“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Many in the church today try to determine the nearness of Christ’s return by reading the signs of the times. Yet one of the clearest statements Jesus makes about his second coming is contained in the verse above: The end will come only after the gospel has been preached to all nations — as a testimony.
The word Jesus uses for “witness” in this verse is the same Greek word used for “testimony,” which literally means proof of fact. Christ is speaking here of not just preaching the gospel, but of presenting it as a testimony. In short, the gospel we preach is effective only if it is backed up by a life that testifies to its reality.
You would think that in America, a nation filled with thousands of evangelical churches, there would be a strong gospel witness. But many churches have compromised the true gospel of Christ and there is very little testimony of his lordship in the lives of the people. They are not true witnesses and the churches are not thriving.
Too many ministers, young and old, run all over the world looking for strategies to produce growth in their churches. They attend seminars, conventions and “think tanks” searching for the key to building a larger church. Still others flock to “revivals” in the hope that they will learn new methods of how to have the Holy Spirit fall on their congregation. But it takes more than new ideas or strategies to touch nations for Christ.
I am thankful there are exceptions, however, and God is moving mightily in churches where pastors catch a vision and spend time on their faces before the Lord. And they are leading their congregations into a deeper walk with the Lord. All our plans are in vain if Jesus is not enthroned in every area of our lives!