Ultimate Goal

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.

Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps 67:3-4).

But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries will never call out, “Let the nations be glad!” who cannot say from the heart, “I rejoice in the Lord…I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High” (Ps 104:34, 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.”

–John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions.

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Fill ‘er Up

While I was driving back home from Baltimore (I went to Lisa’s place to watch the Skins game with her), I listened to a sermon by Mark Driscoll on the Holy Spirit and God began speaking to my heart so clearly that it hurt me (the good kind of hurt).

The Holy Spirit is not given to us, Christians, by God for us to merely have extraordinary or supernatural experiences of our own, though that can/does occur.  The Holy Spirit is not given to us for us to merely feel special when God touches us, though that can/does occur.

God gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to live like Jesus.  To empower us to do good and mighty works.  To strengthen us to resist temptation.  To give us joy to rejoice and worship Him.  To be able to live and love as Jesus did because the Holy Spirit always points to Christ and gives Him the glory and honor and praise.

Mark Driscoll said something like “The Holy Spirit loves to come upon those who are on a mission.”

And it hit me hard.

So often in church, we pray and sing and cry out ‘Come Holy Spirit Come’ or ‘We invite you Holy Spirit’ or ‘Fill us with your Spirit.’  The question we need to ask ourselves is “WHAT FOR?”

WHAT FOR?

I think back upon a lot of my ‘spiritual’ experiences at church retreats, events, and services and I sorrowfully have to confess that most of those times were focused on me.

God, will you touch me?
God, will you bless me?
God, will you fill me?

Those requests were not bad but nothing came after!  It was about me and then it was the end.  That was the problem.  There was no outward focus.  No missions.  No glory to God.  Only glory to me.

Of course!  It’s about God and our mission to live for Him.  I realized why the most spirit-filled experience I have ever had was when I was in the Philippines for missions!  I was on a mission!  And we wonder why things become dry and dull and powerless when we come back home.  We forget that even at home we are still on a mission.  We forget there are people at my school, work, and neighborhood who do not know Jesus.  We forget that even at home we are commissioned to preach the gospel and make disciples.  If we are not on a mission, why do we need the Holy Spirit?  WHAT FOR?

We need to take our eyes off of ourselves when it comes to dealing with and yearning for the Holy Spirit.  When we get in a habit of wanting to experience the Holy Spirit simply for selfish gain, there arrives a danger of the Holy Spirit being absent and in replacement, a cheap emotionalism.  We don’t want that.  We desire the authentic move and power of the Holy Spirit so we may be enabled to go and change the world for the glory of Christ our King.

So I sit here and I have to ask myself, What is my mission today?  What is my mission this week, this month?  What is the mission for my life?  Who do I need to talk to and get to know?  Who do I need to give to or help?  What do I have to accomplish to help advance the Gospel?  What do I need to do in my life so that I can be more intimate with God?

Jesus Christ came onto this Earth as a missionary.  His mission was to carry out the Father’s will.  He was fully man and fully divine but it was not His divinity that allowed Him to live such an incredible life.  He chose to experience our humanity, with all its pain and suffering and weaknesses, not just to relate to us but also to demonstrate a holy life only possible by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.  We too are on a mission to live a holy life and to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We can only do that by the power of the Holy Spirit as He fills us up.