“Do you feel a sense of urgency to share the Gospel? Do you truly care about the eternal destinies of others?” —Charles R. Swindoll
Today’s world seems fascinated by and preoccupied with the future. Bestselling books are often those offering predictions and warnings concerning future events. Astrology continues captivating people by the millions. Even the film and television industries have made a bundle off science fiction and futuristic fantasy ideas dreamed up in the minds of imaginative producers. But invariably, one major subject is overlooked or denied altogether—the return of Jesus Christ. Few things are more clearly set forth in all of Scripture. This single prediction is woven through the teachings of Christ, especially during His final months of ministry, as well as the writings of the apostles. In Matthew 24:3-14, Jesus is with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. They are filled with questions and He graciously responds to their concerns.
What Gives World Missions Its Urgency?
Christians often speak about the importance of evangelism, both at home and around the world. Our churches send out short-term teams to other nations to share the Gospel, as well as recruit those who stay behind to pray and give financially. But what gives this crucial mission its urgency? In Matthew 24 and 25, Jesus reminded us that our evangelistic efforts have a deadline. Often, Christians forget their eternity is at stake. Jesus urges us, the workers in God’s field, to get busy harvesting the world for Christ. Because when Jesus returns, world missions will come to an end.
How Are We to Interpret World Events?
Matthew 24 opens with the disciples seeking to speak privately with Jesus. They asked him three questions because they wanted to know how they’d recognize Jesus’ return. They already know that an indefinite period of time would separate His departure and return and they knew Jesus would fulfil His promise; they just didn’t know when. Jesus responded with an answer that unfolds throughout the chapter. It includes a warning, signs to watch for, and predictable end-times events.
So how do we develop a sense of urgency for a world without Christ? First, we should recognize that the goal of history is to display God’s glory and that He stands at the centre of unfolding events. Second, we must catch a world vision by understanding that Jesus didn’t die for a certain ethnicity or country—He died for the entire world.