By Abner P. Dizon, Executive Director
Jesus said: “Don’t let your heart be troubled…. Believe in Me… I will prepare a place for you…And…I WILL COME AGAIN and receive you…So that where I am, there you will also be.” That is good news! Don’t be troubled and worried. I will come again! InRev. 22:20 He promised: “Behold I come quickly!” He gave that promise more than 1,900 years ago. Adventists have waited for the fulfillment of that promise for about 159 years…
The QUESTION is:“Why Are We Still Here?”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of the world’s fastest growing Protestant denomination just a few finishing touches and Jesus should be coming any moment now, Right?”. It has a work in 210 out of 240 countries in the world. It has 12 million members. It works in 717 languages. It has more than 40,194 churches. That means “The Work is nearly finished,
I’m afraid that is not exactly how things are. Let’s look at the global picture. There are over 6 billion people in the world. 4.3 billion of which are non-Christians. Of these non-Christians, 2.7 billion are considered Unreached – a term used to indicate people who have no access to the gospel. 2.7 billion – that is almost half the world’s population! They have never heard the gospel! How come?
Well, let’s look at the world in terms of religion. If the world is a village of 100 people. Only 32 of them will be Christian. 19 will secular. 18 will be Muslim. 13 will be Hindu. 6 will be Buddhist. 3 will be Folk Chinese. 2 will be Tribal animist. And the remaining 7 will be the rest of the unnamed religions. Christians form only 1/3 of the world’s population. For every one Christian, two are non-Christian. Now, where does the SDA Church come in? For every 1 Seventh-day Adventists there is 149 Christians who are Non-Seventh-day Adventists. Multiply that by two and you get how many Non-Christians there are, compared to the Seventh-day Adventists.  1.7 billion Christian 32%. 1 billion Secular 19%. 934 million Muslim 18%. 705 million Hindu 13%. 323 million Buddhist 6%. 180 million Folk Chinese 3%. 99 million Tribal 2%. 400 million Other 7%
Now if we categorize the world in terms of access to the gospel, we have the following. Evangelized groups that are mostly Christian, and 20% of all groups of people are considered by missiologists as under this group. Unevangelized groups are those that live near Evangelized groups and they have access to the gospel but often the gospel is not presented in a language they can understand. 26% of all people groups in the world belong to the unevangelized category. Unreached are groups that do not have access to the gospel. When a person is sick here, you call the doctor, or you go buy medicine from the pharmacy. Good, because there are doctors, and there are pharmacies here. But in these places, even when they have the money, the doctor and the pharmacy for the gospel is not available. They have no access to the gospel, there is no church in their midst, so that even if they wanted to know, they have no one to ask from. 54% of all people groups belong to this class of people. They have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel.
The sad thing is this: of all workers and evangelistic efforts conducted and sent, 90% go to the Evangelized, while only 10% go to the combined unevangelized and unreached people groups. This is what I call the unequal gospel distribution. While the evangelized often reject the presentation of the gospel already, there are people who are literally dying for lack of that gospel. As one person has said: “Why should anyone hear the gospel TWICE, when others have never heard it even ONCE!”
In a rich subdivision in Manila, where the rich and famous live, one of the richest and most famous held a birthday party. To bring over his guests from America, he chartered a large airplane for the overnight party. The fountain that used to spout water was now flowing with champagne! While everyone ate the lavished and so expensive food that was served non-stop, just outside the subdivision’s fence are several squatter shanties. People who live off the street who bare eat 3 times a day. The same unequal distribution of wealth goes for spiritual things. While here in church we hear the Bible presented every Sabbath – and often we argue over the interpretation, when there are thousands, even millions of people who are famished for the Word of God. Why should anyone hear the gospel twice, when others have never heard it even once!
Protestant missiologists estimate that there is enough evangelism going on to evangelize every person on earth. Unfortunately, it is done repeatedly among people who have heard it before. I am not against conducting evangelistic campaigns. But how many times have we done that here? Are there no other places where the campaigns have never been held? Again, I say, “Why should anyone hear the gospel twice when there are people – just as worthy of it as anyone here – have never heard the gospel even once?”
