Missions exists because worship doesn’t. The ultimate issue addressed by missions is that God’s glory is dishonored among the peoples of the world. When Paul brought his indictment of his own people to a climax in Romans 2:24, he said, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” That is the ultimate problem in the world. That is the ultimate outrage.
- The glory of God is not honored.
- The holiness of God is not reverenced.
- The greatness of God is not admired.
- The power of God is not praised.
- The truth of God is not sought.
- The wisdom of God is not esteemed.
- The beauty of God is not treasured.
- The goodness of God is not savored.
- The faithfulness of God is not trusted.
- The commandments of God are not obeyed.
- The justice of God is not respected.
- The wrath of God is not feared.
- The grace of God is not cherished.
- The presence of God is not prized.
- The person of God is not loved.
The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist—who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)—is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored among the peoples of the world. That is the ultimate reasons for missions.
The opposite of this disrespect is worship. Worship is not a gathering. It is not essentially a song service or sitting under preaching. Worship is not essentially any form of outward act. Worship is essentially an inner stirring of the heart to treasure God above all the treasures of the world—
- a valuing of God above all else that is valuable
- a loving of God above all else that is lovely
- a savoring of God above all else that is sweet
- an admiring of God above all else that is admirable
- a fearing of God above all else that is fearful
- a respecting of God above all else that is respectable
- a prizing of God above all else that is precious
John Piper in Let the Nations Be Glad! The supremacy of God in missions, third edition