Rev 7:9-10 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

John had a vision of our future. We will be part of a crowd so large that it is impossible to count! Where do they all come from! Notice who makes up this crowd. It is a crowd made up of all nations, tribes, and “peoples.” It is a crowd made up of all “languages.”

In other words, from every country, culture, and clan, from every district and dialect, from every lineage, locale and language, every group of people will be represented.

Since we live in an area with a lot of cultural diversity, we have just a SMALL sampling of what it will be like in HEAVEN!!

 John describes this crowd as wearing white robes, symbolic of purity or righteousness. They are also waving palm branches, a symbol of celebration. Can you imagine the excitement? We will be in God’s Presence with all these saints.

The people are celebrating, although they came out of the Great Tribulation. Regardless of what life brings on us here on earth, when we get to Heaven, we will be rejoicing! Try to remember that and look forward to it with anticipation!

 Listen to what this crowd cries out: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!” The redeemed will still be celebrating their salvation through Jesus Christ! Why? One glimpse into hell and you know that the Gospel is the greatest message of all times and Jesus Christ is worthy to be praised. It should excite us and give us a desire to share this message with everyone in the world!

That is our responsibility. Listen again to what Jesus said. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

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.”

We have a responsibility to obey Jesus’ commandment. This should not be hard. After all, if being a Christian is worthwhile, then this should prompt us to speak to everyone we meet of Christ.

If the Bible is true—and we know that it is—why do we remain complacent, apathetic, or afraid of sharing the Truth?

If today is the day of salvation, if tomorrow may never come, and if life is uncertain, how can we eat, drink, and be merry when those who live with us, work with us, walk with us, and love us are unprepared for eternity because they are not following Jesus?

If Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men, why are we satisfied with sitting on the bank and watching others fish?

If Jesus Himself went seeking the lost, if Paul the Apostle was in agony because his kinsmen did not know Christ, why are we unconcerned while unbelievers perish around us?

If we are to stand at the judgment seat of Christ to render an account for the deeds done in the Body, what shall we say to Him if our children are missing, if our friends are not saved, or if our employer, or employee should miss Heaven because we have been faithless and silent?

If we wish to be received as a faithful servant, then let us remember that no eloquence in preaching, no absorption in business, or no spirit of timidity can be an excuse for us not making an honest, sincere, prayerful effort to bring others to Christ.

Time is urgent. The Church is in a war. The enemy is attacking more than ever. The battles are being fought inside and outside the Church walls. People are dying and going to hell. Yet, many in the church are asleep, or ignorant, or have compromised with the world and become captives of the enemy.

1. Money and prosperity have put Christians at ease when they should be sacrificing income and time with the lost.

2. Entertainment has become the focus.
3. Hypocrisy has caused church attendance to decline.
4. There are fewer people today willing to serve Jesus Christ in the church or in evangelism.
5. The church is focused with buildings and programs while ignoring soul winning.

6. The media is no longer objective in reporting the news, but carries a bias of secularism, humanism, evolution, anti-church, anti-family and pro-homosexuality.
7. There is a diversion of attention away from our historic ethics of cleanliness, correct speech, hard work, honesty, etc. to the glorification of drugs, gambling, sexual permissiveness, filthy speech, underachievement, laziness, lying, and the rights of criminals instead of the victim’s.
8. Islam is getting more powerful. Socialism is the popular philosophy. Both these movements have declared war on Christianity.

9. There is a deliberate effort to rewrite history to eliminate God, creation, and Christianity with its influence on holidays, the founding of this nation, and development of civilization around the world.

10. Laws are passed to eliminate Christian effectiveness by zoning, reducing the freedom of speech, calling preaching hate-speech, breaking down the traditional family, and permitting easy divorce, abortion, and irresponsibility.

11. As society throws a blanket over the light of Christianity, darkness is spreading in the form of atheism, witchcraft, new age, environmentalism, Earth worship, paganism, and Satanism.

However, we must not be pessimistic . . . but optimistic. Here’s why:

I Jn 4:4-6 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Furthermore, we have all the host of Heaven on our side. When Elisha’s servant cried out in fear at the enemy’s multitude, Elisha prayed that God would show his servant the innumerable force on our side in the spiritual realm.

 II Ki 6:16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

God is in control. Jesus Christ is the victor and judge over all. One day, every knee will bow and confess that He is LORD, but for those who have not been saved through faith in Christ, now, it will be too late for that good confession to save them.

Therefore, God wants us to trust Him and not be afraid. Jesus told us things would get very dark and evil before He returned. So look up, our Savior’s coming draws nearer every day.

 In the meantime, what should we do?

Luke 10:2-3 He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Jesus understands what we are facing. That is why He wants us to receive His Spirit—so we will have power to be His witnesses in the midst of wolves.)

Look at the size of the harvest. The population of the world has increased from 2.5 billion to 6.5 billion in my lifetime. That sounds innumerable. This presents challenges, but also great responsibilities. Our generation is called to reach these people with the Gospel.

