Let the Nations Be Glad!

Ligonier Ministries 2011 National Conference | Orlando, FL

I invite you to open your Bibles to Psalm 67:1–7. Let the Nations be Glad, as a title, came from this psalm, and you’ll hear it. I’ll read the seven verses of this psalm:

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
     your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
     for you judge the peoples with equity
     and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
     God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
     let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Tracing the Roots of Revival

What I want to do is go back in history, a few hundred years for a few minutes, then go out to the world and update us on what God has done since that historical moment, and then go into this text and listen to the word of the Lord concerning the nations of the world. So let’s go back first, a few hundred years.

The missionary endeavor of the Protestants in England burst forth out of the soil of a very rich, Reformed, Puritan theology. Do you remember the Puritans? They were the pastors and the teachers between 1560 and 1660 who wanted to purify the Church of England in accord with the theological and practical teachings of the Reformation.

They had a view of biblical authority and God’s sovereignty that produced an undaunted hope for the world. They were deeply stirred with a passion for God’s coming kingdom. They really believed in Psalm 86:8–9, which goes like this:

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
     nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
     and worship before you, O Lord,
     and shall glorify your name.

They were gripped by this total confidence that one day God would take possession of all the nations, and they would bow before him. It was a tremendous confidence in their hearts, and that was the confidence that gave birth to the modern missionary movement. But the Puritans were 150 years before the modern missionary movement. We usually think of the modern missionary movement beginning with William Carey in 1792, but there were things happening among the Puritans with regard to missions 150 years before this. I’m going to give you a glimpse of one of those people, namely John Eliot in America between the year 1627 and 1640, which was over 150 years earlier.

Come Over and Help Us

Between 1627 and 1640, 15,000 people, most of them Puritans, immigrated from England to America. I don’t know if you knew this or not, but on the seal of the Massachusetts Bay colony there was a picture of a Native American, and out of his mouth were the words of Acts 16:9:

Come over to Macedonia and help us.

Now, that tells a huge story about the thinking of the first settlers, the Puritans, from England, coming to America. They created a seal of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and on the seal, a picture of an Indian, and out of his mouth coming were the words, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” The mindset of the vast majority of the pilgrims who came from England to America was, “We’re on an errand into the wilderness to advance the kingdom of God and to reach the nations of the Algonquin, the Cherokee, the Iroquois, and the dozens and dozens of tribes that were in America.” They were thinking about the unreached peoples, the frontiers, and the place where the gospel was going to bring victory among the nations.

Now, one of those pastors, one of those people on the boat was John Eliot. He crossed the Atlantic in 1631, and he was 27 years old. A year later, he became the pastor of the first church in Rocksbury, which was then a town about a mile away from Boston. Something happened during his first 13 years of ministry that changed him forever. Cotton Mather, who wrote the history of those early days, pointed out that there were 20 tribes. He explicitly called them nations — nations of Indians in that vicinity — to link up with the biblical term from Psalm 86:9 that says, “All the nations shall come and bow down before you.” There were 20 of these within a stone’s throw of Rocksbury, where John Eliot was ministering.

Eliot entered into a kind of crisis period in his ministry, where he felt, “I believe in the infallible scriptures. I believe that the infallible Scriptures teach an absolutely sovereign God. I believe that this sovereign God has promised that all the nations of America and of the world will one day bow the knee,” and he could not escape the implication. At the age of 40, he set himself to learn the Algonquin language. This was an extremely difficult language. I’ve seen words. There are words in this language that are 27 letters long, and it sounds like Hawaiian. And he mastered it.

Before he died at age 84, so that’s 44 years later, working till his last breathe, he had translated all the scriptures into Algonquin, and he had translated Richard Baxter’s A Call to the Unconverted, and several other books, and he established a network of churches. There were trained Indian pastors in these churches before this story came to an end. His motto for life was, “Prayers and pains through faith in Christ Jesus will do anything.”

