3 Billion.

March 28, 2007 — 12 Comments

3 Billion

Over 3 billion.

It’s a number I have been contemplating over recently. It’s huge. It’s 3,000,000,000 and more. That’s nine zeros plus digits. We can’t even think about that many people in one location. Two-thousand people in a church is huge. Three billion is more than enormous. It’s Massive.

Sitting Around

That number represents how many have not heard the gospel today. I had to ask myself this week, what have I done to bring this number down? Not much. What have I done to share the gospel? Not much. What have I done to save my friends, neighbors, and co-workers from eternal punishment in hell? Not much. In fact, I would daresay that we all have not done much in the mission that we have been commanded to accomplish. In fact, not much might be an understatement in describing our efforts. It seems that we have decided to sit in our own churches, perhaps give money to missions, and feel that we are doing our part in the mission of sharing the gospel around the world. Perononally, we believe we have not been called to missions or evangelism — that’s for others. Yet how can we be so blind? How can we believe we have been “called” to apathy, or “called” to not share the gospel, or “called” to sit at home while we pray God doesn’t send us into the mission field?

What Are We Doing?

Why are we not all praying as believers that God would send us out into all the earth? Why do we not understand the command — not “call” — that Jesus Christ has given us? It is a call to “go into all the world” and to share the gospel and “make disciples”? What have we missed? How can we sit satisfied in our church pew while over 3 billion people are dying and going to hell? Too many sit around worrying about the tribe in Boombaya who have never heard the gospel and wondering if they are going to hell and if they are innocent before God. It is simple: they are without excuse (see Romans 1.) They have rejected God and are in fact heading to hell — and what are we doing to save them? There are those here in the United States who have not heard the gospel — what are we doing to save them? We must stop worrying and start preaching to a dying world.

Grasp the Gospel

Sadly, this number of 3 billion is not overwhelming to us. The mission does not seem urgent. 3 billion dying does not seem serious in our comfortable state. What is wrong with us? Why is it that the church here in the United States is not exploding as the church in China is? Perhaps it is simply this: we have decided that we no longer need to hear the gospel each and every day.

“To preach the gospel to yourself,” says Jerry Bridges in his book The Discipline of Grace, “then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that he is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.”

When we understand this, and when we do it each day, it will not only change our lives — it will change the world. Just think of the early Christians. A small group — smaller than any megachurch. They changed their world not through television, or radio, or the internet. I’m not saying those are bad in any way, but if we just think — they changed the world because the went. They were commanded to go and go they did. They transformed their Judea, their Jerusalem, their Samaria, their world. We can do the same by starting here in the hardest region on earth by sharing with those who will we see on a daily basis. We need to have a passion for seeking and saving the lost. It starts with preaching the gospel to yourself, then to others around the world. Just one person can change the world.

3 billion.

We can do it.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

12 responses to 3 Billion.

  1. Can you tell me what person or organization decided that the number of those who have never heard the gospel is 3 billion? I clicked the link, which gave me more statistics, but I did not see any references to the work they did to find that information. I have no doubt that their number is “somewhere in the ballpark”, but wondered if you could tell me where I can find some details of their research.
    Thank you for any help you are able to provide.

  2. Reformed Pastor March 30, 2007 at 10:26 AM

    “we have decided that we not longer need to hear the gospel each and every day.”

    You hit on the same note that I do in this department. How can the Church give witness to someone she does not know herself?

    However, there still is the massive mountian of fear of man to overcome in preaching the gospel. This is where most of my struggle is. I have a hard time beginning a conversation about Jesus with people out of fear of rejection. I need to keep His command and eternity in view when faced with this fear. This just goes to show that it is not by my power or might, but by His that I can accomplish Christ’s call to give a witness to His glory.

  3. A hearty “amen” to that. That is where the rubber meets the road. It’s easy for me to write about witnessing, but so much harder to get out there and to start a conversation with someone. I’d reccomend visiting http://www.thewayofthemaster.com for some tools that can really help you start conversations, and some great biblical material for sharing the gospel.

    It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  4. Awesome post, Tim!!! I wrote a blog post about witnessing this past week if you want to check it out. Here’s the link if you want to check it out…
    http://revitalizeouryouth.blogspot.com/2007/03/time-to-fight.html

  5. Wow, that was amazing in that I just wrote about this same issue earlier tonight. We wait for a “calling” as if a rock were going to come from the sky with a note attached, smacking us on the head. There is no excuse except unbelief. My fearfulness in speaking to others about Jesus Christ is rooted in the unbelief of what He has done, what He can do, and what He has already said in His Word. Shame on me for my carelessness. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

    Keri

  6. Tim,
    Excellent points.

    I think there’s another statistic, related to this one, that’s even more convicting. One of my seminary professors, to make a point, used to throw two pennies across the classroom in pointing out that’s the amount that the average member of a church in our denomination gives to missions each day. Two cents. There’s no excuse whatsoever for those of us who live in this country, where 80% of all money given to the church in the world is spent, not to have made absolutely certain that everyone around us has had the opportunity to hear.

    Keri, you are so right. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!

  7. Lynsay,
    I’m still looking to pin point an exact location for those statistics.

    Lee,
    Excellent point — and I have to agree — that’s even more convicting.

  8. As Jim Elliot once said- “We don’t need a call; we need a good kick in the pants.” (he was speaking of the call to missions.) It can never be stressed enough..or overdone… the witness spirit is severely lacking…in me… I want to be usable by Christ even if there was only one life yet to be saved on this earth.

  9. Thank you for looking. It’s not’s earth-shattering if you can’t find it, it’s just that this is such an important topic I would like to know who came up with the number, and how. But again, if you can’t find out where the statistics came from, it’s not terrible.
    As a side note, I am reminded of something that happened to Hudson Taylor, missionary to China. After hearing about the Savior, a man named Nyi asked him, “How long have your people known of this?” Taylor hesitantly replied, “For… a long time – many generations.” Nyi was shocked. “Then why did you not come sooner? My father searched for this truth!” Nyi’s father had died without anyone to show him the way; how many more have gone since then? How many more will die searching for something, but not finding it, simply because we refuse to show them.

  10. Thanks for understanding, and thank you even more for that story. We’ve had some amazing one’s here that I’m making sure to write down so I can share them in a speech sometime in the future. Especially that last one Lyndsay. Wow.

  11. fellow believer August 29, 2007 at 7:49 PM

    I once read, so I cannot claim it as my own, that part of the problem is that underneath our timid response to the command to go is a question. Do we really need salvation? Do they really need it? If we grasped the utter depravity of our condition, if we saw the gaping pit of hell beneath us we would KNOW that yes, we and they really need it. We have to examine our hearts, do we believe that we NEED Jesus? That there is no other way. If we believe that we did nothing to deserve it we would be overwhelmed with the desire to share such a precious gift. After all 3 billion is a really big number, but we can still make it smaller one at a time.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Sola » Blog Archive » Pressing Toward the Mark 8/21/07 - October 5, 2007

    [...] an enormous amount of people in this world that need the hope of Christ. (3,000,000,000 people have never even had a chance to hear the gospel). Who is going to bring the hope of Christ to [...]

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>