And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. ~ Matthew 24:14
By looking through the lens of providence in our modern era one would see the Gospel circling the globe at an accelerated pace. Amazingly, our sovereign God is using some of the most unique ways of getting the tidings of Redeeming love into spiritually barren lands around the world.
Recently, while in Milan, Italy, the host missionary told me that countries that we might least expect in Europe are leading the continent in conversions and church growth. Upon inquiring as to why, he said, “Immigration!” According to a global mission agency, Albania has the fastest growing church in Europe, while France has one of the fastest growing. Remarkably, our infinitely merciful God is using immigration to expose these atheistic cultures to the gospel once again.
But that’s not all. God has used immigration to bring foreigners into the United States to hear the gospel. For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, since the People’s Republic of China eased travel restrictions in 1978, the number of Chinese immigrants has soared from 200,000 in 1980 to 1.4 million in 2006. This has created a tremendous opportunity for the Chinese people to hear the gospel in our country. Consequently, the number of Chinese churches in the United States has risen from 366 churches in 1980 to more than 800 today.
War is another means that our all wise God is using to perpetuate the gospel worldwide. An indigenous pastor who shepherds a church body in Sicily, Italy, shared with me recently how Christ had brought the good news again to his beloved country in the Second World War. Apparently, a number of American soldiers who were believers were stationed in the coastal region of Italy during the conflict. While living daily among the Italian people their testimony, and gospel presentations, led to the conversion of an undisclosed number of souls according to the pastor.
There is no question that God is continuing to use war today to spread the message that men can be reconciled with God. Global regression has significantly contributed to gospel saturation and subsequently many have followed the Savior.
Terrorism has also significantly been used to heighten gospel consciousness. The recent atrocities in Iraq from the Islamic State (ISIS) has served to awaken men to their need of the gospel and expand Christ’s kingdom. One columnist reports of the extraordinary receptivity of the gospel among the anguished Kurdish people, “The cruelty of ISIS has led to unprecedented receptivity to the message of Christ in Iraq.”
Among the divine means that Christ has chosen to drive the gospel to the ends of the earth is the media, and particularly the motion picture industry. While it may be difficult for some believers to accept, God has used the modern film as an inadvertent way of advancing the gospel. Let me explain.
In our age of entertainment, the young generation in non-speaking English cultures have download a substantial volume of gospel recordings. Apparently, what has happened is many young people who initially had no grasp of the English language, have learned it by watching American movies. Among many of these viewers, God has drawn them in His providence to hear gospel preaching in the English dialect, which has resulted in their conversion. This in turn has led these young converts to encourage friends and family members in their culture to listen to the gospel via the internet or media resource.
Finally, sports is another means that God has been pleased to use in the salvation of men in our modern era. Such global sporting events as the World Cup and the Olympics have led many impassioned witnesses to these venues to share Christ. In many instances, God has raised up men and women, both as athletes and attendees, to be salt and light at these world competitions.
In the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Bible Society Brazil reportedly worked with 1,600 churches and Christian ministries to engage soccer crowds in the 12 host cities with the gospel. Approximately four million tracts in eight foreign languages and 20,000 Gospel of John in Portuguese were distributed.
When we think of God fulfilling His Son’s promise in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”, we might imagine this being accomplished exclusively through the preaching of missionaries that have been sent forth, but the Lord of the Harvest in His infinite omniscience delights to use means unique to us to carry out His purpose of world evangelization.
~ Don Currin