The Missionary God and His Missionary Church
God is on mission to glorify his name in all the earth among all the peoples of the earth, and we're invited to join him. Dr. John Piper writes, "Missions exists because worship doesn't." (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad). God who inspired the text, "Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!" (Ps.67:3-4); is the God who sent his Son into the world to seek and save the lost (Lk.19:10), and give them eternal life, knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ who was sent. (Jn.17:3), who is the joy of all peoples. He is the same God who now extends his mission by his church (Mt.28:18-20).
Christ Church is holding a Missions Conference March 31 - April 2. One of the ways I am preparing for the conference is by reading again, Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper. This book was first published in 1993. Dr. Piper’s tells us why he wrote this book in the Preface. He says, “This book is partial payment of a debt I owe to the nations. The apostle Paul is not alone in saying, “I am a debtor to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, to the wise and to the foolish.” (Rom.1:14). To those culturally near me and those culturally far I am a debtor. Not because they gave me anything that I must pay back, but because God gave me what can’t be paid back. He gave me the all satisfying pleasure of knowing him and being loved by him through his Son Jesus Christ.” (P.7). Dr. Piper’s desire is to not lose possession of Christ, and for those who read not to lose possession of Christ. He does not believe that he or others in the church will lose God’s gracious gift of salvation if we does not participate in missionary endeavors. However, he does believe in the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord, and making the worth of Christ known to all peoples. Therefore, he is interested in the church doing her utmost to display the glory of God in the face of Christ so that we with the nation's share in the infinite value of Jesus Christ and his eternal life.
In the opening chapter Dr. Piper wrote, "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever." (P.11) This book is for worshipers who believe that God is using them to lead others to worship him. Dr. Piper says this is a book for “leaders who need the flickering wick of their vocation fanned into flame again with a focus on The Supremacy of God in missions.” Every worshiper of God is a “leader” with a “vocation”. All who are redeemed in Christ will lead others down a low road or high road spiritually in their various callings (vocation). Every person who lives by faith in Jesus Christ is the seed of God for the blessing of all the nations and is included in God’s great commission to go and make disciples of all the nations through a generous life of praying, providing and participating. Therefore, every Christian needs the “flickering wick of their vocation fanned into flame again.” Reading or re-reading Dr. Piper’s book and participating in this years Missions Conference is one of the means God will use to accomplish this grace.
The theme of this years missions conference is Kingdom Prayer for All the Nations. Rev. Allen M. Baker will be with us to encourage and exhort us as a church to participate in the building of God's kingdom through prayer. John Piper says in chapter 2 of his book, The Supremacy of God in Missions Through Prayer, "Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief." Prayer is the second cause that God uses to accomplish his decree of seeking and saving the lost among the nations. We enter the kingdom by faith expressed in prayer (Lk.18:19) and we continue as children in God’s kingdom by faith through prayer (Lk.18:1,8). In our praying we are focused upon God’s ultimate desire to be worshiped in all the earth, “Hallowed be your name”. Therefore, we pray, “Your kingdom come,” that God’s name will be glorified in all the earth through the spreading of and belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church’s role in the mission of God to fill the earth with the glory of his name among all the nations begins and continues in prayer. Jesus has taught us to pray and never give up. But not for calling down more comforts for our already prosperous life. We cry out to the Lord, “How long, O Lord, how long till you vindicate your cause in the earth? How long till you rend the heavens and come down with power on your church? How long till you bring victory among all the peoples of the world?” (P.70). He answers, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk.18:7-8). The “faith on earth” is the instrument God gifts his church to take hold of him and all his grace with, here, expressed in prayer. Let us learn and practice prayer for the supremacy of God among all peoples.
Plan to participate in this years conference by signing up for our gathering on Friday evening March 31st and Saturday seminars on April 1st. I also encourage you to prepare by taking up and reading Dr. Piper's book, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions.