M o d u l e   4:
The Kingdom of Light

Once upon a time there was a mighty king who set up the Kingdom of Light. He was greatly loved by all of his people because of his enormous sacrifice when he defeated their enemy, Sin and Death, who had so greatly plagued the earth with darkness. The people spent their days teaching and singing about the wonders of their king and serving one another with friendship and love.

Then one day this beloved king announced that he was about to leave on a long journey. He gathered his followers together and challenged each one to work to extend his kingdom to every nation on earth while he was gone. They were to go out and tell everyone in every nation that Sin and Death were defeated and invite the people to join the Kingdom of Light. The king gave them his signet ring so that they could go in his name and authority and do the work that he left them to do. He blessed them all with gifts of time, talent and treasure. Then he left, promising to return when they had completed this task and to usher in a magnificent new kingdom, even better than the present one.

A number of the king’s followers set out on the task immediately, using their gifts to bring many people of other nations into the Kingdom of Light. However, some of the king’s followers were so dazzled by the gifts that they selfishly kept them. Other followers were afraid or lazy and did nothing. Some of the didn’t like the other nations they met and didn’t even want them to be a part of the Kingdom of Light. Others believed he would never return, and squandered their gifts foolishly.

Many years later, when the kingdom was extended to include people from all over the world, the king gloriously returned, just as he said he would. He separated his followers from those who did not accept his invitation to join the Kingdom of Light. Those who rejected him were cast into the dark fire pits forever. Then his followers were called before his throne to account for how they had used his gifts while he was away.

It was a day never to be repeated again in the history of the kingdom. It was startling. To those who were originally given more of the gifts, more results were required of them in return. Those who did not use their gifts wisely wept with regret as their gifts were taken away and given to others. Those who were faithful with what they’d been given were given even more. Those devoted to expanding the Kingdom of Light received great rewards and authority in the new realm.

Once again, as they had before, the people spent their days teaching and singing about the wonders of their king and serving one another with friendship and love. The era of expansion was over. The Kingdom of Light was established forever.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

Personal reflection: As followers of Jesus, He wants each of us to proclaim Him to the world around us. You are a part of that chosen race, and God created you for a unique purpose and destiny. Think about the three gifts that God has given to you: time, talent and treasure. Have you ever used these to expand His "Kingdom of Light" to those lost in the darkness? What are ways that you could use them more in the future?

A. Our "Helper" - the Greatest Gift

Let's go back in time to some of those last words that King Jesus said before He left. While He commanded us to go into the entire world to share the good news, He certainly did not leave us helpless and alone to complete this daunting task. He left us with another gift - a BIG gift.

"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." (Acts 1:8)

Jesus sent us a "Helper", the Holy Spirit who will empower us. God promises us the help of the Holy Spirit to carry out His Great Commission and promises that He will always be with us.

"...surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)

We may often feel inadequate for the task—especially when faced with 10,000 ethnic people groups that still do not have the church established. But He is with us. We are not alone.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

In Acts 1:8, Jesus mentions several arenas of involvement for His witnesses: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria AND the ends of the earth. These can be related to a modern setting like this:

Jerusalem => your hometown or city where you currently live
Judea => your own culture or people group
Samaria => a nearby culture orpeople group that has tensions with yours
Ends of the earth => anywhere Jesus is not yet known (Romans 15:20)

Notice that Jesus did not say, "Cover all of Jerusalem first, then take on Judea, next Samaria and finally, if you have time, go as far from here as you can and tell the people about Me." Rather, He intends for us to be involved in all four arenas at the same time. You can extend God's kingdom in your hometown and culture, within a nearby (but different) culture AND among the world’s unreached peoples. Most of us have many opportunities close to home for ministry, and that is good; however, we cannot forget the neediest peoples - the unreached ones without a church, without the opportunity to hear the gospel and often, without a Bible.

B. Overcoming Personal Obstacles

When God appeared to Moses and called him, Moses came up with many different excuses for not responding in obedience. Fear and insecurity were obstacles in Moses’ mind to achieving the purposes for which God had created him. But God answered each one of Moses’ excuses and built up his faith - not just once but many times. God was with Moses, gave him authority and gave him partners with which to work.

Activity: Match each biblical character with an obstacle that God helped him or her overcome.

1. Sarah (Gen.18:12-14) __

2. Jonah (Jonah 1:1-3) __

3. David (I Sam. 17:33) __

4. John Mark (Acts 15:37, 38) __

5. Gideon (Judges 6:27) __

6. Elijah (I Kings 19:2-3a) __

a. Rejection by a leader

b. Fear of what others think

a. Reluctance to obey

a. Fear, self-preservation

a. Disbelief

a. Youth

God is not limited by our weaknesses. In fact, He can receive more glory through our weakness than through our strength. As human beings, we tend to take credit for the things that we accomplish through our strengths. But when we reach the end of our abilities and come face to face with our weaknesses, then we depend on God to show Himself mightily. In fact, it is often in those very times, when we feel most foolish and weak, that God will do His greatest work through us!

