Archive for December 2012

Look At The Numbers. Let’s Get Serious About The Great Commission.

December 30, 2012

The article below was written by Guy Muse. Guy is a Southern Baptist missionary to Ecuador. The article was posted on his blog, The M Blog, on December 28, 2o12.

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“As 2012 comes to an end, the global status of evangelical Christianity* finishes the year with a long way to go. Consider the following numbers:

11,342 – Number of people groups in all countries. A people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow withoutMatthew 24 14 encountering significant barriers of understanding and acceptance.

6,422 – Number of people groups where Evangelical Christians comprise less than 2% of the total population. These UPG stats do not include USA & Canada.

571 – Number of unreached people groups in the United States and Canada. [Note: engagement and statuses for many people groups in USA and Canada are still unknown. This number will change as more information becomes available.]

3,133 – Number of unreached people groups not engaged by anyone. A people group is engaged when a church planting strategy, consistent with Evangelical faith and practice is underway. In this respect, a people group is not engaged when it has been merely adopted, is the object of focused prayer, or is part of an advocacy strategy.

393 – Number of unreached people groups with populations at or above 100,000.

Another way of looking at these mind-boggling figures is through population numbers:

6,944,287,685 – Number of people in the above 11,342 people groups.

4,192,663,816 – Number of people in the above 6,422 people groups where Evangelical Christians comprise less than 2% of the total population.

240,245,046 – Population of the 3,133 unreached people groups not engaged by anyone.

96,381,569 – Population of unreached people groups that are not engaged by anyone, anywhere around the world.

Every one of the 6,944,287,685 persons is loved by God. Let’s not confuse numbers with real people. Each is a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter of someone. Every single person is someone for whom Christ died.

So what does all of this mean? For me there are at least three ways to respond:

1) Indifference–not my problem, I’m not going to do anything about it, I already have a full plate of other concerns.

2) Involve myself–as we begin a new year, I am going to intentionally engage in trying to do my part in making sure the Gospel gets to the nations–I am going to inform myself, pray with understanding, give purposefully, and maybe even go myself.

3) Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to me about what He would have me do, and then do it.

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*Above information courtesy of Global Research Department of the International Mission Board.”

 (The above was posted by Guy Muse on his blog, The M Blog, December 28 , 2012.)
 
 Read Matthew 24:14.
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The Cross Interprets Man

December 22, 2012

In “The Surety’s Cross,” Scottish preacher Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) preaches that the Cross is “the divine proclamation and interpretation of the things of God.” The sermon, based on Galatians 6:14, is built on six “heads,” or major points. Each “head” is Bonar’s exposition on the Cross’ interpretation of six things of God – Man, God Himself, the Law, Sin, the Gospel, and Service.

Heading I of the sermon is: “The cross is the interpreter of MAN.” Under this “head” Bonar writes that the Cross reveals two things about man.

The first thing that it reveals is that man is a hater of God.

“In the cross man has spoken out.”

“Reckoning the death of the cross the worst of all deaths – man deems it the fittest for the Son of God. Thus, the enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God – but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred.”

“It is yon cross which judges you…. Man hating God – and hating most, when God is loving most!”

“But how am I to sever myself from these crucifiers, and protest against their crime? By believing in the name of the crucified One! For all unbelief is approval of the deed and identification with the murderers. Faith is man’s protest against the deed; and identification of himself, not only with the friends and disciples of the crucified One – but with the crucified One himself.”

“The cross, then, was the public declaration of man’s hatred of God, man’s rejection of his Son, and man’s avowal of his belief that he needs no Savior. If anyone, then, denies the ungodliness of humanity, and pleads for the native goodness of the race, I ask, what means yon cross?”

The Cross not only reveals the “depravity of man,” it exhibits the foolishness of man.

“And as his erection of the cross was the revelation of his folly, so has been his subsequent estimate of it, and of the gospel which has issued from it. He sees in it no wisdom – but only foolishness; and this ascription of foolishness to the cross is but the more decided proof of his own foolishness.”

Bonar concludes the first “head” of his message with these questions:

“My friend, what is that cross to you? Is it folly or wisdom? Do you see, in the way of salvation which it reveals, the excellency of wisdom, as well as the excellency of power and love? Has the cross, interpreted to you by the Holy Spirit, revealed your own heart as a hell of darkness and evil? Have you accepted its exposition of your character, and welcomed it also as salvation for the lost – reconciliation between you and God?

What is the Cross to you?  Foolishness or the wisdom of God? Have you come to the Christ of the Cross for the forgiveness of your sin and the promise of eternal life?

“What Means Yon Cross?” An Introduction to Horatius Bonar’s Sermon, “The Surety’s Cross”

December 19, 2012

In “The Surety’s Cross,” Horatius Bonar, a 19th Century Scottish preacher and hymn writer, preaches on the Cross of Christ. The sermon, preached in 1867, is based on Galatians 6:14. In the verse, the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes:

“But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world was crucified to me, and I to the world.”

As Bonar begins his message, he writes that, “The death of the cross has always been, above every other, reckoned the death of shame.” He says that the LORD as allowed this conception of the Cross to …

” … root itself universally, in order that there might be provided a place of shame, lower than all others, for the great substitute who, in the fullness of time was to take the sinner’s place, and be himself the great outcast from man and God, despised and rejected, deemed unworthy even to die within the gates of the holy city.”

Despite the fact that the Cross is, to men, a place of  “curse and shame,”  it is the “strength and honor and life and blessing” of God. Paul will say elsewhere that the “word of the Cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18)

Of the Cross, Bonar says that the secret of its power …

” … lies in the amount of divine truth which it embodies. It is the summary of all the Bible; the epitome of Revelation. It is pre-eminently the voice of God; and as such, conveying the power as well as uttering his wisdom. ‘The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.'”

In the body of the sermon, Bonar looks at the Cross as “the divine proclamation and interpretation of the things of God; the key to his character, his word, his ways, his purposes; the clue to the intricacies of the world’s and the Church’s history.”

Horatius Bonar will tell us that the Cross is the Interpreter of Man, God, Law, Sin, Gospel, and Service.  Oh, the wonder of the Cross!

Over the course of the next several posts, I will share quotes from each of the “heads,” or major points, of Bonar’s sermon. I will also include personal thoughts and comments on each “head.”

It is my desire, that as we give prayerful consideration to the Lord’s use of the Cross as the Interpreter of man and all things spiritual, that will we be drawn closer in faith to the Christ of the Cross.

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You can read “The Surety’s Cross” in its entirety here.

I would note that I have been reading and posting on Robert Traill’s thirteen-sermon series, “The Throne of Grace”. I am interrupting that series of posts with this short series on Bonar’s, “The Surety’s Cross”. I will resume the Traill series shortly.