As we work to articulate an updated statement of our mission, vision and values as a church, it’s important to remember that our ultimate purpose and our marching orders are clear. Every Biblical church shares the ultimate purpose of glorifying God above all things and of obeying the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. The question is, “What does it look like in this place, in this time, for us to glorify God and make disciples of all nations?”
This video summary from John Piper is one of the best clips I’ve seen to summarize that ultimate purpose or vision. What does it mean to glorify God? How does that relate to our inevitable human desire to be happy? Is it possible to pursue our happiness precisely by bringing glory to God?
The key line is this: “God is more glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” What brings the most honor to anyone – dutiful service or passionate enjoyment? Clearly a wife would much prefer her husband to delight in being with her much more than having him go through the motions of serving her needs. The same is true of parents toward their children and friends toward one another. Enjoyment conveys far greater honor than duty.
Yet when it comes to God, we usually default to dutiful service and struggle to experience passionate delight. Here is the key that unlocks joy in this life and that best unveils what heaven will be about: God’s glory and my joy are not at odds with each other as if I must choose between them; they are one in Christ! I glorify God by enjoying Him forever. He is my greatest joy and by finding my highest delight in Him, I bring the greatest honor to Him.
God’s eternal existence has been the passionate delight of Father, Son and Holy Spirit reveling in the excellencies of one another. History has been the gradual unveiling of these glories of our Triune God, first to the people of God in the Old Testament and then to all nations in the New.
The Gospel is God’s open invitation to all who will hear and respond: come to the fountain of living water! Come and find rest for your soul! Taste and see that the Lord is good! Eat and be satisfied with the richest of food. Stop digging wells in the desert that cannot truly make you happy and come to the only One who can fill you to overflowing with love, joy, peace and power.
This is our vision as a church: to bring glory to God by “spreading a passion for the supremacy of Christ in all things, for the joy of all peoples” (another John Piper quote). We want to create a culture of joy in our church that celebrates the wondrous glory of God and invites people to trade their empty worship of false gods for the soul-satisfying worship of Jesus Christ. We want to lift up the name of Jesus in our city so that more people will hear the good news of His saving work and His name will be increasingly honored. We want to invest in global missions so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will spread to all peoples and nations, inviting as many people as possible to join in this everlasting celebration of the supremacy of Christ.