen to the rebuke given to him arising from this twisted way of understanding God’s grace.

William Carey became involved with the Particular Baptists (Hyper-Calvinists). At a ministers’ meeting in 1786, Carey raised the question of whether it was the duty of all Christians to spread the Gospel throughout the world. An elder pastor, J.R. Ryland, allegedly retorted: “Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine.” 1

1 Source: "http:// www.biographybase.com/ ">www.biographybase.com

(e) HYPER-CALVINISM

William Carey (1761–1834)

To the Hyper-Calvinist who thinks God will do all the work:

Paul says of the unsaved, “how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom 10:14)

Matt 10:5-8 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “… Freely you have received, freely give.”

Paul didn’t expect God to do the work without us:

Rom 15:20-21 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

The word ‘laager’ is Afrikaans in origin and refers to an improvised mobile military formation used by the Voortrekkers, whereby they would arrange ox-wagons into a circle as a form of defence for themselves and their animals.

Some Christians are so shocked by the evil in the world that they are just waiting for Jesus’ return, without doing anything in terms of completing the Great Commission. They simply want to gather in a ‘laager’ and “hold out” till Jesus comes back.

(f) LAAGER MENTALITY

To the “Laager mentality” Christians

Why simply wait for Jesus’ return when he said the gospel must first be preached to “all nations” before the end comes? (Matt 24:14)

When Jesus spoke of the nobleman (representing himself) who went to a faraway country to receive a kingdom, and then to return – the servants were told to “Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:12-13 KJV)

“No pastor is fully obedient to Christ if he does not lead his church to pursue the Great Commission by making disciples both locally and around the world.” (Bill Lawrence, President of Leader Formation International)

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

95% of Christian ministers focus on their own people. 1

There are also some churches which teach a self centred gospel and although they have access to resources – they use all these resources on themselves – to build more extravagant church buildings, buy private jets and lavish mansions for the pastor - when others don’t even have the gospel in their language or someone to preach to them.

1 SOURCE: Stan Park, Ethne ’06

(g) SELF-CENTRED GOSPEL

No church would dream of having a mission statement stating:

“Our goal is to be a self-absorbed, self-serving church, focusing only on our own needs while ignoring the needs of those around us and in the rest of the world.”

Yet although no church would say this in their mission statement document, many churches say something very close to this in another document that reveals their true priorities - the budget.

97% of money given to the church is spent on the people (directly or indirectly) who give it.

(g) SELF-CENTRED GOSPEL

Our own vision stated on our church website is:

To reach the lost with the Gospel of Christ and to disciple them.

To have real genuine fellowship with each other through commitment to smaller groups.

To take care of the poor and needy in our own congregation and as the Lord leads outside our own church.

To support and encourage the persecuted church in prayer, financially and in person if God opens a door.

The Youth and Sunday School - Proper mentorship and adult role models.

(g) SELF-CENTRED GOSPEL

Gene Edward Veith writes the following about the state of giving in US Protestant churches: “Of every dollar given to a Protestant church, the average amount that goes to overseas missions is 2 cents. In contrast, of every dollar Antioch Presbyterian Church in Chonju, Korea, takes in, 70 cents goes to missions… In 1920, the percentage of giving to missions from the total offering was 10.09%, just over a dime out of every dollar. In 2003, conservative and evangelical denominations gave 2.6% (about 3 cents per dollar), with the liberals giving only 0.9% (1 cent). The combined average for overseas work is about 2 pennies per dollar.” 1

1 http:// www.worldmag.com/ 2005/ 10/ who_gives_two_cents_for_missions

(g) SELF-CENTRED GOSPEL

Christian organizations spend $8 billion a year on conferences. 1

(g) SELF-CENTRED GOSPEL

Christian giving behaviour (organisations)

Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and agencies ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world. 2

1 Yohannan, Come Let’s Reach the World, 126 2 World Evangelization Research Center

(g) SELF-CENTRED GOSPEL

More is lost to embezzlement ($16 billion) than is given to missions (so ensure that you give to people or institutions where there is good financial accountability). 2

Some 250 of the 300 largest international Christian organizations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics. 1

1 World Evangelization Research Center 2 SOURCE: Stan Park, Ethne ’06

To the indifferent and materialistic Christians

God doesn’t bless us to increase our standard of living, God blesses us to increase our standard of giving.

