The Trinity, the gospel, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and church growth are the core ingredients associated with missionary work in the New Testament. These are the things that our missionaries highlight in their reports to us and these are the things that indeed glorify the Lord. So it seems appropriate to ask, “How is God most glorified in the work of missions?”
God is most glorified in missions as He works out His eternal plan of redemption to bring His creation into a right relationship with Himself. According to Ephesians 1:4, God’s plan of redemption included choosing us before the foundation of the world.
Since faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God, the Lord is most glorified in the work of missions by means of the life-changing Word of God (Romans 10:17). Peter describes the Word as the imperishable seed that lives, that endures, and that ultimately gives life (1 Peter 1:22-23). Paul proclaimed that the message of the cross is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).
God is most glorified in the work of missions through the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration. John 6:63 affirms that the Holy Spirit gives life. There is nothing more glorious than the work of the crucified and resurrected Christ that delivers sinners from the bondage of their sin debt. The worth of God’s reputation is declared in this merciful act of God, which makes His enemies His friends through the cross of Christ (Colossians 1:20). Romans 5:10 teaches us that God saved and reconciled His enemies through the death of His Son. John 17:4 asserts that Christ glorified the Father by completing this redemptive work. And finally, Revelation 4 and 5 declare that all of eternity will be devoted to glorifying Christ, the Savior.
God is most glorified in the work of missions through the impartation of strength and wisdom to His servants to declare the powerful life transforming message of salvation. God is delighted to call and then use ordinary people to do life transforming gospel work (1 Corinthians 2; Galatians 1:1; Romans 10:14).
The birth, growth, and persevering nature of the church is another way in which God is glorified in the work of missions. In the book of Acts, the church is not an Apostolic franchise. The church is a divine reality created and sustained by divine resources (Acts 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20).
God is most glorified in the work of missions by His intimate involvement with His servants. Because He is the Creator and Owner of all things, He carefully and sweetly meets all the needs of His servants in a timely manner (Acts 17:24ff). And, because time is a servant of the Lord, God is most glorified in the work of missions by His sovereign use of it. According to Galatians 6:9, the harvest will come in due time.
Finally, God is most glorified by the enduring nature of what is accomplished in the work of missions. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18) and not one redeemed soul will be lost (John 17:12).
May God help us to passionately and sacrificially connect with what glorifies God.
Adapted from Selah Moments: Meditations in Scripture Applied to Life by Jack Klem, edited by Ron Wright, p. 102-104.