The sad thing is that every day,80,000 people die among those who have never heard the gospel. 3,333 every hour, 56 per minute….Almost 1 person per minute! By the time I have finished my sermon, 1,960 of the unreached would have gone to their graves without hope of eternal life! Friends, why should we keep on hearing the gospel, when people like them have never heard it before?
John 3:16 says “For God so LOVED the world….” Does He still love the world today? What do you think? Does God STILL LOVE THE WORLD? He still does! And that is why is Matthew 28:19,20 He commands us to “GO and make disciples of ALL nations….”
Now the word nations in there does not mean political countries as we have today. It comes from the Greek word, ethne. Where we get the term ethnic. The command is not just to reach the 240 political countries, but to reach every ethnic groups (clans, tribes, races) in the world.
In Matthew 24:14 it is clear that that has to take place before Jesus comes. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached into all the world as a witness to ALL NATIONS (ethne), then shall the end come.” “the gospel must first be preached.” Mk.13:10.
The preaching of the gospel to every language, tribe, race, people is what God wants to happen first before He comes. No wonder in Rev.14:6 it is spelled out that the angel had an everlasting gospel to preach to “every language, tribe, people and nations.” All these non-Christian people groups: the secular, the Muslim, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Folk Chinese, the Tribal animists… They all have to hear the gospel in such as way as to give them a valid opportunity to either ACCEPT or REJECT the offered mercy of God.
The Goodnews is....“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom.10:14) That is good news, right? It doesn’t talk about too much theology here! It doesn’t say you have to do this and do that to be saved. It merely says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” You know why? For a Muslim to call on Jesus that’s a major change in his theology. For a secular man to call on Jesus (and not in mere profanity) that is a big change. “Anyone who calls on the name of Jesus” with sincerity “will be saved.”
The problem is: hear? “How will they hear unless someone preaches to them?” Rom.10:14“How can they call on the One they have not believed in? How can they believe unless they
Think of it as The Chain of Salvation. They can only be saved if they call. They can only call if they believe. They can only believe if they hear. They can only hear if SOMEONE preaches to them.
Unless someone goes & preaches the gospel to them...Unless they hear....Unless they believe....Unless they call....They WILL NOT BE SAVED!
Ellen White tells us this: “When you hear that there are thousands upon thousands... in the darkness of error and superstition, knowing not the things that are coming upon the earth, how can you ENJOY the TRUTH and be at ease?” Review & Herald, Apr.14, 1910
Can we just sit still while people are dying by the thousands each day? If you live in a small hut by the cliff, and you see thousands of people, in single file, walk to jump to their death on the cliff, will you just sit still and just cover your ears to their fatal cries? I don’t think so. I think that you would go out and try to persuade some of them not to jump. You have a moral responsibility not to just sit still while thousands jump to their death! That is exactly what is happening to this world. You and I have the message that can set them free!
In a town in Pampanga, during one the flash flood that followed the Mt. Pinatubo eruption…. The hot lahar began to overflow houses up to their roof. The people had to scamper to climb the second floor, then up on top of their houses. A friend of mine related how he and his 2 young brothers were huddled together on the roof of their house as the lahar inched up to them little by little. He prayed really hard. As the lahar rose to just a few inches of the tin roof, he saw one old man on the other house crying out in desperation. The man became so scared that the lahar would reach him that in desperation he jumped into the lahar filled water and was quickly swept away. Never to be seen again. Just then, the lahar stopped rising, and my friend and his brothers were saved. He thought, if only that man waited. But in desperation, not knowing there is hope, he jumped into his death. Many people are desperate, hopeless and helpless. They are clinging on to life, but only for a little while. They need hope, they need help.
That same night, another friend of mine relates how she, together with others, climbed on top of the market shop which was higher than the houses around. She saw a woman with a flash light trying to navigate the torrents of lahar filled water that overflowed the streets. As she looked in horror, the woman was slowly sinking in the hot, scalding lahar, crying for help. She saw the woman sink, only her hand with the flashlight waving was there, then even the flashlight slowly sank down the surface of lahar! She cried as she desperately tried to reach out, but her hand wasn’t long enough. Right now, as we speak, there are people like that woman, who are slowly sinking into the clutches of death because they do not know the Lord. PFM and other mission agencies have dedicated themselves to specifically reach these people who have never heard the gospel even once. But like my friend who tried to reach the dying woman, our hands are short. We need your help to reach out to them.
