Matthew 24:14 (NIV): And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
In my four previous posts, I have written about the signs of Jesus’ second coming: False teachers, wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, persecution and hatred of believers, a turning away from the faith, false prophets, increase of wickedness, betrayal and hatred. What will the world look like before Jesus returns? According to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus plainly tells us what the world at that time will be like: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37-39). These signs from Matthew chapter 24 will increase in intensity as we approach the Second Coming of Christ.
Matthew 24:14 makes clear that the true gospel of the kingdom – that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah – must be proclaimed to the whole world. We must be careful how we interpret this scripture passage. Some take this passage to indicate that every person on the face of the earth must be exposed to the Gospel message. Others simply believe that the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world is the mandate and that it does not necessarily indicate to every individual person. Regardless, our mission as followers of Christ is to make every attempt to carry the Gospel message to the ends of the earth.
While we wait for the return of Christ, how should we live out our lives as followers of Christ? One of the clearest examples is from Paul’s letter to Titus: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14 NIV).
We live in a time where people are in search of personal pleasure and achievement. Many people live out their daily lives thinking only about themselves and considering only the things of this world. They do not take the time to consider that Jesus could return at any moment. They fail to think about what that means to them in terms of their own personal salvation. Our mission as followers of Christ is to help those who do not believe to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must do so by preaching the true “gospel of the kingdom” (Mt. 24:14) that Jesus referred to in our scripture passage today. The church today must not compromise on this message that is given to us by Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and granted us as believers, eternal life.
How we live out our lives as Christians is important. We must not only preach the Gospel message, we must live out the true Gospel message. It is only by showing the love of Christ to others that we will be able to reach those who do not believe. Instead of judging and condemning, we must offer the grace and mercy of Christ while staying true to the message of the gospel of the kingdom. As a follower of Christ, will you be committed to proclaiming the true gospel message wherever you go?
Christ will come again. We know this because it is what our Lord and Savior himself said to his disciples before his crucifixion. Jesus told his disciples that he was going away to heaven, to “prepare a place” (John 14:2) for them, but promised that one day he would return. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).
The last promise that Jesus gives his followers can be found in Revelation 22:20: “Yes, I am coming soon.” Again, we do not know when Jesus will return, we are only commanded to be ready for His glorious return at any time. As believers, we must live out our lives being watchful and ready for his glorious appearing, whenever that occurs. As we see the signs of the end of the age increasing in intensity we should strengthen our resolve to living out and carrying forth the gospel message of Christ. Our concern should be for those who do not know Christ’s love and forgiveness. Our goal should be to make disciples of all those living in our world who do not know or believe in Christ as Lord and Savior for all.
Revelation 22:21(NIV): The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.