The Greatest Thing
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
by Carter Cox
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Before telling you what God did that day, and since that day in and through my life, let's focus back for a brief moment on the Father's heart: All Scripture, All Places, All People.
Genesis 1:28-29- God creates the first people - Adam and Eve - in His image, and intended from the beginning that they would multiply His image throughout the entire earth. This is the Father’s heart from the beginning; His heart is for all people in all places on earth to experience abundant life through a relationship with Him now and forever. And who has He chosen to use to accomplish His mission? He begins with people, more specifically, Adam and Eve.
Genesis 9:1- between Genesis 1 and 9, a lot has taken place to thwart God's mission. Sin entered the picture in Genesis 3. By Genesis 5, we see mankind multiplying evil throughout God's world. Does God's mission change? Although the consequences of sin result in God choosing to wipe out every living creature, God saves Noah and his family. Then in Genesis 9:1, God gives Noah the very same mission, which He gave to Adam and Eve: be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth.
Genesis 12:1-3- A few generations later, God calls a man named Abram to be the father of a people through whom He will bless the entire world. Again, God's heart and mission remain the same. He desires all the families of the earth to be blessed with his salvation, and He's going to use Abram and his family to accomplish His mission.
Exodus 19:5-6- By this point, God has grown Abraham's family into the millions. And, after spending 400 years in slavery, God uses a man named Moses to rescue God’s people from the oppression of the Egyptians. At the foot of Mount Sinai, God reveals His intentions to use the Israelites as a kingdom of priests, who will represent him to the entire world. As God had clearly shown in the previous chapters, He himself is a pretty good representative of His own nature. From the ten plagues on the Egyptian people, to the parting of the red sea - God knows how to flex His glory. However, He has chosen to most clearly represent himself through His people as priests. A priest is a person who comes to other people and speaks on behalf of God. The Israelites were to come on behalf of God to all the nations on the earth, speaking on behalf of God. However, in the following chapter we see that the Israelites reject this identity as a kingdom of priests. They instead thrust Moses forward essentially telling God, “We don’t want this job, we want Moses to do it.” It is incredible to me that God would give such a privileged identity to such an imperfect group of people, and that these people would reject it, expecting Moses to do all God’s work as they watch. Do we not do this very same thing today? The people of God expect professionally trained pastors and ministers to be the only ones engaging in God's mission, while 95% of us who identify as “Christians” sit on the sidelines cheering on the professional. However, as we will see in 2 Peter 3:9 and Revelation 5 - God still sees all His people to be a kingdom of priests. There is no division between clergy and laity when it comes to God’s mission - His heart is to use every believer to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into the light.
Psalm 67- All throughout the Psalms we can clearly see the Father’s heart. Hear we see David requesting God’s blessing and favor upon His people in order that all nations - all the people living on the earth - would know God’s salvation.
Isaiah 49:5-6- The Father’s heart and mission continues right through the prophets. Here we see Isaiah speaking on behalf of God as He looks forward to the coming “servant” Messiah. The Father is clear about His mission in the world not being exclusive to the Israelites (though it has come through the people of Israel). God says it is “too small a thing” that He should send His servant Jesus only to bring back the remnant Israelites. Rather, God is sending Jesus to be a light to all nations, even those in the most remote corners of the world.
Luke 2:10-14- This is a familiar passage read every Christmas. God’s Angels come to the shepherds proclaiming “good news of great joy for allthe people.” This news is that what God had promised all the way back to Abraham is coming true. He has sent His son through whom all peoples in the earth can receive peace with God.
Matthew 24:14- Just before Jesus is arrested, after spending three years focused on raising up His disciples who will carry forth His mission, Jesus says that His gospel will be proclaimed in all the earth as a testimony to all peoples and then the end will come. Notice that Jesus did not say “I will proclaim the Gospel in all the earth…” or “just Pastors will proclaim…” or even “just missionaries will proclaim…” His Gospel will be proclaimed in all the world through all His followers until there is #NoPlaceLeft.
Luke 24:44-48- If there are any doubts up to this point that God has a unified mission throughout all scripture, extending to all places, through all of His people, then this passage should bring about belief. After dying for sin and raising from the dead Jesus appears to His disciples over a forty day period. On one occasion, He opens their minds to understand all the scriptures. Then clearly shows them from the law (Genesis through Deuteronomy), to the Psalms, and all the way through the Prophets, that God is on a mission. His heart is for Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection leading to repentance and the forgiveness of sin to be proclaimed to all the nations. And youare my witnesses!
Acts 1:8- In His last appearance to His disciples, Jesus assures them that they will not be alone in their task. But that the Holy Spirit will empower them to accomplish God’s mission from Jerusalem all the way to the ends of the earth.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20- In this passage, Paul refuses to allow us to shuck responsibility of our identity and God’s mission. The church at Corinth is unhealthy to say the least, however, Paul does not withhold from them their God given identity as the church. He calls them by who God has declared them to be - they are new in Christ! Not only them, but God is seeking to reconcile the whole world! He has given them the ministry and the message of reconciliation, and calls them Ambassadors for Christ (the role of a priest). Yes, even the church of Corinth is called to be used by God to extend His mission in all the earth. We have no excuses.
Revelation 5:9-10, 7:9-10- What is so amazing about God’s Word is that we know how the story ends in eternity. We see that the Father’s accomplishes the will of his heart. His mission to redeem people from all the earth - every tribe, tongue, nation, and people - is accomplished. What a scene to behold as believers from all ages gather at the throne of Jesus worshiping Him for His redemption of their eternal lives. Even more shocking? Generations upon generations of people present before Christ’s throne are there as a result of the faithful proclamation of the Gospel through one or more of God’s people. At some point in every person’s life on earth, someone shared with them the good news of Jesus. And upon hearing this good news, the people now present in heaven, made a life changing decision to repent and believe in Jesus. Every person present in Heaven was saved and sent by God to be used by Him in extending His salvation to others.
One question remains: “Will you accept your identity?”
If this is the Father’s heart from Genesis to Revelation to redeem people in all places by using the faithful obedience and proclamation of every one of His followers, then will you allow God to use you?
Up Next: Scared to Death
Sentergy: When Jesus, People, Practice and Theology Collide
Chapter 1: The Glory of God
Chapter 2: The Glory of God in Jesus
Chapter 3: The Glory of God in the Gospel
Chapter 4: The Glory of God in Disciple Making
Chapter 5: If You Love Me You Will Obey What I Command
Chapter 6: Monday Morning Disciple Making
Chapter 7: Monday Morning Disciple Making Part 2
Interlude: The Father's Heart
Chapter 8: All Scripture All People All Places by Carter Cox
Conclusion: The Lump In Your Throat