The Call To Global Missions
The sixth theological trademark identified by John Piper is the Call to Global Missions. If you are just joining us, we are working our way through his new book, Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks from a Lifetime of Preaching (Minneapolis: Desiring God, 2014).
Piper identifies ten biblical convictions that drive his commitment to global outreach or to world missions.
(1) God is passionately committed to the fame of his name and that he be worshipped by all the peoples of the world, and this is not egomania, it is love. How can this be? It is because "missions, global outreach, is joining God in his passion to love the nations by offering himself to them for overflowing joy of their praise" (96).
(2) Therefore worship is the goal and fuel of missions: Missions exists because worship doesn't. "Missions is our way of saying: the joy of knowing Christ is not a private or tribal or national or ethnic privilege. It is for all. And that's why we go. Because we have tasted the joy of worshipping Jesus, and we want all the families of the earth included" (96). In other words, "seeking the worship of the nations is fueled by the joy of our own worship" (97).
(3) People must be told about Jesus, because there is no salvation and no worship where the gospel of the crucified and risen Son of God is not heard and believed.
(4) God is committed to gathering worshipers from all the peoples of the world, not just all the countries of the world. Whereas it is true that the gospel has reached all the countries of the world, there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups.
(5) Therefore there is a critical need for Paul-type missionaries whose calling and passion is to take the gospel to peoples where there is no access to the gospel at all. Whereas someone like Timothy left his home and served cross culturally in a city different from his own, Paul declared in Romans 15:20, "I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named."
(6) We must send the global partners in a manner worthy of God (3 John 6).
(7) It is fitting for us to have a wartime mindset in the use of our resources as long as peoples are without the gospel, and we have resources to send it.
(8) Prayer is a war-time walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom. "Prayer is for mission. It is mainly for those on the front lines of the war effort to call in to headquarters to send help. One of the reasons our prayer malfunctions is that we try to treat it like a domestic intercom for calling the butler for another pillow in the den rather than treating it like a wartime walkie-talkie for calling down the power of the Holy Spirit in the battle for souls" (100).
(10) The global cause of Christ cannot fail. And nothing you do in this cause is in vain.
So, if you and I ever find ourselves wondering why we should go (or send others) or whether in going there will be success, let us remember the words of Jesus: "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10:16).