The Freewill Offerings Generation
My eyes have longed for this day, and I believe I am seeing the first fruits of it. A generation is rising up that may fulfill the great Messianic Psalm 110:
1The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
2The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
3Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew. (Psalm 110:1-3, NASB95)
Having just spent two weeks with men and women from across North America aged 16 to 60+, my soul was thrilled to see their passion to make Jesus the King of every nation, every people group, every neighborhood. With humility and a volunteer spirit (they came to this meeting at their own expense), they are joyfully sacrificing all to make sure there is no place left where Jesus is not named (Rom. 15:23). A great many of them are in the midst of budding movements of God in which new disciples and new churches are multiplying in their cities. They are living out the spirit of Psalm 110.
Bringing the Nations Before the Throne
Psalm 110 is a strong Messianic psalm that Jesus quoted in regard to His role as the Messiah (e.g. Matt. 22:44). It is a psalm quoted by the writer of Hebrews to exalt Jesus at the right hand of the Father far above the angels (Heb. 3:13).
The central mission of the church has always been the fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer through the Great Commission that His Kingdom will come fully on earth as in heaven. Jesus sent out His followers to make disciples of all of the nations and peoples, thereby calling them to bow the knee to the True King (Psa. 110:1).
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, referred to this psalm to announce to the “nations” that Jesus is the Lord and Christ that was promised (Acts 2:34-36). There in Jerusalem began the launch to fulfill the vision of Psalm 110—to bring all of the nations to the footstool of Jesus Christ. Later, Paul continued this theme that every knee will bow to the True King (Phil. 2:10-11). The disciples remembered the words of their King that until the gospel of His reign comes to every people group, the end will not come (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9).
One thing I love about this whole mission is the motivation of the Bride. The motivation is not one of duty (though the King rightfully demands our duty—Luke 17:10), but of love for our King. We long to see Him receive the full worship of all nations. We long to bring to Him an offering worthy of His Name—the Gentiles presented to Him as an acceptable offering (e.g. Rom. 15:16).
This is the grand mission of the Father—to bring all the nations to bow before His Son. When that day finally comes, and Jesus sits on His throne, then He will bring all of creation back to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24). This is the passion of the Son—bringing full glory to His Father. This is the storyline of history orchestrated through the power of the Spirit—to sum up all things in Christ (Eph. 1:10). Mass migrations of Muslim refugees to places where they can hear the gospel remind us that the Father is the one driving history’s storyline.
The Psalm 110:3 Generation
A generation is growing up that longs to live in the same spirit—to see Jesus enthroned as King in every people group, every city, every county, every neighborhood. There has always been a subset of God’s people with this passion. But what strikes me about our generation is the rapidly increasing numbers sacrificially aspiring to this vision.
I see in their hearts a zeal that ignites them like their Lord:
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
(John 2:17, ESV)
It’s at times like these—when I see their desire to reach their entire cities and states, and their sacrificial commitment to live humbly under the Spirit’s leading—that I get a catch in my throat and think “It’s happening—finally!”
In the middle of Psalm 110, verse three describes the generation that will rise up “in the day of Your power.” This seems to point toward the end of the age when Christ will fully exert His reign over the nations and will return for His Bride. It describes the culmination of the Great Commission—all peoples having received the gospel and the Church having been birthed in every language, tongue, tribe and nation.
Just prior to the fulfillment of the Great Commission, of getting to no place left globally, will be the rising up of a unique generation—the last generation. They will be the means the Spirit uses to bring about the end and will be characterized as follows:
1. Freewill Offerings
First, they will be characterized as freewill offerings. The Hebrew text literally says: “Your people will become freewill offerings in the day of your power.” Most English translations render this something like “offer themselves freely” or “volunteer freely.” The mind of a Hebrew reading this would immediately flashback to a couple of places in the Old Testament.
