Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, 11).
I will never forget reading those words by John Piper my sophomore year in college and being shaken by them. I know what you are thinking-“Drew are you ever going to stop throwing Piper books and quotes at us!” I probably won’t–I think I quote Piper and recommend his books because, his books and his preaching shake me so often! This particular quote shook me with its stunning simplicity-“missions exists because worship doesn’t.”
The reason that you and I exist is to worship God (Isa. 43:7). That is why Adam and Eve were placed in the garden-to know, enjoy, fellowship with, and worship God. God is ultimate. Worship of Him is what we were made for. Of course we know the great barrier that stands in our way of living out this great purpose of worshipping God–sin. Not just any sin, but our sin. The fall resulted in sin being passed down from generation to generation–we are born into sin and each of us willingly choose to sin (see Romans chapters 1-5-sorry can’t give you an easy handful of verses on that one!). So what keeps us from worship is the fact that we love sin, we love ourselves more than we love God. The gospel, of course, is the great remedy to our fallen state, the means by which we are restored to the purpose of our existence–to worship God! So once we come to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is then fundamental to our worship of God that we spread His gospel message. Missions and evangelism are, at their very heart, acts of worship. Why do we take great pains to see the gospel spread?–Because the gospel is precious to us and because it tells us how we can be restored to the very purpose of our existence!
So as I opened up a new series on Evangelism in Sunday School recently, I was reminded of the fact that “missions exists because worship doesn’t.” The same could be said of evangelism. The reason we are to preach the gospel to our friends, neighbors, and coworkers is because God is glorious and His gospel is the best news in the universe! The reason that we ought to share the gospel is because our great God is worthy to be praised! When you and I share the gospel we are setting forth the one message that can change lost, hell-bound people into Christ-treasuring worshipers of almighty God, headed for blessed eternity with Him!
Is it your desire that more people would worship and praise our great God? That is the first step of missions and the first step of evangelism. I will be the first to admit that I am inconsistent in evangelism, but what is the first step to see that change? Do I just need to try harder? Do I just need to be more disciplined? Do I need a little more guilt to motivate me to share the gospel? While some of those things might help, they are not the answer to my lack of evangelism. Behind all my lack of evangelism is a lack of God-centered, Christ-exalting worship.
So what do we need to do in order to be more evangelistic? We need to value Christ supremely. We need to see the gospel as the best news in the universe. We need more of Jesus and less of ourselves. We can’t make ourselves treasure Christ supremely–we need help. Again, we are saved by grace through faith not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). So step 1 in evangelism is simply to cry out to God for mercy concerning our lack of worship and ask Him to fill us with joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. Only when we love Christ supremely will be share Him fervently. Step 1 is pretty simple isn’t it? Just pray and ask God to give you a deep passion for Him–a desire to see Him known and worshiped in your hometown and to the ends of the earth!