The 1980s are truly going to be a decade of destiny. Besides being a time when more people will be saved than at any other period in history, this decade will be one that focuses on the movement of the Holy Spirit in Asia.
Within a three-thousand mile radius of the city of Hong Kong, you will surprisingly find 63% of the world’s total population. One-half of these people are under the age of 15 … and only 1% of them know Jesus Christ. In Hong Kong, there are single buildings which house more than 40,000 people! That is more people than are in some of the smaller nations!
Is it any wonder that God’s purposes will be focused on this part of the globe in the next few years? There are approximately 7000 islands in the Pacific Ocean – 2000 populated islands in Indonesia alone! There are 25,000 different languages spoken on these islands, and 19,000 of these still have no Bible … There are whole island nations that have never heard the gospel.
Yet very recently a significant move of God’s Spirit has begun in Asia – to the amazement of the world. Dr. Yongi Cho started a church in Seoul, South Korea, only a few years ago. In 1977 he had 35,000 members … and today it has grown to 250,000. He is expecting half a million by 1984! Korea is a nation turning from paganism to Christianity in our generation – right before out eyes!
In 1973, Billy Graham held a crusade in Korea and one million people came to hear him. It was hard to believe that such an event could take place in Asia. Three million people later gathered in Seoul to hear Bill Bright of Campus Crusade speak! The people of Asia obviously are hungry for the gospel!
The Westward Move of the Gospel
A close look at the move of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts will give us some very important clues as to how God desires to move in our day. Though Jesus did tell His disciples to go into all the earth, the Holy Spirit focuses our attention on the apostolic activity of Paul and his westward journey.
At one point in Paul’s journey, we are told that he and his companions were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6). Instead, Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man, calling him to come to that region and preach. Paul went west, and continued onward to his ultimate destination – Rome.
That decision to go west rather than east was a pivotal point in history, and a strategic move directed by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the purposes of God.
The gospel spread after this time to all of Europe and remained there during the Dark Ages. But it was not long before a young man whose name means “Christ-bearer” – Christopher Columbus – had a special mission to sail west. This man, who loved the Lord and served Him faithfully in his early years, said this about his voyage:
“It was the Lord who put it into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me ) to sail from here to the Indies. There was no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures.“1 Columbus actually saw his journey as a fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 49.
Over a hundred years later, after America had been discovered, a tiny band of devoted Christians from England came to this new land with a sense of divine purpose and destiny. The Pilgrim’s purpose for coming to America, as stated in the Mayflower Compact, was for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. They, too, sensed that God had a very providential reason for sending them on their westward journey.
What lies beyond America in the westward move of the gospel? Asia! What an exciting time to be alive! Perhaps God has commissioned you to go and gather in this great end-time harvest in the world’s most populous region.
1 David Manuel and Peter Marshall, Jr., The Light and the Glory, (Old Tappan, NJ, Fleming Revell & Co.) 1977.