The eleventh-hour workers 2
By Adauto Rezende
The last harvest on earth
Jesus spoke another parable to teach his people about the end-time evangelism. The teaching had an eschatological context as he said that God had prepared his banquet. It was ready. He mentioned the same parable with more details in Matthew saying:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet." Matthew 22: 2-4
The food was ready, the hour had come and there was no time to waste. The man (God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) worked hard for that moment. However, Jesus informed in the other Gospel the ungratefulness and disregard of the guests:
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14: 16-24
1. The social condition will make a difference in responding to the call for salvation
The first group
The parable above shows the first group of people that didn’t accept God’s invitation to come to His Son’s wedding. Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom who died on the cross to save his Bride: the church. The first guests are portrayed as a group of wealthy people as they are buying cattle, real state and enjoying social events. Jesus had told about this kind of people in the last day’s society:
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building." Luke 17: 26-28
Like Noah and Lot’s contemporaneous, most of our First-world society is not concerned with their spiritual lives. They live in the land of prosperity with an abundance of food. They became proud, gluttons and lazy. God’s word is no longer part of their hearts, therefore they became blind and selfish:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned (Laziness - idleness), they did not help the poor and needy.” (NIV) Ezekiel 16: 49
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (KJV) Ezekiel 16: 49
“Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18: 25) – 18: 27
The first guests represent the rich nations that no long ago sent thousands of missionaries to the world. They were faithful believers who feared God; however, the new generation did not follow the steps of their ancestors. Let’s take the USA as an example:
• 95% of the American churches have less than 100 people in the weekly services.
• 80% stop growing or are in decline
• 3.500 a 4.000 churches close down each year
• 1.500 pastors leave the ministry
• 80% percent of the North American Christians do not tithe
The second group
After the refusal of the first group, God did not cancel the party. He sent an invitation to a people that were not in a good shape to participate in such a royal celebration. But, He decided to let them make their choice:
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame." Luke 14:21
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT IN DECLINE IT IS GEOGRAPHICALLY SHIFTING
And the servants of God went to Latin America and Asia to call the spiritual blind, the lame, the crippled and the poor. They were in the darkness of idolatry, witchcraft and suffering from hunger, wars and pestilences. Millions accepted the divine invitation.
Asia is experiencing growth since the center of Christianity in the world has moved not only to the south but also to the east. In the last century, Christianity grew at twice the rate of population in that continent. Asia’s Christian population of 350 million is projected to grow to 460 million by 2025. Even today, demographers estimate that more Christian believers are found worshipping in China on any given Sunday than in the United States. The largest congregations are in South Korea and the Philippines, where dazzlingly large mega-churches hold tens of thousands of people. More evangelicals live in Asia than any other continent, particularly in the two most populous nations—China (66 million) and India (28 million). Many evangelicals also call Indonesia (16 million), the Philippines (13 million), and South Korea (9 million) home.1
A table from a survey published last week by the Pew Research Centre graphically illustrates the decline of Roman Catholicism in Latin America. Central America is now only “Half Catholic”, with Honduras “Less than half Catholic”. Brazil is on its way to becoming only “Half Catholic.” There are 56 million Bible-believing Brazilians. In less than 3 decades the number of Bible believers exploded.”. Overall, over 425 million Latin Americans identify as Catholic, or 69 percent of the continent’s population and almost 40 percent of the world’s Catholics. That means the number of Latin American Protestants – known as evangélicos – stands at around 117 million.2
Every week, hundreds of new congregations are established
Korea: 4402 missionaries serving in 138 countries around the world
Philippines: 600 units serve outside the country and 2000 cross-cultural
Singapore: 400 workers serving as career missionaries.
Latin America: More than 4000 working through 284 mission agencies in 86 nations
Brazil: Explosion of evangelical population. On average of 4000 new churches every year.
Argentina and Colombia are experiencing a tremendous spiritual revival in Christian churches as never seen before
Africans responding in millions in evangelical crusades – Supernatural healing and deliverance
The third group
“Sir, the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” Luke 14:23
According to Jesus, after millions had accepted God’s invitation, the servant went back informing of many empty seats at the table. There was still room to invite more guests. Therefore, the Father told the servant to get back to the field and to force the third group to come in.
Suddenly, an evangelistic call switched to Africa and millions got their ticket to live in eternity as part of God’s family. Statistics show how amazing an animistic pagan continent had become Bible believers, followers of Jesus Christ. Over the past 100 years, Christians grew from less than 10 percent of Africa’s population to its nearly 500 million today. One out of four Christians in the world presently is in Africa, and the Pew Research Center estimates that it will grow to 40 percent by 2030. In 2050, nearly four-in-ten of the world’s Christians (38%) are expected to be living in sub-Saharan Africa, up from 24% in 2010 and less than 2% in 1910. In addition, by 2050, five of the 10 largest Christian populations in the world – Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda – will be in Africa, which had three of the 10 largest Christian populations in 2010. By contrast, 35 years from now, the share of global Christians who call Europe home will have dropped to roughly 16% (from 26% in 2010). In addition, only 10% of the world’s Christians will be living in North America, down from 12% in 2010.
The share of the global Christian population in Latin America and the Caribbean also is forecast to drop slightly, from about 25% to 23%. But it will be the region with the second-largest number of Christians, behind only sub-Saharan Africa.3
THE LAST HARVEST IS COMING TO AN END
Nearly half of the world’s Christians already reside in Africa and the Latin America-Caribbean region. By 2050, according to the Pew Research study, those two regions will be home to more than six-in-ten of the world’s followers of Jesus, with just a quarter of Christians living in Europe and North America.
Evangelicals number 660 million and represent 26% of the world’s Christian population, according to estimates from researcher Sebastian Fath.
At the conclusion of the second part of our study, we can see that new guests had come to God’s kingdom. An uncountable number of people from every tribe, nation and tongues from all continents are being prepared for eternity with God. They were delivered from their miseries to hopefulness, from their spiritual darkness to Jesus, the light of the world, from satanic prisons to Christ’s freedom. They were healed of their diseases; they had found peace and rest for their wearying souls.
They had washed their dirty robes in the blood of Jesus and will rejoice in the wedding of the Lamb, and living eternally in God’s presence!
JESUS IS COMING SOON!