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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of October 20, 2014
Everyone faces many trials; however, these trials are not in vain. God uses them to do a work in us, developing us into mature Christians.
In James 1:2-4, we are told, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. In other words, God uses the tough times in life to sharpen us, making us mature and complete Christians.
Furthermore, God will not permit you to remain in the same trials all of your life; in His proper timing He will deliver you. Psalm 34:17 says, The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
So don't run from your trials, because the testing of your faith develops you into a mature and complete Christian.
Once Christ returns at the end of this age, all those who have been born again will be with God worshiping him, and missions will no longer be necessary. Worship is eternal, but evangelism is temporary.
Until Christ returns, the purpose of evangelism is to spread a passion for Christ. We evangelize so that all the peoples of the earth will "Sing to the Lord [and] proclaim his salvation day after day" (1 Chronicles 16:23). Said differently, the goal of missions is worship.
Not only is worship the goal of missions, but it is also the fuel of missions. Worship begets missions, and missions begets worship. In the words of pastor and author John Piper, "You can't commend what you don't cherish." If you don't treasure Christ, you won't be compelled to encourage others to treasure him. Where zeal for Christ is lacking, passion for missions will be lukewarm.
Jesus instructs us to spread his name to all peoples (Matthew 28:16-20), but we'll do so only once we come to the same point as the Apostle Paul, who exclaims, "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
When, like Paul, we treasure Christ above all else, then we will be passionate about missions. But once Christ returns, evangelism will no longer be necessary because he will bring to himself and be worshiped by all those who have been made righteous in Christ. In the meantime, evangelism exists because there are still people called by Christ who are not worshipers of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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