Currently there are 2 billion who claim to be Christian, but our growth rate is not keeping up with the growth rate of the world’s population.

If every professed Christian would only evangelize 3 people, the whole world would become Christian.

Three is not innumerable; it sounds doable, but not without His Holy Spirit in us.

God is not less powerful today, but Christianity in U.S. and the western world is in decline. We have grieved the Holy Spirit by compromising with sin. As a result, we have lost our power.

Only 23% in the U.S. are regular participants in a church. That means 77% of our population is ripe for harvest. African and Asian countries are now sending Christian missionaries to the U.S. and Europe; whereas, we used to send missionaries to these parts of the world.

We need a Holy Spirit renewal. What does this mean—conviction of sin leading to repentance, dying to self, and asking the Holy Spirit to fill us again with His power to be His witnesses. However, it won’t happen until we humble ourselves and quit thinking we are alright.

2 Chr 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Then, we need to focus on Jesus and His mission for us. Like Solomon, we must pray for direction and wisdom.

1Kings 3:8-9 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Church growth produced by the Holy Spirit in Acts was genuine and rapid in spite of severe persecution. Although they were tortured and killed for their faith, those Christians turned the world upside down. Persecution will not stop the Church. It will purify it. Only those committed to love and follow Jesus, who are filled with His Holy Spirit, will be in it.

What happened to change the dynamics we see in Acts? While church membership continued to increase, true faith declined after Constantine made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Being a “Christian” became easy and popular and politically correct. The Church rested in its success, acceptance, and newfound power.

Sin and carnality were overlooked and the Church began a campaign to raise money to support the ostentatious hierarchy and ornate cathedrals. Markets were set up around the buildings to raise money for the support all the church buildings, priests, staff, programs, and property.

This problem is still evident. When a church starts to grow, there is a temptation to shift focus to the property instead of Christ. Lots of money is raised or borrowed to erect larger buildings. There is a subtle change in what is taught because we must pay for the buildings.

It is not profitable to offend the wealthy and big supporters. The focus shifts to a social group who can give, rather than to the poor and young who have nothing or little to give.

As a result, the poor and needy are not sought out for salvation or church membership. To ease our conscience from not seeking the poor, we give money to programs that feed the needy and we support children’s homes, but we fail to give them the Gospel.

This will not accomplish our commission!

We must get back to associating with the lost and needy for the purpose of bringing them to Christ, who can supply all their needs. Become a friend and invite that friend into your home and church. Demonstrate how you let God be in control of your life.

Just paying a needy person’s bills changes nothing.

Only the power of God in a life will change behavior, change a situation. The mind must be renewed. That is why sharing the Word will wash away “stinking thinking”.

This is how to make disciples and teach them to obey everything Jesus taught.

Another thing that occurred after Constantine made Christianity the state religion: people began putting their faith in government, instead of Christ.

Christianity cannot be legislated, especially by a group that is not Christian. Following Christ is a choice, not a law.

On the other hand, morality is always legislated, even if it is not Biblical morality. As in the days of Constantine, the Church tends to adopt those laws as the standard instead of the teachings of Jesus. The church often does not want to offend anyone by preaching anything stricter than the law. As a result, church members begin to act and look just like the non-believers in society.

For example, most of us wish to see an end to abortion and would like to see laws passed to ban it. Did you know we could cut the abortion rate, in our country, in half tomorrow without any legislation? All it would take is for Christians to stop having abortions!

Living our lives by following Jesus and sharing the Gospel will affect society. That is what will turn the world right side up again. That is what the Church did in the Book of Acts.

Another consequence from the Church’s loss of Holy Spirit power is: the Church becomes focused with providing programs to attract people.

When you don’t have any power, you have to have a program.

Without the Holy Spirit’s power, we become “Ichabod,” which means the “glory has departed”. As a result, people can’t see the Spirit of Jesus in the Church (love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control). 

That is crucial because Jesus, said (John 12:32) “if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto myself.”

You see, non-believers and carnal “Christians” want benefits, entertainment, and programs rather than Jesus.

If you don’t provide it, they will go somewhere else to get it.  They come to get, instead of coming to give and serve. To satisfy someone’s carnality is dangerous. It creates false conversions, making people twice a fit for hell because they are deceived into thinking they are saved.

A church’s success should NOT be measured by the number attending, but the number of people we talk to about our faith in Jesus each day! If we will do that, God will give the increase. He will add daily to the church those who are being saved.

It is possible to stop church decline and reach the innumerable population—just stay focused on Jesus and our mission—loving God, loving each other, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and making disciples, who then go out and make more disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit. Innumerable growth comes from God’s plan and God’ power.

Do not give up or give in to the temptation to quit.

Do not become like the world.

Do not rely on your own strength; rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you and give you the words to say and the deeds to do.