What is missions? Missions is the trinitarian work of God exalting the infinite worth and beauty of God for the glory of his name and the joy of all nations. God the Father is the initiator, source, and goal of missions (Acts 2:46-47, 6:7, 9:31, 12:24, 16:5, 19:5, 28:30-31), God the Son is the model and metaphor for cross-cultural, incarnational ministry (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; 1 John 4:9), and God the Holy Spirit is the empowering agent for missionary success and movements (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8). Why should you be involved with this divine endeavor? Let me list a few:
1) God is worthy– You should be involved with the mission of God because God is completely worthy of your zealous, white-hot worship. You ought to give yourself to him because he is the ultimate Creator and Redeemer of all things. What is this radically majestic being like?
He is a spiritual being who lacks spatial dimensions, parts, or matter (John 4:24; Psa. 139:7-10).
He is invisible to the naked eye (John 1:18, 6:46; 1 Tim. 1:17, 6:16; 1 John 4:12)
He perfectly and fully knows both himself and all things that can be possibly known including all acts by creatures. (Job 37:16; 1 John 3:20; 1 Cor. 2:10-11; Heb. 4:13; Isa. 46: 9-10; Matt. 6:8, 10:30; 1 Sam. 23: 11-13; 2 Kings 13:19; Psa. 90:4).
He knows what is best for the universe and all that is within it within his perfect council (Rom. 11:23, 16:27; Job 9:4, 12:13; Psa. 104:24; Eph. 3:10).
He is the true God and always tells the truth because he is the very standard of truth (Jer. 10:10-11; John 17:3; 1 John 5:20).
He is wholly benevolent to Creation and all that he is and does is morally virtuous and deserving of creaturely adoration (Gen. 1:31; Luke 18:19; Psa. 100:5, 106:1, 34:8; Rom. 12:2).
He gives himself wholly to his people for their satisfaction and eternal felicity (1 John 4:8; John 3:16, 14:31, 17:24; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Isa. 62:5).
He withholds punishment, extends benevolence, and exerts loving kindness to those in despair, those worthy of judgment, and those caught in the snares of sin (Exo. 34:6; Psa. 103:8; 2 Sam. 24:14; 2 Cor. 1:3; Matt. 5:7).
He is wholly other and untainted by dishonor, sin, and impurity (Psa. 71:22, 78:41, 99:9; Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:16).
He is an orderly being wholly separated from disorder and puzzlement (1 Cor. 14:33; Rom. 15:33; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23).
He is completely devoid of injustice, always does what is right, and is the very demarcation of justice (Deut. 32:4; Gen. 18:25; Psa. 19:8; Isa. 45:19; Rom. 3:25-26; Job 40:2,8).
He is passionately devoted to protecting the value and worth of his own fame (Exo. 20:5, 34:14; 1 Cor. 4:7; Rev. 4:11).
He is opposed to all that is sinful and harmful to human flourishing and joy (Exo. 32:9-10; Deut. 9:7-8; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; Col. 3:6).
He endorses and plans what is to come to pass within the universe (Eph. 1:11; Rev. 4:11; Acts 4:27-28; 1 Pet. 3:17; Jas. 4:13-15).
He does whatever he desires to do (Psa. 115:3; Dan. 4:35; Prov. 21:1).
He is able to do all that can be done (Psa. 24:8; Gen. 18:14; Eph. 3:20; Matt. 3:9, 19:26; Psa. 115: 3; 2 Cor. 6:18).
He lacks no limitations or restraints within his being (Matt. 5:48; Psa. 18:30).
He is fully satisfied within himself (1 Tim. 1:11; 6:15).
He is the totality of all that is lovely (Psa. 27:4, 73:25; Rev. 22:4).
He is full of honor and excellence (Isa. 43:7; Psa. 24:20, 104:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18).
He is completely self-sufficient within himself and is not contingent upon any reality other than himself (Acts. 17:24-25; Job 41:11; Psa. 50: 10-12; Gen. 1:1; John 17:5; Psa. 90:2; Exo. 3:14).
He does not change in his perfections, plans, and promises within himself and his world (Psa. 102: 25-27; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17; Psa. 33:1; Isa. 46: 9-11; Num. 23:19).
He has no beginning, present, or end and is completely above time (Gen. 1; Psa. 90:1-2, 93:1-2, 102:11-12, 25-27; Jude 25; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Cor. 2:7).
He is present in every place with his whole being while lacking spatial dimensions (Deut. 10:14; Psa. 139: 7-10; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; 1 Kings 8:27; Isa. 66:1-2; Jer. 23: 23-24).
He is not divisible in his attributes or perfections (1 John 1:5, 4:8; Exo. 34:6-7).
