We are God's people New Hope
For many Sundays, New Hope, I have opened worship with the word of God from Psalm 100;
1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
And I would like to focus our attention at the middle verse of this call to worship Psalm.
Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
“It is He who has made us and not we ourselves”. Have you ever stopped or slowed down enough to meditate on these words. God made, not just me, but God made us His people. And help me Lord, to not yield to the temptation that I or we did this or caused it to come about!
In this mode of meditation, is where the Holy Spirit led me to the New Testament and another familiar passage in first Peter. In 1 Peter 2:9 we find the passage that states; “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” I usually stop at the end of this verse. But look at the next verse, verse 10, which actually completes the sentence, and listen to what God says through His apostle Peter;
“Who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
Brothers and sisters of New Hope Baptist Church, on this third Sunday in February, February 20, 2005, and during this celebration of our 73rd. anniversary of being a local church a fellowship of believers, I want us to be reminded and realize that; it was more than just a small group who met in prayer back in 1932; Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Jessie Brown, Mr. and Mrs. P. O. McGee, Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Gearin, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Vaughn, Mrs. Irene Parran, and others; it was more than just a small group of believers who met in prayer back in January 26, 1989, in the basement of the home of Willie and Alma Woodmore, approximately 20 people adults and children seeking a place of worship; it is more than just Deacon Mike Yarbrough, Deacon Darryl Williams, Deacon Jack Smith, Deacon Norman Reed, Deacon Gene Jones, Deacon Willie Dixon, Deacon Hershel Davis, Pastor Willie Woodmore, Pastor Brad Bryant and Pastor Peter McCreary; and it is more than just the ministers of music, the choir, Sunday school teachers, growth group ministry, clothing ministry, kitchen ministry, men and women fellowship ministries, young men outreach ministry, intercessor ministry and missions; it is God who has made us and not we ourselves, WE ARE GOD’S PEOPLE NEW HOPE!
I stand before you today to remind you just like the apostle Peter does in these letters. And New Hope we need to be reminded that we once were not a people but are now the people of God.
And we need reminding that we were not the choice, the elite, the well educated, the well known, the politically correct, and the morally straight. How did Paul say it?
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh (the well educated), not many mighty (the choice and the elite), not many noble (the morally straight), are called.”
This passage continues with the phrase; ‘But God’ and I don’t know about you, I love those two words in my life
- I may be weak, but God!
- I may be lost, but God!
- I may not be the best at anything, but God!
- I may not have the best of anything, but God!
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
We once were not a people!
Even though Peter uses expressions that are founded in the Old Testament associated with the people of Israel, they were a people that came from the twelve sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. This letter is addressed to the pilgrims of the Dispersion (the scattering) in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. This group was a scattered bunch of Jews and Gentiles and probably unrelated people. God had reached through these turbulent times and built His church using foolish, weak and despised individuals.
I stand here today and realize in such a humbling way that we once were not a people New Hope. This is our 73rd. anniversary. Do you know that when that small group met in prayer back in 1932, my parents who are still in their 70’s were under 10 years old? The building that was on 8621 Rose Ave. was completed in May 1949, I would be born in September of that same year. Willie and Brad weren’t even thought about. And when they prayed for a church none of this could be realized or imagine.
Allow me to get a little closer to now, and this one you can check out for yourself.
We once were not a people. The small group of believers, some of whom may be in the sanctuary today, who met in prayer back in January 26, 1989, seeking a place of worship, some 16 years ago could they imagine this? And just another side note if you are under the age of 15 and can hear my voice today, you were not thought about, by us at least.
I may have meet Humpty’s little sister back in my courting days but back then she was just one of the little ones who had to be around. You see back then we were not a people. You see there was no way for me to realize or imagine that today I call that little girl my sister and I’m blessed by her signing, Sister Debbie Jones.
