“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.
Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “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).
But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries will never call out, “Let the nations be glad!” who cannot say from the heart, “I rejoice in the Lord…I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High” (Ps 104:34, 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.”
–John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993/2003), 17.
Is there any way that the inside of a man can be radically transformed by the saving grace of the omnipotent Creator of all things and not have it lap over the edges of his heart, and infect every area of his life? Our Lord’s brother, James, emphatically answers “NO!” James 1:27 and 2:14-17 tells us that the growing realization of the grace of God should always propel us upward and outward. We should “naturally” begin to serve others as God reconstructs His image within us. The problem enters when we spend an inordinate amount of time & focus on what we must do for the kingdom and too little focus on the King. This focus has rendered many well meaning saints dry, powerless, bewildered and disillusioned. The gospel calls us to set our focus on the King, and by doing so the grace of God overflows out of our hearts in to everyday service to others. The fuel for service is by having a heavenward gaze on God and His amazing grace toward us, not on what we must do.
Great blog post by Tullian Tchividjian on this topic is here.
New book by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, What is the Mission of The Church
Get involved in the Dadiya Translation Project and help bring the bible to the Dadiya people in their own language. $26/verse – contribute now! Make checks to Fellowship Bible Church (note Dadiya Translation Project), PO Box 7123, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223, Attn: Finance Dept.
Our doing things in the kingdom of God should always be fueled by our pursuit of our King & God.
The cast of people who discover Jesus’ empty tomb and whom Jesus commissions is not exactly an “A-Team” of high capacity people. That is just the way Jesus likes it, He uses the weak things of this world to bring himself glory (1 Corinthians 1:27). Mary Magdalene, the formerly demon possessed woman (along with other women) discover the empty tomb; the testimony of a woman was not admissible in court, much less a formally demon possessed woman! Not exactly the strategy that we would choose to establish the creditability of the resurrection! We then see Thomas, who is plagued by doubts and Peter who is so impulsive that he jumps out of his boat and swims to shore. But, Jesus engages them, loves them and commissions them – these people are the ones that He chose to build His church. Is there any doubt Who the real the builder is? These disciples were just partakers in God’s divine plan. Are you partaking or are you passively sitting out?
“When God’s grace is working on us and in us, it will also work itself out through us. The internal renewal of our minds and hearts creates an external propulsion that moves us out in love and service to others.” page 67
“It is also the answer to your failure to love others, engage the culture, and live missionally. If the gospel is renewing you internally, it will also be propelling you externally.” page 68
“But that sense of ‘should’ has no motivational power. It was law, not gospel. It could show me what I ought to be doing, but it could not change my heart so that I actually wanted to do it.” page 68-69
“Was joyless, mechanical obedience really honoring to Jesus? Did God intend his commands to feel like drudgery? When faced with this dilemma, most people settle for either legalism (obey even though you don’t feel like it) or license (don’t obey at all). But neither of these is gospel! The gospel of God’s grace is the fuel for mission, and when we run low on that fuel, our love and service to others grinds to a halt” page 69
“It means that mission is not duty (something we ‘should do’) but a natural overflow of the gospel’s work inside of us. If you aren’t motivated to love, serve and speak the gospel to people, the answer isn’t ‘just do it,’ the answer is to examine your heart, repent of sin, and discern where your unbelief is short-circuiting the natural outward movement of the gospel. As the gospel renews your heart, it will also renew your desire to move out in faith into relationships and opportunities God places in your path.” page 69
-From The Gospel-Centered Life by World Harvest Mission. Download a free sample of chapter 1 here
“But in the end the sovereignty of God and the power of the gospel of Jesus, not the feasibility of our human plans, is the rock of hope and encouragement.”
–Finish the Mission by John Piper