Bryan Clements - Show Forth His Salvation
As my kids were growing up they would come into the house singing the latest song that they had heard on the radio. One of my favorite things was to join in singing with them. They would stop in shock and horror and exclaim, “How do you know that song?!”, to which I would reply, “Oh, that’s an old song.” “No its not, it just came out last week.”
99 red balloons, Angel of the morning remade by Juice Newton,
Red Red Wine by Neil Diamond was remade by UB40.
My kids just assumed because they were hearing it for the first time on their radio stations that it had to be new. They had no idea that these songs were hits long before they were even born.
I go through the same thing with movies. I thought Sabrina with Harrison Ford was new until I found the original on the Classic Movie Channel.
Guess Who, The Italian Job (1969),
You’ve Got Mail was originally the Shop Around the Corner.
When we haven’t been exposed to the older things we just assume that what we know is new and original. Sometimes, we do this with the Bible and the New Testament. We read something in the NT and just assume that it is new. It is easy to go, “Well Jesus said it, it must be new.” But we know better than that.
A good bit of the time Jesus was quoting directly from the OT. We are familiar with the passage when Jesus is asked what the most important commandment is. And we know that his reply of “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” is straight from the OT. It was from the Shema the most well known command that was given to the Jews to teach their children.
But Jesus then follows it up with, “And love your neighbor as yourself.” For the longest time I thought this was just something that Jesus added on his own. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that he was quoting directly from Lev 19.18. A good Bible with footnotes would have been a great help when I was younger.
We know that as NT Christians we are called to action by the Great Commission:
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
It is this passage, more than any other that lights the evangelistic fires.
Does not tell us to pick a few people to go and make disciples.
It simply says Go, Make, baptize and teach. It is a responsibility that falls to each and every one of us.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God does give the gift of evangelism to certain people, and those people are meant to proclaim His message to the masses of people. But God also calls each of us right where we are to fulfill his commission.
If we didn’t know better we would think that this “going and making disciples” was a new idea, but when we look closely at the Old Testament we will find that God has always intended that his people should be an evangelistic and missionary force through whom he could reveal
his grace and mercy,
his power and purpose,
his holiness and righteousness,
and his love and salvation.
If we look at today’s passage we see this:
Turn to Psalm 96:1-10 (NKJV)
1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
13 Before the Lord, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.
We can hear the GC faintly in this Old Testament hymn, for the psalmist calls attention to Israel’s missionary charter. This grand coronation anthem falls into four stanzas:
The first stanza, vss1-3, invites Israel to assume its high calling as the Lord’s evangelist.
The second stanza, vss 4-6, sets God high above the idols, the nothings, which were worshiped by the pagan nations of the earth. Any other god is not really a god.
The third stanza, vss 7-10, invites the people of all nations to enter the temple gates to worship and to honor and bless the name of the Lord on an equal basis with the Jewish people. There were always Gentiles coming to the temple to see what it was about.
The fourth and final stanza, vss 11-13 calls upon nature in all of its heights and depths and lengths and breadths to praise the Lord for his greatness and goodness.
The first stanza of the text describes our mission.
We are to proclaim his salvation. This isn’t just telling people about his salvation.
A different translation of this gives us a clearer meaning of this passage. We are to “show forth his salvation.” The method for doing this is disclosed. A demonstration is called for in the words “show forth his salvation from day to day.”
The purpose of both ancient Israel and of the modern church is disclosed in the words “show forth his salvation.”
Let’s dig into this a little deeper this morning.
The first thing that we see is that:
I. Our mission is defined: our mission is to “Show forth his salvation.”
We will do well if our life is a song of praise to the Lord. By this song of praise we are to communicate to the unsaved around us the wonders of God’s grace toward all people.
From the very beginning, our faith has been a missionary faith and God has been seeking to reach more and more people with the message of his redeeming love.
God’s great missionary purpose began with Abraham. He set His people apart (made them holy) so that they could be an example to all the nations. He gave them special rules that would keep them safe and healthy.
He even showed that his redemption was to be all-inclusive when He commanded Jonah to go to the wicked city of Nineveh. Even Israel’s enemies were included.
The Jews were meant to be a witness to the One True God. (They didn’t always do this) Instead of being distinct and different from the people around them, the Jews adopted their customs as they tried to fit in.
They weren’t supposed to fit in. We are not supposed to fit in!
The Jews wanted a King like all the other nations. They were willing to trade the glory of God for the glory of man. They didn’t want to be different. We know how much of a disaster that was.
When they weren’t careful they wound up looking just like the people around them. That’s not much of a witness, is it?
That responsibility now falls to those of us who are in the church. We occupy the position of privilege and responsibility that was once enjoyed by Israel.
Listen to what Peter writes about this:
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10).
Peter tells us that we now have the responsibility that God originally gave to Israel. We were not a people until we were brought into the body of Christ, we were out there doing our own thing, but now we are brought together. We have been adopted into the family.
Now that we are in the family of God, Our job is not to fit in and be like the people around us, our job is to show people what the standard is, our job is to lead the way and for them to want to be like us because we reflect the Father and His love.
And just like the Israelites, it is a disaster when we try to look and act like the people around us. We have to remember that we are holy and set apart for God.
So, we see in defining the mission that this passage relates directly to us.
