Into All the World

MEMORY SELECTION: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” —Matthew 28:20

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28:11-20

THE Heavenly Father has designed the method for developing the footstep followers of the Master so that spreading the Gospel of the kingdom is a very important part of their service and experience. It also is the most effective way that a sustained witness to the truth can be given because of the opposition of the forces of darkness. The Gospel of the kingdom is not an accepted or popular message, and this, of course, is part of the reason the world has not been converted. It is comforting to know it was never God’s purpose to convert the world during this age. Jesus said, “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.” (Matt. 24:14) The point of the scripture is that the preaching is for the purpose of giving a witness and not to convert the world.

In Matthew 13:10-17 is an account of Jesus’ answer to his disciples when they asked him why he spoke in parables, implying that no one could understand him. Jesus answered, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. … Therefore speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. … But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears for they hear. For, verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

It was said of Jesus that no man was ever so eloquent or spoke with such authority as did he. (John 7:46; Matt. 7:29) Yet Jesus hardly made a ripple in terms of converting the world of his day. The reason is because this is not the age that God has set aside to convert the world—that time is in the next age, during the kingdom. In Habakkuk 2:14 the prophet tells us that in the kingdom “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” It is then, according to the Apostle Paul, that God “will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:4) The prophecy concerning the operation of the New Covenant in the kingdom is in harmony with the apostle’s statement: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”—Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:10-12

During the Gospel Age the Lord has made provision for the footstep followers of Jesus to have the privilege and responsibility of carrying forth the work started by Jesus at his first advent. In II Corinthians 5:18-20 the Apostle Paul states: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

In this text the apostle first explains that the process of our reconciliation was arranged by God through the blood of Jesus Christ, and this was principally for the purpose of giving us the ministry of reconciliation. The world is estranged from God and the purpose of preaching the Gospel is to make known how God plans to reconcile the world to himself. When the plan is known, it offers opportunities for those who hear to cooperate. During the Gospel Age only a “little flock” will respond, and these are promised a heavenly reward. In the next age, in the kingdom, the process will continue; the church will extend the opportunity of reconciliation to the entire world.

The apostle makes the very important point in verse 20, that when Jesus was here at his first advent this ministry of reconciliation was his responsibility, but when he was exalted to the divine nature the responsibility of the ministry was given to his footstep followers. “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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