The End of the Earth

by Shane Clark on May 29, 2024

This week, we will wrap up our series on missions by looking at the final piece of Jesus’ command to His disciples, “You will be my witnesses … to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Thus far, we have talked about being witnesses in Jerusalem (our city), Judea (our region/state), and Samaria (our world, the least of these). For most of us, each of these seems relatively attainable. As we go about our daily lives and activities, we are witnesses for Jesus, in our speech, actions, and activities. We share the Gospel of Christ with family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers that we encounter. But what about ”to the end of the earth?” Is this really something we all are supposed to do or is it simply something for the few “called” Special Forces for Jesus we call missionaries? To answer that question, I want to begin with a summary of my personal journey to the end of the earth.

My journey with Christ began in the summer of 1993. I had just completed my sophomore year at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York, and was well into my three summer jobs when I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus and what He had done for me on the cross. I surrendered my life to Him that summer and the transformation began. By the end of the fall semester, everyone in my sphere of influence (family, friends, and co-workers) knew that I was a new creation in Jesus and that they could have this same experience. This was my Jerusalem. That same month, I had the opportunity to attend Urbana ’93, a mission conference put on by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship every three years. That conference opened my eyes and heart to the lost throughout the world.

A couple of years later, I graduated from UR and headed to my first job, teaching Chemistry in a public high school in Hawaii. Yes! You read that correctly, my first “real” job was in Hawaii. Over the next six years, I was heavily involved in a variety of outreach and missions activities. Our church did door-to-door evangelism, I became a youth group leader, helped establish a Christian organization on the high school campus, and helped lead a trip to Alaska. Yes, when you live in Hawaii, you go to Alaska for your “out of state” youth mission trips! To keep myself busy, I also led two mission trips with the church's singles group to the outer islands of Kauai and Maui. This was my Judea and Samaria, with a little bit of Jerusalem mixed in.

Fast forward to 2012, I am now in Florida and attending the Catalyst Conference, which focuses on evangelism and church planting. At this conference, my eyes and heart were opened once more to the fact that there was more God had for me. I left that conference with a copy of the book Radical, by David Platt, who was one of the speakers. He concludes his book with what he terms “The Radical Experiment.” The experiment has five components that are to be completed in one year.

  1. Pray for the entire world.
  2. Read through the entire Word.
  3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.
  4. Spend your time in another context.
  5. Commit your life to a multiplying community.1

I accepted the challenge and in 2013 I went on my first international trip to Uganda (see #4). That trip proved to be both a blessing and humbling, at the same time. A blessing to see how brothers and sisters in Christ from different parts of the world can come together for the cause of the Gospel. Humbling to realize how much we have and take for granted here at home. In short, it changed my perspective on many things including local and international missions. Since then, I have been on three international mission trips, with another one planned for this summer. 

So, what have I learned from this journey? First, the evangelizing of all nations has been God’s plan from the beginning. Genesis 12:1-3 tells us that God sent Abram from his own country so that He could bless all the families of the earth through him. This mission has been passed down through the generations of those who follow Jesus. It will continue to be His mission until Jesus returns.

Second, when Jesus says, “to the end of the earth” in Acts 1:8, He really means to the end of the earth. “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth” (Isaiah 43:6b), and “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47). The Gospel message of Jesus is intended for everyone throughout the world. It is a message of salvation that will bring His people together.

Third, God’s plan is to use us, His disciples, to spread this message to the ends of the earth. Paul makes it clear in Romans 10:14-17 that we, Jesus’ disciples, must go and share the Good News with people. It is a great privilege and honor to be an ambassador of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time, it is equally humbling to realize that He uses us in all our mess to accomplish His plan.

Fourth, if you wholeheartedly accept “The Radical Experiment” as outlined by David Platt, you will be forever changed. This is my challenge and hope for everyone who reads this message. Let’s not sit idle in our faith, but be on mission with Jesus, going to the end of the earth. Yes, spending time in another context (outside our country) may seem daunting and uncertain. But, if you do so, you will be a blessing to others, they will be a blessing to you, and you will look at your mission here at home in a different light. 

Every one of us who follows Jesus is called to this mission. I encourage everyone that has never been on an international mission trip, to do so. Likewise, I encourage those who have been on one, to go again. This is urgent work. So let us boldly step out and go to the end of the earth with the love of Jesus.

Tags: missions, global

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