Convictions that Drive Missions

Conviction #5—God’s Purpose to Be Praised Among All the Nations Cannot Fail. It Is an Absolutely Certain Promise. It Is Going to Happen.

When Jesus gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, he gave it a massive foundation of certainty. He said, “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)

There are four reasons we can be absolutely sure that the mission of God will triumph in the world.

  1. First, the word of Jesus is more sure than the heavens and the earth (Matthew 24:35).
  2. Second, the ransom has already been paid for all God’s elect, and God did not spill the blood of his Son in vain (Revelation 5:9).
  3. Third, the glory of God is at stake, and in the end, he will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 48:9-11).
  4. Fourth, God is sovereign and can do all things and no purpose of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2).

In the September 16, 1996, issue of Christianity Today (p. 25) Steve Saint, whose dad, Nate Saint, was martyred in Ecuador in 1956 by the Auca Indians, wrote an article about new discoveries made about the tribal intrigue behind the slayings of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming. He wrote one of the most amazing sentences on the sovereignty of God we have ever read—especially when you hear it coming from the son of a slain missionary:

As [the killers] described their recollections, it occurred to me how incredibly unlikely it was that the Palm Beach killing took place at all; it is an anomaly that I cannot explain outside of divine intervention. (Italics added.)

There is only one explanation for why these five young men died and left a legacy that has inspired thousands. God intervened. This is the kind of sovereignty we mean when we say no one, absolutely no one, can frustrate the designs of God to fulfill his missionary plans for the nations. In the darkest moments of our pain, God is hiding his explosives behind enemy lines. Everything that happens in history will serve this purpose as expressed in Psalm 86:9,

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

Conviction #6—Only in God Will Our Souls Be at Rest.

The one trans-cultural reality that unites every person of every culture is that God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:12). Every person has been created in the image of God and has the stamp of God on his innermost being. In our alienation from God, there is a void that the nations try to fill in a multitude of God-less ways, but always come up empty. Only God can satisfy the soul with the depth and endurance of joy that we crave. Thus, the loving pursuit of missions is the glory of God in the eternal joy of the redeemed.

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John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.