Why We Live and Leap for the Glory of God in the World - Radical

Why We Live and Leap for the Glory of God in the World

God’s people should treasure Him above anyone or anything else since He is supremely glorious and satisfying. However, it’s all too easy for us to say that we treasure God and then deny Him with the way we live and the things we value. In this message from Ethiopia based on Malachi 2:17–3:12, David Platt encourages us to consider what we’re saying about God with the way we use our money. We should use our money, and everything we have, so that His name is glorified in our lives and His gospel is made known around the world.

If you have a Bible—and I hope you do—let me invite you to open with me to the very last book in the Old Testament, Malachi 3. I am standing right now on a rooftop in Ethiopia, actually the same rooftop I was on a year ago at this time. I want to bring greetings to you from 125 or so of your brothers and sisters who are here in Ethiopia. So to those of you in our other campuses—Tysons, Montgomery County, Loudoun, Prince William and Main Ave—it’s good to be together, not just across Washington, but across the world around God’s Word.

My heart is so full. When we knew we’d have this many people here in Ethiopia, we decided we wanted to have some time in the Word from Ethiopia. There’s so much I want to share. My plan was originally to dive into the Gospels today, as Mike in a sense led us through the close of the Old Testament story last week in Nehemiah. But as I was reading Malachi in our Bible Reading this week, I was surprised by just how appropriate some of the things in this book are in a variety of different ways for our church.

There are two particular issues that Malachi is addressing in his day that I think are really applicable to us in DC right now. One is marriage; specifically faithfulness or unfaithfulness in marriage. Malachi 2 is a powerful picture of the union of a man and a woman, with the Spirit of God in the middle of that union, and how there’s breakdown when there’s unfaithfulness, not just to one another, but unfaithfulness to God.

Over the last couple weeks in particular, through some different things in the church, I’ve just been bombarded with the reality that a lot of our marriages are struggling. So we need to hear what God says about marriage and faithfulness—not just to one another in marriage, but faithfulness to Him in marriage and what that looks like. So that’s one issue Malachi was addressing in his day.

Then a second issue is money. In the passage we’re about to read, God basically tells His people that they are robbing Him. It’s pretty powerful language. I think about the idolatry of money in Malachi’s day and the idolatry of money in our day which is a constant battle in this materialistic world we live in.

 

Quite frankly, we’ve been walking through budget preparation for next year as a church. As we’ve been walking through that, we’ve been looking at our giving and we’re actually down pretty significantly—specifically at Tysons, which affects the overall picture as a church, but not so much at the other campuses. The other campuses are actually up. You guys at Arlington and Montgomery County in particular are killing it. But I don’t think that means you’re necessarily free from the idolatry of money.

The reality is whenever I look at our budget, I really believe we are giving a fraction of what we could be giving for the glory of God in the world. I’m not really that concerned about making up our giving; God is always faithful to provide in the church. I think my deeper concern is for our hearts. Whenever I see a lack of giving, I immediately ask, “What’s going on in people’s hearts in the church that is leading to that?”

So we’ve got marriage and money—and mission, which we’re going to talk about today—all addressed in Malachi. As I was reading that, I was looking at our coming weeks as we start to read in the Gospels, where we’re going to see Jesus teaching specifically on money and marriage. To give you a preview of where we’re going to be headed over the next few weeks, we will look at what Jesus teaches about money and marriage in a way that is totally different from the way this world thinks and the way we are wired to think. I want to start today by showing that all of that is in the context of mission from Malachi 3.

I’m standing here with 125 of our brothers and sisters—that’s a lot of people from one church on a mission trip in a place pretty far away from Metro Washington, DC. A couple weeks ago I was with 200 of our members in the Dominican Republic. What is going on? What compels hundreds of people to go, spend their money and skip their vacations?

