Session 9: Love the Nations


Read this before your meet-up. It will give you some great background information to help make the most of your time together.

The entire story of the Bible centers on God’s heart for the nations. Missions is not a topic scattered in a few places throughout the Bible; it is central to the heartbeat of Scripture:

  • When God first called Abraham, he promised that “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” through Israel (Genesis 12:3, 18:8).
  • God’s judgment of the nations throughout the Old Testament shows that he is not a tribal deity, but the God of all the earth (e.g., Exodus 15:11, 13–18).
  • God blessed Israel so that God’s “way may be known on earth, [his] saving power among all nations” (Psalm 67:2).
  • The prophets look forward to a future day when all nations will praise God (Isaiah 42:10, Jeremiah 3:17) and find salvation in his name (Isaiah 45:22, Daniel 7:14, Zephaniah 3:9).
  • The Israelites were anticipating a day when their king would reign in Jerusalem, not just over Israel, but over all of the earth (Genesis 49:10, Psalm 2). Jesus is that king.
  • Jesus’ life began with the nations worshiping him as the newborn king (Matthew 2:1–12).
  • Jesus made clear throughout his ministry that he did not just come to save Israel (Luke 4:24–30).
  • Jesus sent his followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
  • All of the apostles knew that Jesus was the Savior of all nations (1 John 2:2)
  • Paul made clear that his mission was to preach Jesus “among all the nations” (Romans 1:5, 15:22–25; Galatians 3:8–9).
  • Christians look forward to a day when Jesus will be worshiped by every tribe, tongue, and nation (Romans 15:11; Philippians 2:10–11; Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 12:15, 14:6, 15:4).


Our God will be praised by every tribe, tongue, and nation. This is central to the heart of God and must be central to the heart of every Christian. When the Bible uses the word “nation,” it does not refer to geopolitical nation-states (political entities where a legitimate government exercises authority over a territory), but people groups (a community of people formed around shared features like language, history, ethnicity, and culture). With this definition, there are over 17,000 nations in the world today, speaking over 7,100 languages. God being worshiped by every tribe, tongue, and nation means that at least one individual from each of these groups will hear and believe the gospel and live around the throne of Jesus. Unfortunately, there are thousands of nations where the name of Jesus has never been uttered. They cannot believe in Jesus because they have never heard of him.

The 17,000 nations (or people groups) in the world today should be split into three categories:

We are living in a GA place and we must keep working to reach the lost where we are, but we also have an obligation to use our resources for the good of those who have less or no resources. Jesus has died to save people from every tribe (Revelation 5:9), we need to lay our lives down to send missionaries to carry the good news of Jesus to them.

Everyone has a role to play in this global work.
  • Some Go — Crossing cultures for the spread of the gospel.
    These people are trained, supported, and sent by our church to cross cultures, acquire a language and culture, and then work towards evangelism, making disciples, planting the first churches, translating the Bible, and training the first leaders.
  • Some Send — Staying behind, but still living your life strategically and sacrificially for the spread of the gospel to all nations.
    These people pray for the unreached and missionaries, encourage missionaries, and support missionaries financially.

Every Christian should be open to going, because Christ is worthy of it and the nations need to hear the hope of Christ.

Seeing the Kindness of God

The center of the Christian worldview is the kindness and mercy of God, which is seen supremely in the work of Christ (Exodus 34:6–7, 1 Corinthians 2:2), so every session will include a reminder of how this topic points us to God’s unfailing kindness.

God does not need our help to accomplish his mission, but, by his grace, he has involved us. God has invited you to play a crucial role on his winning-team. No prayer for the unreached, email to a missionary, or dollar given to missions will ever be spent in vain. You are not giving yourself to a lost cause, but a certain victory.

Reflection Questions
Answer these before your meet-up.
  1. Do you believe that global missions is central to the story of Scripture? Why or why not?
  2. What are some reasons every church and each Christian should prioritize the spread of the gospel among the unreached?
  3. Have you considered going overseas long-term for missions? What would stop you from doing this?
  4. What questions do you have about missions generally?
  5. What questions do you have about your role in missions?

Meet-Up Guide

review your action step
From your last meetup
  1. What non-Christian are you discipling (or hope to disciple)? How is it going?
  2. Were you able to do the action steps you committed to? How did they change your outlook on work?
  3. Who is a non-Christian co-worker in your office that we can pray for?
review the pre-reading
Answer these questions
  1. Were you surprised to see that God’s heart for the nations is such a dominant theme in Scripture?
  2. What are some reasons every church and each Christian should prioritize the spread of the gospel among the unreached?
  3. What does it look like for you to send missionaries?
romans 15:20-24

20 My aim is to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but, as it is written, “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” 22 That is why I have been prevented many times from coming to you. 23 But now I no longer have any work to do in these regions, and I have strongly desired for many years to come to you 24 whenever I travel to Spain. For I hope to see you when I pass through and to be assisted by you for my journey there, once I have first enjoyed your company for a while.

study questions
Answer these questions in your meet-up
  • What do you know about the rest of Paul’s letter to the Romans?
  • What does Paul say his goal is? How can you put this in your own words?
  • What reasons does Paul give for his goal?
  • Paul quotes Isaiah 52:15. What does this verse mean?
  • Read Isaiah 52:13–15. Put this verse in your own words?
  • Where does Paul want to go? Why?
  • What does he ask the Romans to do? Why?
application questions
Answer these questions in your meet-up
  • Why is it important for Christ to be preached anywhere?
  • Why is it important for Christ to be preached where he “has not been named” (v. 20)?
  • If it is crucial for Christ to be preached where he has not been named, have you ever considered moving overseas to strategically proclaim Christ?
  • The church in Rome had a crucial role to assist Paul in his work in Spain. What kind of support do missionaries need? What are some ways that you can support missionaries in this crucial way?
Create an action step
Create one together

Some Christians are called to go, some are called to send, but every Christian is called to pray for the unreached. A good resource to help you pray for the unreached is the Unreached of the Day, which you can see at (there is also an app available for most phones, which can give you a daily notification to remind you to pray).

action step:

Commit to pray daily for the unreached.

Pray together
Pray together to close the meeting

Pray for an unreached people group together — a nation where the gospel has never been proclaimed.