This week's 'thought' comes to you from an young man (an elder in my congregation) who preached for us this past Sunday on the topic of world missions. He, his wife and children hope to be on the mission field soon, and thus I would venture to guess his comments underlie a great part of their motivation for desiring to go abroad. I thought his insights were superb and would be a blessing to others, and thus I send them along.
His name is Pete Falconero, and this selection comes from his message to us entitled: "The International Anthem: Come and See What the Lord Has Done." Enjoy and be encouraged!
"Charles Spurgeon once said: "It is the WHOLE BUSINESS of the WHOLE CHURCH to take the WHOLE GOSPEL to the WHOLE WORLD."
Does the term "whole business" mean that everything we do in the church, including the local ministries, needs to be focused on Global Missions? The answer is No... and yes. Missions doesn't need to be in the forefront of every ministry, but every ministry should have an impact on Global Missions.
What we’re doing here with our local church and local ministries is igniting small fires of passion for the glory of God in all the geographic areas around our church. But these are not fires we want to contain.
We want to let these fires spread horizontally to neighboring towns and counties and states and countries and peoples. We set little fires with the hope that these will become a huge conflagration of wildfires sweeping across the globe. In this way, missions IS the WHOLE MISSION of the church.
The existence of any 'mission' whether its a Navy Seals mission, or Christian Missions, indicates there is a problem that requires the dispatching of men and women into a strategic location. There is a situation for which there is great risk and yet great reward.
So in the context of Christian Missions, what is the problem? Romans 3:23 says the WE are the problem. The crux of the problem is that, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." ALL. Every person in every nook and cranny on the face of planet earth.
We share this in common with our human family: We've all fallen short of his glory. Man has deviated from his design and now everything is wrecked. Every problem on earth is due to man’s fall from glory… sickness, oppression, violence, and perversions of every kind. It all points at us... But -- praise God -- this is not the whole story. Missions exists because the story’s not over. Missions seeks to re-introduce mankind to its over-riding purpose: To glorify God in all things.
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: "What is the chief end of man?" And the answer? "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." There are tons of verses to support this conclusion. And notice it says "chief end" not "chief ends." It’s singular because glorifying God and enjoying God always go hand in hand. And when we joyfully proclaim the glories of God to the world, we are showing His true worth to us. This is worship. God’s glory and our joy are the essence of worship.
As John Piper says, it is also the engine of missions. “Missions," he says, "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 gladness of peoples in the greatness of God -- that alone is enough of a reason for Missions right there.
Read Psalm 98. The psalmist starts out by singing the glories of God for His marvelous works, His salvation, His righteousness, His love, His faithfulness. And he is bursting at the seams with joy. He is so joyful in his glorification of God that he can’t keep this to himself. So in v. 4 he invites all the earth to sing along! The people, the mountains, the rivers, the sea. Everyone and everything grab an instrument! You can’t miss out on singing this song! All created things doing what they were created to do: Joyfully proclaiming the glory of God in song.
For most of us, singing is a response to a joyful state. My wife knows when I’m in a good mood because I go around singing -- in the car, in the shower. I don’t know what kind of notes I’m hitting, they aren't the right ones, and she let’s me know -- but I am singing! Yet, conversely, when I’m upset, I don’t sing. I've never once said, “I’m so mad I could just sing." Because worship requires joy. Worship must include both glorifying God and enjoying God. If worship didn't include glory and joy, than we could just get Siri from the iPhone up here to lead worship by reading us some lyrics.
So, again, this is the problem: There are people all over the world that aren't worshiping or glorifying the One True God. And they are not experiencing the overwhelming joy that is the result. We want to open up the peoples of the world to Joy. Not just happiness. If it was just circumstantial happiness we’re after, we could fly around the world airdropping puppies and clowns. People need the joy of knowing Christ. And here’s my definition of Joy: Joy is the fixed smile of the soul that comes when one is glorifying and worshiping God.
This is the BIG WHY for missions. There are smaller why’s, but they all flow out of this BIG why: The glorification of God for the enjoyment of all peoples."
It was a fantastic message. And if you would like to hear it uncut, as he covers the other three points, you can simply click on http://www.christcommunitybiblechurch.org/ and listen to it. It's the most recent message from the sermon archive.
May God's richest blessings rest upon you, Pastor Jeff