Thinking about marriage, I saw one couple this morning who came on this trip last year. They had recently gotten married, and due to various circumstances, they weren’t able to take a honeymoon at that time. So they said they were going to wait a year and on their first anniversary of marriage, they were going to take a honeymoon. Then they found out about this trip to Ethiopia. Last year they spent their honeymoon, so to speak, on a mission trip to Ethiopia. So, romance on mission in Ethiopia. And they’re back this year celebrating their anniversary again.

Apparently mission and marriage go together. That’s what I want us to see. As hundreds of people are going to different places around the world—not just on these two trips, but to other places—along with thousands of you supporting them and living on mission right where you are, I think we’re beginning to see the Bible teaches that mission is not just part of our lives or church over here that we just talk about every once in a while. Rather, mission is actually the purpose of our lives. Mission affects the way we think about marriage, money and every facet of our lives. I’m looking at 126 brothers and sisters spreading out across Ethiopia, plus 200 across the Dominican Republic last week, plus all kinds of projects across Metro Washington, DC. I think we are beginning to see mission as the purpose of our lives and I want us to look at what compels people to live like this.

Then I come to Malachi 4 where there is a verse at the beginning that talks about the people of God going out like calves leaping out from the stall. It’s a vivid picture of people eager to make the glory of God known in the world. I believe that is what God is doing in ever-increasing ways in our church. He is leading us to be, and more and more we are becoming, a people who are living and leaping for the glory of God in the world, to use that same imagery.

I want to show us in Malachi 3 what causes that kind of life, what causes that kind of approach to marriage, mission, work and everything in our lives, so we are saying, “We want to live and do everything we do—family, life, marriage, singleness, everything—for the glory of God in the world.” So let’s look at Malachi 3 and see the big picture of what compels us to reorient all of our lives around mission. Then let that lead us, Lord willing, in the coming weeks to think about how this affects the way we think about marriage and money, with all of this obviously revolving around Jesus.

So let’s start by reading Malachi 2:17. This is the Word of God. This is Malachi prophesying to the people of God.

2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the

sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.

Let’s stop at this point. I don’t just want to think about these truths in the Word; I want us to go into the world, to a few different places in Ethiopia, and think about these truths with you from there. Hopefully in the process, the Spirit will bring these truths all the more to life in us. Malachi 4:2 talks about those who fear God’s name. The Son of Righteousness is shining upon them with healing in His wings and they go out leaping like calves from the stall. So as members of our church are spread out “leaping” for the glory of God in this city around me, I want us to see what’s happening and think about these truths from Malachi 3 that cause us to live that way. And not just to live that way in Ethiopia, but to live that way wherever we are in the world. So let’s go on a journey into the streets of Ethiopia.

Stop number one in Ethiopia, where we as a church are serving. I’m actually standing in front of a church building where we gathered together yesterday. There were about 125 of us, with hundreds of Ethiopians from about 60 other churches, who had come together in a coalition to say, “We as the church in Ethiopia, in partnership with people from other places, want to address the orphan crisis here with the gospel.” It was a powerful picture. We had government leaders here; we had church leaders from different networks of churches; plus brothers and sisters together in the body of Christ coming together, saying, “We want to address the orphan crisis together.”

We left this place yesterday to scatter out. All this week, not only brothers and sisters from McLean Bible Church, but there were brothers and sisters from Ethiopian churches serving alongside one another in orphanages in different places across this city. It was a powerful picture of the body of Christ working together. This whole coalition of churches, by God’s grace, is the fruit of members of MBC.

#1 – God has given us the greatest gift imaginable—Himself. Reason number one for why we go out living and leaping for the glory of God in the world, why we have worked to make this coalition of churches a reality in Ethiopia, is because God has given us the greatest gift imaginable—Himself.

