Seeing the Task as God Sees It
The professor read Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He drew our attention to the imperative of Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations.” Then he asked, “What is a nation?”
We responded with the usual answer, “A nation is a political entity defined by geographical borders.”
The professor’s eyes sparkled as he explained that the words “all nations” is translated from the Greek text panta ta ethne. Quickly he moved on to Acts 2:5: “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation (pantos ethnous) under heaven.” He pointed out how the words “every nation” clearly refers to people groups for in the following list of nations, the thing that set them apart as such was that they each represented a distinct culture and language.
A light turned on in my mind and spirit. I had been a Christian for 22 years, graduated from Bible school, pastored a church for three years, served as a foreign missionary for 13 years and read my Bible through many times, but I had never observed this truth.
Understanding ta ethne (all nations) to be the focal point of the Great Commission revolutionized my life and ministry. For example, serving as a missionary in Nigeria for seven years, I believed that our missions fellowship had fulfilled the missionary mandate by establishing a strong national church numbering more than 50,000 believers. Looking at Nigeria through a ta ethne lens, I realized our work of planting churches among the nation’s 245 people groups had just begun.
The need to provide an adequate witness of the gospel to every peoples group in Africa and around the world weighed heavily upon my spirit. A vision was birthed in my heart to lead others to an awareness of the “peoples group” focus of the Great Commission and to present these groups in such a way that believers would make themselves available to carry the gospel to them.
To this cause I have dedicated my life and ministry. Now with 20/20 vision regarding the task as God sees it, Link Up Africa has been launched to make known the purpose of God and the need of Africa’s Unreached Peoples.