God's 'State of the World' Address
- Thursday, August 30, 2007
The State of the World's Population
He could remind us that there are more souls than ever needing the Gospel. World population is nearly 11 billion, with the highest growth in developing nations.
Global outreach opportunities have never been greater, and Christians are concerned about feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, tending the sick, and educating the illiterate.
The State of the World's Crises
Jesus might also direct our attention to the widespread crises people are facing. These are heartbreaking times. With more people come more diseases and greater mortality rates. Globally, over 1% of all adults ages 15-49 have HIV/AIDS. In one year 2.9 million people died of AIDS, and the number of orphans rose to 15 million.
Strange new diseases are immune to any known immunization or antidote. Doctors live in fear of a new virulent, unstoppable epidemic.
In addition, there are millions of people at war today, and thousands upon thousands are dying. With rogue states developing nuclear capabilities, and shadowy terrorist organizations seeking weapons of mass destruction, any day could bring the world to the edge of apocalypse.
The State of the World's Technology
The rapid development of the world's technology is another distinctive of our age. Instant communication, entertainment-on-demand, and nanotechnology are daily changing the world. Internet connections have created a global economy, and the world is open for business twenty-four hours a day.
The changes, however, aren't all good. In addition to online pornography and Internet gambling, there's the danger posed to children by a lifetime of staring at screens.
The State of the World's Religions
Jesus would also be mindful of the state of the world's great faiths. Reports in 2003 indicate that there were 2 billion Christians, 1.2 billion Muslims (the fastest growing religion), 784 million Buddhists, 811 million Hindus, and nearly a billion people who claimed no religion at all.
One Muslim leader proclaimed: "We aim to establish Allah's religion in its entirety, in every soul and upon every inch of this earth, in every home, institution, and society."
At the same time, persecution against Christians is widespread and underreported, occurring in 183 nations of the world. Latin America is now the largest continent of Christians, and the church in Africa the fastest growing.
The State of the World Shouldn't Surprise Us
If He were giving a "State of the World" address, are these the observations Jesus would make? Actually, Jesus did give us a "State of the World" message that transcends the centuries. We call it "The Olivet Discourse" because He spoke it on the Mount of Olives shortly before ascending to heaven.
In Matthew 24, Jesus described the state of affairs that would dominate the world between His ascension and His return: You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled... For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places... Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake... Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold... And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
History is known by Him in advance, and it's still under His control. The questions of the world won't be answered in peace initiatives, political movements, or world religions. The state of the world won't be redeemed by medical advances or modern technology. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer, and the return of Jesus Christ is the only hope.
If you're disturbed by today's headlines and tomorrow's uncertainties, look to Jesus. Trust His unfailing predictions, and lean on His unchangeable promises. "When these things begin to happen," He told us in Luke 21:28, "look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's devotional magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.
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