God has never redeemed anyone to complacency.
If the only purpose of our salvation was to get us to heaven, God would have raptured us up to heaven the moment he made us alive in him. Instead, he has saved us for a purpose. What is this purpose? To be sent. If you are a Christian, you are called to be on mission!
Isaiah 6 is a great picture of this sending. Immediately after having his sins atoned for, Isaiah is sent. And he is a willing volunteer! When we truly encounter the living God, we will be motivated to heartfelt service. Our aim is to please the One who enlisted us!
True worship always motivates mission. Any time we catch a glimpse of the glory of the risen Savior, we naturally respond by longing for others to behold him as well. He is not only worthy of our individual worship, our church’s worship, or even every Christian’s worship. Ultimately, he is worthy of the worship of every single person in the entire world. Your desire should be to see them worshiping the same Savior!
Though Isaiah experienced a powerful, personal vision of God, he did not forget about his fellow Israelites. He included them in both his confession of sin (“I dwell among a people of unclean lips”) and his mission efforts (“Send me!”). He wanted his fellow Israelites to encounter this amazing God the same way he had.
John Piper has a great explanation of the motivation for missions. In his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, Piper writes, “Missions exists because worship does not.” This is a great summary of why we do missions. We don’t do missions because it is our main purpose; rather, we do missions because worship is the main purpose of humanity, and a large number of people are not yet worshipping!
There is a beautiful cycle that God has established in moving his disobedient people toward being true worshipers. It begins with a revelation of God (“I saw the LORD”), which immediately leads to repentance (“Woe is me!”). Worship follows repentance (“Here am I!”), and provides the driving motivation for missions (“Send me!”). The cycle repeats because missions is the open declaration of the revelation of God!
REVELATION → REPENTANCE → WORSHIP → MISSION
How might our worship fuel or pursuit of missions?
In our churches, corporate worship will lead to corporate witnessing. As we worship in Spirit and truth, we are motivated to work together to see the whole earth filled with worshippers of the One True God.
In our personal lives, private worship will motivate personal evangelism. As we spend devotional time with the Lord in Bible reading, prayer, and meditation, we develop a burning desire to fill our little corners of the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.
In our families, our homes will present pictures of the gospel for the watching world to see. Marriage was created as an image of what God’s relationship with the Church is meant to be. If marriage is the shadow, Christ’s relationship with the church is the substance. Your marriage and your family are intended to display the gospel to all those around you. When they see husbands loving their wives, they see Christ’s unfailing love for his unfaithful Bride. When they see wives’ willing submission to their husbands, they see the church’s willing obedience to her head, Jesus Christ. When the world sees parents’ nurturing love and discipline of their children, they see God’s love for his people, for God disciplines the ones he loves.
One day, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” On that day, “every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Until the glory of the Lord fills the earth as the waters cover the sea, our response is “Here am I! Send me!”
Brian Joines (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the Discipleship Pastor of Oak Park Baptist Church. He lives in New Albany with his wife, Anna, and their two children.