Missionary Zeal and the Sovereingty of God

One of the great tragedies of our land is that that was completely destroyed. We have much to grieve over with regard to our history. But what I want to say is that the earliest, risk-taking, painstaking, prayer-soaked missionary adventure into the unreached nations of the world among Puritans was driven by a profound confidence in the sovereignty of God and a rich and robust Reformed theology. I think a lot of people do not associate Reformed theology with a passion for the nations. One of the great obstacles among many groups of having them even seriously consider the implications of God’s sovereignty is that they blow it off as non-missionary, which in certain groups, it has been — but not historically.

So when 1793 comes, you not only have William Carey, driven by this very same Reformed vision of God’s triumph in the world because of his sovereign promises, but you have David Brainerd, you have Adoniram Judson, you have Alexander Duff, and you have David Livingstone. They were all driven by the same theology. They were all Reformed, they were all calvinistic, they were all lovers of God’s sovereignty, and they were all giving their lives away at great pain for the sake of bringing the nations into the kingdom of Christ. I just want you to feel that, historically, the modern missionary movement sprang up in the soil of Ligonier theology and Desiring God theology — biblical, rich, robust, sovereign-God theology.

There’s nothing at odds between such theology and a passion for the nations; in fact, it’s the opposite. So I’m eager to have you put the two together, because that kind of theology, I think, is the only kind that produces really radical obedience and intense worship, as well as durable, persevering, fruitful, commitment to world missions.

A Shift in the Center of Gravity

That’s the glance backward. Now, what’s happened in the last 200 years plus? Let’s look out for a moment. If you’re not aware of what I’m about to say, but I hope you will purchase, for example, Philip Jenkins’s books on the situation now. He created the term global south, and it’s a term that refers to Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the stunning shift of the center of gravity of the Christian Church from Europe, to America, and to the south — that is, below the equator, by and large.

Let me give you some statistics to show you what has happened. At the beginning of the 20th century, Europeans dominated the world church with 70.6 percent of the world’s Christian population being European, or of European descent. By the end of the 20th century, so 11 years ago, the European percentage of world Christianity had shrunk from 70 percent to 28 percent of the total, and Latin America and Africa combined, without Asia, made up 43 percent of the world’s Christians. That is astonishing.

In 1900, Africa had 10 million Christians, representing 10 percent of its population. One hundred years later, in the year 2000, this figure had grown to 360 million from that 10 million, representing half of the continent’s population. So quantitatively, this may be, Jenkins says, the largest shift in religious affiliation that has ever occurred anywhere in the history of the world. Mark Noll has a new book called The New Shape of World Christianity, which was published in 2009. I recommend it. Here are some excerpts:

The number of practicing Christians in China may be approaching the number in the United States. Live bodies in church are far more numerous in Kenya than in Canada. More believers worship together in church, Sunday-by-Sunday, in Nagaland than in Norway. More Christian workers from Brazil are active in cross-cultural ministry outside their homeland than those from Britain and Canada put together.

Last Sunday, more Christian believers attended church in China than in all of so-called Christian Europe. This past Sunday, more Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda than did all the Anglicans in Britain and Canada and Episcopalians in the United States combined. Last Sunday, more Presbyterians were in church in Ghana than in Scotland (How would John Knox feel about that?). This past week, in Great Britain, at least 15,000 Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work, evangelizing the local British — most of these missionaries, from Africa and Asia . . . In a word, the Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last 50 years than in any comparable period in history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history.

Missiological Mistakes

So take a deep breath and let those things sink in regarding what God is up to in these days. When you hear statistics like that, be careful that you do not draw false inferences, like, “The day of Western missions is over.” There are people talking that way, and it is horrific, I think. To say, for example, “Just send your money to third world missions because they can do it better, and we’re not needed anymore.” Here’s the way I translate that philosophy: “Let them shed their blood, not us. We’ll just give them money. We’re nice, comfortable, secure Americans. We’ll just send our money and then go to Disney World. We’re not going to put our necks on the line anymore in Saudi Arabia, or North India, or Thailand, or Myanmar, or Indonesia.”

It is not only theologically and spiritually evil to think that way, it is missiologically mistaken, because it is number one, not true that there are third world Christians in all the people groups that need to be reached, because the meaning of unreached is that there aren’t any Christians there. There are, as we speak — I updated this from the joshuaproject.net yesterday, because they keep week-by-week tabs on these statistics — 6,872 unreached peoples.

