You should care about missions because God cares; the subject is important to God; because God’s own glory is important; and He being concerned for His own glory is the overall theme of the Bible.
1. The whole Bible is about God’s glory and the way He gets glory is by
a. Saving sinners from all the nations throughout all of history. (Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 2 Peter 3:8-15 – the reason why Christ has not returned yet is because He still wants to save people out from sin.
b. Purifying His bride, His people, in all nations – the church among all the nations – to be growing in deeper levels of holiness and shining the light. See Ephesians chapters 3, 4, & 5 and Revelation chapters 4-5 and 19-22. “to Him be the glory in the church in all generations”, ie, “throughout all history” – Ephesians 3:20-21 All of history is about God getting glory for Himself as the church is spread and the kingdom of God is extended among all the nations / peoples.
c. And God also gets glory by executing His justice against sinners who never repented or trusted Christ in hell, after they die. John 3:18 – they are already condemned. Acts 4:12 – there is only one name under heaven by which we must be saved. Romans 9:20-23; Revelation 19-20; Revelation 14:10; Matthew 25; Matthew 5:21-30; Mark 9:48 Hell is real and it is God’s justice – His wrath. Either one trusts in the one who took the wrath and justice on the cross ( Romans 3:25-26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10) or they will have to take the justice on themselves. “kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way; blessed are all those who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 2:12)
2. You should care about missions because Christ commanded it – Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; predicted it, and grounded it the OT Scriptures – “thus it is written” – Luke 24:46-47 (that the Messiah should be preached is also written in the law, the prophets, and the Psalms); and He sent the Holy Spirit to empower missions – Acts 1:8
3. You should care about missions because God rebuked Jonah for his lack of care and that Jonah knew God was compassionate and loving and merciful and wanted him to reach out and preach to the Ninevites/ Assyrians, but Jonah tried to run away from God’s purpose for him and then even after God saved many of them, Jonah was still angry and full of self-pity that God saved them.
4. You should care about missions because the story of redemption is the structure of the entire Bible story.
Genesis 1-2 – creation
Genesis 3 – the fall of man into sin
Genesis 3:15 – the promise to send a champion who will crush the serpent’s head. (The Messiah who would be born of the seed of the woman)
Genesis 6:5 – “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man upon the earth was great, and that every thought of the imaginations of his heart was only evil continually.” The great problem of sin all over the world, deep in the human heart (Mark 7:20-23); and the only remedy is Christ Himself.
Genesis 10-11 – The Tower of Babel, Tower of Pride – ungodly unity and one language and culture; and the resulting creation of nations and cultures and languages.
Genesis 11 – God deliberately created the different languages and cultures so that there would be difference, disunity and so that we would have to work hard to overcome our natural prejudices and by crossing into another culture, we love them and share the gopsel – the unbelieving world marvels when we love other cultures and reach out to them.
Genesis 12:1-3 – God chooses one of those nations to be His missionary people in order to bless all the other nations / families of the earth.
This purpose of the covenant is repeated in Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14 – to Abraham twice more, to Isaac, and to Jacob. The purpose of Israel’s election is not elitism – the purpose was that they would in turn be a blessing to the pagan and unbelieving nations.
Genesis 49:10 – to Judah belongs the obedience of the peoples.
Exodus 19:5-6 – the purpose of the covenant of the law was so that when God’s people would walk with Him and obey Him, they would be a kingdom of priests in the midst of the nations and then spread the message to the pagan nations and be a model and light. They were suppossed to live holy and be a model and light; but they were not.
Psalm 96:3 – tell of His glory among the nations
Psalm 87 – God registers the peoples and has elect people even within the enemies of Israel such as Babylon, Rahab (Canaan and Egypt), the Philistines and Sudan and Ethiopia. Some of those peoples will be born in Zion, the city of God. Paul uses the feminine of the Hebrew, “this one was born in her” in Galatians 4:26 – “but the Jerusalem that is above, she is our mother”
Psalm 67 – a prayer based on the same promise of the Abrahamic covenant: “O God, bless us and shine your face upon us, so that You ways may be known on the earth, among all the peoples. “let the people’s praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You!”
Isaiah 49:6 – “It is too small a thing that you should bring back the tribes of Jacob; I will also make you a light to the nations.” Paul and Barnabas understood that was a commission for them as Jews in Acts 13:46-47 – “for thus the Lord commanded US . . . ”
Isaiah 52:13-15 – the mission of the suffering servant – the Messiah in Isaiah 53 – is not complete until those that have not heard shall see and those who have not understood will hear the message. Paul quotes this in Romans 15:20-21 as the Biblical basis text for his ambition to go where Christ is not yet named and worshiped as Lord.
Matthew 28:18-20 – Because all authority and sovereignty belongs to Christ, which He proved by His resurrection from the dead, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all that nations . . . ” We can go based on His power and authority to get the task of missions done.
Luke 24:44-49 – “Thus it is written: that the Messiah should suffer, rise again from the dead, and repentance for forgiveness of sins must be preached in His name to all the nations . . .
John 20:21 – as the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you.
Acts 1:8 – the Holy Spirit and power to witness and power to live holy
Romans 10:13-15 – how shall they hear without a preacher?
Romans 15:20-21 – a godly ambition to preach the gospel
Romans 16:25-27 – Paul ends his great theological letter with praise to the only wise God who is spreading His gospel among all the nations.
Revelation 5:9 – some from all nations have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb
Revelation 7:9 – a great multitude which no one could count from every nation and people and language
Revelation 21:3 – “they shall be His peoples” (λαοι = laoi = plural)
Not everyone will serve God specifically in missions overseas or in another culture, but every true Christian should own the vision and ambition that Paul has to preach the gospel not where Christ is named as Lord, so as to spread His gospel and glorify God. Those that don’t go, own the ambition and vision by praying and giving and supporting and encouraging missionaries (those that do go).
Robertson McQuilkin’s book, The Great Omission is the best concise introductory book on missions there is: A great way to build your vision and cultivate caring.
John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life is another study that can greatly help your cultivate your vision for misisons, God’s glory, walking with him, growing in Him, and serving Him.
Another excellent book is John Piper’s – Let the Nations Be Glad! –
This is where he makes some of his famous statements that many have found to be profound: “Missions is not the ultimate thing; Worship is; God’s glory is ultimate; but since people are not worshiping or glorifying God, then missions exists because worship does not.”
Chapter 1 on the Biblical basis and God’s glory and chapter 4 that proves that everyone must hear the message and have Christ as their conscience focus in order to be saved, along with the chapters on prayer and suffering – are very convicting and meaty.