God by his very nature is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.“Ex. 34:6-7We have seen how God’s nature played out in the lives of two families – Adam and Eve, Abram and Sarai. God demonstrated his mercy and grace, his compassion and goodness, in pursuing his rebellious children for the sole purpose of converting them. Recorded on the pages of Scripture is the evidence of God’s eternal purpose to seek out and save those who are lost – God in action, working directly and through means to work out his plan for mankind.
OK, we know what God has done, we know that He could do this because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. But why would God do all this for sinful man? Because it was what he required to save fallen man from sin? From condemnation? From eternal punishment in hell? Certainly that is all true and it is all important. But it is only one half of the answer! It identifies what man is savedfrom, but not what he is savedto. To be savedfromour sin and its curse without having a new purpose and goal for which to live and strive is frustrating and pointless. Try telling a child all the things he can’t do without directing him toward that which is acceptable and see what happens.
God has not left us to wonder what he expects of us, what the goal of redemption is, why we should be vigorously involved in missions. Our missionary God is working out his plan to redeem for himself a vast multitude of worshiping saints. Until that number is complete, missions is necessary since it is the means God has ordained to convert sinners. People are savedfromsin and condemnationtopraise and worship the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth.
Worshiping God is not optional – it is a command that applies to all mankind: “You shall have no other gods before Me”.Ex. 20:3“I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory I will not give to another nor my praise to carved images.”Isa. 42:8For the saint, worshiping God should not be burdensome; it should be the natural response of a sinner saved by grace and adopted into the family of the King. Let’s consider five aspects of the answer to “Why Missions”?Whatis to occur,whereit is to take place,whythat is the proper goal of missions,howthose targeted by missions are to respond, andwhoGod has in his sights.
Praise! 13 of 37 words, 12 of 13 imperative and plural
command issued to groups of people to render praise to God
praise requires an object:
haºlülû yäh ha|lülû-´ël– the self-existent covenant-making and keeping God, the one true and mighty God
praise requires action
praise defined as: the action of acknowledging and ascribing value (degree of importance, quality that makes something desirable), worth (merit, excellence) honor (dignity, exalted rank or place, esteem), and adoration (addressing and loving God as God)
Heb. 13:15Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
praise requires knowledge and understanding
proper praise requires the right thing offered the right way to the right person
error in any of the above is condemned by God in his Word – the wrong kind of sacrifice (animals but not obedience), the wrong way (insincerely – lips and heart that don’t match), the wrong object (worship offered to false gods or idols)
in the sanctuary – church – corporate
primarily a congregational activity – plural imperative repetitive in the hymnal
an essential element of formal public worship (To adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration.Webster)
corporate worship is participatory, not a spectator event
God meets with his people, speaks through his word and servant; his people are edified (not entertained) when they actively participate – hearing, applying, responding in spoken and sung praise
in the firmament – life outside the sanctuary
praise is not to end when the saints leave the sanctuary; ascribing value, worth, honor and adoration to God is a 24/7 activity
to be expressed in wordanddeed – showing by action that God truly does hold the place of honor expressed in our words; making choices that reflect his position in first place
for what He has done
his works of creation, providence and redemption
acts that are beyond the abilities of man, that only the true God can perform
since he has done them, he deserves to be praised for them
for who He is
Q. 1. Who is the first and best of beings?
A. God is the first and best of beings. (Isaiah 44:6;Psalm 8:1;97:9)
Q. 2. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. (1 Cor. 10:31;Psalm 73:25-26)Keach, Catechism
There is nothing little about God, and there is nothing great apart from him. If we were always careful to make our worship fit and appropriate for our great Lord how much better should we sing! How much more reverently should we adore! Such excellent deeds should have excellent praise.CHS, Treasury of David
exemplified in heavenly worship:Rev. 4:11&Rev. 5:12
As St. Augustine says here, “No kind of faculty is here omitted. All are enlisted in praising God.”
every form of musical expression – every mood
variety of ways of expressing joy and exciting our emotion
the trumpet calls to worship; lute, harp, stringed instruments and flutes support and accompany our sung praise; timbrel and cymbals punctuate our worship and awaken those who are asleep or indifferent
every part of us
our hands, our feet, our lungs and our lips are all to be engaged in active heartfelt praise of him who is most worthy
remember the first command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”Mark 12:30
don’t forget the object
all the attention, all the action must be directed God-ward
nothing we do as part of worship should focus attention on an individual, a group, an instrument, an icon (cross, picture, candle, etc.)
anything less than praise fully focused on God robs him of his due
everything that has a voice to praise God
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.Gen. 2:7
God has given breath to all things, it is their duty to return some to him in praise for who he is and what he has done.
members of all families of the earth
Since God has promised all families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham and his seed, the goal of redemption must then be to bring members of all those families into the worshiping community.
If all of these saints-to-be are to properly praise the one true God, they must first hear the Gospel, respond in faith, and become part of a local church where they can be discipled – taught “to observe all that Christ commanded” his followers.
For that to occur, there must be a Gospel-proclaiming church within reach of those saints-to-be; that is the primary work of Christian missions. Planting churches where the saints reach out to others in the community and draw them in to hear the Gospel, be converted, and join in worshp of our God.
What a day will it be when all things in all places unite to glorify the one only living and true God! This will be the final triumph of the church of God.CHS
the desire of our hearts
that we would have “a thousand tongues to sing our great Redeemer’s praise” so that “all things now living….