Driving Convictions Behind Foreign Missions

According to John Piper, there are at least 14 convictions that have driven his church’s commitment to mission – here are 7 of them that we agree should shape all we do and fill us with fresh zeal for the greatest cause in the world.

#1: God’s goal is a missionary goal because God is a missionary God.

God is perfectly glorious and self-sufficient in the fellowship of the Trinity, so he had no need for people to praise him, but he had a profound desire to share his glory and joy with a redeemed people. Jesus Christ himself in his identification with sinful humanity to the point of his substitutionary death on the cross is the perfect manifestation of the missionary heart of God.

#2: God is passionately committed to making his name known and praised in all the earth.

In Romans 9:17, Paul says that God’s goal in redeeming Israel is “that [his] name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” Jesus described missionaries as those who “leave houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake” (Matthew 19:29).

God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the ultimately loving act. Because the one and only reality in the universe that can fully and eternally satisfy the human heart is the glory of God. Therefore, God would not be loving unless he displays that glory for our everlasting enjoyment.

#3: Worship is the fuel and the goal of missions.

If you say that you love the glory of God, the test of your authenticity is whether you love the spread of that glory among all the peoples of the world. Mission is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. If God’s passion is to be known and honoured among all peoples, then to worship him is to share that passion for his supremacy among the nations.

A shared joy is a doubled joy. Gladness in God will produce in us the same yearnings felt by the psalmist, “Let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (Psalm 67:3-4).

#4: God’s purpose to be known among all nations cannot fail.

When Jesus gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, he gave it a massive foundation of certainty: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore…” In other words, nothing can stop him: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). We can be absolutely sure that the mission of God will triumph in the world.

#5: It is the joyful duty and the awesome privilege of every local church to send out missionaries.

There is a big difference between a church that “has” missionaries (on the back of their bulletin or as a line item in their budget) and a church that “sends” missionaries. To send in a manner worthy of God is to so recognize the supreme importance of proclaiming the name of God in word and deed among the nations that we will do whatever we can to support those who go out for the sake of His name – spiritually, practically, emotionally, financially.

#6: Our aim is not to persuade everyone to become a missionary.

It’s not God’s will for everyone to be a “missionary”. Only some are called to go out for the sake of His name to a foreign culture. Those who are not called to go out are called to stay, to be salt and light right where God has placed them. In God’s eyes both those who go and those who stay are crucial. There are no first and second class Christians in God’s hierarchy of values. Together they are “fellow-workers with the truth” (3 John 8).

#7: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him; and our satisfaction in Him is greatest when it expands to embrace others – even when this involves suffering.

Start with Jesus: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). We save our lives by giving them away in the cause of the gospel. This is what Paul meant when he said, “This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When people who have suffered much speak like this, their God is magnified. If God can so satisfy their souls that even their sufferings are experienced as steps into deeper joy with him, then he must be far more wonderful than all that the earth has to offer. 

By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Source: desiringGod.org

The views expressed in this blog post are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the GC network.

Photo by John Price on Unsplash

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John Piper

John Piper

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For more than thirty years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He is author of more than fifty books, and his sermons, articles, books, and more are available free of charge at desiringGod.org.
John Piper

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