“God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions.” (John Piper)

1 John 3:17-18 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

Christian giving behaviour:

The average Christian gives 1.8% of their income to Christian causes. 1

Christians spend more money on dog food than on missions. 2

Christians who make $50,000 or more a year only give an average of 1 to 2% of their income to the church. People earning $10,000 or less per year give an average of 10 to 20% of their income to the church. 3 So on average the more money Christians make, the smaller the percentage of money they give to the church.

1 Stan Park, Ethne ’06 2 Leonard Ravenhill 3http:// old.wolkorea.org/ english/ syme/ messages/ d96.htm

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

Some folk say, “If I get a very good job and make a lot of money, I’ll give a large percentage to God’s work.” But in reality this usually isn’t true. Now, there are some rich Christians who are extremely generous, but on average the more wealthy Christians become, the less they give. Getting more doesn’t mean you will give more; it usually means you will give less.

Luke 16:10 “ One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much , and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

Christians make up 33% of the world’s population, but receive 53% of the world’s annual income

and spend 98% of it on themselves. 1

North American and European Christians spend $12.5 trillion on themselves and their families each year. 1

1 Barrett and Johnson 2001, 656

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

“A person must overeat by at least $2 worth of food per month to maintain one excess pound of flesh. Yet $2 per month is more than what 90% of all Christians in America give to missions. If the average mission supporter is only 5 pounds overweight, it means he spends (to his own hurt) at least 5 times as much as he gives for missions. If he were to choose simple food (as well as not overeat), he could give 10 times as much as he does to missions and not modify his standard of living in any other way!” (Ralph Winter 1)

1 The U.S. Centre for World Mission was founded by Dr. Ralph Winter and Roberta Winter in 1976, headquartered in Pasadena, California.

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

PANTE TA ETHNE

Matt 24:14 “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.”

Matt 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”

Luke 24:47 “… and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (NASB)

Now the phrase “all nations” in English (“panta ta ethne” in Greek) might make us think that Jesus was referring to all the countries or geo-political entities of the world as demarcated on a map. If this was the case, then we could say that the Great Commission was fulfilled as there are at least a few disciples in all nations.

PANTA TA ETHNE

The First International Congress on World Evangelization held in 1974, is referred to as the “Lausanne Congress”. The conference held in Lausanne, Switzerland was a meeting of some 2,700 evangelical Christian leaders from 150 nations to discuss the progress, resources and methods of evangelizing the world. 1

1 The theme of the congress was “Let the earth hear His voice.” The congress started as a plan announced by Billy Graham to hold an international congress on evangelism as a follow-up to the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism held in Berlin, West Germany. The conference is noted for producing the Lausanne Covenant, one of the documents in modern evangelical Christianity. The drafting committee of the covenant was headed by John Stott of England. After the congress, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization was established. The Second International Congress on World Evangelization called “Lausanne II” was held in Manila, Philippines in 1989. The Third International Congress on World Evangelization was held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010.

THE LAUSANNE CONGRESS

Ralph Winter was an American missiologist who became well known as the advocate for pioneer outreach among unreached people groups.

In 1974 while addressing the delegates of the Lausanne Congress, Ralph Winter articulated what became one of the greatest shifts in the thinking of modern missions.

Ralph D. Winter (1924–2009)

PANTA TA ETHNE

He argued that the Bible did not primarily view the world in geopolitical terms, but instead saw the world as populated by ethnic blocks.

Since then mission strategists stopped thinking about missions as places and started thinking about missions as people groups.

