[The following content is used with the permission of David Sitton and To Every Tribe]
What Does Worship have to do with Mission?
Mission is not primarily a campaign to save lost souls. The call of Christ in the gospel is first and foremost a call to worship God. This is mysteriously profound; God desires worship from his creatures; he will have it from among all his people from all the nations; and he gives redeemed sinners the incredible privilege to be the transport vehicles of grace and gospel to bring the full number of worldwide worshippers into that eternal praise of God. This is the mission.
Early on (Gen. 11), there was only one people, one culture and one language that existed upon the earth. Although they had been instructed by God to go and multiply and fill the earth, they congregated and settled down in the comfortable plain of Shinar instead. The people became wholly devoted to making a name for themselves (11:4). There was no praise for God among this people of Babel. And God judged them. Part of the judgment is that he confused their one language into what are more than 6,704 languages spoken in the world today; and splintered their single culture into the 24,000 people groups that are now scattered across the earth.
Then he revealed a redemptive strategy beginning with Abraham (Gen. 12) whereby he would gather again a single people for his name; and he is systematically doing it people group by people group and nation by nation through his ambassador missionaries. This is amazing to me; that God redeemed us so that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles (Galatians 3:13-14). What an unspeakable privilege that God actually makes his appeal (for reconciliation with the nations) through us (2 Cor. 5:20).
Our passion for lost souls is only surpassed by our passion for the Lamb of God.
Count Nicholas Zinzendorf (1700-1769); Founder of the Moravians
Worship of King Jesus is the end and ultimate aim; mission is God’s method to get his chosen people gathered for worship. Mission, therefore is a deliberate act of obedient worship to God.
This is the purpose of To Every Tribe. We are eager to break open new opportunities for irresistible grace in the still unreached territories of the earth. We want to be busy going and sending missionaries to deliver the ransom of God for his people throughout the nations. The people get a blessing Salvation; but were going primarily for Jesus. The privilege of carrying the sweet savor of Christ to the nations is a motivation that will keep missionaries in the frontline furnace when persecution heats up.
In the end, God will again have One People gathered out from every one of the worlds peoples (Revelation 5:9 and 7:9). Gods cause; the worship of all peoples, will gloriously triumph.
If elect knees from every ethne (nation) were already bowed
in worship, the Great Commission would be unnecessary.
– David Sitton
Don’t Complicate the Missionary Call
Get Radical in the Going and God will get Radical in the Guiding
I chuckle when I hear missionaries say they surrendered to the call of ministry. I always want to ask, After you surrendered, were you waterboarded, or just hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons? Was it really necessary for you to be abducted by a heavenly vision before you would go joyfully into the work of the gospel in unreached places?
The missionary call is not like a prison dog that tracks us down, sniffs us out, and hog-ties us for the nations. That kind of talk bugs me! Its bad theology. Nowhere in Scripture is a mysterious (supernatural) call a prerequisite before we can respond to the Great Commission. The opposite is actually true.
Dont Wait for a Call
No aspect of mission is more bogged down with extra-biblical baggage than the Missionary Call. The clear command of Christ to go should be, by itself, sufficient to set you on your way to unreached regions. You can’t go wrong by trying to go. Be aggressive to go. The Lord will direct your moving feet.
Do you know how 99% of the cross-cultural workers for the gospel in the book of Acts got to the unreached places? In a detailed missiological study of the book of Acts, Bob Sjogren breaks it down for us. – 99% of the missionaries in Acts went cross-cultural because of one reason: Persecution What about the other 1%? – 74% served cross-culturally because the Apostle Paul challenged them to go. – 18% went because their local churches sent them. – 7% went simply because of their zeal and desire to do it! –(Run With The Vision, Bill and Amy Stearns, Bethany House Publishers, pages 125-126).
Dramatic calls to ministry are the exception. If you have it in your heart to go, then go. And lean on the sovereignty of God to get you where He wants you in the harvest.
Try to Go
Paul tried to go into Asia, but the Lord wouldn’t let him. He then tried to go to Bithynia, but “the Holy Spirit forbade him.” Still, he kept trying to go. I count at least six cities in Acts 16:1-6 where Paul tried to take the gospel. It was only then that the Lord gave him a vision of the Macedonian. He woke up the next morning and immediately headed for the regions north. The point? Get radical with the going and God will get radical in the specific guiding.
I was never called to be a missionary. I wasn’t drafted. I volunteered. No special call was needed. I chose to go. I want to go. I am compelled to go. Where I go is determined by an open Bible (Romans 15:20-21) and a stretched-out map of unreached regions where Jesus isn’t known. Going for Jesus and with Jesus to the ends of the earth is the privilege of a lifetime.
David Sitton writes…
“I wasted away my teen years in the early 1970’s in Corpus Christi, Texas, rebelling against the expectations of established society. Surfing was the thing I was most devoted to in those days and I aggressively embraced the surfing sub-culture, including drug use and the cruising and carousing lifestyle. It was a fun and exciting way to waste my time. But God began to step into my life through the friendship of a high school girlfriend and her family. Through their lives and testimony I was drawn towards Jesus. I sometimes say that I embraced Jesus and the gospel. The truth is that Jesus did the embracing. He took firm hold of me and radically rescued me from sin, rebellion and a ruined life in 1975.” Follow this link to learn more about David Sitton and To Every Tribe.
CMC: David Sitton is a good and long time friend in the Gospel. We highly recommend the ministry of To Every Tribe to our readers.