Summary: The Great Commission invites us, amazingly, into the joy of sharing faith and, by God's power and grace, having a real impact on the future population of heaven. Weird but true.
Let me ask a couple questions about our home planet and its population to begin today. How many nations/countries are in the world? Anyone want to guess? Ballpark? 196 [ (not incl. Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Greenland, Palestine, Western Sahara, and even the components of the United Kingdom (such as Northern Ireland,Scotland, Wales, and England ]
How many tribes on the planet? By one count there are over 600 First Nations tribes in Canada alone. It’s impossible to know how many tribes or people groups there are in the world.
How many people on the earth? http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ 7.1 billion
How many languages on earth? Over 6900. According to Ethnologue, there are currently 6,912 living languages, defined as languages that people speak today.
Interestingly, the part of the world with the highest level of linguistic diversity is Papua New Guinea. The region has approximately 830 languages for around 5.4 million people. That's about one language for every 6,500 residents. Cindy Lai, our missionary to PNG, has her work cut out for her!
That’s a whole lot of people. That’s a whole lot of communities. Let’s bring it closer to home.
How many languages would you guess are spoken in Toronto? According to the City of Toronto web site, the 2006 census revealed that there are 140 languages spoken in the GTA.
There are 5.5 million people in the GTA. Half of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada. There are 200 distinct ethnic origins.
In light of that, let’s stand together and read our key passage for today.
Revelation7:9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,“they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.The sun will not beat down on them,’nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”