Last fall I started an in depth look at the whole concept of missions. After a break during the holidays, I am ready to tackle this subject again – especially since our theme this year for P4C will be on missions. So, I invite you to join me in the study of what the Scriptures have to say. I can promise you this: I am going to try and make each post a little shorter. My desire and hope is to value your time and interest. So let us begin again…
Before the break, we considered what the motivating focus of missions was. Our conclusion was the gospel [see previous post]. But now we want to understand ‘why missions exist’. In reality, they both have the same answer. In the ‘Motivating Focus of Missions’, we saw that we could not be moved away from the gospel. The gospel must be at the core of motivating missional work. It demands the center of everything we do. But lets go deeper in the motivation of missions. Why does it exist? Why are we commanded to GO unto the entire world?
Simply and profoundly: missions exists to glorify our God by making much of his great and matchless name. To understand this, we will take a look at Psalm 67:1-6 [ESV].
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; Let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”
A quick look at this passage may cause some to say, “but what about the blessings that are spoken of in this passage?” This is true – blessings are spoken of. But, let us conclude that the blessings are only a byproduct. What is this passage really saying? Why are we being blessed?
The answer lies in the following portion of text: “that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” This is speaking of the gospel being made known – proclaimed. To what end? That “the nations be glad and sing for joy…” God’s blessings exist so His people will glorify His great name. God blesses to the end that His “saving power” is proclaimed among all nations and in so doing He is glorified. The ultimate end is that God is glorified in the hearts and minds of His people from every tribe, tongue, and nations. And, we can further say that true joy is discovered in the glory of God.
So missions exist, not to rid the world of social injustice – though that is a worthy endeavor – or to just bless people, but it exist to let God’s people of every nation “be glad.” And what is it we are glad in? Our great God. So, when you engage the world with the gospel, whether in another country or your own backyard, GO make disciples with the gospel as the core motivation. Let the end be that God is glorified in the gladness of those who know Him from every nation. May our prayer of blessing and praise be: “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” Amen.
“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus Christ*
The call is clear. The companion is committed. The resources are promised. Christian, only one question remains: What Will Go Look Like for You?
Please join us as we ask God to answer that question for each of us individually as we seek Him together at Passion4Christ 2012.
October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
*Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
New Year’s resolutions are being made. After all, its New Years and that is what we do. We are committed and determined to accomplish them with every ounce of human ability that is within us. We write them down. We set achievable goals to step us toward success. We begin the process to achieve success – to become that better person that everyone expects us to be. For the first 2-3 months, we often find success. We are accomplishing what we set out to do with much fervor. Then, before you know it, it’s the holidays again, and we find ourselves looking back wondering what happened to the resolutions. Where did we sidestep? When did we take that first bite of junk food? When did we start hitting the snooze button multiple times only to find no time left to hit the gym? When did bible reading and memorization weasel its way out of our busy schedules? What happened to all those great things we were going to do to better ourselves so that God would be pleased?
I don’t know about you, but I have found myself in this spot more times than I really wish to admit. We try and try only to discover failure over and over again. But herein lies the problem: we strive in our own strength for our own glory – painful to think about, but true all the same. However, are resolutions bad? No. I am not saying that at all. But often at the root of these resolutions is our pride – the promotion of self. Sure, we cloak it in “God terms” but in the end, it only produces, at best [even when achieved], promotion of self. For the believer, this is not what he or she strives for. We live for something bigger and far more magnificent. We make resolutions, but we make them from a different perspective – from a different motivation.
As I think on the idea of New Year’s resolutions, there are some basic and profound things from God’s word that I think we should remember when making “New Year’s Resolutions”. We find such convicting yet reassuring truth in Philippians 2 so let’s take a look.
First and foremost, as a believer, you can do nothing apart from the grace of God. We have been saved by grace and so we are sanctified by grace. Scripture tells us: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” [James 4:6 ESV] Yes, we are to “work out our own salvation” but don’t forget that it is “God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” [Phil. 2:12&13 ESV] Remember this: you can do NOTHING apart from God’s grace.
Secondly, if we can do nothing apart from God’s grace then it must not be about us. It’s all about Christ. It is for His glory that we breathe and move. It is for His glory alone that we live. As its states in Philippians 2, it is for “His good pleasure”. We were created for the pleasure and glory of God. We were redeemed and made new for the pleasure and glory of God. Revelation 4:11 sums it up beautifully: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” [ESV]
So as you make your “New Year’s Resolutions” remember that they are a resolve to glorify our great God. I am not sure that we can say that Paul is speaking of “New Year’s Resolutions” in Philippians 2. But, he is telling us to “work out our own salvation”. We can’t just sit around. We are to be about our heavenly Father’s business. We are to be as Timothy and “fight the good fight of faith”. But never forget that it is through His grace for His glory that we strive. This resolve is a lifelong pursuit. Any striving not found through and in the person of Jesus Christ is at best striving that will amount to complete and utter failure. It will find you looking back asking: “What went wrong?” But, a life lived for the glory of a sovereign, holy, yet loving God– now there is something worth a believer’s resolve.