All Nations

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore (In other words, since I have all power) go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The gospel is for everyone. Jesus has taken all the work out of trying to determine who our target audience should be. If they are breathing, we have a candidate. That person holding the cardboard sign at the stoplight asking for money? I don’t know in every case if we should be giving him a couple bucks, but I know he’s part of all nations and a candidate for hearing the gospel. The person who ran the red light, plowed into your car, and just now is getting out to trade insurance information with you? It may not be the first thing on your mind at the moment, but I know that more than they need the name and number of your Allstate agent, they need the name of your Lord and Savior. The men who re-roofed your house but don’t speak any English, the olive skinned lady at Walmart with the scarf wrapped around her head and the dress that touches the floor? All nations. All nations.

Hasn’t each of us been blessed by this part of Jesus’ assignment ourselves? Why should my family have received the gospel? Why did I get to hear the good news? The gospel wasn’t invented in Northern Europe, where my ancestors came from. It certainly wasn’t invented in the United States of America. But you and I are part of the “all nations” for whom Jesus died. Our sins went to the cross along with everyone else’s. We are part of the all nations that Jesus seeks for himself and desires to have as his own children. And that is what he has made us.

Could one little congregation have a global outreach? You know, after Jesus rose from the dead, it seems that he had about 500 followers. That’s bigger than the church to which I belong, but still not so many compared to the world in which they lived. Our small size doesn’t rule out the possibility.

Already we can reach around the world through technology. The internet allows any of us to publish for the whole world to see. I started this blog to reach people in Central Oklahoma. But it has been read by people on every continent except Antarctica. In a typical week people from a half dozen or so other countries log on and read.

About ten years ago I first heard about Lincoln Heights Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa. This little Lutheran church with less than 200 members started reaching out to refugees from the Sudan who lived in their neighborhood. As a result, not only is a sizeable percentage of their congregation Sudanese today, but there are also 17 congregations in the nation of Sudan named Lincoln Heights Lutheran Church as a result of the connections they have made.

We don’t have to go so far. All nations start on the other side of our front doors. Maybe it’s time to start that conversation with your next door neighbor. Maybe it’s time for your church to plant another one in the growing parts of your city. We have already been given the commission, because Jesus has sent us to all nations.

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