I want us to think about what we just read in Malachi 3, after this whole Old Testament story we’ve been reading. We’ve seen story after story after story of sin and suffering in the world, even among God’s people. We’ve seen leader after leader after leader—even heroes in the Old Testament like Abraham—who sinned. Abraham lied about his wife twice. Think about Moses, whose sin was so serious before God that God said, “You cannot lead My people into the Promised Land.” Think about the book of Judges, with story after story after story of sinful leaders who led God’s people into all kinds of suffering. Think about kings who came after them. Even the best king—King David who was unfaithful in marriage—committed murder as a result of his adultery.

When you get to the end of the Old Testament, it almost feels hopeless. This is the story of humanity: sin, suffering, the end. But Malachi 3 makes it clear that is not the end. Listen again to Malachi

3:1. God says, “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.” Me? What does that mean? “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.” The Lord God will come to His temple. He is going to come. Yes, He’s going to be preceded by a messenger, but the Lord God is going to come.

To be clear, this is not the first time we hear this kind of promise in the Old Testament. We actually read it all the way back in the very beginning of the Old Testament, in Genesis 3. God said, “I’m going to send One Who is going to provide salvation from sin and suffering.” That’s the whole point. From the beginning of the Old Testament in Genesis 3, now to the end of the Old Testament in Malachi 3, we have a promise that in a world of sin and suffering, God Himself will come to us—and not just that He will come, but He has come. God Himself comes to us in the person of Jesus.

Why does God come to us? Well, Malachi 3:2-4 makes it clear. We see words like refining, purifying, making righteous. God will come to save us from our sin. All who trust in Him can be saved from sin. We can be purified, refined, made righteous through faith in Jesus, God in the flesh. And not just to save us from sin, but then we read in verse five about God drawing near for judgment. You see pictures of immorality, idolatry, oppression of the poor, ignoring the widow and the fatherless. Basically God is saying, “I will come to judge sin for all who turn from Me.”

So here’s the picture. I know there are some of you sitting there today who are exploring Christianity and are not yet a follower of Jesus. You’re visiting and we are so glad you’re here. We welcome you in. Listen particularly closely if you’re not a follower of Jesus here, because this is the story of the Bible in a nutshell, summarized in 60 seconds.

You and I have all sinned against God. We’ve all turned aside from God’s ways to our own ways, so we are separated from God. If we die in the state of separation from God, we will spend eternity separated from God. But the good news of the Bible is that God has not left us alone, separated from Him. God has come to us. He’s not just sent this messenger, or that prophet, or a king. God has come Himself in the person of Jesus Who has done what no other leader, no other person, no other king, no other anybody could ever do or will ever do.

Jesus lived a perfect life with no sin. Then, even though He had no sin to pay any price for or to die for, Jesus chose to die in order to pay the price for your sin and my sin. Jesus died on a cross to pay the price for our sin. The good news keeps getting better, because He didn’t stay dead for long. Jesus rose from the dead in victory over sin, so that all who trust in Him can be saved from all their sin. This then is the ultimate question I would ask every single person within the sound of my voice right now, because your eternity hinges on how you answer this question. Will you trust in Jesus to save you from your sin? Or will you, in your life, turn from Jesus and trust in yourself? The answer to these two questions determines your eternal destiny.

I want to urge you to trust in Jesus to save you from your sin, believing that God loves you so much that He has come to save you from your sin. I invite you today, right where you’re sitting now, to trust in Jesus and be saved, forgiven of all your sin, reconciled back into relationship with God. The beauty is that when you do that, because you realize God Himself has come to us, then it only makes sense in a world of sin and suffering that we go tell others of His love and forgiveness.

This is what we do as the overflow of the good news of God coming to us: we ourselves go to others to share this gospel. We don’t wait for people to come to us to find out the greatest news in the world. We go to them. We go to coworkers we work in the office with. We go to neighbors around us. We go to people in the city right around us and people around the world. We tell them the greatest news in the world, that God has not left us alone in a world of sin and suffering. God has come to us to make a way for us to be saved from our sin and have eternal life with Him.