We started out with the question: Why Are We Still Here? Ellen White has this to say: “The morning is deferred in mercy, because if the Master should come, so many would be found unready. God’s unwillingness to have His people perish, has been the reason of so long delay.” Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 194
We are still here because there are so many people who have not yet heard of the life giving message that Jesus is their savior. We are here because there are thousands and millions of people who have yet to hear that Jesus paid the price for their sins. We are still here because God loves them as much as He loves you and me and wants them to have the opportunity to be saved.
Ellen White says: “By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return.” --Desire of Ages 633
“It will not tarry past the time that the message is borne to all nations, tongues, and peoples.” --Evangelism, p. 697
As soon as the message reaches everyone, Jesus will come. As soon as the last people in the last tribe has heard… Jesus will not say: “I am not yet ready. Your mansions here isn’t finished yet!” No, Jesus is not like Filipinos. For Filipinos a deadline is not DEAD. It keeps on moving. There is always next time! “Your mansion isn’t finished yet, come back tomorrow or the day after.” How many of you believe the mansions in heaven are already finished? I believe the mansions of everyone who will be saved is already ready. Don’t you think so? You think it will take Jesus such a long time to “prepare a place for you – a physical place?” No, Jesus is ready to come and take us home. In fact He has been ready for more than 100 years now!
In 1901, Ellen White penned this statement: “Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.” Evangelism, p. 694
As early as 1900s, Jesus could have returned already and taken His people to heaven. But the time dragged on and on, because there are many more people who have not heard. Well, you might say, “It’s good that He did not come, otherwise I won’t be here and have the chance to go to heaven!” Well, how long do you want this world to continue this way? Do you wish to see your great, great grandchildren still before Jesus comes? How long? When do you want Jesus to come? When do you want to leave this earth? When do you want to GO HOME?
Someone remarked that it is impossible for us to finish God’s work in this generation. Sure, I agree. With the usual trend, the pace that we are going, missiologists estimate that by 2025, 20% of the world will still be unevangelized. That’s just the thing. DO you want us to continue, “business as usual”? God wants to turn the world upside down by using you and me! He doesn’t want you to rely on your own power. Think of the early church. Only 120 members, but because they gave themselves 100% to God, and were filled with the Holy Spirit, they turned the world upside down! They had the power that was needed to evangelize the whole world.
Brothers and sisters, you may ask “what can I do to make a difference? Is there something I can Do?” YES, definitely! 1. Pray for more missionaries. Ask the Lord to send forth more workers into His harvest field. Missionaries are needed both here and abroad. 2. Encourage others to be involved as missionaries, supporters and prayer warriors. Share what you have learned today to others in the hope that they too will be involved. 3. Go as a missionary whether it be around here or somewhere else. If it is at all possible, look for an unreached group even here in Canada, and seek to reach them for Jesus. 4. Support those who can go to distant unreached groups. You may not be able to go far, but you can help those who are reaching out to the unreached have a longer reach. Missionaries need your support so they can continue ministering the gospel to people.
Finally, in the power of the Holy Spirit, dear brethren, the advice to you is: “As you look forward to the Day of God… Hasten it.” 2 Peter 3:12
How many of you here would commit yourself before God to be an instrument of His in hastening His Coming, will you rise? Let us pray.
Father, here is your people standing before you. Signifying that they want to be involved – to become your instruments in hastening the Day of God. I pray that you will use them, Lord. Take away any selfishness and slothfulness. Instead give them a zeal for You and for the lost. Send them out as missionaries, send them out as prayer warriors, send them out as Encouragers, as supporters of missions. Use them in whatever way you can, Lord. And may missions be a fire burning in their bones that will never be quench until they have done their best for you. In Jesus name, Amen.
Feel free to share this sermon with others and even preach it yourself when you get a chance to do so. Just be sure to shorten it into a city sermon! God bless!
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I hope that even though I cannot always visit you and preach personally these sermons, the message will still reach you. It is my prayer that you will be encouraged to be fully involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Christ: "Making disciples of all the nations." Please check out our website: www.phil-frontier.org