Now, you can go to their website to see the precise definition of unreached, representing 41 percent of the population of the world in those peoples. That’s out of a total of peoples. These are the ethno-linguistic, unique groups that the Bible calls nations. Revelation 5:9 says:

You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . . .

Those four things overlap and are hard to define, but they are not countries. The 221-some countries of the world is not what that’s talking about. That’s talking about Hittites, Jebusites, Cherokee, Iroquois, Hausa, Fulani, etc. There are 16,000 plus peoples like this around the world, and 6,872 of them with so few Christians, or none, so that they cannot evangelize themselves. There’s nobody to send money to.

An Advantage for Local Missisonaries?

The second reason it’s missiologically flawed is that it isn’t obvious that, strategically and tactically, the nearer tribes who are Christianized can reach the neighboring peoples, because of age-old hostilities, which a person from Brazil might overcome in Indonesia. It’s not obvious. Let God be God here. If your heart burns in this message, thinking, “This is what I’ve dreamed of all my life. I just needed somebody to push me over the edge,” I’m here to do that, so that you leave, wherever you are, and spend the rest of your days, from age 70 to 80, in Indonesia — or 40 to 90, or wherever.

I really do recommend that you do some research at joshuaproject.net, or finishingthetask.com. That’s another one I regularly use. I went there yesterday, and it was updated as of February 12 of this year. They keep tabs on the unengaged peoples — not just unreached, but unengaged. Unengaged means nobody is engaging them missiologically. They’re not even there yet. There’s no missionary going to that people group. Nobody is there, and they’ve got that all documented — who they are, who’s planning to go, who’s not yet planning to go. So that’s my look outward.

I want you to feel both hope and challenge when you look back. I want you feel hope and challenge when you look out at what God is doing. There is no hope in my Bible, or in any theological principle I know, that America is guaranteed to be anything other than a footnote in some history book, and this nation could be Muslim some day, as far as I know. We have a season. We’re a very young nation. We’re the wealthiest nation in the world — Why?

Let the Peoples Praise You

With that, I turn to the text. Let me read it again. This is Psalm 67:1–7, but what I just said is going to set this up wrong, if I don’t correct it. This psalm is not about America. The us here is not America, it’s the people of God. There are millions and millions of us in America, and we are filthy rich. Look at this building, and you all paid whatever to come to this conference, and all of us are wealthy. We’re wealthy. By whatever standards in America you may feel like you’re not wealth, but you’re wealthy. There’s a reason that the people of God have been blessed, and that’s what this psalm is about. It’s not about America, it’s about the church, which I think I’ll be able to show you hermeneutically before we’re done.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
     your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
     for you judge the peoples with equity
     and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase . . .

Oh, has it ever? Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota are the bread basket of the world. We could feed the whole world with three states. God has blessed our soil in Minnesota. You drive through Minnesota and look at that corn and that soil, and it shows that anything could grow there. It’s so black, it’s so rich, it’s so awesomely blessed. Who did that? Why? Psalm 67:7 says:

    God, our God shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
    let all the ends of the earth fear him!

The Great Purpose of God

Now, there are three big questions to ask of this psalm. We’ll take them one at a time. Number one: What is the great purpose of God revealed in this prayer? It’s a prayer. What is the purpose of God? It is clear. This is the way you pray. When you’re praying, “Thy kingdom come,” this is why you pray. God’s purpose is to be known, praised, enjoyed, and feared. Those are the four purposes of God in this psalm. Let’s just look at them.

1. God’s purpose is to be known.

Psalm 67:2 says:

That your way may be known on earth,
     your saving power among all nations.

So purpose number one is that God means to be known by these 16,000 nations. God will not rest until he, the true God, is known among all those nations.

2. God’s purpose is to be praised.

Psalm 67:3 says:

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you!

And then again in Psalm 67:5:

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you!

We should not rest until we see every people group praising the true God. This is a beautiful picture in your mind — all the languages of the world praising the Lord.

