The Highest of All Missionary Motives

John Stott comments on Romans 1:5, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.”

If, therefore, God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ (as Scripture sometimes puts it) for the honor 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 honor 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, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God, verse 18), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Some evangelism, to be sure, is no better than a thinly disguised form of imperialism, whenever our real ambition is for the honor of our nation, church, organization, or ourselves.  Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom . . . Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die (John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 53.

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