Let’s look at it a little bit closer:
We know that our mission is to show forth his salvation.
II. Then we find that our method is described in the same verse: “Show forth his salvation from day to day.”
A. We are to show forth his salvation by what we are. One picture is worth a thousand words. We are to be living demonstrations of the difference Christ can make. We are to be exhibits of his gracious love. We can be samples of his transforming power.
St. Francis of Assisi one day said to several of his followers, “Let us go to the village over the way and preach.” As they went, they met a humble pedestrian who was greatly burdened. Francis was in no hurry and listened carefully to his tale of woe.
When the village was reached, Francis talked with the shopkeepers, spent time with the farmers at their fruit and vegetable stalls, and played with the children in the streets. On the way back they met a farmer with a load of hay, and Francis spent time with him. The morning gone, the group reached the monastery from where they had set out in the early morning.
One of the followers, who was greatly disappointed, said to Francis, “Brother Francis, you said you were going to preach. The morning is spent and no sermon has been given.”
And the saintly Francis replied, “But we have been preaching all the way.”
Francis understood that everything that we do is a witness for Christ. It may be a good witness or it may be a bad witness, but it is still a witness.
As we go to the grocery store or out in the community, we are to proclaim his salvation by what we do.
When we go to work, we witness by how we go about our business. Eph 6.7 tells us to work as if we are providing service to God, not to men.
When we live for God our lives will proclaim his salvation to the people around us.
B. We are to show forth his salvation by what we believe. What you believe affects your behavior. We need a great faith in the love of God, but we also need to believe in the wrath of God. It is good to believe that there is a heaven, but we must also believe that there is a hell. This gets brushed aside in our day and time. Nobody wants to talk about hell. It turns people off. But we better talk about it. People need to know that it is real and that it is permanent. I am not talking about scaring people into salvation. You can’t scare somebody into a loving relationship with Jesus. But people need to know that it is real and they need to know that Jesus is the only way to avoid it. People will say that it is not politically correct to say that there is only one way to heaven, but it is the truth. We’ll just have to be politically incorrect!
What we believe is important. Only when we believe in our divine destiny by God’s grace will we live a life of faith and service. If we believe that we are children of God, we will act like children of God, and people will see children of God.
C. We must show forth his salvation by what we do. Our task is that of being Christ’s hands and feet on earth.
Christ has no hands but our hands
To do His work today,
He has no feet but our feet
To lead men in His way,
He has no tongue but our tongues
To tell men how He died,
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.
We are the only Bible
The careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel,
We are the scoffer’s creed,
We are the Lord’s last message,
Given in deed and word.
What if the line is crooked?
What if the type is blurred?
What if our hands are busy
With other work than His?
What if our feet are walking
Where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking
Of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him And hasten His return? —Annie Johnson Flint
God chooses to use us!!!
Our method of showing His salvation comes in what we do. We have to ask this question constantly, “What does God want us to do?”
He wants us to minister to the people around us, care for the people, feed them food and then feed them the good news of Jesus Christ. We are God’s physical presence in this world.
It is important that we take care of each other in the body of Christ. We need to look out for each other. Keep the body healthy.
We need to make sure that we have good teaching, worship and fellowship, but we can’t get lost in that. We have to make sure that we remember that this is the place that we come to so that we are prepared to go out and work for God.
People aren’t going to come in here to see how we live. They are going to see how we live and then come in here to worship with us.
So far in this passage we see our mission, our method and then we find Our message.
III. Our message is disclosed: “Show forth his salvation.”
A. We must introduce a lost and needy world to God. He is the living, personal, holy, saving, redeeming God. The world needs to know the wonders of his grace and wisdom, they need to know his peace and power, joy and victory.
Our message is that God’s salvation is available to all. It is not automatic, but it is available. You will hear people say that we are all god’s children. No we’re not!! We are all his creation, but we don’t become his children until we are adopted in to the family. When we become part of the body of Christ. His salvation is available to everyone, but it is not automatic.
Our message is that it’s not too late. We can’t mess up so bad that God can’t use us. God is able to forgive whatever it is that we have done and that he still loves us. I love the people that God picks to use in the Bible. He uses prostitutes, murderers, thieves, the uneducated and the outcasts of society. If he can use these people I know he can use us.
Our message is that God’s salvation leads us to Heaven and eternal life with Him and that eternal life starts at the moment that we believe. Jn 3.36 says He who believes in the son has eternal life. It does not say “will”have. Eternal life is not the reward that we receive at the end of this life. It is what we start living the instant that we believe. We need to start living our eternal life and showing others how they can join us.
With the language of both our life and our lips, we are to bear a personal testimony to the world about the gracious God who has revealed himself as indescribable love in Jesus Christ.
Our mission is glorious. Proclaim the good news of His salvation.
The method is simple. Live it and tell it.
The message is for all. Everyone that we come in contact with will know God’s salvation through our actions. We can tell them, but it is a much more powerful witness to let people see us live it.
As we draw to a close this morning let me remind you that the mission has not changed for thousands of years. God has been calling people to faith in Him and then commissioning them to witness for Him. It is not new but it is powerful. What does your witness look like? Do the people around you find you peculiar? They should. My prayer this morning is that we have the courage to accept God’s commission and that we have the daring to be different.