A whole host of sacrifices and offerings were prescribed in the Old Testament, and all but one were mandatory—the freewill offering. The freewill offering was an expression of love and gratitude based on how one’s heart had been moved (Exod. 35:29). The people of Israel lavished their precious articles and efforts on the Lord in the building of the tabernacle to such a degree that Moses had to restrain them—they were giving too much (Exod. 36:2-7). Again, after returning from the Exile centuries later, the Jewish remnant was so moved that they rebuilt the destroyed temple out of freewill offerings (Ezra 1:4-5; 2:68-69).
A generation will rise up characterized by fulfilling the Great Commission, not out of duty, but out of sacrificial love and gratitude to their King. They will finish what many faithful men and women in previous generations have started.
Remarkably they will be largely a “lay” movement—characterized by many who do not receive full-time financial support (though full-time workers will still play strategic roles). A freewill offering generation will rise up to go beyond what is expected of most believers.
2. In Holy Array
This generation will not only work to fulfill a mission, but will do it in the proper spirit—the clothing of holiness. They will see themselves as set apart unto God and will dedicate themselves to His purposes.
As their Lord was holy, they will give themselves to holiness (1 Peter 1:15). They will rise up as a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5). They will be a holy generation that longs to offer up a sanctified (“made holy”) offering of the nations (Rom. 15:16). This generation will be characterized by a rededication to moral purity, Spirit-filling, grace-empowered living and utter dedication to God alone.
3. Like Dew Covering the Earth
The last phrase of Psalm 110:3 is the hardest to translate. But the meaning seems to be clear. You know what it is like to walk across a dewy lawn early in the morning. You cannot keep your feet dry no matter how you step.
In the day of Christ’s power, the holy freewill offerings will be so abundant that they will cover the earth like the dew of the morning. Multitudes of God’s people from the nations will go to all nations and peoples so abundantly that there will be no place left where they are not preaching.
This is what encourages me so greatly. It seems, from my vantage point, that the momentum of the global church dedicating themselves to become freewill offerings is increasing.
Launching at Home, Not Just in the Nations
Remarkably the emerging generation is trying to hold all of Acts 1:8 in balance—reaching their Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria simultaneously and in the same spirit as reaching the nations. A growing number of disciples and churches are rising up who are attempting to launch kingdom movements at home in their cities, suburbs and counties in the very same manner they hope to do overseas among the nations.
For two decades, missionaries around the world have increasingly understood that we cannot reach the vast multitudes of lostness without movements of multiplying disciples and churches. We have sought to raise the sails of highly reproducible biblical processes and methods that the Spirit can blow upon to multiply disciples among the harvest. Individuals and churches from “churched” contexts have often come to the same realization and chosen to work in a similar manner among the UPGs of earth.
What is encouraging about the Psalm 110:3 generation is that this same spirit is returning home to the sending churches. Why not reach our own cities and counties in the same way that we reach the nations? If these biblical principles work effectively among unreached people groups and cities, then why not at home?
Many churches are saying, “Let’s ask God to launch kingdom movements at home in the same way as among the unreached. Let’s learn how to do it at home so that we can do it among the nations.”
Jesus did this very thing with His disciples. He sent them to home turf (the Jewish nation) armed with the biblical principles of bringing in the harvest (Matt. 10; Luke 10). He taught them to learn first how to find and win God-prepared households in a place they were familiar with and actually forbade them to go to the Gentiles at first (Matt. 10:5-6). Leaving the familiar comfort of synagogues and Jesus’ side, they went into homes and spread the kingdom. It’s as if Jesus would not send them to the nations until they learned how to do it at home. Once they had learned in closer-to-home environments, Jesus launched them to the ends of the earth.
The Psalm 110:3ers are attempting to launch the same type of movements at home they hope to launch among the unreached people groups of the world. Multiplying generations of new baptized disciples and new churches among unreached and unchurched segments are emerging in city after city in North America. Across the rest of the sending world, fruit is being borne in a similar manner.
The freewill offerings generation is growing by leaps and bounds as their eyes are set on making the King known in every people group until there is no place left to work. They long to catalyze movements around the world—starting at home. A year ago, the ranks of the Psalm 110:3ers felt very lonely. They are a lot less lonely now!