BIBLE STUDY INTRODUCTION
As we move on to the New Testament, we see the same theme that we saw in the Old Testament – God desires to be glorified among all nations. What that means is that God desires to reveal or demonstrate His nature and character among all the people groups in the world. In the Gospels, God’s glory took the shape of a man – Jesus. He revealed the glory of God by who He was and what He did. Jesus was God – His very existence as the God-man glorified God (John 1:14). And Jesus glorified God by what He did – “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness” (Mt. 9:35). Now let’s take a closer look at what Jesus taught about God’s glory and the nations.
GOD’S CHOSEN SERVANT (Matthew 12:14-21)
This passage shows that Jesus was the one to fulfill the prophecy, “…he will proclaim justice to the nations … In his name the nations will put their hope.” We see here that Jesus’ purpose was for all the nations, not just a few.
JESUS’ TEACHING ON THE END TIMES (Matthew 24:14)
Jesus taught that God will be glorified among all nations before the end of the age. It is part of the plan -God will do it! Isn’t it exciting to be able to play a part in that plan?
JESUS OVERTURNS THE TABLES (Mark 11:15-17)
Why was Jesus so upset with the money changers and those selling things in the temple? Because they were keeping the temple from being used as originally intended as “a house of prayer for all nations.” Jesus could have overturned the tables and simply condemned the “den of vipers” or quoted some other scripture about purity in worship. But he didn’t. He expressed extreme emotion related to all the nations worshipping the Lord. In this passage, we see clearly that God’s glory among all nations was very close to the heart of Jesus.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10:10-18)
When likening Himself to a good shepherd, Jesus remembers to mention “other sheep” that He will bring into the fold. In trying to explain His character to the disciples, He mentions other peoples. It is possible that Jesus was concerned with people in all of His creation?
JESUS PREDICTS HIS DEATH (John 12:23-32)
Jesus talks about His death as His being “glorified,” and God the Father confirms it audibly from Heaven. Jesus then goes on to say that when He dies, He will “draw all people to myself.” As He wrestled with knowing how He would die, Jesus was confident that glorifying God among all people was “the very reason [He] came to this hour.”
JESUS PRAYS FOR ALL BELIEVERS (John 17:18-24)
In Jesus’ prayer for believers, He talks about unity of heart and purpose with the Father “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” He also speaks of His desire for believers to see His glory. This passage shows how God’s glory among the nations is the natural outcome of unity with Christ.
Why should we be involved in missions? Because God desires to be glorified among all the nations. Key principle: Missions is mostly about God. Although we should, and do, have compassion for people who do not have a way of hearing about the Lord, our primary motivation must always be God and His purpose. If our primary motivation in missions is the need of the lost to know the Lord, our motivation can easily turn into guilt because everyone has not heard yet. We can feel overwhelmed, like it’s just too much for us to do on our own. And honestly, it is. But when we understand God’s heart for the nations, when we realize that this is a work He has already said He is going to do, and when we choose to partner with Him, then what was once guilt becomes passion. What was once overwhelming becomes exciting because we can’t wait to see what God is going to do and how we can be involved.
CONCLUSION – BUT WHAT CAN I DO?
The task of reaching every people group in the world with the message of Christ can be daunting. Many people believe that in order to be involved, they have to sell everything they own and move half way across the world. But they don’t! In fact, the basis of all partnering with God is prayer. You can pray. Prayer for unreached peoples is the foundation of reaching them. But what does that look like? Well, you can add 5 minutes of prayer for unreached peoples to your daily devotional time. One easy way to do this is to pray through Joshua Project’s “Unreached People of the Day.” You can download the app to your mobile device (available on iOs and Android) or sign up for periodic emails with the same information (http://www.unreachedoftheday.org/unreached-signup.php). Each day includes a photo, statistics, brief people group background, a map, a scripture reference, and specific prayer items. When we pray, we partner with God and His purposes.
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Isaiah 26:8
The preceding is the sixth of twelve lessons. We started in Genesis and will be working our way through the Bible. These studies will be available on this website every other week starting July 15th, 2014. You can access them by going to Articles in SDBMissions.org. Or if you would like to receive these by email twice a month, please contact Subscribe by Email and say that you would like to be put on the missions study emails list or use our contact page: Contact Us. To download a powerpoint version follow click this LINK.