Book Review: Let the Nations Be Glad!

let-the-nations-be-glad

“Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.  And the deepest reason why we worship is the goal in missions is that worship is God’s goal.  We are confirmed in this goal by the biblical record of God’s relentless pursuit of praise among the nations. “Praise the Lord, all nations!  Extol him, all peoples!” (Psalm 117:1).  If it is God’s goal, it must be our goal.” p. 39, John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad

 

I had the privilege of going on my first mission trip when I was a junior in high school.  We travelled to Waukesha, Wisconsin from Memphis, Tennessee…16 hours in a bus…to host kid’s backyard Bible clubs and to do door to door evangelism.  I had become a Christian about 3 weeks before that mission trip and I was on fire for the Lord!  Just a few years later I had the opportunity to go on my first international mission trip to Chihuahua, Mexico.  While we were there, we built a cinder block church and shared the gospel with the people in the village we were serving.  That mission trip was the first time I really understood what it meant to serve the God of the nations.  We were visiting a church on Sunday morning during that trip and the pastor invited people to come forward if they wanted to be prayed over.  I walked down and was prayed over by some of the most incredible Mexican prayer warriors.  They prayed down fire from heaven and were such a huge blessing to me!

Since those first few mission trips, I have had the chance to travel the world in a variety of contexts to share the gospel.  I’m grateful that God has given me a heart for the nations and a desire to learn more about Him by learning more about the people He has created for His glory.

I read an earlier edition of Let the Nations Be Glad several years ago and I’m glad I had a chance to read it again.  We are just about 6 weeks from our school’s annual mission week and we pray that God will do a fresh work in and through our teams as they serve all around the world.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • 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.  p. 15
  • Psalm 67:4 “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.” p. 32
  • Psalm 96:3 “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” p. 32
  • 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!” (Psalm 97:1).  “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Psalm 97:3-4) p. 35
  • “We commonly represent God as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world….Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God.” A.W. Tozer p. 37
  • Isaiah 40:25-26 p. 37
  • The most critical issue in missions is the centrality of God in the life of the church.  How can people who are not stunned by the greatness of God be sent with the ringing message, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4)? p. 38
  • Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.  And the deepest reason why we worship is the goal in missions is that worship is God’s goal.  We are confirmed in this goal by the biblical record of God’s relentless pursuit of praise among the nations. “Praise the Lord, all nations!  Extol him, all peoples!” (Psalm 117:1).  If it is God’s goal, it must be our goal. p. 39
  • God is utterly unique.  He is the only being in the universe worthy of worship.  Therefore, when he exalts himself he directs people to true and lasting joy.  “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). p. 52
  • A heart for the glory of God and a heart of mercy for the nations make a Christlike missionary. p. 54
  • Missions is not a recruitment project for God’s labor force.  It is a liberation project from the heavy burdens and hard yokes of other gods (Matthew 11:28-30). p. 55
  • “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8) p. 58
  • Revelation 15:3-4 p. 63
  • We cannot know what prayer is for until we know that life is war.  p. 65
  • Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief.  It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den.  p. 65
  • Jesus said, “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). p. 66
  • Ephesians 6:12-18
  • If we know truth, it is for a belt in the armor.  If we have righteousness, we must wear it as a breastplate.  If we cherish the gospel of peace, it must become a soldier’s footwear.  It we love resting in the promises of God, that faith must be fastened on our left arm as a shield against flaming arrows.  If we delight in our salvation, we must fit it securely on our head as a helmet.  If we love the Word of God as sweeter than honey, we must make the honey a sword.  Virtually every “civilian” blessing in the Christian life is conscripted for the war. There is not a warfare part of life and a non-warfare part.  Life is war.  p. 67
  • Prayer is the communication with headquarters by which the weapons of warfare are deployed according to the will of God.  That’s the connection between the weapons and prayer in Ephesians 6.  Prayer is for war.  p. 69
  • God has promised and God is sovereign: “All the nations…shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name” (Psalm 86:9) p. 74
  • There will always be people who argue that the doctrine of election makes missions unnecessary.  But they are wrong.  It does not make missions unnecessary; it makes missions hopeful.  p. 75
  • This crucial place of prayer reaffirms the great goal of God to uphold and display his glory for the enjoyment of the redeemed from all the nations. p. 84
  • Isaiah 55:10-11 p. 86
  • We measure the worth of a hidden treasure by what we will gladly sell to buy it.  If we will sell all, then we measure the worth as supreme.  If we will not, what we have is treasured more.  “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.  The in his Jory he goes and seems all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44).  The extent of his sacrifice and the depth of his joy display the worth he puts on the treasure of God.  Loss and suffering, joyfully accepted for the kingdom of God, show the supremacy of God’s worth more clearly in the world than all worship and prayer.  p. 93
  • Six Reasons God Appoints Suffering for His Servants
    • Suffering deepens faith and holiness-2 Corinthians 1:8-9
    • Suffering makes your cup increase -2 Corinthians 4:17-18
    • Suffering is the price of making others bold-Philippians 1:14
    • Suffering fills up what is lacking in Christ’s affliction-1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 and 2 Timothy 2:10
    • Suffering enforces the missionary command to go-Acts 8:1 and Acts 11:19
    • The supremacy of Christ is manifest in suffering- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 2 Corinthians 1:9, Matthew 5:11-12 , and Philippians 3:7-8 p. 124
  • God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.  And the supremacy of that glory shines most brightly when the satisfaction that we have him him endures in spite of suffering and pain in the mission of love. p. 130
  • Romans 5:17-19 p. 145
  • Psalm 22:27-28 p. 192
  • Psalm 67:1-2 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine up on us, [Why?] that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” p. 197
  • Humility is the flip side of giving God all the glory.  Humility means reveling in his grace, not our goodness.  In pressing us on to all the peoples, God is pressing us further into the humblest and deepest experience of his grace and weaning us more and more from our ingrained pride.  In doing this he is preparing for himself a people—from all the peoples—who will be able to worship him with free and white-hot admiration.  p. 224
  • All of creation, all of redemption, all of history is designed by God to display God.  That is the ultimate goal of the church. p. 229
  • Psalm 67:3-4 “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.” p. 238
  • Our goal is to see that experience [worship] happen among all the peoples of the world.  May the power fo the gospel waken the dead, bring them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they see him and savor him with all their hearts. And may they be so radically satisfied in him that they are freed from the fears and pleasures of this world and follow Jesus on the Calvary road of love.  Then others will see their good works and give glory to their Father in heaven—and the Word will go on from glory to glory. p. 254

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