This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Desiring God National Conference in the twin cities with Rebekah. The theme this year was Finish the Mission: For the Joy of All Peoples, Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged.
When we go to missions conferences or hear missionaries speak, we hear statistics like this: There are over 2.8 billion people who belong to unreached people groups. Of these, 50,000 die daily.
I don’t know about you, but these statistics make me feel hopeless, desperate, and overwhelmingly sad. Tens of thousands of people come to the end of their lives every day without ever having heard of the Savior. What can we do in response to a problem this monumental? What can anyone do?
When looking at this, it helps to go back to the foundation of our faith. The best thing about this conference was that every speaker, without fail, put his emphasis first and foremost on the greatness and glory of our God. On Friday night, Louie Giglio spoke about “The Galactic God who gives the Great Commission”. He used scripture, facts from astronomy, and pictures of far away galaxies to show just how enormous this universe is – and by extension, just how magnificent is the God who created it all “by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6).
David Platt spoke from Isaiah 6 and Psalm 148 on the “Glory of God, the Lostness of Man, and the Gospel of Christ”. Leaders come and go. Kings come and go. Presidents come and go. But there is one King who will never pass away, who always has been and always will be. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, he is continually being praised by his creation and by the seraphs around his throne. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!”
God is perfect, but we – mankind – are utterly lost.
“We have spurned God’s authority and despised his word. Our sin before an infinitely holy God warrants infinitely horrifying judgment. Our problem was not just that we made bad decisions, but that we were lost, cut off, condemned, destined for hell.” – David Platt
But God looks at us, rebels and sinners, and says, “You are innocent.” He shows both his holy hatred for sinners and his holy love for sinners in the cross of Jesus Christ. He ended with this:
“We have an indescribably urgent mission. Here are three reasons why it’s urgent we go to them:
- Because there are 2.5 billion people in the world who have only enough knowledge of God to damn them to hell,
- because the gospel of God is powerful enough to save them forever.
- because the glory of God is good enough to satisfy them forever.
There was so, so much more to each of these messages and to the rest of the conference. Men who have given their lives to be missionaries in places like Japan, Papua New Guinea, and the Middle East shared first hand accounts of the work God is accomplishing around the globe.
There are so many soul-numbing things in this life; so many distractions, substitutes, and preoccupations. My heart was warmed and my soul was refreshed by these reminders of the indescribable, unfathomable majesty and greatness of God. He is the reason for it all. He deserves the praise of every tribe and people and nation and tongue. And while he has given us the seemingly impossible task of making disciples of all nations, he has given us this promise:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
p.s. Listen to these messages!
p.p.s. (I took the statistics from DG ministries).