3. God’s purpose is to be enjoyed.

God’s purpose is to be enjoyed among the peoples. Psalm 67:4 says:

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.

God is not content until all the nations are glad in God. This is not just praising God and not just knowing God, but rejoicing in God.

4. God’s purpose is to be feared.

Psalm 67:7 says:

Let all the ends of the earth fear him.

So, the purpose of God is clear: to be known, praised, enjoyed, and reverenced among all the peoples. You can just take yesterday’s message and add, at the end of every sentence, “All the nations.”

Working with God

Now, most of you probably don’t know who J. Campbell White is, but I’m going to quote from him, and then in a minute, I’ll tell you who he was. Here’s what he said:

Most men (I think he meant men and women) are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world he came to redeem. Fame, pleasure, and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.

Now, I think that’s implied in our text. If we are children of God, then the only thing that will bring true and lasting satisfaction is to throw our lives into the purpose of our Father. And the purpose of our Father is to be known, praised, enjoyed, and revered among all the nations. Now, at that point, if I were you, I’d start to get restless and say, “So, are you saying that only missionaries can have a fully satisfied life? And that, by implication, all of us should stop what we’re doing and do that? That is, be a cross-cultural, home-leaving missionary?” My answer to that is no; it’s a biblical no.

But let’s answer it first by saying who J. Campbell White was. He was not a missionary; he was a businessman. In 1906, he and others founded the Layman’s Missionary Movement, because they watched what God was doing among students — the Student Volunteer Movement, in which thousands of young people were dedicating themselves to world evangelization, leaving their homes, and going to the hardest places of the world to spread the gospel and plant the church. These laymen said, “We can’t miss out on this.” So they formed the Layman’s Missionary Movement, precisely to stay at home and get behind it with all their might. They wrote their mission statement like this:

Investigation, agitation, and organization — the investigation by laymen of missionary conditions, the agitation of laymen for adequate missionary policy, the organization of laymen to cooperate with the ministries and missionary boards in enlisting the whole church in its supreme and saving work for the world.

That’s the way J. Campbell white was thinking. So when I say, by implication, this psalm is saying and J. Campbell White is articulating that you just can’t rest until you’re engaged with this, I don’t mean you’re a goer.

Goers and Senders

At Bethlehem, we like to say there are three kinds of people: goers, senders, and disobedient. There aren’t any other kinds. So I do not expect you nor want all of you to go. When Paul was heading for Spain and he wrote his missionary letter called Romans to get support. When he said, “I want you to help me on my journey” (Romans 15:24), he meant, “Don’t go with me.” That’s what he said. He meant, “Help me speed beyond here. Give me what I need. Hold up my hands. Supply me. You’re not called to go to Spain, I’m called to go to Spain. Send me.”

We’ve had about a hundred missionary units go out, and we don’t let any of them go unless they have a Barnabas team. That’s what we call it. These are people that gather and say, “We are holding this rope as you go down over the cliff. If you fail, it’s our problem. We’re in your life for the duration.” You can’t do missions if people don’t stay, so don’t hear me saying that. But I am calling for engagement, thinking, study, and an investigation-organization-agitation kind of engagement in your local church with the sense, “Who’s the advocate for the unreached peoples here” This isn’t just vague missions, like sending some kids to Haiti. I’m talking unreached peoples that don’t have anything and are in places, all of which today don’t want you to come — almost.

The hardest places that are left are places where it’s very difficult to go, but there are no closed countries. You can get in, you just can’t get out. The concept of a closed country would have been unintelligible to Paul, who spent every other weekend in jail. No, I don’t expect all of you to go. So question number one to this text is: What’s the purpose of God in this prayer? And the answer is to be known, to be praised, to be enjoyed, and to be feared among the peoples of the world.

The Occasion of God’s Global Praise

Here’s the second question: What is it that God aims to make known about himself among the nations? What does this psalm say God wants to be known. If he says, “I want to be known and praised,” then what does he want to be known for, and what does he want people praising him for? According to this psalm, there are four answers.

1. God wants to be known as the true and living God.

God aims to be known as the one and only, true and living God. I gather this from the fact that an inspired Israelite poet is praying for his God, Yahweh, to be known among the peoples where a pantheon of pagan gods are already worshiped.

