ODJ: Into the World

March 15, 2016 

READ: Joshua 13:1-7 

This is the territory that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and the Geshurites, and the larger territory of the Canaanites (vv.2-3).

Chinese Christians inspire me. Their slogan is “Back to Jerusalem,” for the Christian faith spread mostly west from Jerusalem through Europe and northern Africa to the Americas—lands that sent missionaries to Asia. Now Chinese believers aim to spread the gospel through the Middle East until the church reaches Jerusalem, where it all began. The task will be dangerous, but they’re willing to risk everything for Jesus.

God’s people haven’t always had such a vision. God chose Israel to be “a light to the Gentiles,” to “bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). But when Israel entered the Promised Land, they stayed mostly in the hill country. They didn’t conquer the coastal plain where the Philistines had settled. So they couldn’t access the international trade route that went along the flat coast of the Mediterranean, and they didn’t reach their world as God intended.

The early church did better. The disciples obeyed Jesus’ command to be His witnesses, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, Samaria, and finally “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Paul himself sailed throughout the Roman Empire and may have made it all the way to Spain. But the job isn’t finished.

To what unreached people can you help bring the gospel? It will likely be difficult, requiring much prayer and many resources. If it were easy, we would have done it already. The easily accessible groups have been reached. Who’s up for a challenge?

Think locally. What are the “trade routes” where you live? Where are the opportunities to mingle with others and reach them for Jesus? It can be scary to stand tall for Christ, but it’s the reason God has you where you are. Speak up for Him today by His power.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Ruth 1:1-22

Read Revelation 7:9-17 to learn the goal of our mission in the world. 
What are you doing to reach your world for Jesus? Is this a priority? Why should it be?