Our history goes on and says that during the next 32 years New Hope Baptist Church worked with a number of pastors who worked for the growth and improvement of the church. While this is going on, it was totally unknown and unconcerned, by most of us in this sanctuary because we once were not a people. Just like the people that Peter is writing to some of us may have been in the same city but we were people of the Dispersion. We were scattered by our own dreams, ambitions, and desires. In other words we were too deep in our own sins that we could not realize what God was doing.
As I move into my second point realize this New Hope, Romans 8:26 is so true in this context.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now match this verse with this next verse and you begin to see where I am going
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
In 1932, prayer about organizing and building a local church, in 1989, prayer was seeking a place of worship.
In 2005 we are here at 4450 Edmundson Road. Church you ought to make a joyful noise to the Lord!
You ought to know that this Lord that we make the joyful noise to, He is God!
And it is He who has made us and not we ourselves. You see there is much going on between being not a people and now being a people of God. God had to make us. Now our history talks of the next 32 years which move us from 1949 to 1981, I am going to increase that from 32 years to 56 years and move us from 1949 to today.
God used a telecommunications company to bring two young men together for the first time. One by way of Chicago and the other by way of Arkansas and at the same time there is another young man, a native St. Louisian who is also being prepare for this work. We three men got married because God said that it was not good for us to be alone and He made helpers suitable for each of us. Even more so St. Louis is the city where we meet God and was born again. Now we say I was born in Arkansas but born again in St. Louis, I was born in St. Louis and was born again in the same city and I was born in Chicago but born again in St. Louis. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves.
But we can also say at this point that there are at least nine other reasons why this coming together in St. Louis had to happen and these nine reasons are in the names of Matthew, Jessica, Lydia, Mark, Philip, Daniel, Kimberly, Amira, Jamelle.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What am I saying? Brad and Debbie had to meet, fall in love, get married and have children because God foreknew Matthew, Jessica, Lydia, Mark, and we pray Bethany, Hanna, and Luke. Willie and Alma Jean had to meet, fall in love, get married and have two sons because God foreknew Philip and Daniel. And I had to come to St. Louis and attend that party in Bush Memorial and wander to the back to meet Geraldine, fall in love, get married, have children, and in our case accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior because God foreknew Kimberly, Tony, Amira, Jamelle, and Marsha.
This is just one aspect of what God has done to get us to this day. As I said I am truly amazed at our God and what He has done to this fellowship. We were not all from father Abraham and not a member of the twelve tribes of Israel. We indeed were a scattered people and in most cases unrelated and unfriendly. But God made us and not we ourselves.
And now as the people of God, New Hope, verse nine is better understood. This church is a chosen generation or race, a royal priesthood (a kingdom of priests), a holy nation (a set apart multitude of people), His own special people, that we may proclaim (that is show forth, speak out, advertise) the praises of Him who called you (me and each of you saint) out of darkness into His marvelous light.
That why I don’t mind worship God deserves our praise! Serve the Lord with gladness, come into His presence with signing, enter His gates with thanksgiving, come into His courts with praise, be thankful of Him and bless His name, because the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations!
The last paragraph of our history says; “Through faith, prayer and the study of His word the Lord has brought us far. We are praying that God remains pleased with our efforts and continues to guide us in the name of Jesus Christ, especially as we enter this new area of ministry, service and blessing.”
As we are now writing history that our children and our children’s children will some day read, may this paragraph be a reminder to this fellowship that we once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. In Jesus Name let us pray.
This letter from Peter the apostle of Jesus Christ, the same one that is expressed in Acts 4:13, let’s listen to it;
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
Peter is a perfect illustration of the truth expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Psalm 100:1-5 (NKJV)
1 Make a joyful sout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
- Shout or noise, the Hebrew word means raise a noise by shouting or with an instrument, especially a horn or the traditional ram’s horn
- A glad shout tells how we are to worship our great God
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Perseverance is what God does to keep his saints safe and thus His Church will persevere.
2 Timothy 2:19
19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”