Communites_

Evangelism spreads Christianity especially through sharing God’s Word, with the objective of converting a non-Christian to faith in Jesus Christ. While this title takes liberties with Matthew 24:14, there is little doubt that this verse of “throughout the whole world” can be accomplished one community at a time, starting with the one where the reader of this book lives.

We live in a day that looks very much like the signs of the end of the age spoken of in Matthew 24:3, and laid out for us by Jesus through 24:4-14. Nevertheless, believers must remember that Jesus also cautioned us of looking for signs that do not indicate the second return of Christ and the end of the Christian age. However, he also offered signs that occur toward the end of the Christian era. Instead of getting hopeful that the end is imminent every time there is a massive natural disaster or nations enter into another war, what should be the concern of Christians? We must be concerned with our walk with God, as well as that of our family and friends, because:

Matthew 24:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

What do we endure? We must endure the maintaining of our walk with God through false Christs who will lead many astray.  We must endure while we maintain our walk with God through the loss of many of our spiritual brothers and sisters who fall away, the betrayal of former Christians, and the hatred of people who are alienated from God. We must endure while we maintain our walk with God through false prophets who will arise and lead many astray, the increase the lawlessness in this world, and the love of humanity growing colder. Yes, each believer who survives to the end of the Christian era, the return of Christ, will be saved from Jesus’ destruction of the wicked. However, we cannot simply sit around. We have work to accomplish until the end of the age.

Inappropriate Conversations_

The Last of the Signs

Matthew 24:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth[1] as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

This is the last of the signs that Jesus gave that should concern Christians as it is directly related to the end of the age and the return of Christ, namely “the gospel of the kingdom being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” Jesus makes it very clear what he meant by “the whole world” by then saying, “all nations” (Gk., ethnos). Jesus directed what he said toward all races, not so much the “nations” that we know the world to be divided into today. Therefore, Jesus speaking of the “whole world” was a reference to “a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions, nation, people.”[2] While for the most part nations are made up of different races, the world is becoming a melting pot.

In the phrase “testimony to all nations,” we find the Greek word martyrion, which was a legal term, “that which serves as testimony or proof, testimony, proof.”[3] The testimony here that Christ wanted his disciples to share has to do with Jesus and the kingdom. Evidence, proof, or testimony can overcome the false reasoning of unbelievers by winning them over, as well as convict those who refuse to see the evidence for what it is. Jesus said very clearly in the following verses:

Matthew 11:15

15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:9

The one who has ears, let him hear.”

 

Matthew 13:43

43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

No One Knows That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

While none of us can know the precise time of Jesus’ return, we know that we must be busy in the work that he has given us. Regardless of the time left, how will you, or anyone, use it?  Here is how we should view Christ’s return. We should live as though it is tomorrow, but plan as though it is 50-years away. What does this mean? We live as though Christ is returning tomorrow, by walking with God, having a righteous standing before him. We plan as though it is 50-years away by living a life that makes plans for long-term evangelism that fulfills the Great Commission. (Matt 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)

Mankind’s sinful nature would not do well if we knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return. Many religions and even some cults have set dates for the end of times. It’s not unusual to exclaim, “The end is near!” The ones who set actual dates for Christ’s return tend to quit their jobs, sell their homes, withdraw all of their money from the bank and take their kids out of school. They choose to either: (1) have a good time before the end, or (2) spend the last couple of years yelling from the rooftops that “the end is coming!”

Those who constantly say, “The end is near,” are similar, in that they do not take job promotions because it would cut into their ministry, and they do not allow their children to have a college education or plan careers because to them the end is near. At least these groups take evangelism seriously, but they fail to realize no one knows when the end is coming.

Christians must find a way in the time that remains, be it 5 years, 50 years, or 500 years, to encourage and foster “sincere brotherly love,” and to display “obedience to the truth.” Where must we show obedience? We must clean up the church. We also must carry out the Great Commission that Jesus assigned his followers to preach, to teach, and to make disciples! (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) It is the assignment of believers in the time remaining to assist God in helping those with a receptive heart to accept the Good News of God’s kingdom. Yes, we offer the world the hope of getting on the path of salvation, an opportunity to accept everlasting life through Jesus Christ. Just because we do not know the day and the hour, does not mean that we should be less urgent about this assignment. Remember Jesus’ illustration:

Matthew 24:43 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Moreover, remember Jesus’ question,

Luke 18:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

I tell you that he will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find the faith[4] on the earth?”

 0001 REVIEW QUESTION:

Regardless of the time left, how must Christians use it?

Evangelism Opportunity: While going house-to-house to evangelize in your community, the man or woman who answers the door asks, “Why do you Christians keep forcing your message on everyone?”

You ask, “___?”

She might reply, “___.”

You respond, “___.”

[1] Or in the whole world

[2] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 276.

[3] IBID, 619.

[4] Or find this faith