In the Great Commission as it is found in Matthew, the phrase “make disciples of all ethne (peoples)” does not let us off the hook once we have a church in every country - God wants a strong church within every people! - Ralph Winter

PANTA TA ETHNE

Definition of a people group

An ethnicity, or ethnic group, is a social group of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be associated with shared cultural heritage, ancestry, history, homeland, language (dialect), or ideology, and with symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, physical appearance, etc. 1

1 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ People_group">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ People_group

PANTA TA ETHNE

So for example, while South Africa is one nation it consists of 62 people groups.

PANTA TA ETHNE

There are 3 organizations which produce data to help Christians understand the current status of global evangelism. Each of the 3 define a people group slightly differently and hence they list different numbers of unreached people groups.

Joshua Project

World Christian Database

International Missions Board 1

1 A missionary sending agency affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention

PANTA TA ETHNE

PEOPLE GROUPS

PEOPLE GROUPS

DEFINITIONS

Christian Adherent: Anyone who claims to be a Christian in any form including Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Foreign marginal and Indigenous marginal.

Evangelical: Christians who stress the authority of the Bible, Jesus Christ as the sole source of salvation through faith in him, personal faith and conversion with regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the preaching of these beliefs to other people.

PEOPLE GROUPS (2010) 1

God has not commanded us to go into “most of the world”, but into “all the world”. In Rev 7:9-10 we are told that the redeemed gathered before God’s throne consist of “every nation, tribe, people and language.”

1 SOURCE: Centre for the Study of Global Christianity - Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

ORGANISATION

PEOPLE GROUPS IN THE WORLD

UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS

Joshua Project

16,585

7,165

International Missions Board

11,294

6,388

World Christian Database

13,461

4,402

SOURCE: Joshua Project

Christians have unfinished work in the world.

Here are the 5 countries with the most unreached people groups.

UNFINISHED WORK

The remaining people groups are the most difficult to penetrate.

* UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP CHALLENGE *

GEOGRAPHIC BARRIERS: remote, harsh climate, difficult access, or nomadic.

LINGUISTIC BARRIERS: illiteracy, no scripture in their language, unwritten language, terminology confusion.

CULTURAL BARRIERS: persecution, closed to change, Christianity viewed as a foreign religion.

CHALLENGES

We have unfinished work in our continent - Africa.

Sudan has more UPGs (Unreached People Groups) than the 22 other African countries combined. 1 11 of Sudan’s 165 people groups have Christianity as their primary religion, and 130 have Islam as their primary religion. 2

In one sensitive nation of 6 million people in N. Africa, there are only 20 known believers among 40 unreached people groups. 1

Nigeria has 346 people groups (18,300,000 individuals) whose primary language does not have Bible portions available. 2

1 http:// www.ethne.net/ about/ ethne-09 2 "http:// joshuaproject.net/ global_statistics">http:// joshuaproject.net/ global_statistics

AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA

1 SOURCE: "http:// joshuaproject.net/ countries/ SF">http:// joshuaproject.net/ countries/ SF

We have unfinished work in our country – South Africa. 1

SOURCE: "http:// joshuaproject.net/ countries/ SF">http:// joshuaproject.net/ countries/ SF

SOUTH AFRICA UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS

SOUTH AFRICA UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS

SOURCE: "http:// joshuaproject.net/ countries/ SF">http:// joshuaproject.net/ countries/ SF

THE FIELDS ARE

WHITE FOR HARVEST

(John 4:35-36)

Matt 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

“Jesus was moved with compassion concerning the miseries of men. He saw them as lost, hungry, sick and bewildered. And just as His Father’s heart had been moved in love to send Christ into the world to redeem them, so our Lord’s own heart was moved in compassion toward them.” (G. Christian Weiss)

THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL

Since the time of Jesus, 36.8 billion people have been born on the Earth. i.e. 1 in 6 of all the people born are alive today! This presents us with a unique opportunity for evangelism.

