Help Needed: Calling all Good Neighbors and Good Newsers!
In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples—and us today—to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” While our understanding of a nation today consists of a sovereign state that governs within its established boundaries, this was not the meaning during the time of Jesus. Rather, the word for “nations” could also be translated as “peoples” or “people groups.” A people group is a collection of people that share a similar identity, geography, language, and ethnic background. It is also “…the largest group of people within which the Gospel can spread without encountering barriers of acceptance and understanding” (cited from www.peoplegroups.org).
According to the International Mission Board (IMB), there are a total of 11,760 people groups in the world. Among these people groups, 7,085 people groups, comprising 4.4 billion people, still remain unreached, with little to no access to the gospel. That’s 4.4 billion people in hostile rebellion toward God. 4.4 billion image-bearers, from whom the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of worship. And 4.4 billion people who will be born, live, die, and plunge into an eternal hell without even hearing the life-giving, Christ-uniting, eternity-securing hope of the gospel. Or, to put it more plainly, 87,159 people dying every day.
Among various reasons, one factor for this sobering epidemic of global gospel poverty is that many of these unreached peoples live in inhospitable places that are also hostile to the good news of Christ, and consequently they are difficult and dangerous to reach. In the words of Dr. David Platt, “Unreached peoples are unreached for a reason. They’re hard, difficult, and dangerous to reach. All the easy ones are taken.” These unreached peoples live in places such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Sudan, to name a few.
And yet, in God’s providence, the nations have now become our neighbors! Unreached peoples from Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Sudan (and more nations!) now live here in Kansas City. A local ministry has compiled a prayer guide geared specifically for the nations—peoples—represented here in Kansas City. I encourage you to bookmark the link below and to include these dear peoples into your time of private prayer.
The beautiful reality is that we now have a two-for-one opportunity, namely to love our neighbors as ourselves and to declare God’s glory among unreached peoples. This past August, Pastor Nathan preached a two-part sermon from Luke 10 (for sermons, click here and here) on sharing and showing the gospel. In his second sermon, he stated, “We want to be a church at Liberty Baptist Church that declares the gospel in word as well as demonstrate the gospel in deed. To put it another way, to follow Jesus means that you are a good newser and a good neighbor.” Brothers and sisters, see the wide door for effective work that God has opened before us (cf. 1 Cor. 16:9), as never before in this city’s history! These are indeed momentous days of unparalleled opportunity. And each member of LBC now has the joyful privilege—and Biblical mandate—to participate in Christ’s mission to advance His kingdom among all the nations, starting here in KC.
These are exciting days to be living in Kansas City. No, not because the Chiefs are 10-2 and seem to be en-route to a Super Bowl. No, not even chiefly because God is blessing LBC with the wonderful growth that is taking place. No, these are exciting days in Kansas City because God, in His grace and providence, has brought many unreached people groups to live in the same neighborhoods where we live, to shop at the same grocery stores where we shop, and to play at the same parks where we play. The question then becomes of LBC members, “Will we be a good neighbor? Will we be a good newser?” Or will we merely be hearers of the Word only?
May we as a church collectively be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission and take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity set before us, no member excepted. And may our obedience flow from hearts of joy and anticipation for that coming day when every nation, tribe, peoples, and language—each people group—will surround the throne of our great God and Savior, and when we will together with one loud voice proclaim, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10)!” For this indeed is the very purpose for which we live, move, and have our being.
Has God enlivened your heart to this momentous opportunity? Are you looking for an avenue to be a good neighbor and a good newser? Would you like to serve our international neighbors in Liberty and in the KC metro by equipping them with the valuable skill of learning English as a Second Language (ESL)? If so, you are invited to attend an informational meeting on Wednesday, December 12th, at 6:30pm in Room 104, to learn about an upcoming ESL ministry at LBC. If you are not able to attend, there will also be a meeting on Sunday, December 16th, after the 10:45am service in Room 104. The nations have come to us! Will you go to them, and will you show and share with them the gospel of Christ?