So when he says, “Let all the peoples praise you, Oh God,” he means let all of them turn from the false gods to the true and living God. That’s the first thing. God wants to be known among the nations as the only true and living God.

2. God wants to be known as a God of justice.

God aims to be known that he is a God of justice, and that he does what’s right. Look at Psalm 67:4, which says:

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
     for you judge the peoples with equity . . .

So let them be glad, because you judge the peoples with equity. God wants to be known as the one who judges the peoples with equity.

What does that mean? It means that when the judgment of the nations comes, God will not be partial. No one will be condemned for the color of his skin, no one will be condemned for the size of their brain or the place of their birth. No bribes will be taken or considered. No sophisticated plea bargaining will be accepted from any people group whatsoever. All will proceed on the basis of impeccable righteousness.

Let this be known to all the peoples of the earth. They will stand on equal footing with every other nation before God, including Israel, and they will all be judged by one standard of justice: God. His truth in revelation, generally, if they have that, or especially if they have had that. God is a God of equity, he’s a God of justice, and he wants to be known among the nations that he’s that kind of God.

3. God wants to be known as a God of sovereign power.

God aims to be known that he’s a God of sovereign power. I think we reformed people should realize we have an edge with Islam. Wimpy gods are going to go nowhere in Islam. A big, strong, sovereign, all-knowing, all-controlling, evangelical, Christ-exalting God will go. We are called to engage with a people whose God, for them, is absolutely sovereign. So, the third point is that God aims to be known as the God of sovereign power. Psalm 67:4 says:

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
     for you judge the peoples with equity
     and guide the nations upon earth.

What does it mean that God guides the nations on the earth? Many nations call themselves sovereign states. The Lord laughs. He sits in heaven and laughs at the puny claims to sovereignty of rulers like Gaddafi. He laughs at their presumption and at nations that think they are making their own way in the world, like the United States of America. Acts chapter 17:26 says that boundaries and their time periods are determined by the Lord. He allots them all.

Proverbs 21:1 says:

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.

Daniel, 2:21 says:

He removes kings and sets up kings.

And Daniel 4:35 says:

He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

God aims to be known as the one who runs the world, guides the nations on the earth. They are not sovereign. One is sovereign. He sets the destiny of every nation, and he wants them to know that. When you pray for rulers of the world, which you should do regularly according to 1 Timothy 2:1–4, you should pray that they know they’re not God. Pray for God to humble them.

Pray, “Oh God. Bring them to their faces. Bring the president of the United States to his face. Bring Muammar Gaddafi to his face, before the living God, and may he say, like Nebuchadnezzar, “I was an ox until I discovered that God rules the nations. I ate grass, my fingernails were like Eagle’s claws, and I didn’t know which way was up until my reason returned to me, and I knew God is God and raises up kings and puts down kings.” Pray that for the nations. God wants to be known among all the rulers of the world and all the nations of the world that he guides the nations.

4. God wants to be known as a gracious God.

God aims to be known as a gracious God. This is the gospel now. Psalm 67:1–2 says:

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
     your saving power among all nations.

He wants to be known as a gracious God. First, he’s gracious to Israel, but why? It’s not only to Israel, but that his salvation may be known. You might think, “Could that mean Israel’s salvation should be known? As if to say, ‘Ha ha. Israel is saved and you know it now. Sorry.’” Is that the meaning here? No, it’s not the meaning, because he says in Pslam 67:4, “Let the nations be glad.” That would not make the nations glad. That would be like saying, “Just to inform you, the church has been saved and you can go to hell.” That doesn’t make the nations glad.

When it says that salvation may be known among all nations, he means that Israel’s blessing should go to the nations and make them glad. This is the old Puritan hope — these four great truths about God. There is one true and living God, he is infinitely just and holy, he is sovereign over all the nations, and he is gracious to all who will believe, and that’s how he wants to be known among all the nations of the world. That was true for Israel then, and it’s true for us now.

