I'm super amped (really, really excited) to launch a new study this Sunday in the Koinonia group! My attention is drawn to a book by John Piper, entitled, Let the Nations Be Glad. Piper's subtitle is "The Supremacy of God in Missions," but don't let the title and subtitle automatically shuffle this book into strictly a missions category. The Biblical truths in this book reveal God's desire and plan as central to the entire Biblical storyline and as central as the very reason we exist on planet earth. Therefore, the message of Let the Nations Be Glad extols our God's majesty and His supreme desire and plan to redeem His own from the nations to authentically redeemed worship of His Name. To be missional is the very reason we draw each breath and therefore encapsulates every aspect of our daily lives.
Consider this quote that packs the punch of God's plan for the ages and our involvement in it:
"The New Testament does not present a come-see religion, but a go-tell religion… (Matt. 18:18-20)… The implications of this are huge for the way we live and the way we think about money and lifestyle. One of the main implications is that we are 'sojourners and exiles' (1 Peter 2:11) on the earth. We do not use this world as though it were our primary home. 'Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ' (Phil. 3:20). This leads to a wartime lifestyle. That means we don't amass a wealth to show the world how rich our God can make us. We work hard and seek a wartime austerity for the cause of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. We maximize giving to the war effort, not comforts at home. We raise our children with a view to helping them embrace the suffering that it will cost to finish the mission." (Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper, p. 29)
Piper later writes, "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. 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 white-hot enjoyment of God's glory." (Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper, p. 35)
The entire storyline of God's Revealed Word calls His followers to this God-glorifying among the nations purpose… from Exodus where God rescued His people to display His glory to the nations, to the countless Psalms where God's glory among the nations is extolled, to Isaiah where God created His people for His glory among the nations, to the Gospels in the New Testament where Jesus submitted to the Father's will to bring His glory to the nations, to Paul's epistles where the very plan of redemption serves to give God glory throughout the nations, to John's Revelation where we see the culmination of God's redeemed gathered from all nations for His glory.
As we peer into Scripture's story, we see our great, majestic, Redeemer God full of truth and grace sovereignly reigning over the nations. We see this, our great God unfolding HIs plan for the nations. We see this, our great God redeeming a people from every tribe and tongue to Himself through Jesus. We see this, our great God actively setting things back to His original plan before sin. As we see this is fundamentally God's activity and plan in His Word, we begin to clearly deduce that our existence is fundamentally connected to it as well.
Do you see it? This is so fundamental to our very existence! Think about it for a moment. Why to you exist on this earth? If it is true that we indeed exist for the sole purpose of worshiping our great God and spreading His fame and plan of redemption, how are living up to it? Are we passionate about or worship of God? Are we passionate about missions. I'm not talking about the missions that subdivides a certain aspect of the church to "missions." While we as the church are to have a missions program, we more deeply drastically need to see our calling to be missional as fundamental to our very existence! This goes far deeper and carries drastically wider implications than just for full-time ministry workers and missionaries. Whatever our calling in life, we are inseparably called to redeemed worship of our great God and the spreading of this through living missionally in this world.
If you're like me and tracking with all this up to this point, you'd respond with a resounding, "gulp" or "wow!" This is quite the calling! It is something that continues to deeply uproot previous missiological assumptions and those ever present seasons of apathy in my own life. How are we doing living up to our fundamental purpose on this earth?
How are you engaging the nations as part of this calling?
This is the study that I am extremely amped to launch this Sunday in the Koinonia Sunday school. If you're interested in getting a copy of Piper's book for yourself, check it out!
Note, I will probably occasionally blog and/or share related resources about it as we go through the study in the coming weeks. Look for more content on the blog and the church app!
For the Spread of His Fame,