20 Nov Our Starting Point for Missions is Always God
Our starting point for missions has to be God. In fact, our starting point for anything has to be God. But, it can’t just be some made up twenty-first century God. It has to be the God of the Bible. Have we considered recently whether or not how we view God is in line with everything the Bible says about Him? I think it is easy in our culture to forget who we serve and who we pray to.
Let me back up for a second. Let’s take a look back at a few passages in scripture.
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
When we read the passage above, what sort of emotions and thoughts does it invoke? Probably the first thought is, “wait, what did I just read?” But, I don’t think we live our lives according to the description Isaiah gives us of God’s presence. Isaiah was in awe of God’s might and power that he literally says “woe is me,” or I should die. Isaiah knew that he was unworthy of even being in the presence of God that he knew he deserved to die instead. But, like always God reminds him that he is redeemed, and it is through that redemption we are worthy to be in His presence.
Next, let us look at Leviticus 16. If I were to ask you, what your impressions were of the book of Leviticus, I would imagine it would be very similar to mine. IT IS JUST A BORING BOOK OF LAWS. While this is true, I think there is a deeper element about who God is that we miss if we just bypass this book. In Leviticus 16, God outlines the rules for the priests when they are to enter the Holy of Holies (God’s Presence). If these rules were not followed, God said they would fall down dead immediately. It was very important that the priests follow these rules because God could not be in the presence of sin or unrighteousness or else the person would die. The rules explicitly stated the different steps necessary in order to cleanse themselves of their sins before entering.
Today, we don’t have to worry about these same steps because we have Jesus. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, our sins are covered and we are able to come into the presence of God at any time. Revelation 1:6 even says, “and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” We are actually priests now with the ability to come into the presence of God at any time. This is easily the most important thing that has ever or will ever happen. But, where I think our sinful nature has skewed this beautiful picture is that we forget in Whose presence we go. Since it is so easy to go into the presence of God we forget that people throughout the Bible fell on their faces in awe of God’s presence, and cried out that they were unworthy of His Holy presence. How often do we obtain this picture or mindset when we approach the presence of God. I long for the day that I am in Heaven and get to run into the arms of Jesus, nestle my head in His chest and cry out I am home. But at the same time, in that very same scenario I believe that I will fall on my knees in worship and praise of who Jesus is.
This is the part of the blog where you ask the question, “what does this have to do with missions?” Well it has everything to do with missions. The way we view God determines how we respond to his commands for our lives. God mandates us throughout the Old Testament to be a blessing to all nations. (See Malachi 1:11) In the New Testament, Jesus commands us to go out to the nations as well. (See Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20, and Acts 1) People have asked before, how do I get someone to become a missionary, and I tell them, get them to fall madly in love with Jesus. For it is when we realize Who it is we are serving that we humble ourselves to the point of absolute servitude.
So, what is our starting point for missions? Our starting point is God! A complete and totally reverence for who He is, but also a complete and total love and amazement for how he has redeemed us. So often we forget that the Gospel is not only a tool to reach the lost, but it is a tool for ourselves each and every day. Have you remembered the Gospel today? Have you remembered that “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) The truth of the Gospel and the remembrance of it daily is the heartbeat of missions. For if the Gospel and truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection is true for us today, then it is true for every single person on earth. And, if God’s mandate throughout scripture to go into all the nations is true, then what are we still doing waiting?
Let us not forget Whose presence we come into tonight when we pray. Let us not forget the inconceivable act it is to even be in the presence of the One that created the universe, that formed us in our mother’s womb, and the one that gave His only Son for the sole purpose of a redemption that allows us into His presence again. These are astounding attributes of an astounding God. Our pursuit of his presence and pursuit of His mission should be nothing short of astounding as well.