Tag Archives: Missions

“The glory of Christ” by D.A. Carson

“The glory of Christ is the more wonderful precisely because it is twofold. He chose to walk among us with a rather paradoxical glory of humiliation, in order to save us and raise us to heaven’s heights, enabling us to see the unqualified brilliance of the divine glory rightfully His.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by Thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man.

Frank Houghton (1894–)”

–D.A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14–17 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 205.

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“A witness of word and love” by D.A. Carson

“The multiplying witness of the church has two elements to it, according to this passage. The first is proclamation of the message (John 17:20) which is to be believed (17:20, 21, 23).

The second is the public demonstration of the unity for which Jesus prays (17:21, 23), calling to mind the purpose of the ‘new commandment’: ‘All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another’ (13:35).

Both aspects of our witness are essential. The truth of the gospel, announced without the demonstration of the power of the gospel in transformed and loving lives, is arid. It may be beautiful in the way that the badlands can be beautiful; but not much grows there.

On the other hand, the demonstration of love within a believing community does not by itself proclaim the source or cause of that love. Attractive in its own right, like a luxuriant south sea island, nevertheless such love does not call forth disciplined obedience or informed belief, and cannot of itself call others to true faith. It is merely a place to rest.

The multiplying witness Jesus has in mind is both propositional and exemplary, both confessional and demonstrative. It is a witness of word and of love.”

–D.A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14–17 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 200. Carson is commenting on John 17.

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“The way of the cross is the Savior’s way” by D.A. Carson

“The way of the cross is the Savior’s way. Those who claim all the blessings of the new heaven and the new earth in the present time frame have not come to grips with New Testament eschatology.

True, the age to come has dawned, and the Holy Spirit himself is the down payment of future bliss; but it does not follow that all material blessings, prosperity, and freedom from opposition are rightfully ours now.

Even John, who of New Testament writers is most inclined to focus attention on the already-inaugurated features of the age to come, makes it clear that the Christian can in this age expect hatred, persecution, and even violence.

Perhaps this chapter, taken by itself, might prove depressing to some. It is helpful to remember that the biblical passage being expounded, John 15:17–16:4, does not stand in isolation. It is the counterpoint to intimacy with Jesus Christ and rich fruitbearing in the spiritual life.

To know Jesus is to have eternal life; and this is worth everything. In ultimate terms, the acclaim of the world is worth nothing. That is why the dark brush strokes of this passage, 15:17–16:4, far from fostering gloom and defeat, engender instead holy courage and spiritual resolve.

Meditation on these verses forges men and women of God with vision and a stamina whose roots reach into eternity. It calls forth a William Tyndale, who while constantly fleeing his persecutors worked at the translation of the Bible into English. Through betrayal, disappointment, and fear, he struggled on until he was captured and burned at the stake. His dying cry revealed his eternal perspective: ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!’

In a similar vein, William Borden prepared for missionary service in the Muslim world. Born to wealth, he poured his money and his example into missions. After the best of training at Yale University and Princeton Seminary, he arrived in Egypt to work with Samuel Zwemer. Almost immediately he contracted a terminal case of cerebral meningitis. His dying testimony did not falter: ‘No reserve; no retreat; no regrets.’

C.T. Studd, born to privilege, gifted athletically, and trained at Eton and Cambridge, turned his back on wealth and served Christ for decades against unimaginable odds, first in China and then in Africa. He penned the words:

Some want to live within the sound
of church or chapel bell;
I want to build a rescue shop
within a yard of hell.

This is the passion we need: a passion that looks at the mountainous difficulties and exults that we are on the winning side. By all means, let us face the worst: Christ has told us these things so we will not go astray.”

–D.A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14–17 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 130-132.

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“When the glorious morning comes” by Jonathan Edwards

“Is Christ Jesus the light of the world? What glorious times will those be when all nations shall submit themselves to Him, when this glorious light shall shine into every dark corner of the earth, and shall shine much more brightly and gloriously than ever before.

It will be like the rising of the sun after a long night of darkness, after the thick darkness had been ruling and reigning over all nations and poor mankind had been groping about in gross darkness for many ages.

When this glorious morning comes, then those that never saw light before shall see it and be astonished at its glory.

Then the world, which has been in a kind of dead sleep for this many ages, shall rouse up and begin to open their eyes and look forth to behold this glorious light of the world.

Then will the sweet music of God’s praises begin to be heard.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Christ, the Light of the World,” in Sermons and Discourses 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10, Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale, 1992), 544. Edwards was 18 years old when he preached this sermon. It may be read here in its entirety.

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“What are arrows for but to shoot?” by Jim Elliot

“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not.

And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly.

Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows?

And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.

‘Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of they wealth to speed them on their way, Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.'”

–Jim Elliot, in Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1958/2008), 182-183. Elliot wrote these words to his parents after telling them he was going to the mission field. He was martyred in Ecuador on January 8, 1956.

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“Do you love the Lord’s appearing?” by George E. Ladd

“Here is the motive of our mission: the final victory awaits the completion of our task. ‘And then the end will come.’ There is no other verse in the Word of God which says, ‘And then the end will come.’

When is Christ coming again? When the Church has finished its task. When will This Age end? When the world has been evangelized.

‘What will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age?’ (Matt. 24:3). ‘This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations; and then, AND THEN, the end will come.’

When? Then; when the Church has fulfilled its divinely appointed mission. Do you love the Lord’s appearing? Then you will bend every effort to take the gospel into all the world.

It troubles me in the light of the clear teaching of God’s Word, in the light of our Lord’s explicit definition of our task in The Great Commission, that we take it so lightly. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.’ This is the Good News of the Kingdom….

His is the kingdom; He reigns in heaven, and He manifests His reign on earth in and through His church. When we have accomplished our mission, He will return and establish His kingdom in glory.

To us it is given not only to wait for but also to hasten the coming of the day of God. This is the mission of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and this is our mission.”

–George E. Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), 139-140.

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“From His heart to ours” by John Stott

“Mission arises from the heart of God Himself and is communicated from His heart to ours. Mission is the global outreach of the global people of a global God.”

–John Stott, The Contemporary Christian: An Urgent Plea for Double Listening (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 335.

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