Colossians 3:1-2: “If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
You can’t take a nice house with you to heaven. You can’t take a fancy car with you to heaven. You can’t take a large bank account with you to heaven. The only thing you can take to heaven is OTHER PEOPLE!
We’re not against having the other things; in fact, since you are blessed with Abraham’s blessing, you should EXPECT to have blessings in this life. However, we can’t afford to lose sight of the #1 mission for Christians, which is WORLD EVANGELISM!
It’s easy when we live in a beautiful, sparsely populated corner of the world to get narrow minded and think only about ourselves and a few other people. However, there are still vast groups of people who still need to hear the name of Jesus. Jesus cannot come back until every tribe and tongue has been reached because in Revelation, there are people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation in heaven. This could not be the case if even one tribe has not had a chance to hear the gospel. I do not believe that Jesus’ return has a fixed date. I believe it depends on US! One Scripture talks about hastening the day of Jesus’ coming (2 Peter 3:12). How can that be? The sooner everyone gets reached, the sooner we can all get out of here! But if some people remain unreached, God would have to break His prophetic promises to take the Church to heaven with Him!
Thank God for the people who are sending TV broadcasts into remote areas, but one study showed that only $1 of every $10,000 given to TV ministries ever gets used to reach unreached people groups. The other $9,999 are given so that people who have heard the gospel already can hear it again, and again, and again. Nothing wrong with teaching ministries; we need them, but somewhere in the mix we have to keep Jesus’ priorities in mind. Lost people go to hell. People who do not hear the name of Jesus die in their sins and spend eternity in the lake of fire which is the second death. There is no Plan B for those who do not hear. (If there were, all missions would be a big waste of time and money!)
“That’s not fair!” you might protest. “Why should they go to hell when they have never heard the gospel?” Indeed, it is NOT fair – it is not fair that some people hear the only message that can save them from hell over and over while some people never hear it at all. And that isn’t God’s fault; He gave the responsibility of going into all the world to the church. The question is, are we being faithful to the Great Commission, or just content to live comfortable lives ourselves? Or do we let discomfort in our own lives consume us and blind us to the infinitely worse discomfort that will be faced by those who have never called on the name of Jesus to be saved? A miserable Christian still stands better than the richest, happiest sinner in the light of eternity. Are all our prayers related to just solving our own problems, or do we intercede for those who have not given their lives to Jesus?
I put reminders like this in the bulletin from time to time to provoke you to have a world mentality as opposed to a worldly mentality. Life is bigger than just you and your family and your job and your hobbies. Life is bigger than just the people on your street. We know that people around here need to hear the gospel, too; I’m not minimizing that. But as Oswald Smith said, why should anyone hear the gospel twice when some have never heard it once?
How can we get the message out to everyone? The old approach was to go overseas and hold big rallies and win them ourselves. There is still a place for that, but there is more economy in raising up local people to reach people in their own countries. Many of them don’t ask for much. Give some missionaries in Northern India a bicycle and a Bible and they will go everywhere, at the risk of their own lives, to take the gospel to villages that have never heard the gospel once and don’t even know that a person named Jesus Christ ever existed. We can support such people and support organizations that are training them to reach the unreached.
We do support some local works from time to time, and of course we support our own church, but there will always be locals who will give to local ministries and comparatively fewer who have the vision to advance world evangelism. Foreign missions has always been and always will be the main priority for us because seeing every tribe reached is Jesus’ main priority. He died for them!
So this is just a reminder that we can’t afford to get caught up in our busy lives and not see past them. The “things above” – especially souls being saved – need to have priority, whether it is supporting others who go or going ourselves, here and abroad. I’m not concerned that people will get too heavenly minded to be any earthly good; the risk is being too earthly minded to be any heavenly good! Let’s remember to set our minds on “things above”. Amen!