We go into the world to share this gospel and show God’s love. It only makes sense, for those who’ve received this kind of love from God, to go into a world of need and show this kind of love. So put it together with what is happening here in Ethiopia with an orphan crisis of five million orphans. How will they know that God loves them, that God is the Father to the fatherless, if we don’t go to them? This is what we do. Of course we give our lives, but not just here in Ethiopia.

This is why we are serious about foster care in our church. We are serious about adoption. We’re serious about loving vulnerable children right around us—and not just children, but people in need. We are drawn to people in need. We go out living and leaping for the glory of God, because we want them to know the good news of the God Who does not wait for us to come to Him, but the God Who comes to us.

Let me put an exclamation point on this particular reason why we live for the glory of God in the world. This whole picture started in the hearts of a few members of MBC. You’ve heard us talk specifically about Dr. Z and Naomi, one of the families in our church. This brother and sister are originally from Ethiopia. They were living for the possessions, pursuits and pleasures of this world, as followers of Jesus. Then one time when they back here in Ethiopia—basically on a vacation—somebody invited them to go into an orphanage. So they visited an orphanage and their eyes were opened to the massive need here, in a way they had never seen. It totally turned their lives around. They realized, “This is where we need to be. We need to be working here.” They returned to DC and started mobilizing our church. Now, as a result of God’s work and the gospel at work in their hearts, there is a coalition of churches in Ethiopia addressing the orphan crisis. Along with Dr. Z and Naomi, there were some others along the way in our church who have been doing similar things.

I’m going to be with a couple other people later today meeting with the president of Ethiopia—at his invitation—to talk about how this is affecting their country. When we were praying for this team going out to Ethiopia A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that over a hundred from our church were recently

invited by the Ethiopian ambassador to the U.S. to the embassy in DC for a dinner to thank McLean Bible Church for the impact we are having on this country.

Powerful things happen when God’s people reorient their lives around mission in a world of urgent need. Powerful things happen when you and I realize that because God has come to us, the natural overflow of our lives is that we go to others in need to share the greatest news in the world and show God’s love. Why do we live and leap like that for the glory of God in the world? The first reason is because we realize God has given us the greatest gift imaginable—Himself.

#2 – God has given us so many other gifts beyond Himself. Stop number two on our journey through the Word from Ethiopia is that I’m now standing in front of one of the orphanages we have the privilege of partnering together with here, where members from our church are working. It’s really humbling. There are kids in this orphanage, particularly young children, who have a lot of need in a lot of different ways. At the same time, it’s awesome to see the men and women here in Ethiopia who are working to care for these kids and seeing the church now coming alongside and helping to care.

So let’s dive into the second reason why we go into a world of need, living and leaping for the spread of God’s glory. It’s because God has given us so many other gifts beyond Himself. We talked about the greatest gift imaginable is God Himself and if God gave us nothing else, our souls would have all we need and all we want. But the reality is that God gives us more. He gives us so many good gifts beyond Himself.

That’s what He was doing in the Old Testament. He had blessed His people in so many ways. But they were missing it, in such a way that they were asking God questions like, “How shall we return to You? Why do we need to return to You?” God says, “You’re robbing Me.” That’s pretty potent language there in verse eight: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me.” God’s people loved their money and possessions so much that they were not giving tithes and contributions that were required in the Old Testament to both provide for the worship life of God’s people in the temple and to care for orphans, widows and others in need. Or, if they were giving offerings, Malachi 1 talks about sick, lame offerings.

Obviously the picture is different today. We don’t bring sacrifices for the upkeep of a temple. We don’t bring sacrificial offerings. Nobody’s putting a sheep in the offering basket as it’s passed today. That would be awkward. But the same temptation that we see in the Old Testament is obviously present in our lives today, that of loving money and possessions so much that we hold on to it or spend it on ourselves

instead of giving to God. Or if we do give, we give far less than we could. We give kind of to ease our consciences, or maybe worse, to appease God.

