“As we have a high old time this Christmas may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha.”

Nate Saint

TODAY’S READING: 2 Peter, Jude

It is likely Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote this epistle at the same time as 2 Peter due to the common language shared in Jude verses 4–9 and 2 Peter 2:1–3:3. We’re not sure who borrowed from whom, but it’s clear the message is common. Jude wrote to Christians who were being led astray by false teachers.[1] The missionary implications of Jude are two-fold: First, we must speak up against false teaching and proactively show our disciples what is wrong or errant. Missionary work is not passive, nor does it rely on the self-discovery of the seeker or disciple. Missionaries teach and preach, exhort, rebuke, and counsel. Missionaries save with fear, pulling out of the fire. Second, we don’t converse arrogantly or presumptuously with the devil; we let the Lord do that particular rebuking. Succinctly, those who make disciples have the spiritual authority to rebuke their disciples, even cross culturally, but Jesus alone has the authority to rebuke the devil.  Let’s do our job relieved and content that God will always do His. He is able to keep us from stumbling.

Peter refers to the “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1) shared across the multi-cultural body of Christ. To truly participate in the body of Christ means we need each other, and the rebuke mentioned above must be a two-way street. We must be corrected by the cross-cultural body of Christ; we desperately need it. In fact, Peter in addressing false teaching exemplified this reality. Peter needed Paul to rebuke him. The Gentiles needed Peter’s correction. Globally, Christians don’t get an accurate understanding of Jesus without the perspectives of other redeemed cultural lenses. Think of the travesty if the Bible was only interpreted by Americans! Think of the beauty, depth, and wisdom when the God-given insight of all cultures combines to study the Scripture under the aegis of the Holy Spirit!

Peter was crystal clear that the Lord would keep His promises, namely that Jesus will come again soon in power and glory to rule and reign over all the peoples of this earth. The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up. The reason the Bible focuses us on souls from every unreached people group is because everything else physical will be destroyed. A missionary understanding keeps us from falling in love with this world and keeps us fixed on hastening the day of King Jesus coming back. The only reason Jesus delays patiently is that more might find salvation. God’s missionary people live with the tension of longing for Jesus to come back for the joy set before us and the terror of what that means for those who have never heard, or who have heard and not repented. We urge Jesus to come quickly even as we plea for a little more time for the lost. Maybe our Christmas gift from Jesus is a little more time for a few more souls to be saved.

[1] The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 1386.

Prayer Focus: Yemen

Today’s Unreached People Group: Somali
Population: 1,159,000
Language: Somali
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.03%
Estimated Workers Needed: 23

[Source: Joshua Project]

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