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

C. Make a Difference

God has made you uniquely, for a unique purpose. The time, talent, and treasures that you have can be directed in some way to affect the unreached.

Decide now how you will personally be involved in seeing God's kingdom established in an unreached people group. Maybe you have already chosen a people group that you believe God is calling you to help reach. If not, focus on doing so (see Module 3 of this "Impact Eternity" seminar).

The following are just a few ways that you can participate in reaching the unreached. You can expect God to give you other new and creative ideas for involvement as well. Pray as you consider these options, and allow God to show you His plan for you. If your whole church is adopting an unreached people group, commit to do all of these options and encourage every church member to take a part.

1. Research and Prayer. Get to know your unreached people through research. Start gathering information from libraries and the Internet if you can. Become an "expert" on their culture, customs, and beliefs. Pray on behalf of your people group regularly.

For several years, Sunita studied and prayed for the High Mountain Tibetans. She faithfully asked God to send workers to start new churches among this very unreached people group. Little did she know what a key role she would have in this prayer's answer. A friend of Sunita's was going on a trip to the Himalayas and sought a Tibetan translator. Unable to find the contact he had, he went on by himself. On the airplane, who should be seated next to him but the very translator he'd looked for! God put him on that plane! A friendship formed, and it was discovered that the Tibetan man was a Christian. When Sunita was later introduced to this man, she knew that he would be an answer to her prayer - and he is. After taking a training course that Sunita recommended, this Tibetan man started a work among this group, and a church is being established in these remote mountains. Buddhist peoples now know Jesus because Sunita researched and prayed.

2. Giving. Give of your personal resources. The Bible says that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21). The amount is not as significant as your commitment to be directly involved. Look for specific needs that you can give toward to help reach your adopted people group.

Kaji's passion is to share the good news of Jesus with those of his own Hindu people group. After leading a few friends to the Lord, they would all go out to neighboring villages to preach the gospel. Sometimes Kaji would get discouraged because they had no Bibles or evangelistic materials to give to the Hindu people who seemed so interested in their message.

A church in another country heard about Kaji's work. They decided to give a financial gift to help Kaji and his church-planting team reach this people group. The money gave a significant boost when the team was able to buy the materials they needed. Kaji went on to begin a church. That new church started three other churches in nearby villages. Hindu people now know Jesus because a church in another country gave.

"Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you." (Deuteronomy 16:17)

3. Going on a short-term trip. Get to know your people group by visiting their land. Organize a short-term mission trip for yourself or a group of people to your adopted ethnic group. Short-term trips may last anywhere from one week to one year. Begin by talking with field workers (missionaries) who work within your adopted people group. Ask them if there are any planned outreaches that you could join. If there are none, perhaps you could organize one. In certain cases, field workers cannot host groups of foreigners as it can harm their long-term strategy. However, there may be another location where your people group migrates to or lives as refugees and where they are more receptive to foreigners and to the gospel. There are numerous short-term ways to get involved like medicine, construction, evangelism, teaching, prayer, etc.

While on a short-term outreach to the Zhuang people in China, Maelee witnessed to an older man squatting in front of his one-room home. The humble gentleman accepted Christ as his personal Savior that day, and this young adult from a Christian church in Hong Kong experienced the reality of God using her among an unreached people group. Months later this man wrote to Maelee and invited her back to his village. When she arrived, more than 70 members of his family were respectfully waiting to hear the message that had changed their grandfather’s life. All of them accepted Christ. That man is now an elder in a thriving church of more than 1,000 people and trains young evangelists to go begin new churches. Chinese people now know Jesus because Maelee went on a short-term outreach.

"Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matthew 9:38)

4. Advocating. Share your vision and get others involved - your pastor, your church, fellow students, friends, home fellowship group, prayer group, etc. You could teach this "Impact Eternity" seminar to inspire others to help the unreached peoples. Create informative resources and prayer guides to inspire prayer. Raise funds for evangelistic materials, Bible translation, and other projects that are designed to reach your people group. Find out if there is an "alliance" of Christians who have also committed to seeing your adopted people group become reached, and get involved with them.

