Read Isaiah 66:19. This verse is prophecy as well as a picture. As prophecy, it is a dual description of what God would do in Israel’s immediate future and of His activity during the Millennium. But it also a picture of how God makes Himself known. First God performs a sign that displays His glory. Then He sends those who saw the sign as messengers to the nations who have not heard of Him. Finally, the messengers declare His glory to those nations.
First, God performs a sign that displays His glory. The sign that most displays His glory is the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Describe how God made this known to you.
Second, God sends those who saw the sign to be messengers to the nations that do not know of Him.
If you had to pick one category of the THUMB to visit on a short-term mission trip, which would it be (tribal, Hindu, unreligious, Muslim, Buddhist)? Explain.
Finally, the messengers declare the glory of God.
Describe your level of interest in sharing the glory of God among unreached peoples.
“The missionary question is not, where are there unbelievers? and then send a missionary there. There are unbelievers everywhere! The missionary question is, where are there peoples who don’t have any Christians in them? That’s the missionary question” (John Piper).
Does this influence your perspective on missions to unreached peoples? Explain.
“What’s the purpose of God for the nations? God’s purpose is that He be praised. Oh, that we could get a heavenly mindedness about the world so that we could see it as God sees it. Lives are a vapor, eternity is long, heaven is ecstatic with joy, hell is horrific with pain. These are the great realities” (John Piper).
Are these the great realities driving missions today? Explain.
Read The Abrahamic Revolution, chapters 6–10.
“When missions includes everything, it becomes nothing” (locations 1239–40).
How does this speak to being missionally active but not strategically focused?
“The phrase ‘make disciples of all ethne (peoples)’ does not let us off the hook once we have a church in every country—God wants a strong church within every people!” (locations 1276–78).
How are countries and people groups different from one another? Hint: See Global Starting Points if you’re struggling for an answer.
“Another important clarification made in the last three decades involves the difference between unreached people groups and unengaged people groups. An unreached people group may have a small population of Christians (less than 2 percent) and missionary teams currently working there, but they remain unreached because the gospel has yet to take root. Unengaged people, however, have no Bibles, no workers, and no active church planting initiative directed at them. There are approximately 600 unengaged people groups today with a total population of 500 million people” (location 1303).
It’s shocking enough to discover the truth about unreached peoples. Describe your thoughts about this startling fact.
“John Piper further writes, ‘Dr. Winter reached up and pulled the unseen rope called “unreached peoples” that rang a bell which reverberates to this day’” (location 1322–23).
Do you hear it ringing? Explain.
“One of my modern-day heroes is a surfer from California named Brad Buser. Challenged by his youth minister to give his life for world evangelization, Brad turned his back on professional surfing and headed to the tribal world. He was eighteen when he left to spend twenty years with the Iteri tribe in Papua New Guinea, translating the Bible into their language and planting a church. While home on a two-year furlough, the neighboring tribe began to write letters to him. Here is a portion of one: ‘What’s going on? Where is our help? Have you forgot about us? We of Sinou haven’t forgot about wanting a missionary, we carry a huge heavy constantly about this. We carry this heavy because we fear for our lives. We know the paipel [Bible] says you should come and tell us. Us dark ones need it. How will we go to God’s place if not? Only those who know will go, how will we know if no one teaches us? That’s my worry, we want a missionary now to give us God’s talk’” (locations 1536–39).
This is among many letters written by tribal peoples pleading for missionaries. What influence should this have on our global missions to them?