Underlying premises: (1) local ministry and local mission are totally necessary; yet (2) global missions is tragically neglected. (3) Pastors have the privilege and responsibility to feel the weight of the nations and to fan the flames for God's glory.
What drives global missions? Rock solid confidence in God's sovereignty.
1. Our sovereign God holds the destiny of the world in the palm of his hand (vv. 1).
It holds all creation in his hand and the plan that has been decreed from eternity past. He is sovereign of nature and nations. He charts the course of nations. He creates, sustains, knows, and decrees all things. He has authority over all things. American Christians, you have no rights, only God has rights.
God is sovereign over salvation and mission but that doesn't negate our responsibility. God doesn't need us. God is self-sufficient. God invites to participate in his sovereign plan.
2. The state of man before God and apart from Christ is utterly hopeless (vv. 2).
We are enslaved to sin and under the snare of the devil. The way we talk about hell shows that we have no idea what are we talking about. John is wailing because he knows something of the wrath of God. Now consider the state of the billions of people who are born before God but apart from Christ because there's no gospel testimony.
Romans 1 makes clear that all people know God and have rejected him. Every unreached person stands guilty before God and needs Christ. The are over two billion people in the world whose knowledge of God is only sufficient to damn them to hell. Forever. They know he exists. They have rejected him. They deserve his wrath. And that's where the story ends for him. They have never heard there is a Redeemer. But there's hope!
3. The greatest news in all the world is that the slaughter lamb of God reigns as the sovereign Lord of all (vv. 5-7).
The lion of tribe of Judah and the root of David has come. Weep no more. Through out history men and women have come and gone. The best of the best and all of them have fallen prey to sin. All of them slaves to sin. Generation to generation. Century to century succumb to death. But then came another Man. Unlike any other before or after. He did not fall prey to sin. He possessed power of sin. He was not enslaved to Satan. He trampled that old snake. He did not succumb to death. He conquered death.
How did he do this? John sees a slaughtered lamb. John the Baptist calls Jesus the lamb who takes of the away the sins of the world. Jesus is the paschal lamb. The Lion conquers by being slain like a lamb. All who hide under the banner of the lamb will be saved. Yet he is standing. He is not only suffered death in our placed but he was conquer death for us.
He rose from the grave with power. With all eyes he see. With seven horns he demonstrates his power. Jesus walks up to the throne and takes the scroll. God only shares the spotlight with himself. God exalted Jesus and given him the name above every name. salvation through sacrifice is the greatest paradox.
4. The atonement of Christ is graciously, globally, and gloriously particular (vv. 8-11).
In love he predestined YOU! God purposed to save you. Christ purposes to purchase you. Christian feel the weight and wonder of this. Feel this amidst your trials, sufferings, and pain. Don't forget this. Before the sun was formed or before there was a star in the sky, before the mountains were established, almighty God set his sights on your soul. And he purposed to save YOU!
Matthew 28:19 is not just a general command to make disciples where we can but to make disciples in all people groups. Our obedience to the great commission is on the line. Particular redemption drives global missions.
There's no guilt in going. What drives our passion for unreached people is God's glory. We strive for glory for our King. We are a kingdom of priests purchased from all peoples, ethnic groups, and tongues. We will all stand before the throne of God and praise God.
This is what we live for and die for.
Four Practical Implications for Pastors
1. Let us lead our churches to pray confidently for the spread of all peoples.
God's sovereignty necessitates and empowers our prayers. God has ordained the prayers of his people to bring about the coming of his kingdom. His kingdom will come in gracious response to our prayers. Therefore, we pray "let your kingdom come." Assure them that their prayers are piling up before the throne of God and in his appointed time he will bring his kingdom on earth as in heaven.
2. Let us lead our churches to give generously.
For every $100 we make we give $.05 to the rest of the world. Check out "When Helping Hurts." Psalms 66 answers the question why are we so rich so that all the ends of this earth will worship him.
3. Let us lead our churches to go intentionally.
Are our peoples going to unreached peoples? Let's send a variety of people, in a variety of ways for the sake of the name of Jesus. Are we encouraging people who may be called to go to unreached people groups?
4. Let us lead our churches to die willingly for the spread of the gospel to all peoples.
Pastors who believe God is sovereign over all things will lead people to die for the sake of the praise of God's name amongst the unreached. We are also confident as we go. We know nothing can happen to us apart from the sovereign will of God. God's sovereign plan of salvation always includes salvation. We do not seek it out but boldly and willingly die.
Let us be done with puny theology which results in paltry global missions.