Thursday, April 14, 2005

What is lacking?

About a month ago, I listened to John Piper's CD "Doing Missions When Dying is Gain."
It was so good that I just had to write up a quick summary of Piper's main points.

Matthew 24:14(ESV): "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Says Jesus)

1. The Promise is Sure.
a) Jesus never lies. You can either get on board and enjoy the triumph, or you can cop-out and waste your life.

b) The ransom has already been paid for those people among all the nations.

Revelation 5:9: "And they sang a new song, saying,
'Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

"He already bought those people, we are going to go find them by indiscriminately preaching the gospel as the Holy Spirit calls them to Himself, I know this can't abort because the debt has already been paid for God's people everywhere in the world, those lost sheep, as Jeus called them, that are scattered throughout the world that will come in as the Father calls through the preaching of the gospel."

c) The glory of God is at stake.

Romans 15:8-9: “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles [Nations] might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’”

Translations being made from vertical to horizontal in your love for the glory of God.

d) God is sovereign.

Hebrews 6:3: “And this we will do if God permits.”

He is sovereign in the church; he is sovereign in the Nations.

Revelation 6:9: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice,
‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’
Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”

2. The Price is Suffering.
“He who would come after me, let him take up his cross and DIE!”

Hebrews 13:13: “Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.”

There must be suffering.

Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

What was lacking in Christ’s afflictions???

The only other time that the word “lacking” is used is in Philippians 2:30: “For he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.” (Paul speaking of Epaphroditus)

The thing that was lacking was the church’s presentation of this offering in person.

This is what we have: Jesus dies and he suffers for people all over the world in every nation, then he is buried and according to the Scriptures, he is raised on the third day, and he ascends into Heaven and he reigns over the world, and he leaves a work to be done, and Paul’s self understanding of his mission is that there is one thing lacking in the sufferings of Jesus; the love offering is to be presented in person, in the body of Christ through missionaries to the peoples for whom he died, and he says, “I do this in my sufferings.”

"In my sufferings, I complete what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.” ~Paul

Which means Christ intends for the Great Commission to be a presentation, to the nations, of the sufferings of his cross, in the sufferings of His people.

There might be more coming...


Rand said...

It's sad really...the Great Commission for the most part is being completely ignored by the church. And you're right, for the most part, it's ignored because hardship, persecution and yes, even suffering is involved in the preaching of the Gospel.

Trust me I know.

Jessica said...

Serving God is better than any earthly joy! It is so sad the world does not know this. There is a deeper richer glory than unbelievers will ever know...we know it by the Spirit's revealing power and Christ's redemption!

TulipGirl said...

Piper's "Let the Nations Be Glad" is an amazing book.

Julianne said...

Rand, You are so true. The Great Commission is being ignored for the very reasons it should be pursued.

Jessica, I pray that God's children in all parts of the world will see the joy suffering and serving Christ brings.

Tulipgirl, yes, that is a great book. God has really used Piper in my life to shape my views on theology and missions.