Jesus tasked his disciples with announcing the same message that he preached to every nation, the one he summarized as the “Good News of the Kingdom of God.” In him, God’s rule is being established across the Earth but in unexpected and paradoxical ways. By the day of his return, he will establish his sovereignty over the nations and subdue all his “enemies,” including the “last enemy, death.” Until then, his church is called to be a shining beacon in a world enslaved by sin and death.
All men are invited to accept his offer of life while the opportunity remains. The day is coming when it will be too late. At that time, everyone who has refused his gracious gift will find his name is not “written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
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Embracing his Gospel requires a complete reorientation of life. The level of commitment required to be his disciple is total. Nothing is more important than responding to his call to believe the “Good News,” take up the cross, and follow him WHEREVER HE LEADS.
By his death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all the forces that were hostile to God, including Satan, death, the “powers and principalities,” and sin. His resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit signaled the commencement of the period known as the “Last Days” when the Son reigns from the “right hand of God” - (Psalm 2:2-8, 110:1).
His victory over God’s enemies means the “ends of the ages have arrived” for the people of God. Even now, the “forms of this age are in the process of passing away.” Sin and death may continue for a time, but the decisive victory has been achieved already by his self-sacrificial death.
The defeat of Satan was secured on the Cross. Ever since the Son of God has been putting down all the “powers and principalities” that oppose him. He will do so until all that remains is the unopposed rule of God throughout the Universe - (1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Hebrews 1:5-14, Revelation 1:4-6).
Consequently, he has tasked his Church with proclaiming the “Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations” until the moment of his return. Since he now reigns, it is imperative for his followers to herald his victory throughout the Earth to give every man and woman the opportunity to repent and thereby receive life and hope: “Go and teach all nations…to observe all things whatever I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you even unto the end of the age.”
Believers are his “witnesses,” his envoys commissioned to summon all men to enter his kingdom, and to preach “repentance and the remission of sins in his name among all nations.”
Just before he ascended, Jesus commanded HIS disciples to wait until “they received power after the Holy Spirit came upon them.” Thereafter, they became his “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” - (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:45-48, Acts 1:7-9, 3:19-21).
This mission must continue until the “end,” the very day and hour when he appears “on the clouds of heaven.” His followers are to announce his salvation and help others prepare for life in the coming age. Sin and death may still persist in this life, but death will not have the final word.
None of this means the church must disengage from the world. Far from it! But HIS disciples are called to engage it by preaching his Gospel and living cruciform lives in service to others. Without his salvation and the completion of God's Kingdom on Earth, the world will remain forever in darkness and without hope.
Before his death, Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In response, the disciples asked WHEN that would occur, and what would be the “SIGN” of the “coming of the Son of Man.”
To the first question, he replied - Before the termination of the generation contemporary with him. To the second, he warned - No one EXCEPT GOD ALONE knows the hour, day, “season,” “seasons” or “times” of his return - (also, Mark 13:30-33, Acts 1:6-9).
The one factor that will determine “when” he will return is the completion of the church’s mission: “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole habitable earth for a testimony for all nations, AND THEN SHALL THE END COME” - (Matthew 24:14, 24:36, Acts 1:6-8).
Completing this mission is THE “sign” of the “end,” for the end of this age cannot come until the task is finished. It is not optional but pivotal to the consummation of all things.
The very fact that the “end” has not arrived is irrefutable evidence that the mission remains incomplete. He will not return until his message has been proclaimed to all the nations of the Earth, “AS A TESTIMONY.” Therefore, all who wait anxiously for his “arrival” must, above all else, PREACH THE GOSPEL!