12 November 2022

The Task


The task assigned to his disciples by Jesus is to announce the Good News of his Kingdom to all nations

Preaching - Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Jesus commissioned his disciples to announce his good news to all nations, the message he summarized as the “
gospel of the Kingdom of God.” In him, God’s rule is being established on the earth, and he has empowered his church with the gift of the Holy Spirit to carry out this global mission - [Photo by Ben White on Unsplash].

Not only is the presence of the Spirit vital for the proclamation of the gospel, its primary purpose is not to grant individuals or the church supernatural powers, but to empower disciples to preach the kingdom of God to every nation and people. “Signs and wonders” may follow, but they help spread the faith of Jesus Christ. They are a means to an end.

All men are invited to accept this offer of life while the opportunity remains. The day is approaching when it will be too late.

But embracing the message requires a complete reorientation of life. The level of commitment required is total, and nothing is more important than responding to the call to believe the “good news.”

HIS VICTORY


By his death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all the forces that were hostile to God. His resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit signals the commencement of the “last days” - the reign of the Son from the “right hand of God” - (Psalm 2:2-8, 110:1).

And his victory means the “ends of the ages have arrived.” 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 won already.

Ever since his exaltation, Jesus has reigned on the messianic throne, and he is reclaiming the earth for His Father - (1 Corinthians 7:29-31, 2 Corinthians 5:16-18).

Satan’s defeat was secured on the Cross, and the Son of God has been putting down all “powers and principalities” that are opposed to his rule. He will continue to do so until all that remains is the unopposed rule of God throughout the earth, indeed, throughout the Cosmos - (1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Hebrews 1:5-14, Revelation 1:4-6).

PROCLAMATION


Consequently, the Church is tasked with proclaiming the “gospel of the Kingdom to all nationsuntil the very final moment of his return in glory. And since he now reigns, it is imperative for his followers to herald his victory throughout the earth:

  • 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 envoys anointed by the Spirit and sent by Jesus to summon all men to repent and enter his kingdom - “Repentance and the remission of sins in his name among all nations.” And they are equipped for this task by the gift of the Holy Spirit, the “promise of the Father.”

Just before his ascent, Jesus commanded his disciples to tarry until “they received power after the Holy Spirit came upon them.” Thereafter, they were to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth,” witnesses of his kingdom to all men and women from every nation - (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:45-48, Acts 1:7-9, 3:19-21).

COMPLETION


That mission must continue until the “end,” the very day when he appears “on the clouds of heaven.” And nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus order his disciples to engage in the social, economic, or political reformation of the existing world order.

Instead, they must prepare people for everlasting life in the “age to come” - to call out a people separated for His name. Attempting to reform or rebuild any institution of this age that even now is “passing away” is folly, wasting efforts on “perishing meat.”

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.

Put another way, without his salvation and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth, the world will remain forever in darkness and without hope. After all, God has chosen the “foolishness of preaching” the Cross to confound the so-called ‘wisdom’ of this age – (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

The present world order has been judged already. To spend resources and time attempting to reform things that, inevitably, will disappear is pointless.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. In reaction, the disciples ask when that tragic event will occur, and what will be the “sign” of the “coming of the Son of Man.”


Hourglass - Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash
[Hourglass - Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash]


To the first question, he replies - before the termination of the generation contemporary with him. To the second, he warns - 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 appears “on the clouds of heaven” is the completion of the mission of the church - “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).

Thus, finishing this mission is THEsign” of the “end,” for the end of this age cannot come until that task is done. It is not optional but pivotal to the consummation of all things.

And 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!



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