For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him, as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Being a Faithful Church of Jesus Christ and Living for His Glory
At Erik Hyatt’s ministry anniversary and send-off celebration on Sunday evening, February 19, Pastor John had a special message for Erik (former Pastor for Global Outreach) & Charlotte—thanking them for all they have done during their last 11 years at Bethlehem and for the work they are about to begin.
From Pastor John to the Hyatts …
Why I Am Thankful for the Past and Future Ministry of Erik Hyatt
What you are about to do spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ—by planting a church with a conscious aim of gathering a multi-ethnic congregation from the outset.
And what you have done is spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ by ...
- overseeing a growth in our budget for World Missions from $800,000 to $1.7 million.
- overseeing a growth in our missionary units from 50–60 in 2001 to 105 in 2012.
- carrying the torch for the unreached peoples so that the number of our partners serving unreached peoples has steadily increased—with roughly 40% seeking to reach Muslims in some very difficult places.
- overseeing and crafting a wise and theologically discerning statement on contextualization.
- shepherding hundreds of people through a theologically rich and missiologically wise nurture program.
- building a system of support for our Global Partners that causes many of their colleagues on the field to comment on the blessing it is.
Why am I thankful for how you gave yourself in this way to the missionary task of this church for 11 years, and are now about to give yourself to planting a multi-ethnic church here in the Twin Cities?
Pursuing and embracing in Christ all the ethnic peoples of the world is essential to being a faithful church of Jesus Christ and living for his glory.
Consider God’s plan for the world he has made.
- God created all peoples—all the races and ethnicities of the world.
He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.—Acts 17:26
- God did this by scattering all the peoples of the world and blocking their treasonous unification against him.
[At the tower of Babel] the Lord, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. … Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth.—Genesis 11:6–8
- God promised to bless all the nations of the world by choosing Israel and making her the means of this blessing. Thus he humbled the nations by choosing only Israel, and he humbled Israel choosing to bless all the nations.
The Lord said to Abram, “… I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”—Genesis 12:1–3
- God gave his law to Israel so that the mouth of all the nations would be stopped and all the world would know that justification can only be by faith through a Redeemer.
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.—Romans 3:19–20
- God sent his Son into the world to ransom a people for himself from all the nations of the world.
[In heaven they sing] a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”—Revelation 5:9
- God gave to his entire church for the entire age of the church a command to pursue and embrace all the nations by making disciples in all of them.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.—Matthew 28:18–20
- When the testimony has taken root in all the nations and the full number of the nations comes in, God will awaken Israel to her Messiah and the end will come.
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved.—Romans 11:25–26
“This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14
- In this way God shows the depth of his wisdom and the fullness of his self-sufficiency and supremacy of his glory so that he will be praised for ever and ever by all the redeemed from all the peoples of the world.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.—Romans 11:33–36
Erik & Charlotte, I am thankful for your life and your vision and your ministry past and future because pursuing and embracing in Christ all the ethnic peoples of the world is essential to being a faithful church of Jesus Christ and living for his glory.