So we see this principle from the Old Testament and the New Testament in our lives today, just like in the day of Malachi. True, sincere relationship with God involves glad, sacrificial giving to God. See the correlation there. Our giving is the overflow of our relationship with God. That’s what was wrong here in Malachi 3. Their robbing God was a lack of love for Him and love for what was important to Him.

That’s why, whenever I see giving down, my deepest concern is for our hearts. Jesus says in Matthew 6:21: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That’s a pretty clear principle He’s teaching there. If you want to know where your heart is, look where you’re spending your money. If you want to know what is most important to your heart, you don’t have to wonder. Just look in your checkbook or your credit card statement. Look at the way you’re spending money and prioritizing spending. That is a reflection and a pretty dangerous commentary on your heart. So you have to be on guard, if the love of money, possessions and the enjoyment of good gifts from God causes you to focus on them instead God and His purposes for those good gifts.

If we had time, we’d dive in depth regarding how Malachi 3:10 is so often misinterpreted, misunderstood and misconstrued. It’s an Old Testament picture of giving where God is saying, “As you bring tithes into the storehouse to provide for the upkeep of the temple and the land…” There was a physical land, temple and nation God was building and maintaining.

This is different from what we get in the New Testament. Maybe you’ve heard preachers say, “If you give materially to this ministry or this church, then God is going to bless you materially in return.” It’s almost like an exchange, which is actually not the picture we see regarding New Testament giving. We don’t see a promise that says if you give money to the church, then you’re going to get more money from God. The New Testament gives a very different picture. Listen to 2 Corinthians 9:11, where the Bible says, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.” Similarly, in 1 Timothy 6:18 Paul talks about people whom God blesses with wealth in this world: “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

So the whole picture is not that God gives us more when we give more. Rather, God gives us more so that we can give more. Follow this truth we see in God’s Word. God gives us more, not so that we can get more. God gives us more so that we can give more. And that is a radically different perspective on money than the world has. We realize that when God gives to us, it’s not intended to be hoarded by us or used by us for more stuff for us—newer stuff, nicer stuff, bigger stuff, better stuff. That’s the way the world thinks, but it’s not the way God’s Word speaks. God’s Word says God gives us more so that we can be even more generous, so we can have all the more to give.

That’s what I see this week. When I’m in this orphanage, I see brothers and sisters from our church who are spending their vacation time and money, who are letting go of opportunities to get more

in this world, and instead they’re giving. This is a picture of a heart that knows God has given us far more than Himself, as if that’s not enough. He’s given us so much more to be given for others. And the effects? We’ve shared with you before that there was one orphanage here where three to five children were dying every single week. Because, by God’s grace, you started to give, we as a church started to give. We got involved with working in that orphanage, then after that there was a six-month period where only one child died. That’s what happens when we realize that God gives us more so that we can give more. Awesome things happen when we actually believe that.

Just imagine what we can do as a church, right there in greater Washington, DC, and what we can do around the world, if we actually believe God gives us more, not so we can get more, but so we can give more. If we stop living according to the ways of this world, we can give more. If we actually believe God has given us so many other gifts beyond Himself and that they are intended to be used for His glory, that will cause us to give, live and leap for the glory of God in the world.

We’ve seen two reasons why we do this; let’s move on to one more place for the third and final reason.

#3 – We really believe the purpose of our lives is to glorify God among people beyond ourselves.

I’m actually standing right now on a church property where a church building is being constructed, right in the middle of a Somali community. You might be able to see the mosque right behind me that was just built recently. This whole community is full of Somali men, women and children. Somalis are some of the most unreached people in the world, meaning most have little to no knowledge of the gospel. It’s incredibly hard to spread the gospel into Somalia.

I know we have a tendency, when we think about mission, to think, “Why are we talking about mission? We have so many needs in our lives.” And we do. This is why we love one another and care for one another as a church. At the same time, we turn our eyes to people who have the same kind of hurts and the same kind of pains in their lives around this world and they’ve never even heard the good news of how much God loves them. Nobody’s ever told them about Jesus. This is reason number three why we go living and leaping for the glory of God in the world.