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE

THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL

SOURCE: Stan Park, Ethne ’06

Q: How many Christians does it take to send one missionary?

A: In AD 2000 in South Africa it took 9,985 Christians to send one missionary, while in South Korea only 918 Christians. Mongolia sent one missionary per 222 Christians.

THE LABOURERS ARE FEW

This is not only our best shot at the global harvest; it’s our only shot. When it comes to your target and the direction of your life’s influence, aim well.

“Our God of Grace often gives us a second chance, but there is no second chance to harvest a ripe crop.” (Kurt von Schleicher)

“I am driven to keep going for Christ by the filling of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that the harvest is not forever. It will soon be past.” (Bill Bright)

We have eternity to tell of victories won for Christ, but we have only a few hours before sunset to win them.

THE TIME IS LIMITED

How can we reach the lost?

Sending missionaries or supporting indigenous missionaries.

Supporting Bible translation and Christian literature translation efforts.

Printing Scripture and Christian literature in the mother tongues of the unreached.

Radio/ TV: Regular listeners to Christian programs over secular or religious radio/ TV stations rose from 22% of the world in 1980 to 30% in 2000. 1

1 World Christian Trends, William Carey Library,David Barrett & Todd Johnson.)

HOW WILL THEY HEAR?

The potential audience for Christian radio programming is 99% of the world’s population, assuming good reception, availability of a radio, and a desire to find the programs. 1

Two of the largest Gospel radio broadcasters, Far East Broadcasting Company and Gospel for Asia, both receive around 1,000,000 listener responses each year. 2

Maria Miranda, the most listened to radio evangelist from Latin America in 1990, was heard by over 100 million people per day through 537 radio stations in 22 countries during that time. 3

In Yemen, a country in which 97% of the country is listed as Muslim, 10% of the population listens to Christian radio. 3

1 Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7 2 Far East Broadcasting Company, 15; Gospel for Asia 3 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Approaches_to_evangelism">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Approaches_to_evangelism

RADIO

The rapid growth of the internet has led to the wide spreading of the gospel by a new cost-effective means.

In 2009 alone, Global Media Outreach, the internet outreach branch of Campus Crusade for Christ, reported over 10 million internet users came to faith in Christ through their websites. They also received close to 4 million emails. (Global Media Outreach)

In one month alone, Trans World Radio saw over 500,000 downloads in China of their online broadcasts. (Libby, 2).

INTERNET

There are currently 1.7 billion active Internet users; another 3 billion are expected to be added in the next 5 years. The developing world will soon go online as cell phones become smartphones and as cheap digital devices such as netbooks and e-readers proliferate. 1

1 "http:// www.lausanneworldpulse.com/ 1296?pg=all">http:// www.lausanneworldpulse.com/ 1296?pg=all

INTERNET

The rollout of fibre-optic cable in Africa and massive satellite communication projects will also mean that bandwidth availability and reach will increase. 1

Within 5 years, at least half the globe should be online; within 15 years, Internet reach should be almost universal. Global proclamation will soon be within the reach of any Christian with a computer. 1

1 Ibid

INTERNET

The task set before us is much more attainable than it was for the early church in AD 100.

In AD 100 there were 360 people for every believer. Now there are 7.3 people for every believer. 1

In AD 100 there were 12 unreached people groups for every congregation of believers. Now there is 1 unreached people group for every 1000 congregations. 1

1 http:// www.aboutmissions.org/ statistics.html

IS THE TASK TOO GREAT?

John Wesley: “Give me 100 men who love only God with all their heart and hate only sin with all their heart, and we will shake the gates of hell and bring in the kingdom of God in one generation.” 1

Robert Speer (leader in Student Volunteer Movement): “There is nothing in the world or the Church - except the church’s disobedience - to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility.”

Ralph Winter: “Never concede to doing something so small that it could be accomplished entirely in your lifetime. Be a part of something that began before you were born, and will continue onward toward the fulfilment of all that God has purposed to accomplish.”

