True Worship and True Mission: For the Glory of God
TRUE WORSHIP AND TRUE MISSION: FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
Worship and mission are so bound together in the economy of God that you really cannot have one without the other. The reason for this is that true worship is rendering to God the glory which is due his holy name. And this is the great end and purpose for which all things exist. God created the world as a theater in which to display his glory. He created man and woman in order that they might reflect the image of his glory. He sent Jesus in order that the glory of God might be seen in the face of Jesus Christ. He redeemed sinners in order that they may be changed into the image of his glory. There is nothing beyond this for us: it is the terminus of everything in the universe. And that is why worship is the highest employment of our faculties: it focuses on the glory of God.
But when we come to know God, we discover that he is jealous for his glory. He will not give it to another, nor his praise to graven images. He desires his glory to be declared among the heathen (Psalm 96:3). Do you see the logical corollary which must be drawn from these premises? No Christian man or woman worshiping God and desiring his glory can be unmoved by the fact that there are areas of the world and nations where God is being robbed of his glory. That is why true worship and true mission always go together, and it is why the glory of God is the only ultimate missionary motive. There are, of course, others: compassion for the lost, obedience to the Great Commission and so on. But these are not the ultimate motive. The ultimate motive is the glory of God.
--Eric Alexander, from a message at the Urbana Missions Conference, 1981 (www.urbana.org/_articles.cfm?RecordId=510). Rev. Alexander was born in Glasgow, Scotland, where he was educated at the University of Glasgow, obtaining degrees in Theology, Philosophy, and History. He served for fifteen years as minister of a rural Church of Scotland parish in Ayrshire, and for twenty years as Senior Minister of St. Georges Parish Church in the center of Glasgow. He retired from St. Georges at the end of 1998. Since then, Rev. Alexander has had a wide ministry both in Europe and in the United States, teaching at a number of seminaries including Regent College, The Masters Seminary, Beeson Divinity School, and Westminster Theological Seminary. In addition, he has spoken at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformation Theology over the past twenty years.
Have a great week!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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