Thursday, 1 January 2009

The page that changed my life

Books don't change people…paragraphs do…sometimes even sentences. - John Piper, A Godward Life.

I bought "Let The Nations Be Glad" by John Piper at Stoneleigh Bible Week. I had never heard of the book or the author before and made the purchase solely because 

(1) It was at a discount price

(2) Terry Virgo recommended it.

I don't remember where I was when I read the first page, perhaps in my tent, maybe still in the bookshop but that page changed my life.

The question of whether worship or evangelism was more important had always bothered me. Everyone I asked said worship was but quoted the Westminster Catechism rather than the Bible in support. But in one earthshaking paragraph Piper not only answered the question but tied the two together in a compelling and astounding manner. Or at least I thought he did. But while I thought he was talking about evangelism he was actually introducing a totally unheard of concept to me - missions. And that's what changed my life.

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. 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.

Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps 67:3-4).

But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish.

If you've never read this book, you have to at least read the introduction

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