Weekly Wisdoms for the week of February 28, 2011
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.
When life is going well, it can be easy to forget God. So, sometimes God will use painful circumstances -- difficulties, trials, and troubles -- to get our attention and remind us of our need for Him.
In James 1:2-4, we are instructed to rejoice in trials: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Why are trials good for us? Because they make us more mature -- that is, closer to God. So, when you feel the pain of life know that God is with you.
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