That headline may seem absurd. But you might think differently once you finish reading this article.
If you were asked, "What is God doing in your life?" Some of us, diligent in our walk with Christ, would be able to answer. But if you were to be asked, "What is God doing in the world today?" How would you respond? What is God doing in the world, as a whole, today? Let me share with you, my answer.
Based upon the scripture and what we see going on with the gospel around the world, I'd have to say that God is busy fulfilling the Great Commission in our lifetime. In fact, there is no single, more important task that God is engaged in than fulfilling the Great Commission. Let me explain why.
There has never been a better time to get involved with helping to fulfill the Great Commission. Regardless of what you see on the news about the state of our nation or the world, regardless of the many evils we are seeing perpetrated on so many victims, like what is happening the Middle East with ISIS, regardless of the lack of hope that so many people have, there has never been a time more fruitful for the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth, and I want to tell you why. It all begins with the Great Commission.
What is the Great Commission? The Great Commission comprises the final words of Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 28. It is sometime said that the last words of a dying man are his most important. Well, these were Jesus’ last words before his ascension. Jesus said, "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" (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus also had this to say about the spread of the Gospel in Matthew 24:14, "This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations."
The concept of all nations includes more than nations with geographical borders. Rather, it refers to people groups. We can divide people groups in languages, of which there are more than 7,000. If it seems like a daunting task then let this sink in. In heaven, every language of man will be represented. “By your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). John sees this in the future, our future. Every tribe and language of man will be represented. But also consider this.
God does not embark on missions of failure. He says of his word, "So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). The Great Commission is his word, it will not fail.
The Great Commission may be fulfilled in our lifetime.
There are a number of things happening around the world, regarding the spread of the Gospel, that have never happened before in history, most of which we're not even possible prior to the modern age. I'd like to present some of these evidences that signify that the Great Commission is being accelerated, and that may indicate that the Great Commission could be fulfilled in our lifetime.
There are 140,000 protestant missionaries serving in almost every country in the world. That's one missionary for every 50,000 people. If we include all branches of Christendom, there are 430,000 missionaries worldwide. That's 1 missionary for every 16,000 people. There have never been more missionaries active in the world than there are right now.
In 2005 there were 639 unengaged large people groups (more than 100,000 people). Not just unreached, but nobody was even trying to reach them. Mission leaders, learning of this, decided to do something about it with the desire to see that number down to ZERO. Today, only six of the 639 are left unengaged.
Of the last remaining 1,500 unengaged people groups (less than 100,000), left in the world, everyone of them will be engaged with the Gospel by 2022.
At least one book of Scripture has been translated for 2932 languages. The New Testament is available in 1,333 languages. There are 553 Bible complete translations. A total of 4,818 translations in whole or in part. Bible translation experts tell us that at the current pace of translation, there will be a translation of the Bible for every language on earth by 2033. There have never been more translations available than there are right now.
Wycliffe has reduced the time it takes to translate some languages from decades of work down to just a year—machine translation with human checking. This has dramatically reduced the time to translate a Bible from, in some cases, decades, down to just 1-2 years.
The New Testament is translated into the languages of 94% of the world's population.
JESUS FILM PROJECT
The Jesus Film is the most watched film in history, with more than 7 billion views. It is also the most translated film in the world with more than 1,500 translations.
480 million people have indicated a decision for Christ since its first showing in 1978.
60% of all new church plants globally involve a JESUS film showing.
Jesus Film's Mission865 is an effort to translate the film into the last languages with more than 50,000 speakers. 375 have been done so far with only 490 to go.
My project is heading up Global Broadcast Strategy for JESUS Film Project. Our goal is to expose 1.3 billion to the story of Jesus through radio and television by 2025. And we are well on our way. In 2017, 101 million people saw the story of JESUS on radio and TV around the world.
RADIO, TV, AND THE INTERNET
Christian media is now available to every nation on earth through radio, TV, satellite, print, and the Internet.
99% of the world's population has access to Christian radio in some form.
Global Media Outreach operates Godlife.com. Since 2004, more that 140 million decisions through online ministry. That's almost 25,000 people a day.
In 60 years of intense persecution in China, the Chinese church has grown 100 times. 10,000 people come to faith in China everyday. Christians in China outnumber communist party members by nearly 2 to 1. At this rate of growth, China may become the most Christian nation on earth within the next 12 years.