We do this because we really believe the purpose of our lives is to glorify God among people beyond ourselves. We really believe that our lives are not about us, not about our comfort, not about our safety or our material prosperity. Our lives are about something bigger than ourselves. We really believe that the purpose of our lives is to make God’s glory known in the world around us. We believe this kind of life on mission is not just part of our lives, it’s the purpose of our lives. We have breath to make the glory of God known in the world.

This is the heart of what we read here in Malachi. It’s all over the book. Turn to Malachi 1:11, where God says, “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” Go to the end of verse 14 where we read, “For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.”

This is exactly what we saw in Ezekiel a few weeks ago. God desires for His glory to be made known in all the nations, because He’s that good, He’s that great. Jump down to Malachi 2:5, where it talks about Levi, who “stood in awe of my name.” Then 3:12, God says, “As a result of what I do among you by coming to you,” then “All nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”

The point is crystal clear in God’s Word. God ultimately intends for His name to be known among all the nations. We have seen this from the beginning to the end of the Old Testament and we’re going to see it as soon as we get into the New Testament. This is a clear theme in Scripture. Why does God intend for His name to be made known among the nations? Because He’s God and He is worthy. God is better than anyone or anything else in the world. God is greater than anyone or anything else in the world. He’s more glorious than anyone or anything else in the world.

If we believe God is that good and that great and that glorious in the world, then as the people of God who know this——even amidst the hurts and pains in our lives—we know His love and mercy and sovereignty. When we know all these things, then as the people of God, our lives revolve around making the goodness, greatness and glory of God known among all the nations in all the world. We want to make His glory known.

This changes the way we view everything in our lives. Everything in our lives and in our marriages is for the glory of God in the world. Singleness is for the glory of God in the world. Jobs are for the glory of God in the world. What we do for recreation is for the glory of God in the world. Now 1 Corinthians 10:31 makes sense: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We want to make God’s glory, goodness and grace known in the world through our lives. This is not just a part of our lives. Mission is not just something we talk about every once in a while. This is the purpose of our lives. This is the reason we have breath.

So then, it just makes sense to look around us in a world of need. I’m thinking about some orphans I saw yesterday. When we see orphans and other vulnerable children around us in greater Washington, DC, we say, “I want to make the goodness and the grace of God known among them. I want to do foster care. I want to adopt. I want to help families that are doing that.” We as a church want to do that. Why? Because we want the goodness, grace and glory of God known in the world around us. But not just right around—far from us as well. Not just when it comes to orphans and vulnerable children, but in all kinds of ways. Right where we live, we want Metro Washington, DC, to know the goodness, grace and glory of God more and more and more. We live for this. We go out leaping today from church for this purpose all week long. We do this wherever God leads us, even to the ends of the earth.

I’ve got to tell you this story. I received a social media message while I’ve been here from somebody who said they were in a neighboring country—not in Ethiopia, but a neighboring country here in Africa. They were out in a remote bush area and saw somebody who lives there wearing a McLean Bible Church t-shirt. I just laughed! What a picture. Obviously, our goal is not about McLean Bible Church. It’s not about our name. But I do smile when I think about the fact that we as a church are having an impact and being in places and making the glory of God known in the most remote places in the world.

What a privilege! What a joy! We live and leap for the glory of God—not because we have to but because we want to. We’re compelled to do this—why? Because God has given us the greatest gift imaginable: Himself. Why? Because God has given us so many other gifts beyond Himself. Why? Because we as a church actually believe that our lives were created to make the glory and love of God known beyond ourselves, so we’re not just focused on ourselves. May this be the story of our church family. Again, not for the name of McLean Bible Church, but for the joy of being and doing all God has called us to be and do as His people in a world of need who have been saved by Him.

