Hello everyone. Let me start by apologizing for the lack of posts recently. I had the flu, and was in bed for about a week. When I got back to church, I had allot on my plate with regards to finalizing our Missions Conference on May 17th, and then also with finishing up some details on the Sr. Highs missions trip to Brazil. Anyway, my goal is to update this site at least twice a week so I’m back on track now, and will be updating some more later this week.
Before I go into the missions conference, let me finish my thoughts on people groups. I hope that you have enjoyed thinking about these verses, and exploring this topic together with me. I want to just mention a couple verses in the gospels that shed some light on “people groups” and God’s desire for them to hear the Truth, and for a representation from “every tribe and tongue” to be in heaven giving glory to Him. The first is in Mark 11:17 (which is actually a quote from Isaiah 56:7). When Jesus cleanses the temple he says,
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'”.
This is a great verse because I believe it sheds some light on how Jesus interpreted the O.T. regarding the worldwide purposes of His Father. In Isaiah, that word nations “pasin tois ethnesin” is the Hebrew word for “peoples”. Isaiah says that there will be converts from “all peoples” that will enter the temple to worship! Jesus uses this verse when going to the temple, and cleansing it from what was a misrepresentation of His Father. It was a place that was going to be for “all nations”, but instead became a “den of thieves”.
There are many more verses that have this type of language : John 11:51-52, John 10:16, John 17:20, but I want to end with this one. Luke 24:45-47.
“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.'”
We see here that Jesus opens their minds to understand the scriptures, He then teaches from the O.T. three specific truths – 1. That Christ is to suffer, 2. that He is to rise on the third day, and 3. that repentance and forgiveness of sins are to be preached in His name to “all nations”. So Jesus is saying that His commission is to take the message of repentance and forgiveness to all nations – and that the O.T. teaches that. When he opened their minds to the scriptures, he was showing them the truths of the O.T. where this “all peoples” Theology is clearly seen. (Go to my post on 2/29/08 for more O.T. verses)
Therefore, going back to this “Great Commission” that we looked at in Matt 28:18-20 in my post on 2/29/08 – the term “of all nations” panta ta ethne can be clearly seen (by looking at O.T and N.T. references) as meaning to make disciples not just from as many gentile individuals as possible, but rather reaching and making disciples in all the people groups of the world. One would have to go totally against the flow of all the evidence on translation of that phrase to suggest that it would simply mean “all gentile individuals”. So I believe that there is a distinct calling on the church to do this frontier missionary work among all the remaining unreached peoples of the world. I believe that we should be praying about our part in this “Great Comission” and if the Lord would indeed want to use us to bring the light of the glorious gospel to those who have NEVER heard. This Pauline type of ministry is greatly needed – Lord, I pray that You would reveal Your heart regarding these things to us, and that You would burden our hearts for the nations.
I’ll talk about our Missions Conference on May 17th in my next post. If you want to download the brochure go to www.ccphilly.org – it’s right on the homepage as a link. It’s all very exciting.