And yet, as we enjoy the benefits of having peace with God through Christ, it’s easy to forget that God himself desires to have relationships with others who have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. We can become so focused on living out our individual faith in our families, churches, and neighborhoods that we forget that the scope of God’s work on earth is global.
This global vision of God’s was baked into the original promise of the Holy Spirit: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
To be a biblical Christian is to be a world Christian. Here are three common reminders, presented to us constantly in the life of the believer, that God’s vision is to reach “the end of the earth” for Christ.
1. Evangelism Cannot Be Contained Locally
It’s easy to limit our view of evangelism to sharing the gospel with our next-door neighbors. Yet evangelism itself, throughout the New Testament, has whole nations as its goal. Jesus commands his followers to disciple all the nations in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
Evangelism is meant to spill over into cross-cultural mission. If we are passionate about spreading the gospel, we will be passionate about the global scope of the mission of God.
2. Baptism is a Global Sign
Baptism, like evangelism, point to the broader, global purposes of God. The nations are not only to be discipled but also baptized (Matthew 28:19). In baptism, individuals are marked as belonging to the universal church of God that fills the planet (Ephesians 4:5).
The moment a believer is baptized, he or she becomes part of something bigger than a personal relationship with Jesus—that person joins a worldwide movement. Baptism identifies us with every true believer on the planet, from the house churches worshiping in Asia to the vibrant, worshiping churches of West Africa and the megachurches of the West. What would happen if everyone our churches baptized was taught this pivotal fact? Would we not see more hearts opened to the cause of world missions?
3. The Gospel Commends Itself to Every Human Being on the Planet
The scope of our evangelistic and discipleship activity should reflect the scope of the world’s lostness. There is no one place on earth where those who are spiritually lost are more dead in their sins than elsewhere. Human beings are either enlivened to God through the indwelling Holy Spirit or they are not.
John expresses the global scope, not only of the need for the gospel, but of Christ’s very purpose in accomplishing atonement for those who believe: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). If we believe the gospel, we necessarily also embrace that God’s purposes extend beyond our borders.
The missionary task is only given to the church because it first belongs to God, who is also on mission. And Jesus tells his followers: “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you” (John 15:16).
May we reflect this reality, not only in our missiology, but in our actions, our vision, and in the overall trajectory of our lives and ministries as we fulfill God’s call to bring the gospel to the lost in every nation.