Weekly Wisdoms for the week of July 19, 2010
Once Christ returns at the end of this age, all those who have been born again will be with God worshiping him, and missions will no longer be necessary. Worship is eternal, but evangelism is temporary.
Until Christ returns, the purpose of evangelism is to spread a passion for Christ. We evangelize so that all the peoples of the earth will "Sing to the Lord [and] proclaim his salvation day after day" (1 Chronicles 16:23). Said differently, the goal of missions is worship.
Not only is worship the goal of missions, but it is also the fuel of missions. Worship begets missions, and missions begets worship. In the words of pastor and author John Piper, "You can't commend what you don't cherish." If you don't treasure Christ, you won't be compelled to encourage others to treasure him. Where zeal for Christ is lacking, passion for missions will be lukewarm.
Jesus instructs us to spread his name to all peoples (Matthew 28:16-20), but we'll do so only once we come to the same point as the Apostle Paul, who exclaims, "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
When, like Paul, we treasure Christ above all else, then we will be passionate about missions. But once Christ returns, evangelism will no longer be necessary because he will bring to himself and be worshiped by all those who have been made righteous in Christ. In the meantime, evangelism exists because there are still people called by Christ who are not worshipers of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You have probably encountered a few people who hoped that they would get into Heaven because they have lived a good life. Indeed, there are many people in the world who think that all the right things they do will get them into Heaven. However, Paul knew that "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10).
Fortunately, God loved us so much that He provided an answer: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that "Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."
Therefore, it is no wonder Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Notice that nothing in any of those verses refers to our ability to reach Heaven. That's because it is impossible for us to reach Heaven on our own strength. Remember, "There is no one righteous, not even one." Therefore, our salvation must be based entirely on what God has done. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The only requirement for getting into Heaven is believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved" (Romans 10:9-10).
There is nothing that you can do to earn salvation. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. That's because getting into Heaven is not about what you've done; it's about what God's done.
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