God’s Heart for the Nations

As we move into the Christmas season, I wanted to take a moment to remind us all of how Christmas fits into God’s “bigger story” that we’re all a part of. Here at SBC, we are blessed to be a church that has been partnering with the Church around the world since 1963—only one year after SBC was established in 1962! What a gift it is to be part of a local fellowship that understands “it’s not all about us,” as Rick Warren once famously wrote in his book The Purpose Driven Life. Christmas sometimes leads us to believe that it is all about me/us, as we think about the gifts we want others to get us. Those of us with young children can certainly identify with our children thinking it is all about them, can’t we?

God’s heart for the nations gets revealed to us in Scripture way before Jesus comes on the scene at Christmas. We see His desire for ALL to know Him and be blessed by being in a relationship with Him “in the beginning” as communicated in the book of Genesis. My favorite single verse in Genesis on this topic is Genesis 12:3, where the Lord is talking with Abraham and tells him, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you ALL the families of the earth will be blessed.” I checked with Pastor Jamie, and that word “All” means…wait for it…wait for it… “ALL”! Contrary to some distorted theological understandings, God was not just working with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. It has ALWAYS been His desire to have His Son’s inheritance (Hebrews 1:2) include ALL people groups.

It has always been God’s desire to have His Son’s inheritance include ALL people groups.

Today, we are living in fascinating times regarding this reality! Did you know that more Muslims have come to Christ since 2000 than came to faith in Jesus out of Islam in all the years between 700 and 2000?! David Garrison documents this in his book, A Wind in the House of Islam (2014). God’s Holy Spirit “wind” is blowing across the face of the earth, and He is drawing men and women to Himself in awesome ways and in awesome numbers.

Pastor Darryl DelHousaye was one of the plenary speakers at Mission Connexion Southwest on November 4. At this event hosted by The Grove Church in Chandler, hundreds of people from local Phoenix churches gathered to be inspired and trained regarding cross-cultural ministry. Pastor Darryl used the text of Daniel 7:13-14 to illustrate that one of the reasons God is waiting to send Jesus back for His glorious return is because the Father (called the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7) is “preparing the gift” for His Son (called the Son of Man in Daniel 7)! What is in the gift? I’m glad you asked! Here it is: “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.” WOW! ALL peoples, nations, and languages are in the gift from the Father that will be given to the Son. That is what is happening right now all over the world as men, women, and children are coming to the saving faith of knowing Jesus Christ.

ALL peoples, nations, and languages are in the gift from the Father that will be given to the Son.

Be encouraged, friends. Your church is getting the honor of being a small part of this as we partner with our nearly 70 global partners in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Praise God for what He is doing—preparing the gift for His Son—and praise God that He is using His Church to lead and be a part of His work! That is cause for celebration and for a Merry Christmas this year.