Sweet friend, this is why we go. Someone that glorious deserves the adoration and devotion of those he has made. One writer noted, “When the flame of worship burns with the heat of God’s true worth, the light of missions will shine to the darkest peoples on earth.”
2) Obedience to the Great Commission and other Imperatives to Go– You should be involved with the mission of God because Jesus commanded you to carry on his work (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). It is the resurrected LORD who commands his people to go and share his message of hope, love, and mercy for broken sinners. For centuries the old promises of the Messiah coming were rustling and shaking just waiting to be fulfilled. Yahweh would return to his temple and Israel would be redeemed. The Messiah walked on to the scene and lo and behold, God was there. The Lord came in the person of Jesus. God came himself in the face of Jesus Christ to do what we could not do, to keep a law we could not keep, to die a death we deserved to die, to be raised to life for justification and world in dire need of help. He is LORD. What does it mean to confess Jesus as Lord? The confession is an acknowledgement of Jesus’ position as exalted Lord, of his rightful authority over the believer, of the acceptance of his deity, and involves a sinner’s personal trust in those admissions. If Jesus is Lord then it follows that we are not. The State is not. The Culture is not. Jesus is Lord. When he says go, the command has all the authority and majesty of the thunderous God of Sinai.
3)-Love for both God and Sinners– Love is a profound reality. It calls you to live and even die for the sake of another. Love will make a man sacrifice because, in the end, it is totally worth. It is satisfying. The Church goes out on mission because we are greatly in love with Love himself (1 John 4:8). The Church goes out on mission because God has loved us abundantly and poured out his infinite grace upon his people. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This means we give our whole being to God in every part of who we are. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Love doesn’t leave another in ignorance. Love doesn’t leave another joyless and pitiful eating mud pies in the slum when a five-course meal is offered to one by the sea. One writer eloquently stated, “If you love the cross, like we sing, you must love what it was designed to do – namely, to gather a people from every people group on planet Earth. If you don’t love that, you don’t love the cross. You’re creating it in your own imagination.” We go because we love God and love people. John Piper rightly noted that“Love is doing what will enthrall the beloved with the greatest and longest joy. What will enthrall the beloved this way is the glory of God. Love means doing all we can, at whatever cost to ourselves, to help people be enthralled with the glory of God. When they are, they are satisfied and God is glorified. Therefore loving people and glorifying God are one.”
4)-The Ghastly Reality of Eternal, Conscious Punishment- You should go out on mission because this life is deeply important. We are not sputtering around on a one way road to the final end of all things in the grave. No beloved, our actions here are the dances on the floor of eternity. Each person carries within himself the eternal weight for glory or horror. C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare…There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” We were not made for horror but for glory. From the onset, humanity was made to image the triune glory of the infinite Creator-God until “… the earth [was] filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” We become what we worship. As one became like what he worshipped, he or she would also reflect what one worshipped not only back to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Sin is the turning away from the knowledge of God to turning inwardly worshipping false idols of self and creature (Rom. 1). Hell is the eternal “turning inward” of people who refused to bend their wills to the resurrected Christ. Sinners for all eternity are left to themselves in such a way that everything human about them ceases to exist. All joy, community, love, comfort, and familiarity are eternally lost as the soul loses all contact with the Giver of those blessings. This place, this reality is what Christians mean when they talk about Hell. Hell then is the final abode for the perishing of an image bearer away from the presence of the Lord. You should be involved with the mission of God because this is a terrible outcome for image-bearers. We must have the mindset of the prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon. He preached, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
5) The Satisfying Nature of Working with God– Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Being involved with God’s mission is the most joy-fulfilling, life-infusing, satisfaction-sustaining, hope-fulfilling, earth-changing reality to which one can experience aside from eternity itself. Why? You were made to drink and be satisfied in fellowship and communion with the living God who is eternal and infinite in all his attributes. Where is God going? To the nations to spread his renown among all peoples of the earth. He has promised to go with you on mission (“I will be with you even to the end of the age.”). That’s a promise of satisfaction because he is by no means a cosmic killjoy. It is as if a mobile wellspring of infinite joy and delight is following wherever you go. As you drink and bring others to the well, it gets deeper and deeper still. Your satisfaction is multiplied and theirs is created out of the overflow of that multiplication. In the end, missions is God’s delight in being God. It is enjoyable because He is full of joy. As Lottie Moon said, “Surely there can be no greater joy than that of saving souls.”
In light of these five reasons, ask yourself some questions. How long will we gaze upon a missionary God and not become missionaries ourselves? How long will we drink of the living water but refuse to share the delight with those dying of thirst? How long will we play religious games with eternal realities? How long will we deny the beauty and worth of God for the sake of earthly pleasures and pursuits? How long will we claim the name of Christ despite being disobedient to the commands of Christ? How long will we empty the command of action from love and call ourselves loving? How long will we refuse to send or go when God has so declared?