Monday, March 27, 2006

Missions Exists Because Worship Does Not

The title of this post is the opening line of a book written by John Piper on the subject of missions. Dr. Piper points out that worship of the one true God is the ultimate end of all our church ministries, including missions, evangelism and preaching.

The 17th century Presbyterians put it like this: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."

A few years ago there was an article posted on the official IMB web site that gave the rationale for supporting the Lottie Moon offering and the work of missions within the SBC. Too often we do not give enough credit to our administration and staff for thinking through the means, methodologies and ends of all we do in the area of missions.

The article is excellent. Below are excerpts:

The ultimate purpose of missions is worship — all peoples glorifying God —and this is our reason for declaring the greatness of God to the nations.

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You” (Psalm 22:27, NASB).

Inspired by the Spirit of God, King David of Israel grasped the true motivation for missions better 3,000 years ago than many of us do today. It’s no coincidence that he also was history’s greatest singer of praise, for the ultimate purpose of missions is worship — all peoples worshiping the Lord!

Through this psalm, God revealed to David — and to us — His great redeeming purpose for fallen humanity: that “all the families of the nations” will remember Him, return to Him and worship Him. It is a restatement of God’s promise to Abraham that “all the peoples on earth will be blessed” through his descendants (Gen. 12:3). God reminds David and forgetful Israel that the promise still stands — and will stand for ages to come.

This, then, is our reason for declaring the greatness of God to the nations. Not only because He has blessed us, though He surely has. Not only because He wants to bless others through us, though He surely does. Not only because He commands it, though His Great Commission stands unchanged as the church’s main task. Not only because thousands of ethnic people groups and billions of lost souls still dwell in darkness, though they do.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Bob Cleveland said...


You've opened my favorite topic. Well ... not the topic, but the activity.

It's ironic that the controversy we see these days concerns organizations and rules and private practices. My first ever exposure to real worship came in 1992 and 1994 in churches started by Southern Baptists years ago, on foreign fields! In 1992, we were worshipping on a Sunday morning on a mission trip, and one of the teens on the trip came to me and said "Mr. Cleveland, why can't worship be like this at home?" I secretly thought the same thing.

It eventually took exposure to an Assembly of God prayer & worship meeting to set me free to worship in Spirit.

Folks around me frequently say they wish everyone could experience that. My standard response is that hunger for true worship isn't anything we do; it's a result of the move of God in our lives and hearts. The only thing I can do as a believer, is to live out my faith and be ready to give an explanation for the hope folks see as a result.

I teach my class not to settle for conventionality, but to earnestly seek what God wants for them.

If our heart is right, there's nothing wrong with wanting everything God has for us. I settled for too little for too long, myself.

art rogers said...

Let the Nations be glad! The greatest thing we can do for ourselves is glorify God. The greatest thing we can do for God and for others is to help others do it.