Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Perspectives on Nepal

Before: Dharahara Tower, KatmanduAfter: Dharahara Tower, Katmandu

April 25, 2015 saw a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the Kathmandu Valley in Napal.  Though it began there it radiated some 50 miles out, reaching to India, Mount Everest, and the Nepal/China border. The after shocks registered as if they were full blown earthquakes, still between 6-7 on the Richter scale.  The first estimated death toll was somewhere in the vicinity of 1200 with countless others injured.  The new death toll is around 8,000.  Since then there has been another quake around 7.3.  Dozens more were killed in that quake.

This is a horrible natural disaster.  What are we to think?  How do we process this...or do we?  As every horrible thing that can happen is played out on the news for all to see, I find myself fighting not to be desensitized to the truly horrific nature of an event such as this.  It so easy for something as significant as this to get lost in the may other newsworthy events which surround it.  Events that are happening in our own backyard such as racial tensions, huge moral shifts, and then there is the everyday grind that we each strive to survive in our own personal lives.

So What Are We To Think

I have been impacted greatly by those who are far more globally-minded and missions-minded than myself.  Men such as David Platt whom has spoken numerous times of the impact to his own heart upon visiting Nepal a couple of years ago.  Dr. David Platt has been a local pastor with a global heart for the last 9 years and has only recently resigned that assignment to step into the role of President of the International Mission Board for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dr. Platt speaks of flying into Kathmandu, India not so long ago and hiking for miles through village after village in the mountains of Nepal hoping to impact these people with the gospel.  He speaks of the desperation he felt as he saw the conditions in which they lived, the idolatry that they practiced and of coming to an understanding of the impact that sex slavery has on the little girls and young woman of that country.  These people desperately need the gospel!  Who is going to bring it to them?

Dr. Platt speaks of one particular moment when he witnessed a burial ceremony of the recent dead in these villages.  He witnessed bodies, layed upon funeral pyres, burning as they floated down the river.  He said that it struck him in that moment, that he was visualizing in the physical, the burning horror that was now the spiritual reality for the souls whom these bodies belonged to just hours before.  Except their souls will never cease to burn.

Thousands Burning In Hell

What we must come to grips with is that of the 8,000 people who have died in these quakes, the vast majority are now burning in hell because no one has told them of the good news that Jesus came to save sinners.

You see the dominant religion in Nepal is Hindu.  This is a pagan, idolatrous religion that does not believe in the God of the bible or place their faith in His Son.  Christianity is not just a minority, it is almost non-existent.  Nepal classifies as an unreached people group which is defined as a people group in which less than 2% of the population is Evangelical Christian.  Globally, there are approximately 6,400 people groups.

On the maps below are listed thousands whom, if they die in their current state as unreached with the gospel, they will go to hell and suffer eternal separation from their creator

Wait?  What Do You Mean People Are Going To Hell If They Have Never Heard Of Jesus?

Well, whole sermons have been preached on this subject and for certain, a whole blog post could be dedicated to this question?  In fact I may speak to it as a post.  For now let it suffice to say that our guilt before God is not found in our ignorance of Jesus as God's Son and our Deliverer, but in our rejection of God the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth.  Romans 1:18-32 tells us that we have all known about God via creation and we have "suppressed the truth in unrighteousness."

The question is often posed, "What about the innocent guy in Africa, or in this case Nepal?"  The misunderstanding comes in this, there is no innocent guy anywhere.  If anyone on this earth was ever innocent, then Christ's perfect life and sacrificial death where in vain.

Christ had to die because we are all guilty of rebellion against the Father!  "There is no one righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:9-20).

So What Are We To Do?

This is the point of this post.  This is the greatest perspective that we can take away form this disaster in Nepal and every other disaster like it.  They must open our eyes more and more to the urgent physical and spiritual need around the world.  We must be moved to find out how God would have us be a part of spreading the gospel to all people groups.

The gospel is designed to be and influence via the written word of God and the word either read or preached, preferably both.  Preachers, in the form of any faithful, bible believing, disciple of Christ are meant to be sent, so that people may hear, so that they may believe, so that they may call on the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:13-15).

We must pray.  We must provide financial support.  And some of us...must go.   Matthew 24:14 states this, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached as a testimony in the whole world and then the end will come".  This mission belongs to every believer.  It is the purpose for which we were saved.

We must not allow ourselves to become numb to these realities.  We must stir up the passion for the spread of the gospel to all nations that lives in each and every believer.  Don't avoid the images or the discomfort that comes from the idea of thousands dying an eternal death without the gospel. Embrace it and let it drive you to the cross and then let it drive you to the lost.

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very
end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

This is Christ's Great Commission to each and every one of His followers.  Embrace it, Obey it, Live it,

In Jesus name,


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