Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is a missionary God. God’s concern was never only with Israel, but with all the nations of the earth.
Psalm 96 is one of the great missions passages in the entire Old Testament. With verse 3, we come to the very heart of God’s missionary purpose.
What is the driving motivation behind missions? It is not our love for people, as important as that is. It is not our concern for people’s salvation, as essential as that is. No, the highest motivation for missions is God-centered, not man-centered. Missions must be fueled by a burning desire to see God’s name exalted in all the world.
Missions, first and foremost, is about the glory of God, not the salvation of people. Missions is about the name and the honor and the glory of Jesus Christ among all the peoples of the world. Every tongue and tribe and nation and people must proclaim the glory of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Pastor John Piper wrote:
The final goal of all things is that God might be worshiped with white-hot affection by a redeemed company of countless numbers from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9 and 7:9). Missions exists because worship doesn’t. When the kingdom finally comes in glory, missions will cease. Missions is penultimate; worship is ultimate. If we forget this and reverse the roles, the passion and the power for both diminish.
Christian leader John Stott sounded a similar note:
We should be “jealous” for the honour of his name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it. The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is), but rather zeal – burning and passionate zeal – for the glory of Jesus Christ. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.