This leads to two questions I want to ask as we close. First, have you received God’s greatest gift of Himself? Have you trusted in Jesus to save you from your sin? Have you turned from yourself and trusted Him? I wish I could sit down with every single person right now and ask you, face to face, this question. It’s the most important question in the world.

I feel the urgency in a fresh way, surrounded in this Somali community by people who mostly have not turned from themselves to trust in Jesus to save them from their sin. I want to invite you. You can do that today. You can be forgiven of all your sin today, reconciled to a relationship with God today. I invite you to receive God’s greatest gift—Himself—and a relationship with Him. That can be yours today by faith in Jesus.

Then, for all who have received God’s greatest gift, I ask will you reorient your life around making the goodness, greatness and glory of God known right where you live this week, where you work, people you’re around, then wherever God leads because you want His goodness, grace, greatness and glory known in and through your life. Don’t underestimate for a second what that can do. We’ve seen it in God’s Word and in the world how powerful things happen when God’s people reorient their lives around mission.

Will you reorient your life—your marriage, your use of money, your time, your plans, your dreams for your life—around, “How can I best make the gospel, greatness and glory of my God known right where I live and wherever God leads among the nations?” We do this because we know from Malachi 1:11 that in every place, offerings will be given and God’s name will be known among the nations. He said, “My name will be great among the nations.”

Let’s pray.

God, use McLean Bible Church toward this end. Whether standing here in Ethiopia or supporting this work in Ethiopia from greater Washington, DC, we praise You for the privilege right now of seeing and spreading Your glory among the nations. So I pray for our brothers and sisters who are sitting right there in greater Washington, DC. I pray that You would use them this week for the spread of Your glory right around them, for the spread of Your grace to people in need right around them. God, we pray that vulnerable children right around us in our communities would know Your love.

We pray people who are going through all kinds of struggles in life, that we would go to them and be an expression of Your love to them. May that be the story there in greater Washington, DC, and may it be the story here in Ethiopia and in remote places beyond even where I’m standing right now. God, please, we ask, use us as a church to make Your grace and glory known among the nations.

 

We say together, “You are indeed that good. You are that great. You are that glorious and we worship You. We pray that You would use us to make Your worth known from Washington, DC, to the ends of the earth.” Help us live and leap for Your glory in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Question 1

How are we plagued by the idolatry of money?

Question 2

In what way has God given us the greatest gift imaginable?

Question 3

Why does God coming to us compel us to go to others?

Question 4

How does a genuine relationship with God foster sacrificial giving?

Question 5

According to the sermon, what should our lives as Christians revolve around?

You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?” Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?” Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, “How have we robbed you?” In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.
– Malachi 2:17–3:12

#1 – Because God has given us the greatest gift imaginable: himself.

In a world of sin and suffering, God himself comes to us.

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
– Malachi 3:2–4

To save from sin all those who trust in Him.

Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
– Malachi 3:5

To judge for sin all those who turn from Him.

In a world of sin and suffering, we ourselves go to others.

To share this gospel.

To show God’s love.

Powerful things happen when God’s people reorient their lives around mission in a world of urgent need.

#2 – Because God has given us so many other gifts beyond himself.

True, sincere relationship with God involves glad, sacrificial giving to God.

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way . . .
– 2 Corinthians 9:11a

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share . . . God gives us more not so that we can get more; God gives us more so that we can give more.
– 1 Timothy 6:18

#3 – Because we really believe the purpose of our lives is to glorify God among people beyond ourselves.

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
– Malachi 1:11

For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
-Malachi 1:14b

He stood in awe of my name.
– Malachi 2:5

Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.
– Malachi 3:12

God ultimately intends for his name to be known among all the nations.

So as the people of God, our lives revolve around making the goodness and greatness and glory of our God known among all the nations.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

Less than 1% of all money given to missions goes to unreached people and places.*

That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Let's change that!