What In The World Are We Waiting For?
by Kimberly B. Southall

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There is a common misconception about an event which must occur before Jesus returns. Jesus said that the gospel would be preached in the whole world before the end:

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. Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

Many erroneously believe that preaching the gospel throughout the world is still a goal to be accomplished before Jesus can return. But the Word of God clearly tells us it has already happened! Are you surprised? It's right there in black and white–right in God's Word for all to see. Actually, there is more than one passage of scripture which points to this fact:

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. Romans 1:8 (NIV) [Emphasis Added]

3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints–5the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. Colossians 1:3-6 (NIV) [Emphasis Added]

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:9 (NIV) [Emphasis Added]

While the above three passages of scripture are clear that the gospel has already been preached in the whole world, those who like to dig into the Greek (the original language in which the New Testament was written) may have doubts because the word translated "world" in the above three passages is from the Greek word "kosmos" rather than from the Greek word "oikoumene" as translated in Matthew 24:14. Fortunately, there is one more passage of scripture which uses the same Greek word ("oikoumene") as in Matthew 24:14, and it leaves no doubt but that the gospel has already been preached in the whole world as Jesus prophesied:

15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 18But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." Romans 10:15-18 (NIV) [Emphasis added]

So, there we have it–straight from the Word of God. The gospel has already gone out into all the earth–to the ends of the world to be exact. And it already happened hundreds of years ago! You see, Jesus did not say that each individual person would hear the gospel before the end; He said the gospel would be preached in the whole world. And it was.

What about you? If you are reading this article, then you have either already heard the gospel message or have access to it. Have you believed it? Have you been obedient to God's Word and become a faithful follower of Jesus? If not, then what in the world are you waiting for?

If you are already a Christian, are you faithfully sharing the gospel with others so they can be saved before Jesus returns? Each day that passes is one day closer to His return, and He's only going to return once. We surely shouldn't have a passive attitude that someone else somehow sometime will spread the gospel message to those who need to hear it. We should diligently strive to get the gospel message to as many as we possibly can before it's too late! Are you doing that? If not, then what in the world are you waiting for?

Are we taking Jesus seriously as we ought to be? He said the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in the whole world and then the end would come. Well, the Word of God establishes that the first part of Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:14 has already come to pass. Now we know what is next. Non-Christians, take heed! Get right with God before it's too late. Christians, take heed! The time is short. Share Jesus with someone today. What in the world are we waiting for?

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.