Completing the Task
24:14—Partnering With King Jesus: The One Thing We Can Do to Hasten His Return
When I was 15 years old my grandfather introduced me to an elderly missionary mobilizer. And in the course of the conversation he asked me Oswald Smith’s powerful question: “Why should anyone hear the gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?” Clever use of language, but not something to change your life—right? It changed mine.
I don’t remember a lot of details from that conversation 58 years ago. But I now understand that it pointed to the powerful truth that Jesus is depending on his Church to achieve a goal that prioritizes people who have never had a kingdom of God presence in their culture. He won’t return until we partner with Him and are successful at some level that only He knows.
There are hundreds of prophetic passages in the Bible. And Jesus certainly made many prophetic comments. But Matthew 24 is the only time that He gave a list of specific answers to the apostles’ question: When will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:2)
In the next eleven verses he gave eight signs to expect. The last one in verse 14 is quite different from all the others. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (ta ethne), and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:14)
At some point the people of God globally will take seriously Jesus’ mandate to pray and act for the glory of God… the will of God… and the Kingdom of God to be established on earth as they are in heaven. (Matt. 6:9,10) This is a prophetic mandate to strategically and comprehensibly make disciples where the gospel has never gone, or never thrived, until Jesus’ return confirms that the task is done! Revelation 5:9–10 reveals that the reward of Jesus’ sacrifice will be finally fulfilled in eternity.
Then they sang a new song:
You are worthy to receive the scroll, to break its seals, Because You were slain.
With Your blood, You redeemed for God people from every tribe and language, people from every race and nation.
You have made them a kingdom: You have appointed them priests to serve our God and they will rule upon the earth. Rev. 5:9-10 (The Voice)
The 24:14 Coalition invites every church, ministry, and Christ Follower to take Jesus’ repeated mandate for comprehensive and worldwide disciple-making seriously now!
The only time Jesus is described as being extremely joyful is in the Luke 10 account of the return of the 72 disciples who were giddy with the reality that demons fled when they spoke in his authority and name. Jesus even told them that kings and prophets dreamed of experiencing this kind of service in God’s name. This is the day of ordinary people achieving the impossible by the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit.
And suddenly we find ourselves in amazed wonder at almost 25 years of cascading Kingdom Movements. Today more than 950 Kingdom Movements, populated by ordinary people and propelled by the Holy Spirit, are taking the gospel into former strongholds of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Animist, and Chinese religions. And for many of those 950 they had never before had a “Jesus option.” Let’s join God where, and how, He is working today.
Let’s participate in the 24:14 Coalition to make disciples and plant multiplying churches where the gospel has yet to go!
The passing of Steve Smith
Steve Smith was a pioneer of Kingdom Movements, and he helped all of us understand better the relationship between Jesus’ kingdom values and the many hundreds of movements that have been birthed in the last 25 years. Steve was also an exhorter of the church to fast and pray.
Multiple Finish Lines by Curtis Sergeant
Before his death he was able to complete a wonderful book, Spirit Walk that I believe people will still be reading many years from now. His contributions to Mission Frontiers’ Kingdom Kernels, T4T, 24:14, and other initiatives have already borne wonderful fruit and will inspire other courageous Kingdom ventures.
The call to complete the missionary task is multifaceted.
We will not know we have completed it until we see the Lord return in glory. In the meantime, we need to realize some aspects have been accomplished more fully than others.
One aspect of the Great Commission is nearing completion. That is the task of making disciples of every ethnolinguistic people group. In the past twenty years in particular, great progress has been made in this regard. In the next few years we will have begun work among every people group on earth.
A second aspect is geographic. We need to be making disciples among every people group in each location where that group lives. I could point to many parts of the world where disciples are not yet being made among all the people groups in that place. When we combine geography and ethnolinguistics in this way, we see that significant progress is still needed.
A third aspect is related to the quality of disciples being made. There are many ways to view this challenge. How fully are the disciples conformed to the image of Christ? How fully are they obeying all that Christ commanded? How engaged are they in making other disciples? How completely do they love God and others? How intimately do they know and follow the Lord? Our disciple-making activity must be carried out with excellence and depth among every people group in every place.
A fourth aspect concerns addressing the various arenas of societal leverage at the macro level and the various networks of relationship at the micro level. This aspect often relates closely to the strategy (macro) and tactics (micro) by which various individuals and organizations pursue the missionary task. This work is intertwined with the first three aspects and is where most of us “live” in our pursuit of building the kingdom.
I believe the third aspect is the most critical one in terms of influencing progress in the other areas. If the disciples being made are of extremely high quality, then they will be more motivated, more passionate, more fruitful, and more committed to making sure the other finish lines are crossed quickly and thoroughly. They will become co-laborers in the task.
In the past thirty years, many people have become convinced that disciple-making approaches that utilize “movement” principles are the most effective in making high-quality disciples and thereby achieving the greatest progress toward these various finish lines. Additionally, the application of these principles will hasten the pace of progress once work gains traction in a particular place or with a certain people group. With the continuing rapid pace of world population growth, we must intensify our efforts to keep up. Each generation has to be re-evangelized, and the slower the reproduction rate of disciples, the more challenging it becomes to complete the task.
I thus consider it essential that “movement” principles be instituted in our disciple-making activities all over the world. You can familiarize yourself with “movement” principles and their application by completing a free, ten-session small group study available at zumeproject.com.