Piper: God’s 4 Purposes for Mission
God’s purpose is to be known: “That your way may be known on earth” (v. 2)
God’s purpose is to be praised: “Let the peoples praise you” (v. 3).
God’s purpose is to be enjoyed: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (v. 4).
God’s purpose is to be feared and reverenced: “Let all the peoples of the earth fear him” (v. 7).
“And God’s purpose is not to be known and praised and enjoyed by any little clique, but by all nations.”
“What does he man to be known for? What does he mean to be praised for? What is it about him that he intends to be enjoyed? And what is is about him that makes us tremble?”
There are 4 of them:
1. He aims to be known as the one and only true and living God. He is not the God of any other religion. I gather this from the fact that an inspired Israelite is praying that his God be praised by the Gentile nations who have other gods. “Let the peoples praise you, O God” (v. 3). Here’s what Isaiah 45:5-6 says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. Besides me there is no God. …There is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.” God did not say “May all the nations become sincere worshipers of their god.” The whole Israelite religion is the opposite of that.
“Let’s be super clear about this, because we are in a world super charged with Islam. It doesn’t help the cause of truth to say we worship the same God as Muslims do. I am putting the emphasis on the word worship. We do not worship the same God that Muslims do. Muslims do not believe in Jesus dying, giving his life as a ransom for sinners, who raise from the dead and claims worship as the divine Son of God. They don’t affirm any of those things, which for us are the center and essence of our faith. And Jesus has something to say about people of whatever religion who don’t believe those things about him: ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father’ (John 8). John 5:23: ‘Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.” If you don’t worship Jesus, you do not worship God. Liberals who don’t believe Jesus rose, they don’t know God. No one who denies the Son has the Father. And everyone who truly worships the Father also worships Jesus: “Whoever has heard and learned from the Father comes to me’ (John 6). Neither Muslims or anyone else in any religion — including Baptists or any denomination in Christianity — knows God if they do not trust in Jesus.”
2. He wants to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared because he is a God of justice. Verse 4: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity.” When the judgment comes, God will not be partial. No bribes will be considered, no sophisticated plea bargaining, all will proceed along the lines of perfect, divine righteousness. Everyone stands on equal footing. There will be one standard for everyone: perfection. Therefore, the universal failure to love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind means the only salvation is the death of Jesus in our place. The perfections of Jesus and the punishments of Jesus are the only remedy for the entire world.
3. God aims to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared for his sovereign power. Verse 4: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity, and guide the nations upon earth.” Many nations boast of their independence, but God made all nations and determined their boundaries and periods of time (Acts 17) and “he removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21) and “he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of men” (Daniel 4:35). God means to make himself known as sovereign over the existence and rise and fall of nations. He sets the destiny, not any president.
And part of this destiny is that they will hear the gospel.
4. God aims to be known as a gracious God. Verse 1: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.”