Most of us have heard that Jesus is the “Hope for Everyone.” We know that when the bottom drops out, Jesus is the only source of our hope. We know that people need to accept Christ in order to receive salvation. We know that those living with HIV/AIDS or natural disasters such as the drought in Kenya need this “Hope for Everyone.”
However, what does this knowledge mean to us on a day to day basis? How does it shape how we live, how we interact with our lost friends, how we pray or how we give? As part of MissionsFest 2011: The Hope for Everyonewe are going to spend some time responding to the fact that Christ is the “Hope for Everyone.” This fact needs to change who we are and how we live.
This week’s devotionals were written by James Misner, our Pastor of Global Mobilization. He will lead us through several responses we can have: Silence, Saying Sorry, Singing, Sacrificing and Sharing the message. Each of this week’s devotionals will focus on one of these responses and how such spiritual practices can be deeply missional.
And please note that this coming Sunday, October 16, we will celebrate MissionsFest 2011 with two identical and expanded services, at 9:00am and 11:00am. Come prepared to celebrate with us!
The fact that Jesus is the “Hope for Everyone” compels us to respond in action. We have looked at how this truth compels us to silence and saying sorry. Today we are going to look at how this truth requires us to sing and worship.
Yesterday we read from Isaiah 6. Today we are going to be reading from another passage that gives us a similar depiction of heaven, Revelation 7:9-17. You can read in whatever translation you prefer, but here we have quoted from the NIV:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Here we see cosmic worship! We see that people from every nation on earth have realized that Jesus is the “Hope for Everyone” and they are worshiping him vibrantly!
We know that God deserves our praise. No one questions that. But this passage gives us three unique reasons why the fact that Jesus is the “Hope for Everyone” elicits worship.
As we prepare to give to the vulnerable in East Africa this Sunday, let us listen to the thoughts of African pastors on the reasons this passage elicits worship.
“This great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language are clothed in the white robes that symbolize salvation. White is also the colour of victory, while the palm branches they hold are emblems of triumph….His presence will be among them….Never again will these people endure torment. They will endure the supreme protection the living God Himself. They will never again hunger or thirst.”
In this passage the mass of people are worshiping God because of His salvation, His constant presence, and His defeat of worldly ailments that torment humanity.
These three reasons give us reason to worship today! We have experienced Salvation! We are able to experience God presence! Through God’s gracious provision we have experienced significant blessings and are able to offer it to others!
The fact that Christ is the “Hope for Everyone” should cause us to shout! God’s most numerous command to us in scripture it to pray. The second most numerous is to sing! Are you singing? Is worship an active part of your life? Do you come ready to be in the presence of God on Sunday mornings?
Worship can also be missional. We discussed two days ago that missions exists because worship does not. If we don’t worship God, if we don’t go hard after God during our times of worship together as a congregation, how can we expect to make His name great in the world? God desires worship above all else, in all of its forms!
In thinking through the current situation in East Africa we can turn our worship into mission. East Africa is currently experiencing an extreme drought which is primarily impacting people who have yet to hear the gospel. Our worship through singing the praises of God and crying out for their salvation is missional worship. We can also worship through providing physical relief so that they might survive this disaster, hear the gospel message and eventually they might praise God as well.
This is worship! It is missional. It is how we ought to respond to God. So, just a heads up, get ready to worship on Sunday morning! We will respond to the fact that Jesus is the “Hope for Everyone.” Be ready to go hard after God.