Blessed to Be a Blessing

The third question is, why does God bless his people and make his face to shine upon them? That’s us, as I’m going to argue. The answer is really clear. I said yesterday that my favorite phrase in the Bible is in order that because I’m a purpose guy. I just have to know why blessings would come to John Piper. I was born into a Christian home. I could have been born into a Hindu home. My parents never wanted for a meal. I had what I regard as the best education I could have had at every step of the way. I got a job without having to have a year of unemployment after I finished school, and God has blessed Bethlehem. Why? What’s the point of all the blessing? It’s here.

The psalmist begins by praying, “May God be gracious to us.” It’s not wrong to pray that. You ought to pray that. And pray for blessing in every way. That’s no problem. Make as much money as you can, just live on a 10th of it, or whatever. Keep it simple and give the rest away. Invest, invest, invest. Make your life an investment. Don’t lay up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Lay up treasures in heaven. Make friends for yourselves in heaven. We have money for a reason, and here it comes:

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face shine on us,

There it is in a little shortened form.

that your way may be known on the earth,
     your saving power among all nations.

God has blessed us for the sake of the world. I’m tempted to generalize this for America, providentially speaking, but let’s just keep it to the church. Here’s the hermeneutical movement. I said I would try to help you hermeneutically get from this psalm to your local church. Genesis chapter 12:2–3 is the promise behind this prayer. This is a prayer that God would bless Israel for the sake of the nations. Now, Genesis 12:2–3 is behind that, and you know these verses. I’ll read them to you. God promises to Abraham:

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

All the Families of the Earth

What a spectacular promise made to Israel. All the families, 16,000 people goups, are just going to be blessed because of Israel and because of God’s covenant with Abraham — this rich root of the olive tree. This promise is picked up in Isaiah 49:6, which says:

I will make you (Israel) as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

Where is that quoted in the new Testament? It’s quoted by Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:47 as their mission when they’re kicked out of the synagogue. They quote Isaiah 49:6, which is picking up on Genesis 12:2–3, which is prayed in Psalm 67. And their point is, “The church’s mission to the Gentiles, the nations, is the extension of the Abrahamic covenant to those for whom it was intended.” Who are the children of Abraham? Those who have the faith of Abraham are the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Wild olive branches are all over the world, ready to be grafted in to this magnificent tree into which you Johnny-come-latelys were grafted in, when the branches were broken off until the full number of the Gentiles come in. When they come in, all of Israel will be saved.

This is what we’re after. We want to see this thing wrapped up, and it’s wrapped up through world missions. This gospel will be preached as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). It’s what we want. So we pray, “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on the earth, the way the angels do it in heaven, perfectly and totally.”

Hastening the Coming of the Day of God

So, my closing stress is that the reason we’re blessed is in the little word — that — in Psalm 67:2. It says:

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face shine on us.
that your way may be known . . .

I think every time you reach into your pocket or into your purse and pull out money, you should say, “Why? Why does these keep coming into my life? It’s buying me a house and car and food.” And that you will now think, among all the other right things to do with your money, this is one huge thing.

Blessing is on the church in America for the sake of the nations. Even though the center of gravity has moved from Europe to America, and now to the global south, my prayer is — and I’m simply in God’s face about this — “No, no, no, no, no. The church in North America will not be left behind in this process. We will not hand over our mission to the global south. Don’t leave us. Don’t take the blessing from us of being a means of advancing your kingdom. At least thousands, maybe millions of us, want to be spent and spend ourselves for the sake of the nations.”

So I think the purpose is pretty clear here that we are blessed in order to be a blessing for the nations. That doesn’t mean you all go, but it does mean you all go or send; that you’re engaged in some way.

So let me close with a quote from 1648. This is written by the parliament of England concerning the Indian peoples of New England:

The utmost ends of the earth are designed and promised to be, in time, the possessions of Christ. The ends of the earth shall see his glory, and the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ. And if the dawn of the morning be so delightful, what will be the clear day? If some beginnings be so full of joy, what will it be when God shall perform his whole work, when the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, and east and west shall sing together the song of the Lamb?

God is going to get this done. So I just encourage you, don’t miss out. Join this invincible purpose of God.