By Russ Mitchell
Russ is the field director for One Challenge (OC International) in Romania – www.oci.ro.
Worship: The Culmination of History
History is moving toward the point where all peoples will come and worship the Lord. The Psalms clearly anticipate this. For example:
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’S. And He rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:27-28)
God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted. (Psalm 47:8-9 NIV)
Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, Sing praises to the Lord. (Psalm 68:32)
All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. (Psalm 86:9)
Again in Revelation we see how what the Old Testament anticipates is fulfilled in the New.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)
Note who is present: people from every tribe, every nation, every people, every language! Thus we see history culminates in all peoples worshipping the Lord.
Putting First Things First
Let us pause here to consider the significance of this first theme of worship and how it applies to the Message Bearer’s Mandate.
1. All peoples are called – even commanded – to worship the Lord. Why so? Because God merits the worship of all peoples based on his gracious plan to bless all the families of the earth. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised” (Psalm 96:4). In the Old Testament God’s promise alone to bless “all families of peoples” is sufficient to call the peoples to worship. How much more so do we have reason to call all peoples to come and worship our great and awesome God.
Our primary motive to involve ourselves in God’s plan to bless all nations is not because the peoples are lost, without hope, without God, but because God merits the worship of all peoples. Mission activity is not an end in itself. Mission is a temporary activity; but worship is forever. When people truly understand who God is and what he has done, their response is to worship him. So our primary motive for involving our selves in God’s plan to bless all nations is that God might be worshipped by all peoples, receiving the glory due his name.
2. Let us consider to what extent the peoples are worshipping the Lord today. According to the Joshua Project (www.joshuaproject.net), approximately four out of ten people in the world are live in areas where there are not viable churches; three out of ten people essentially have no access to the Good News. They have never heard of Jesus and most likely don’t even know a Christian. So four out of ten people on the earth are least reached. They are not true worshippers. God has blessed them abundantly. But they don’t know it. God merits their worship. But they have never heard of him. In fact, the way things stand now, they have very little chance to know the true God because very few message bearers live among these peoples. In order for all people everywhere to worship the Lord, they first need to know about him. And for them to know about the Lord, someone needs to take the message of his salvation to them. Thus we can conclude that where true worship is the least, the need for message bearers is the greatest.
Following the simple logic of the command for all peoples to worship the Lord leads us to the Message Bearer’s Mandate: the imperative for true believers to go, live and serve among the least reached peoples of the earth, so that they too can know the true God and become grateful worshippers of him. This command for all peoples to worship the Lord gives message bearers a sufficient mandate to go everywhere spreading the glad tidings of God’s greatness.
Are you willing, if God so wills, to go and live among the least reached peoples for at least two years? What steps are you taking to align yourself with God’s purpose to be worshipped by all peoples? What progress are you making toward this end?
3. As we begin to consider our personal involvement in God’s plan to bless the nations, it is important to keep first things first. Worshipping God – loving him with all of our heart, soul and strength – is our first response as message bearers. Being a message bearer, we will see, is second. Our love for God, which first expresses itself in worship, also motives our personal involvement. Where love and passion for God and his glory are great, there will also be a burning passion to tell the whole world about his greatness. But where there is little love for God, there will also be little motivation to declare the glad tidings of his salvation. So our first response as message bearers is to become passionate worshippers.
We began with the question, “What is your part in God’s plan to glorify his name among all peoples?” What have we discovered so far? Our first response is to become passionate worshippers. So let’s stop here and put first things first: Let us worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.