So, we called a timeout on our Ephesians series for a few weeks so we could talk about some stuff that we value around here. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks drilling down into the first 2 items in what we call our mission statement.
That we want to be a church that “Knows God, Loves One Another, & Serves in the World”.
A couple of weeks ago we said that our statement— at least for us— doesn’t exist for itself and it’s not some snazzy way of growing our church but rather— it’s a tool the next step down the line to help us measure how we’re doing on the Great Commission. We’ve said that it gives us language by which we can gauge ourselves.
So, we’ve been saying for the last few weeks something that we say all time around here that— To be a follower of Jesus automatically makes us a people who are to make other followers of Jesus. (At least by title)
Sometimes we say it as: “We are reconciled in order to be reconcilers.”
Sometimes we say it as: “The Church only has 1 job to do.”
We can frame it several different ways depending on your personality and general outlook on life but at the end of the day Pastors and Theologians just call it the Great Commission.
Jesus— The One we call Lord—has commissioned us to make other disciples from all other places.
And so we’ve been showcasing for the last two weeks some ways that we measure how we’re doing on that. Our mission statement serves the sole purpose of giving language for how we’re working on doing what Jesus has called us to do.
So, two weeks ago, we said that we want to be a church that “Knows God” and we gave three reasons why.
1) Because that’s the only context that disciples can be made (Jesus in MT7: Healthy Fruit vs Diseased Fruit)
2) Because that’s the only way we are actually disciples ourselves (Jesus said many will say to me…)
3) Because that’s the only context that our other values are sustainable (Jesus said eventually the storm will come)
And then last week, JB helped us understand that “Loving One Another” is an ever present command throughout the bible. (we looked at way more than just one text….)
But it’s also a command though, that originates from outside of us.
We don’t love because we see value the in others. We love because we have first been loved.
Doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in others… It’s just not the original source
This is what enables the Christ follower to love even when the beloved is difficult to love.
We love because Jesus loved us even when there was nothing lovely in us.
We love because Jesus showed perfect love in laying down His own life.
We also learned that we love one another because that’s how the world will know we are (J) disciples.
Even the command to “Love One Another as I have loved you” is about the Great Commission
So, are we ready to look at “Serving in the World”? Psalm 67
The little superscript before verse 1 says “To the Choirmaster…”
If you’re completely new to the bible, the Psalms are a collection of poetry intended to be sung in public during worship. They have several different authors covering hundreds of years but most of them were written by King David. You also see a few by a guy named Asaph, some by people called “The Sons of Korah, and even one written by Moses. (PS90).
They are a collection of poetry and like any good poetry collection, they cover a pretty wide range of emotion.
There’s stuff that’s full-on celebration
There’s also several psalms that are laments. And it can be pretty depressing
Psalm 67 though, is a happy one. It also doesn’t have an author attributed to it, but it’s a good one.
So, the psalmist here starts out by asking God to bless them. This is probably similar to many prayers that you’ve prayed and maybe even some songs that you’ve sung. It’s similar to the way several other psalms begin.
And listen, it’s good theology.
God is the one Who is gracious.God is the One Who blesses.
To see His face is to be blessed.
Both of those are true statements and both of those things are things that we should desire.
But verse 1 doesn’t end with a period (At least in the translation that we’re using)
It keeps going, doesn’t it? There are two connected thoughts here…
So, the purpose that our psalm writer (at least this time) is asking God to bless them is because they want that blessing to be a way that God shows His bigness and shows His goodness to the world.
That your way may be known on earth…
Your saving power among all nations…
This is a recurring theme in the bible. We’ve looked at this idea a couple of different ways in the past—
Most notably in the story of Abraham.
Hold your finger in Psalm 67 and flip to Genesis chapter 12 real quick…
Abraham is by no definition, “a moral all-star”.
Abraham—before he meets God— is a pagan idolator from a land that constantly plays the role of the bad guys throughout the bible.— Babylon.
Abraham—after he meets God— may actually be worse. He’s fearful, He sells his wife as a sex slave… twice. He’s an adulterer. Abraham is pretty much a train wreck. the biblical word is: “SINNER”.
But look what happens in chapter 12….
So, God calls out Abraham and tells him that He will make him a “Great Nation” and that He will bless him….
That blessing is financial and familial. (Lot’s of stuff and a giant family)
News Flash: It’s not because Abraham earned it.
We live in a culture that’s more influenced by Animism than we like to believe.
We fall into the rut all too often of thinking that God blesses those He’s happy with and gives cancer to the folks who make Him mad.
We’d never say that out loud but we fall into the unbiblical rut all the time.
We even have cute little phrases like: “We must be living right…”
Here’s the problem: “Karma and the Bible are diametrically opposed worldviews.”
They have literally nothing in common.
Our culture is influenced by animism far more than we’d like to believe.
God’s not bestowing blessing on Abraham as a way of rewarding Abraham for his faithfulness….
Abraham has no faithfulness.
Genesis 12 tells us that God blesses Abraham so that every ounce of that blessing would be turned around to make God’s name famous— Not Abraham’s name.
God says that, through that blessing, He will go on to bless all the nations of the earth.
