“Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah” (Psalm 67:4, ESV)
Psalm 67 is one of the great missionary Psalms of the Old Testament. It stands as a testimony to God’s everlasting desire to spread His mercy far and wide beyond the national boundaries of His Old Testament people, Israel. When it comes to the work of missions, we often think of something we must do— with us getting up, and going out to share Christ with people. There is a sense, of course, that this is true. Missions won’t occur unless we are willing to share Christ, but this is not where the work of missions begins. The work of missions begins with God blessing His people with a sense of His presence.
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1–2, ESV)
Notice, verse 1 is the prerequisite of verse 2. If the Church is empty of a felt sense of the presence of God, she has no supernatural energy to take the gospel to the nations. It is the face of God that alone can give us the courage to face the nations. This is the energy of all true missionary endeavor. If we know the face of God, we will share the gospel of God.
The focus and the goal of missionary work is worship (Psalm 67:3-7):
“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” (Psalm 67:3, ESV)
This, too, is corrective. We often think of missions in much more man-centered terms: “Getting people saved!” People are in danger of the wrath of God, we think, and we have the only message that can save them. This is, of course, true, but by itself it is only half story. The real reason missions exist is not because people are going to hell, but because people are not worshipping God. They are robbing God of the glory due to His name. This is the first and foremost reason we must reach out to a lost and perishing word— we are trying to win true worshippers, who worship God in Spirit and Truth. John Piper put it memorably: Missions exists because worship doesn’t!
To that end, it gives me very great pleasure this weekend to introduce to you a young friend of mind, John Prabhakar. I first met John back in In 2014 when he was a student at the Reformed Theological Seminary of Jackson, Mississippi, and I was preaching a Winter Bible Conference at Pinehaven Presbyterian Church in Clinton, Mississippi. We have maintained fairly regular contact since then, and it has given me great delight to see John develop as a man of God. I have met few students who so radiate the joy of the Lord.And he comes to us with the highest commendation of the minister and session of the historic First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi.
As you can see from his bio(below), John plans to head back to his hometown, Bangalore in January of 2018 to pastor and plant churches in that city. Your session interviewed John earlier this fall and it is our unanimous recommendation that we support him and his American wife Kelley Beth in this work. John will briefly share his vision for the work on Sunday morning and then he will preach the word to us on Sunday evening. John is a gifted preacher and I would ask you all to make a special effort to come and support him in his ministry in our evening service.