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Say Among the Nations: ‘The LORD Reigns’

“Say among the nations: ‘The LORD reigns. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken. He judges the peoples fairly.’” (Ps. 96:10 CSB) What kind of message will we bring with us when we go out to the nations? What will be our banner? Our argument? Our plea? We cannot present a gospel that does not include God’s sovereignty over creation. That would not be faithful to the biblical gospel. We must proclaim that God is the rightful ruler and judge over the nations, and that one day soon he will return to judge the living and the dead. This was an essential part of the gospel that Peter preached when he went to the house of Cornelius as recorded in the book of Acts: He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all… We ourselves are witnesses of everything He did in both the Judean country and in Jerusalem, yet they killed Him by hanging Him on a tree. God raised up this man on the third day and permitted Him t
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Declare His Glory Among the Nations

How are we declaring God’s glory among the nations? Are we faithful in telling all peoples about what he has done? Sing to Yahweh, praise His name; proclaim His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples. For the LORD is great and is highly praised; He is feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. (Ps. 96:2-5 CSB) I fear that all too often our churches are communicating greed, envy, selfishness, immorality, disorderliness, strife, and abuse of authority among the nations rather than the glory of God. Are we singing his praises or our own praises? Are we proclaiming his salvation or our own righteousness? We certainly know what we ought to be doing; the Scriptures are clear on that. We must be faithful in declaring God’s greatness and the works of Christ among all peoples. And we also know why we must do it. He is the great and only true God, creator of heaven and earth

Teach Us to Number Our Days

It is too easy to be distracted by the cares of this world—such that we forget where our priorities should be. “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” (Ps. 90:12 CSB) Because life is short, we must number our days and stick to our God-given priorities in life. We have our marching orders— “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…”—yet we quickly lose sight of that mission. Often, Satan tempts us not with direct disobedience but with the mindless tools of distraction and loss of focus. All he needs to do to win is to get us distracted from our mission. How many Christians have once been passionate about the mission of making disciples but were distracted by the cares of our culture? Our culture encourages us daily to go deep in debt to earn a degree, drive a nice car, wear nice clothes, and live in a nice house. How easy is it for us to grow increasingly distracted by the everyday cares of life, about which our Lord told us n

All the Nations will Honor His Name

Have you ever considered that the nations didn’t come about by happenstance, but that the Lord made them? “All the nations You have made will come and bow down before You, Lord, and will honor Your name. For You are great and perform wonders; You alone are God.” (Ps. 86:9-10 CSB) God intentionally made the nations; he created them like he created everything else. The nations rightfully belong to him. He is their rightful King—the King of Kings. At the appointed time, all the nations of the earth will bow before the Lord and honor him name. The New Testament tells us that the specific name they will honor is the name of Jesus. “So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11 CSB) Taking these two passages together, we see that everyone will honor and bow to Jesus, both individually and collectively. Every indivi

Meditating on Missions Through the Psalms

All the way back from the table of nations in Genesis 10 and the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, we see that the nations of the earth play a major role in God’s redemptive plan. All the nations became rebels and apostates from God at the tower of Babel. Then, God, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, specifically chose the nation of Israel to be his possession. Through Israel, he brought the promised Messiah into the world. Now he is continuing to redeem for himself people from every tribe, language, and nation. What was not clear at the time of the patriarchs (though it was mentioned progressively throughout the Old Testament) was that all nations would eventually be redeemed and would return to God. Indeed, even in God’s covenant to Abraham, we see that he would be the father of many nations, and that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. But the mystery of how God would include the Gentiles was not fully revealed until the New Testament. It is both joyous and am

Exposing the Glory of God

Have you ever smelled a beautiful, exotic flower, stroked fine silk, or gaze in awe at the stars? We’ve all done these awe-inspiring things. But have you considered, for instance, that there are some wonderfully fragrant flowers that no one has ever smelled? Many wildflowers will bud, bloom, and wither without anyone to enjoy them. Are these flowers that no one has smelled wasted? No, they were not wasted. They did not bloom for us. From the beginning of the world until today, multitudes of flowers have bloomed and given their fragrance to no human being. Only God saw the beauty of each one—only he savored the aroma of every flower of the field. They bloomed for God. Have you ever considered that, in the history of the earth, most silk strands spun by silkworms have never been felt by human hands? They were spun and faded with none to handle their delicate fibers. Was all that silk wasted? No—God was there when the worms worked their looms, and he was there when each emerged fr

A Biblical Theology of Work and Identity, Part 4: Call or Command?

God’s  calls to repentance and to holiness  aren’t just requests; they are commands to his church. When you are a Christian, you are no longer your own; it belongs to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This also applies to the Great Commission. The pattern of the Christian life ought to be that when God says “jump,” we ask, “How high?” And when God says, “Go into all the world,” we simply reply on our way out, “Yes, Lord—how far?” What does this mean for the “call” to missions? Is the command to mission individually applicable to every believer? Is it audible? Is it just an internal prompting or suggestion? Biblically, the church is commanded to do missions. It is our collective task, as the entire body of Christ, to make disciples and teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded. Strictly speaking, this mission not a special vocation for certain individuals; it is a commission to the entire church to accomplish God’s purpose on earth. This leaves believers tremendous liberty in h