Back to PS67
Here, the psalmist says that the ultimate end of God’s blessing is that everyone will praise God as the Good Giver.
Just like Abraham….
He says: “Let ALL the peoples praise you.”
He says: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy”
There is a level of thanksgiving going on here that’s deeper than just the surface level, right?
So, we’ve got a 4 year old and a 2 year old at the house and we’re trying to train them to say thank you.
Anytime they’re handed something, we’re right behind that with little verbal elbow…. “Thank you”
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that it doesn’t always go as we hope.
I know you thought I was a perfect parent…. But I just have to confess…. I’m not.
And I know I’m fessing up in a room full of perfect parents…. And I can feel your judgement…
Anybody surprised to discover that my kids will sometimes repeat the words “thank you” even when it’s obvious that they have no real gratitude? It’s written all over their face.
I’m sure your kids never acted like that!
I’m also sure you’ve never acted like that either….. Is that one a little too close to home?
Can we be honest here?
Haven’t we all been in a situation where we’ve had to dig deep to show gratitude for something we didn’t actually want….
Like we can laugh about our kids but the reality is that they just don’t have the filter and the social mores to force that one through yet.
But as the dad…. you know what I would love to see from my kids one day?
Actual—Real gratitude. Right?
To understand a bit of the blessing that’s been bestowed upon them and be genuinely thankful
And as we’re teaching them, we get glimpses of those moments and they’re good moments….
But listen……. We all get that there’s a big step between forced gratitude and genuine gratitude….
I think there’s also big step between genuine gratitude and “singing for joy”
The psalmist here says “Let the nations be glad” because of Who God is and What God does.
Let the response of every nation (people group, not political states) on earth, be an explosion of joy.
He asks God to use the blessings that He gives to make His name famous and celebrated among every people group on the planet.
And so that raises a few questions for me….
- Is God worthy of that kind of celebration? Does He deserve it? Yes or No?
You bet He does. (Let’s get into some next level theology this morning…)
He does so simply by His very nature as the Good/Wise Creator King.
Before He does anything else. God is deserving of the full and forever praise of His entire creation.
We’ve looked at this reality before in Ephesians and Colossians and in Romans about how all things are created BY HIM and FOR HIM.
Simply by His very nature….. God is owed praise by His entire creation.
Jesus once said that if men refused to praise Him the rocks would cry out.
But, oh……… does it ever go beyond just His nature as Creator!
He also deserves the praise of all the peoples of the earth because of what He has done and Is Doing.
He has made a way where there was no way.
He has taken the penalty that you and I owe because of our sin and He has placed it on Himself.
Through Jesus’ death on the cross, the sin-debt that I owe has been fully & forever paid.
He is reconciling all things to Himself and He is saving people from every tribe & tongue & nation.
He has promised that there will come a day when all the peoples of the earth WILL praise Him.
God is absolutely deserving of the praise of all the peoples of the earth.
So that leads to the second question…
2) Is God currently receiving the praise He so rightly deserves?
No, He’s not. Not even close.
Even though God deserves the praise of all peoples, He’s not receiving the praise of all peoples.
This is what, we in the industry, like to call: “A Problem”
Excuse my technical language.
God is both infinitely glorious and He has done an immeasurably amazing thing… but there are people in this world who are not aware of either of those eternity shaking realities.
And that, my beloved church family, leads us to the third question this morning…
3) What in the world are we going to do about it?
The reason why “Serving In The World” is a part of our mission statement is because we have been blessed in order to be a blessing.
God is worthy of the praises of all people across the face of the earth.
There are many who don’t know what we know.
And according to Psalm 67, there’s something that you and I can do about that.
The reason why “Serving In The World” is a part of our mission statement is because we’re trying to flesh out how we make disciples of all nations…. And the unbending reality found in Psalm 67 is that the blessings we’ve received from God are either pointing more people to Him or they’re not.
And so, we look for ways to serve.
To pour ourselves— whether that be time, talents, or resources—into expanding God’s glory through the making of disciples of all nations.
So, how do we respond to God’s word this morning?
If you’re here and you’re a follower of Jesus— Our response today is to press in to a God Who is worthy of far more praise than you or I could ever give Him on our own. He is worthy of more than what we as a church body could ever bring. We could never exhaust the praise He is due. And so we press in this morning. We take stock of how our resources— whether that’s material or immaterial— are bearing testimony to His goodness— We take stock of how they are helping toward the accomplishment of our “1 job to do”.
We look for ways to serve in the world because we long desperately for God to receive more and more glory.
I’m gonna pray and we’re gonna sing. That’ll be a time for each of us to respond to God however He’s calling us to— To put dedicated action to the things He’s prompting in your heart.
If you’re here this morning and you’re not a follower of Jesus— I’m glad you’re here. I hope you find this to be a safe place to work through the truth claims of Jesus and His gospel. Maybe today is the day that for the very first time, you will repent of your sin and you will come to Him as Lord. To call Jesus Lord is to give over to Him everything that actually belongs to Him already. Including yourself.
We want to be a church that helps you walk in that.
I’m gonna pray and we’re gonna sing, we’ll have some people up front to talk if that’s something that would be helpful for you.