Ignoring the Nations

This is the last post in my series of reflections from Together for the Gospel 2012.  Check out the series here.

David Platt’s sermon, Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions, was a highlight for many people in attendance.  Platt offered a wake-up call: he claimed that those who embrace God’s sovereignty should be the most fervent about global mission.

However, when I look at the “young, restless, and reformed” church culture, this passion is not one I see.  In fact, Kevin DeYoung clearly stated in his T4G sermon that we who are a part of this movement need to grow in two areas: 1) personal holiness and 2) zealousness for global mission.  I think he’s right.

I’m encouraged by the “missional resurgence.”  However, is it reason to celebrate if a resurgence in concern for “everyday mission” means slowly forgetting about and ignoring global mission?  If we miss God’s heart to redeem people from all nations, we miss a theme that clearly runs throughout the story of the Bible.  We must not fail to emphasize a major biblical theme by overemphasizing another.

After reflecting on Platt’s sermon and our failure to engage in global mission, here are three practical suggestions to help us begin to take steps in the right direction:

  1. Pray for the nations.  Use tools like Operation World or even Wikipedia to begin to pray for the nations.  Pray for missionaries who are serving in hard parts of the world.  Pray that God would call more people to go… Maybe even you.  Pray that God would call men and women from all nations to Himself and that thriving churches would be planted.
  2. Go to the nations.  Take a short-term trip.  Use your summer to partner with an organization serving in another nation.  Use some vacation days to get involved and see what God is doing around the world.  Or even consider investing a year or more.  However, I would challenge you to do this wisely.  There are harmful and helpful ways to engage in short-term missions.  Read When Helping Hurts to think more on this topic.
  3. Engage the nations where you are.  The nations are moving to America.  Don’t be a stranger.  Go to the diverse parts of your city.  Experience cultures other than your own.  Be kind.  Ask questions.  Make a friend.  Consider moving to a more diverse neighborhood.  By God’s grace, we have the opportunity in America to get a foretaste of Revelation 7:9-10:  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,10 and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'”  Our nation is filled with diversity.  Pray that our churches would look like the kingdom that is to come.  Pray that we would experience here and now the nations worshiping our common King as one Body.

Not only do Americans have the rare opportunity to witness Revelation 7:9-10, all Christians everywhere must remember that God is sovereign; therefore, we know that this picture will indeed become a reality.  Therefore, we can go boldly to all nations, knowing that God will soveriengly draw people to Himself.  May we be filled with this bold certainty in such a way that we pray, go, and engage.