Swimming In The Psalms 10: To The Nations! (Psalm 96)
We’ve been in many Psalms this summer,
& in this post we’ll dive into a few more
to understand our mission/purpose in Christ.
Before we learn “how” & “why” we are to do something,
we must understand “what” we are to do.
Here’s the “what” of truly elevating/serving others:
Psalm 96: Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
We also see this theme in other Psalms—
God’s people going, showing & telling about our King:
Psalm 22:30-31:30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!
Psalm 45:17: “I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever & ever.
Psalm 71:17-19: Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray, [this is for ALL ages!]
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
19Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
[should it not also reach to the ends of the earth?]
you who have done great things. Who is like you, God?
Psalm 89:1-2: I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
With my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
2I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
My dear friends, these are examples of verbal declarations,
telling about the Father, Son & Holy Spirit & His salvation with our words.
Can we show others certain characteristics of the Lord Jesus
through our actions?
But our mission was never intended to be only or mostly actions;
these Psalms and many other Bible passages
show God’s people using their words
to declare His holiness & coming judgment,
His mercy & salvation to all who repent & believe.
- Roads are important,
but how foolish to lay roads but never drive on them;
- Bridges are needed,
but how ridiculous to build bridges but never drive over them.
Thus while the LORD may use our actions of compassion & sacrifice
to build bridges with non-Christians,
on His Word & thru His Spirit we must eventually drive over those bridges,
gently, respectfully, humbly & boldly,
with our words full of the precious cargo of the Gospel.
And in Revelation’s description of heaven,
the LORD encourages us by showing us
the end results of the “what”,
what He will accomplish through our mission/purpose:
Revelation 5:9-10: And they sang a new song, saying:
“You [Jesus Christ] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
Revelation 7:9-10: After this I looked,
and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count,
from every nation, tribe, people and language,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
We have a role to play in this, my dear friends.
We don’t just spectate our Father’s plan, we participate in it:
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
And you will be my witnesses
and in all Judea & Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
Matthew 28:16-20: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to me.
19 Therefore go
and make disciples
of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
My dear friends, some look at the two passages above
and believe that they only applied to the original twelve disciples.
My humble response is this:
those original twelve did not make it to the ends of the earth.
The risen Lord Jesus blessed them to run their lap of the race well,
and then they passed on the baton of faith in Christ to the next generation,
who ran their lap and passed on the baton.
We who are in Christ have now received that well-worn/travelled baton of faith,
and we are to run our lap in the race that the Lord Jesus has marked out for us
Let’s run with Him and for Him
to the ends of the cubicle, cul-de-sac, classroom & continents!!!
Romans 10:13-15: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
[Based on the staggering truth of that sentence,
Paul then asks some fantastic questions
that show us what our mission/purpose is:]
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Oh how we need to agree with the Bible
and understand + live out our mission/purpose together.
With any mission, it’s helpful & important
to see & hear examples of that mission being done/lived out.
- Athletes watch film & study other players to learn the team’s playbook
(but they eventually need to leave the film room
& get out on the field themselves!).
Thus it is so important to read biographies of Christians,
to read some of what the LORD has done/is doing
through His Spirit, His Word & His people.
These reports from around the world
can encourage us in our cities
to go & show & tell about our Savior & King Jesus.
Here are some biographies that have been particularly impactful in my life:
Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance
In The Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce
(please click HERE).
Tested By Fire: The Fruit Of Suffering
In The Lives Of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
(please click HERE).
Gladys Aylward: The Adventure Of A Lifetime (please click HERE).
George Muller: The Guardian Of Bristol’s Orphans (please click HERE).
Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder In Egypt (please click HERE).
Shadow Of The Almighty: The Life And Testament Of Jim Eliot
(please click HERE).
The Insanity Of God: A True Story Of Faith Resurrected
(please click HERE).
A quick thought on the “how” of evangelism/missions/spreading the Gospel:
One: ask the LORD to give you more of a hunger & thirst for Him.
Two: get filled up with Christ daily (click HERE for more about this).
When carrying a large bowl full of liquid across a room,
it’s difficult not to spill it.
Let’s look at evangelism like carrying that large bowl of liquid:
not as a task/chore
but as us being so full of Christ
that we spill Him out of our minds & hearts & words & actions
everywhere we go throughout our day/week/month/year.
This will look different in different situations, of course,
but truly spreading the Gospel eventually leads to
words about Christ & the cross/empty tomb:
Luke 6:45: “A good man brings good things
out of the good stored up in his heart,
and an evil man brings evil things
out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
My actions can show you some characteristics about my wife,
but there are some things about her
that you can only learn through my words…
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.
Missions exists because worship doesn’t.
Worship is ultimate, not missions
because God is ultimate not man.
When this age is over,
and the countless millions of the redeemed
fall on their faces before the throne of God,
missions will be no more.
It is a temporary necessity.
But worship abides forever.
Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions.
It’s the goal of missions because in missions
we simply aim to bring the nations
into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory.” John Piper
And thus Psalm 96 above shows the writer
praising the LORD
and telling others about the LORD.
Psalm 96 shows the end goal of evangelism:
that by the grace of God,
others from every tribe, nation and language
will come to worship the one true God in spirit and in Truth.