Kent directs a mission in a small Caribbean nation. "From mission field to mission force" has been his motto for years as he challenges the churches to send missionaries to the world's unreached. He committed to advocate on behalf of a particular Muslim ethnic group in North Africa. He helped develop and distribute prayer guides and began to speak to others about this needy African people. He got folks praying and giving. He spoke to pastors and eventually convinced a few churches in his country to adopt this same people group. He spoke to young people and recruited dozens to visit the group short term in North Africa. Within four years, a team was placed for a year within this North African ethnic group. The reception has been very warm, and that Muslim people now has access to the Gospel because Kent advocated on their behalf.

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none." (Ezekiel 22:30)

See the end of this course for a "Leader's Guide" that will help you teach this "Impact Eternity" seminar to others. Also, in Appendix B, there is information about a free training course on how to be an advocate.

5. Going as a career missionary. Perhaps you feel that God is calling you to long-term service in full-time missions. Talk to your pastor about this, and begin looking for career options within your adopted ethnic group. Write to the missions agencies working among this people to ask what you would need to do to join in the work there. Maybe you could even go on a personal trip and meet with them. There are many jobs that a missionary can do. You might do something like administration, health care, childcare, media or even raise farm animals. Different jobs require different skills. For example, if you were directly involved in discipleship and leader training, you would need a good knowledge of the Bible. Find out what training is needed and then make your plans.

Daniel and Fatima, a young Brazilian couple, heard about the unreached animistic tribes in the Amazon Basin and decided to go and do something about it. They prayed and consulted with their pastor and missions agency. Then they decided to go tell the Banawa tribe about Jesus. Many years passed while they learned the tribe's language and customs and told them God's Word. For nearly 10 years, there was not a single Christian convert.

The couple decided that Fatima, who was having complications with her pregnancy, should leave their village to be closer to a hospital. While she was away, she felt like the Lord gave her a word that caused her to hurriedly make the difficult return trip to her village. Upon her arrival, she told her husband (who was quite surprised to see her return still pregnant) of this word of the Lord telling her that something was about to happen among the Banawa people. Fatima explained to Daniel, "After 10 years of working here, I am not going to miss it!"

Within a week, nearly the entire village decided to become followers of Christ. Animistic peoples now know Jesus because Daniel and Fatima went as missionaries.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (Isaiah 6:8)

6. Help those who go as field workers. While a few people do actually move to work directly with the unreached people, it takes many others back "home" to keep them there. This creates many opportunities for involvement.

You can join their personal prayer or financial support team. You could provide communications help by sending out the worker's personal newsletter or by loaning your computer skills. Another opportunity is to encourage the field workers by sending notes or gifts and helping them with other needs. In addition, when they are back home you could provide hospitality and friendship.

The workers who go and those who help them are on the same team. They work together to reach the lost and see new churches started where there are none. Whether you go or send, the options are endless and God will use you in the areas for which He has uniquely gifted you.

For more than 20 years, Vernon has written letters to encourage Christian missionary workers. He sends ordinary news, photos, and church bulletins. When missionaries are home in his area he calls, takes them out to dinner and finds out if they have any needs that he can help them meet. He has investigated shipping options and even given away valuable tools from his own workshop. His love and kindness keep missionary workers going. Unreached people now know Jesus because Vernon helps field workers to continue working.

"The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle..." (I Samuel 30:24)

"'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:13-15)

D. Your Inheritance and Jesus' Return

"Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." (Psalm 2:8)

Action Point: Dare to dream about your involvement in world missions. Spend time before the Lord, asking Him to share with you His heart for your people group. Be committed to action. You can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to impact this people group for eternity. Write down what He shows you to do.

Setting some personal goals will help you to take action. Think of something that you can do now. Start with some personal goals in the areas of praying, studying, giving, advocating or even going. Consider the following statements to give you some ideas and then write your own action plan.

Action Plan ideas:
I will select a particular unreached people that I can commit to.
I will either go to the library or search on the Internet to learn more about this people group.
I will register my commitment with the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and notify any existing alliance of my interest.
I will pray for ___ minutes per day for unreached peoples.
I will give ___ of my income to world missions every month.
I will teach the "Impact Eternity" seminar materials to another group this year.
I will find missionaries working among my people group and send them a card.

Jesus left earth and entrusted us with the work of preaching the good news to all the peoples of the earth. It is His desire for "all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) When God's purposes are fulfilled among every ethnic people group, Jesus will gloriously return to earth. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come." (Matthew 24:14)

Those who love Christ will obey His command to share the good news while eagerly expecting His return.

Pray: Dear Jesus, thank You for dying for the sins of the whole world - every culture and people group. I commit my life to You and to Your plan for the nations. Give me a special love for an unreached people group where I can become more involved personally. I am willing to pray, give, go and share with others as You lead me. Help me to use my life to make an eternal impact. Amen.