IS THE TASK TOO GREAT?

Do you love Jesus? How can you show your love? Jesus told us - feed his sheep. (John 20:17)

Simon son of John, do you love me?

Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.

Feed my sheep!

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

FACTS

France has 25 Muslim people groups, the largest of which is the Algerians, with 1,320,000 people. 1

Russia has 68 Muslim people groups, the largest of which is the Tatars, with 5,400,000 people. 1

Some 65-70% of the world’s population live in religiously restrictive countries. 1

There are 102 Buddhist majority people groups over 100,000 in size. 1

There are 639 Hindu majority people groups over 100,000 in size. 1

There are 855 Muslim majority people groups over 100,000 in size. 1

1 http:// joshuaproject.net/ global_statistics

Only 50 people groups comprise 50% of the world's population. 1

1,973,000,000 individuals live in people groups (5,600) with very few, if any, believers. 1

About one third (2.2 billion individuals) of the earth’s population reside in only 250 Least-Reached people groups. 1

English is spoken as the primary language by 475 people groups, with Hindi spoken by 576 and Bengali spoken by 403. 1

1 Ibid

The four largest Least-Reached people groups are the:

Shaikh of Bangladesh (A Muslim people group with population 128,000,000.)

Japanese of Japan (Japan has never had more than 1% of its population as Christians.)

the Shaikh of India (a Muslim group with population 77,000,000)

the Brahmin of India. (The largest Hindu group is the Brahmin of India, population 57,800,000.) 1

The Muslim Shaikh have a combined population of over 218,000,000 (Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal). 1

1 Ibid

FACTS – MIDDLE EAST

Of Iran’s 101 people groups, all but 8 are least-reached, and all of the eight are expatriate groups. 1

The largest Least-Reached group in the Middle East / North Africa without Scripture, Jesus film, or audio recordings are the Najdi Arabs of Saudi Arabia, with 12,000,000 people. 1

Modern day Turkey was the birthplace of Paul of Tarsus and Timothy. It was also home to the 7 Churches of Asia, where the Revelations to John were sent.

Today, however, Turkey has a smaller Christian percentage of its population than any of its neighbours, including Syria and even Iran. 2

1 Ibid 2 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christianity_in_Turkey

FACTS – INDIA

5 countries have more than 500 people groups, with India exceeding 2600. There are some 458,000 villages in India with no known Christian presence. 1

The Mumbai district of Maharashtra state in India has over 10,000,000 residents, more than many countries of the world. 1

If the India state of Uttar Pradesh were a country, it would be the 5th most populous in the world. (Operation World 2010). 1

The Hindi people cluster has the greatest number of unreached groups (609, unreached population 491,000,000), then the Bengali (388, unreached population 335,000,000). 1

FACTS – ASIA

1 SOURCE: http:// joshuaproject.net/ global_statistics

850 people groups in Central Asia are least-reached, totalling 425,000,000 individuals. 1

South Asia has the most people groups (3,426), followed by West and Central Africa (2,230), and the Middle East / North Africa has the least (588). 1

South Asia has the most least-reached people groups (3,134), followed by Central Asia (850). The South Pacific has the fewest at 33. 1

3,100 people groups in South Asia are least-reached, totalling 1,350,000,000 individuals. 1

South Asia has nearly four times as many unreached people groups (3,100) as any other region of the world. 1

1 Ibid

Northeast Asia has the highest number of individuals practicing Animism (68,500,000), followed by East and Southern Africa (47,000,000). (Operation World 2010) 1

Indonesia has the greatest population of Muslim groups (212,000,000), followed by Pakistan (176,000,000) and India (157,000,000). 1

The Mandarin Chinese have a combined population of over 830,000,000 (all countries of residence). 1

The largest people cluster is the Chinese (1,291,000,000), followed by the Hindi (493,000,000), and the Bengali (335,000,000). 1

There are 102 Buddhist majority people groups over 100,000 in size. 1

1 Ibid




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