1 Peter 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
According to the apostle Peter, we who look forward to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ can actually speed its coming. How? We can hasten the Lord’s return by living holy and godly lives here on earth. Living a holy and godly life certainly includes obeying the Lord’s commands.
Among his paramount commands is what the Church calls “The Great Commission.” For his disciples to fulfill this command, Jesus empowered them to preach the gospel to all nations—after which the end would come and he would return.
Luke 24:46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Jesus told the disciples in no uncertain terms that the purpose of the power they were to receive from the Holy Spirit was for them to be his witnesses beginning at Jerusalem and then to all nations—through the preaching of the gospel.
In Acts 1:8 following his resurrection Jesus again emphasized to his disciples the purpose of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
With power and boldness from the Holy Spirit they would preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.
Matthew 24:14 “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.”
Jesus Christ will return only after we have completed his command to be his witnesses by preaching the gospel in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.
Spirit-filled believers who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8 have received power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Are Spirit-filled believers now really using the power given to them by the Holy Spirit to make disciples of all nations? Realistically, the answer is in general “no.”
Instead they have focused mostly on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build one another up within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). The Greek word for “gifts” is charismata from which is derived the popular term “charismatic.” Among other giftings, charismatic believers will prophesy to one another in various ways by the Spirit to encourage one another. They might minister to one another through gifts of healings. They operate in these giftings for the purpose of blessing one another within the body of Christ. All this is well and good.
However, what is the ultimate purpose for God to bless His children?
Genesis 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Galatians 3:7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. …14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
As children of Abraham, therefore, we are blessed to receive the promise of the Spirit. We are blessed by God in order that—in fulfillment of the promise made to our father Abraham—we will be a blessing to all nations. We are “blessed to be a blessing” by taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.
We are built up through the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order for us to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to all nations and to fulfill the Great Commission during these Last Days before the return of Jesus Christ.
So what’s the bottom line?
Spirit-filled believers, after receiving power from the Holy Spirit, have for the most part neglected to be a blessing to all nations through the preaching of the gospel. Some Spirit-filled believers indeed share the gospel locally with their relatives, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. A few might even support foreign missions by giving to their local church. An infinitesimal minority might do much more. But that is as far as it goes. They will have little or no impact on the imaginably vast harvest fields of the world in the Third World where the gospel has never been heard by billions of souls blinded by what seems to be impenetrable darkness. The work still to be done is staggering in view of the time left before the end.
While many Spirit-filled believers in America enjoy God’s blessing—His marvelous presence, His indescribable peace, His ineffable joy, not to mention in some cases material prosperity—they are not being a blessing to the nations through the preaching of the gospel. We have mostly forgotten the very purpose of being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.
But many Spirit-filled believers today do in fact long for the return of Jesus Christ. What can they do? Peter tells us that we can in fact speed and hasten his coming by living godly and holy lives which includes obeying his commands. This includes fulfilling the Great Commission.
We challenge you to have a major part in the fulfillment of the Great Commission during these Last Days. That will speed the return of the Lord. In particular we challenge you to have a part in training and sending out armies of workers into the Lord’s vast harvest fields in the Third World inhabited by billions—and where workers are so few. The Lord will not return until all people groups have had an opportunity to hear the gospel and all nations are discipled. Our calling is to train and send forth an army of indigenous workers numbering in the tens of thousands—even hundreds of thousands or more—into the vast harvest fields of the world during these Last Days.
Luke 10:2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Dear Spirit-filled believer: remember why you were baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. You are blessed—to be a blessing to the nations.