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All God's Children
[This sermon contains many statistics, and you know how statistics can be. In many cases, you can make them say whatever you want to say. However, for this topic, I used conservative averages of many estimates from reputable sources, including government and secular agencies too numerous to document. Most can be found thru simple internet search, but be careful about which sources you tap. I'm sure some of these numbers are not exactly accurate, but I feel confident they are in the right 'ballpark,' and the story they tell is powerfully accurate.]
Roughly half of the world's population today are minors. The median age on earth today is about 24. Many today say that the field of missions is dying. Actually, it is being born every day!
Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
While 2 people die each second, about 4.5 are born each second! It's amazing when you realize that 50% of those who are alive today were born in the last 25 years. Nearly half of everyone who is alive today was born since about 1990.
Are we all God's children? No. We are all His creation, and He longs for us to become His children, having been born again into His family as sons and daughters of Him, the Heavenly Father.
The world's population is increasing at the rate of 16,000 per hour, which amounts to 400,000 per day or 150,000,000 per year, with the rate ever increasing. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2001 released a report concerning global population patterns and the effects on world stability. The report was called "Global Trends 2015." According to the report there would be one billion more people on planet earth by 2015 than in the year 2001, bringing the total to 7 billion plus.
In I AD the world's population was 150 million. 32 years later there were 250 million people on planet earth. In 1650, 1,617 years later, there were 500 million. By 1850, 200 years later, the world's population reached I billion. Only 80 years later, in 1930, the world's population doubled to 2 billion. 30 years later, in 1960, the world's population climbed to 3 billion. By 1975, only 15 years later, there were 4 billion people on the planet. 12 years later, in 1987, there were 5 billion. The 6 billion mark was reached in 1999: 12 years later. And here we are today with roughly 7 billion on earth, and multiplying exponentially, even though birth rates globally have been in slow decline.
There were only I billion people on planet earth in the days of Charles Spurgeon and Dwight L. Moody, and they each won over a million souls to Christ. The enormity of our responsibility today is staggering, to say the least.
In our day, people are living longer. Worldwide, the life expectancy from 1965 to 1970 was 54 years; from 1985 to 1990 it was 62 years. In 1997 the life expectancy in America was 75 years. And every day it takes a long time for the Today show to tell you about every 100 year old they have put on a Smuckers jar!
It is estimated that we are reaching the world with the gospel at the rate of 3 to 4 million souls a year. It is estimated that 3 billion people who are alive today have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel, or even the name of Jesus. Most of Christianity knows about the rapture and the second coming of Christ, and yet most of the world knows nothing about Jesus Christ coming the first time.
If we could line up, single file, every missionary that even borders on fundamentalism, the line would be 15 miles long: while the population of the world grows at the rate of 190 miles per day.
Rudy Johnson's publication, Lamp, took a survey in 1987 which concluded that of the 11 independent Baptist mission sending agencies reporting in 1983, there were a total 2,696 missionaries on the field. In 1987, the number of missionaries declined to 1,968; a decrease of 728 missionaries, which is 27% less in four years. Combine that with the average age of a missionary being over 50 and you can see the problem. We need to send these willing young families to the mission field, and we need to be willing to go, ourselves!
How about America?
America makes up less than 5% of the world's population. In 1996 there were 40,000 Southern Baptist Convention churches in America, with 10,000 of those churches not averaging one convert a year for several years. 80 to 85% of American churches have reached a plateau or are declining. 3,500 to 4,000 churches in America die or go out of business every year. America used to send 90% of all missionaries around the world. Today, we boast about sending half. What might the future hold considering the trends?