Christ's Reward, the Fuel of Missions

Posted on: 
October 1, 2018

Recently I heard a message by Paris Reidhead entitled, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt.” In this message, Reidhead tells the story of two Moravian missionaries who left their communities to sell themselves into slavery in order to reach African slaves with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the two Moravian men boarded the boat and left the harbor, they faced criticism from others, knowing they would likely never return. The two men's response to this as they faded from sight was to cry out: “May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering!”

This story jarred me, challenging my purpose for serving God overseas. What is the primary purpose of our lives on earth as followers of Christ? Put another way, what is the most compelling reason for partnering with God in extending his Kingdom, whether here or abroad? Do we engage in this cosmic battle primarily to improve the lives of countless millions who live in abject poverty? Do we go forth in Christ's name primarily to make disciples? Do we face the onslaught of the enemy merely fueled by the desire to rescue people from a Christ-less eternity? While all these things are part of our mandate as Christ followers, they do not lie at the heart of God's mission, and thus, should not form the primary motivation for our partnership with him.

To accomplish the mission which God has entrusted to us, our focus must extend beyond ourselves and others. Improving someone's life—even rescuing that person from eternal torment—inevitably will lead to an inward focus, whether on ourselves as individuals or on our fallen human race. Our actions can only be sufficiently sustained by a vision that focuses unswervingly on Christ.

The entire canon of Scripture attests to God's desire to receive worship from the nations. From the Hebrew patriarchs to the prophets and poets, the Old Testament resounds with the call to all nations to join in worshiping, YHWH, the one true God (e.g. Ps. 117:1; 67:4). In the New Testament, the stage lights focus on the person of Jesus Christ and his dramatic role in accomplishing this goal of cosmic worship. The climax, which has been building throughout Scripture, arrives with the advent of Christ and the future hope of all nations coming to him.

Christ's life, death, resurrection, and ascension to his Father's throne set in motion many things: the redemption of the cosmos, the vanquishing of the powers of darkness, and the establishment of his eternal Kingdom. Christ's goal was (and still is) to redeem people from every tribe and people and language. Because of Christ's sacrificial life and death, he is worthy to be exalted far above all principalities and powers (Phil. 2:5-11).

Christ's reward is his holy Bride, the Church, which will include people from every people group and language. At this moment, we live in the time period between creation and new creation; we live with the opportunity to continue the ministry of reconciliation, of continually working towards the full realization of Christ's reward—the inheritance of all nations. Jesus Christ is the rightful King whose rightful reward is the worship of all creation. “Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).

We go forth in the power of the Spirit, not because we are able, nor primarily because we want to rescue people from an eternity separated from Christ. We go forth in the mission of God for the sake of Christ, so that he may receive his due inheritance, the everlasting worship of all peoples. May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering!

-Written by a member of the team currently completing their last phase of training at the ABT base.

  • “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
  • “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
  • “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
  • “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
  • “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
  • “That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
  • “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
  • “Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
  • “Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
  • “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • “As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
  • “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
  • “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
  • “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
  • “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
  • “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
  • “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
  • “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
  • “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
  • "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
  • "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
  • "You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9, 10