Consider for a moment a young Chinese man who, for most of his life, worshipped as a Buddhist.
Through one way or another, he heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, turned from serving false idols to the living God and surrendered his soul to Jesus Christ alone.
Over the course of the next few years, he obtained a Bible and began studying the Great Commission passages. Through this study he became burdened for missions work around the globe. The young Chinese man began praying to God about missionary work and subsequently felt called to leave his Chinese homeland in order to share the gospel with people in “all the nations.”
But where should he go?
He quickly grabbed a world map and noticed that the United States of America is a long way away. He knows those Americans need to hear about Jesus just as much as the Chinese people do…but God called him to go to all the nations, after all. He prayed about it some more and ultimately concluded that God would, indeed, have him serve as a missionary to the people of California.
After doing some more research about the native people of California, he decided that Los Angeles is the city he will minister to for the rest of his life. He sold all his belongings and, with a Bible in hand, headed out west.
He became a foreign missionary to the people of Los Angeles, California.
Sound a bit farfetched? Why?
Are the people of Los Angeles, California, or Appleton, Wisconsin, or New York, New York, or Las Vegas, Nevada, or Louisville, Kentucky, or Hell, Michigan (yes, there is a city in Michigan called Hell) to good for the gospel? Are we too spiritual to believe that we don’t need as many people as possible to share the goodnews of Jesus Christ with those in our own neighborhoods?
What a blessing for us that we are already here in the good old U.S.A. We do not even need to travel halfway around the world to another gentile nation filled with sinners who need to hear the gospel. How fortunate we all are to be here already; ready, willing and available to God for spreading the gospel.
If you are a Christian, your message to all people everywhere—including your very own city—is both straightforward and compassionate: We “beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
It is a message that makes every one of us feel uncomfortable at times sharing, but it is not a difficult message to explain.
You are to exhort sinners to repent of their sin, to be born again, and to surrender to God by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. And why are we to be pleading with sinners this way? Because God is in the business of making dead creatures alive and old things new (c.f. 2 Corinthians 5:17).
What a marvelous gospel for people to hear!
Both our mission and our message is, “from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; italics mine).
In his book Living the Cross Centered Life, C.J. Mahaney wrote,
“What amazing grace! There simply isn’t greater news we could give to anyone, anywhere, at any time. And you and I indeed have the privilege as well as the responsibility of proclaiming this good news. We’ve been entrusted with this unique message about this unique Mediator, and we’re the sole guardians of it. That’s why we must deeply understand it ourselves and take it to heart, so we can share it accurately and passionately with others” (C.J. Mahaney, Living The Cross Centered Life, page 73-74).
As Christ’s ambassadors to all the nations (including this American nation), we are not to be telling sinners that if they’ll just give God a try then He will—in return—give them money, possessions, more lands, or even lasting happiness. Our message is that unless they turn from their sin and place their faith in Jesus Christ alone, our King will grind them to pieces in the winepress of His eternal wrath.
It is called the gospel. It is very goodnews. And it is by far and away the most loving message you could ever tell anyone in the world.