“And when they saw Him they worshiped Him” (Matthew 28:17). I do not know of anything greater that can prepare us for effective missions than when our hearts are propelled to worship because of Christ. He is the reason for our preaching message! He is the ultimate goal of missions – WORSHIP!
If you are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission and worship is not your highest goal, something is seriously wrong.
"Worship...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." See Psalm 67:3-4.
John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad - The Supremacy of God in Missions, Baker Academic, 2003, page 17.
One of the key principles we see in the Book of Acts is that the life, fellowship and preaching; all forms of worship of the early church, was a strong reason why the church grew so rapidly (Acts 2:14-47; 6:7; 10:34-48; 13:48-49). Dr. Edmund Clowney has said, “When we worship God as we ought, that is when the nations will listen.”
Is our worship truly God-centered? If we mix in to our worship anything that exalts man, we will weaken out gospel voice to the nations; the unreached.
While much of the world around us has commercialized the coming of Jesus and many churches and religious services and programs do little more than stir up fleeting emotions that rarely result in life changing spiritual transformation, let me offer a thought or two which may impact our lives in 2013. These thoughts are inspired by Paul's compelling statement in Phil. 3:8, "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..." Please follow my trail through Scripture.
God the "I AM", revealed himself in the Old Testament,
In the last few weeks the Spirit has opened my understanding as I have read the Word and pondered its eternal application to us. What started this was that a dear brother was explaining the difficulties they are going through regarding a building that is not finished where the church wants to meet. As I prayed for him, the Spirit directed my attention to God's BIG PICTURE that began in past eternity. If we are going to grasp the details of God's plan, we must also look at the BIG PICTURE - GOD'S PLAN AND PURPOSE FROM ETERNITY PAST!
Let's start with Eph. 3:8-10 and Col. 1:24-29. Paul wanted to "make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations...the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:25, 27). The greatness of this mystery is not understood because we have a building, but because the Holy Spirit, the "Helper" is "with you forever" (John. 14:16) and He, the Father and the Son "will come...and make our home with him" (14:23). Plus the Holy Spirit "will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (14:26). This does not need a building; just human hearts that receive God's grace.
Now, let's go back to Genesis 1:28-30; 3:8-9. God began *HIS*story with man by spending time in The Garden talking to man, in fellowship with man in a relationship that did not need a temple, a building or a special place. It only need God and man in relationship as God designed it - *PERFECT!*
Solomon realized that "heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you (God); how much less this house that I have built" (1 Kings 8:27). Paul reminds us of what happened at Pentecost, "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you" (1 Cor. 3:16) "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (God) within you, whom you have from God" (1 Cor. 6:19).
John 4:19-28. The woman of John 4 realizes that Jesus is the answer to her problems and starts talking about worship. She points to a mountain where her fathers worshiped and that the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem (the temple). Jesus points to a different kind of worship and a different place of worship. The different kind of worship was a relationship with God as "Father" through the Spirit. The 'different place of worship' was the heart where our spirits are in agreement with His Spirit and where His truth is our only truth. This does not require a building or a place, but a living relationship in the power of the Spirit.
Revelation 21:3, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "*Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.*" The end of *HIS*story is the same as the beginning. God with man in *PERFECT* communion, in fellowship, man in worship without the need of any man-made things such as buildings, pews, pulpits, etc. The whole plan and purpose of redemption was to restore fallen man to relationship that needs nothing except the finished work of Jesus and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. In pointing to these Scriptures, I fully understand that there is nothing wrong with buildings in and of themselves, but there is a transcending importance in the relationship we have with God through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. What a great opportunity we have in any difficult time or circumstance to point the saints to something that is far, far greater than a physical building or place. Build in the saints a vision for what is eternal! Ephesians 2:19-22, "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
May the Holy Spirit give us this eternal 'BIG PICTURE' - God's thoughts, plans and purpose that do not change even in time!
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