In India, a country of 1.2 billion people, 50 million have come to faith in Christ in the last 15 years. A recent (2018) TV showings in India exposed 13 million the story of JESUS.
In Mongolia where my wife and I served for 10 years, remarkable things are happening. Mongolia was formerly the most Buddhist nation on Earth. At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries 50% of all Mongolian men were monks living in Buddhist monasteries. But things have changed. Now, the establishment of new church groups is happening at more than twice the rate of new Buddhist temples.
From 1960 to 2000, the global growth of the number of Evangelicals grew at three times the world's population rate, and twice that of Islam.
THE ISLAMIC WORLD
In the US, 20,000 Muslims come to faith in Christ every year.
Six million Muslims leave Islam every year.
More Muslims have become followers of Jesus over the last two decades than in Islam's entire 1,500 year history.
Consider Iran: The Christian house church movement is 1 million strong, and growing. Iran has the fastest growing evangelical population in the world, with an estimated annual growth of 19.6 per cent (2016).
In the Middle East, 100s of imams, mullahs, and clerics have received Christ and many are now missionaries.
In the Muslim world, dreams of Jesus almost seem common.
In 2013, of the top 10 fastest growing churches in the world, six of them were Muslim countries: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain.
In Middle East, 90% of people who come to faith in Christ come thru media.
In spite of growing persecution against Christians and major challenges converts face, there is a growing movement of Muslims turning to Christ. Missionary David Garrison stated, 'We are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history.'
Garrison spent two and a half years traveling, conducting research and interviewing over 1,000 Muslim converts. In his book, A Wind in the House of Islam, he defined a movement of believers as 'A group of more than 1,000 baptized believers or 100 new churches within a Muslim community.' In total he found 69 movements that had started in the first 12 years of the 21st century, in comparison with virtually no voluntary movements of converts to Christianity in the first 12 centuries of Islam."
Right now there are 7.3 billion people on earth. 5 billion of those people have have heard a presentation of the Gospel at least one time. There are just 2.3 billion people have never heard Gospel.
Get this: 131 million people are born each year. But the Gospel is shared with about 250 million new people each year.
If this rate continues to hold true, that means that every person on earth will have heard the Gospel by 2029.
Now, to be honest, this is an oversimplification. Some areas are very difficult to reach, others are easy. But the main point is this: For the first time in history, the spread of the Gospel of Jesus is outpacing global population growth by a factor of nearly 2 to 1. This was not possible prior to the modern age! The Great Commission is being accelerated!
Missionary Hudson Taylor once said, "There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”
Today, we are not living in impossible. We are even today emerging from difficult. We are approaching done!
Globally, we are not facing a spiritual famine, rather, we are experiencing a global spiritual awakening such as has never happened before in the history of the world.
If the fields were white for harvest in Jesus' day, what do you think they are now?
God is doing remarkable things around the world to fulfill the Great Commission. And if you decide to get involved then you will have God’s promise to be with you, to empower you in the work. Jesus promised this when he said, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” He is with us, so we have nothing to fear. How is he with us?
- He is with us in four ways. Matthew 28 makes clear that he is with us in…
- His presence — “I am with you”
- His purpose — “Make disciples of all nations”
- His power — “I am with you” (Acts 1:8. The filling of the Holy Spirit)
- His persistence — “to the end of the age”
Some people may say, since the Great Commission will be fulfilled, why should I bother to get involved? Won’t it happen anyway? No. Because God’s means of fulfilling the Great Commission is to use us to do so. And there’s no time to get involved like right now.
Take a lesson from the investment world. When is the best time to invest? When cost is low and the returns are high. So it is, right now, with the Gospel. We are seeing more fruit for the Great Commission right now that ever before. Now is the perfect time to get in. Join God in what he is already doing.
- What to do.
- Go — full time, short term, trips, etc.
- Give — financially, expertise, labor, etc.
- Get involved — host mission events, work through your church, volunteer for mission oriented teaching or events.
- Pray — Every great movement of God in history has begun with a movement of prayer.
The call to the Great Commission is a call to all, not just a few. The Great Commission is the very heart of Jesus. Do we want his heart?
There's never been a better time to be involved in fulfilling the Great Commission than right now. Go, give, get involved—and watch what God will do!