Monday, December 03, 2007

A Passion for His Glory to be Known

I was reading an article on the Banner of Truth site, where they always have a number of good articles, entitled John Paton and World Missions. The writer of the article, Al Baker, begins by telling of the hardships Paton and his family faced in being missionaries to the New Hebrides. The question he, Mr. Baker, poses is this: “what sustained John Paton in his missionary zeal?”

That is not just a question we need to ask of John Paton but we need to ask of ourselves. As Baker writes while Paton may have had compassion for the souls of the people he was a missionary to that is not enough to sustain the missionary zeal of Paton or for that matter of any Christian. This is not to say we are not to have compassion, we are, but as Baker shares, if we are truthful we will all find ourselves in times where we simply do not feel the compassion we ought to have and what do we do in those time?

Baker points to Psalm 67 ( Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee. Psalm 67:3 ) and relates that our zeal for the spreading of the gospel should be grounded in a desire to see God worshipped as He deserves to be worshipped. We should have a desire to spread the Gospel that is driven not for the people but for God. Again this is not to say we are not to care for people, we are, but never above our devotion to God.

I think that for me, and probably for many, the desire to share the Gospel wanes often as we get so inundated by things that we simply do not have the compassion and care others souls we should have. But one thing that should never wane is our desire to see God worshipped as He desires and deserves to be worshipped. As Baker also shares, when we see others worship anything but the one true, triune, God we should burn with a desire to see that changed. Yes the person that repents of worshipping other than the true God will receive benefit from the change the main goal should be to see God worshipped.

This fits well with one of my favorite books by John Piper – The God is the Gospel. This book speaks so much about how we have turned the Gospel into a message about us instead of about God. Yes we are included in the Gospel message but we are not the focus, God is. We should share in God’s passion for His glory to be known and that all nations would worship Him (Psalm 2, 67, 96, 100 - as Baker shares). So, while our compassion and desires for others to know the glory of a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ may undulate we should never allow for our passion for His Glory to be known by all to do so. We have to move from a man center theology to what it is supposed to be, a God centered one.

I pray this article would bless you as it did me. Maybe as something new or, as it did for me, as a reminder of where my focus is to be.

2 comments:

Dwigt said...

Allen Baker's article rings true for me experientially as well as theologically.

Feeling of love and compassion for people ebbs and flows here in Asia just like it does at home. The experience seems amplified in another culture.

People aren't just good enough in themselves to inspire me to feel love and compassion all the time. I try to love them. But false religion, hypocracy, all-out-cruelty, sexual perversion, disrespect for the Bible, associating you with a MTV vision of America.... it wears you down fast! The only thing that can inspire me are the traces and shadows of what could be if these people began to love and worship God in light of suffering and glory of Jesus Christ.

Allen Baker is right that only in the worship and praise of God can we have a strong, consistant passion to seek that all others praise him. Only God in the face of Jesus Christ can inspire a love, awe, and worship that never dies.

I think too this helps shape our definition of what love for people really is.

i got in the face of one of my good national friends yesterday because he was showing disrespect to the Bible. Told my language teacher that the only reason he would consider seeing a prostitute is because he is submitted to sex not God. That he doesn't worship the true God but a false one.

Might sound harsh, but was it loving? It might depends on how important the worship of God is too you.

Tony said...

Dwight,
Thanks for the comment. One of the things that the article made me think about was how often we do rely on our feelings towards man when it comes to evangelism but as you have said, and by what I am sure is true for many, this just does not work. We need to see God in such a way that HE is what inspires us to seek HIS glory in whatever we do including evangelism.

Again thanks for your thoughts and I will pray for you in Asia.

Grace and Peace,
Tony