*Glorifying God in the Church by Evangelism and Missions – Psalm 96*
Last week we saw from Ephesians 4:11-12 that the role of pastors and teachers is to equip believers to do the work of ministry.
That is our desire when we come together as a church, the focus is not unbelievers, it’s believers being trained so they are not spectators but active members in building God’s church.
The focus of our church worship service is not:
- entertaining the saints, it’s equipping the saints
- not educating the saints only, knowledge without action
- evangelizing unbelievers in the service by doing whatever we can to make them comfortable and coming back by us weakening and watering down Sunday morning, make that service really for outsiders and unsaved, and then try and have another small group where believers can try to be fed
Many well-intentioned ministries have it backwards or upside-down of Ephesians 4, which teaches we are to gather as a church primarily to equip the believers, feed them meat so they can grow, not just milk.
We exhort and admonish them (Col 1:28) to follow Christ more, then you are to go out and do the work of evangelism and ministry.
We gather here so you can scatter to our world and community with the gospel message and truths you learn here.
Ephesians 4:12 says /your/ role is to be a minister, not only serving one another, but an important part of your ministry is to be a fisher of men as Jesus told His disciples when He first called them.
As much as equipping believers and building up the body is the focus of pastoral ministry or the focus of the church service as we saw last time, it’s equally important that we don’t neglect the important place of evangelism outside these walls and even outside this country, and that’s what I hope God will help us see today.
If you have grown apathetic or indifferent to the world around you, if you lack a passion for the lost to see God’s glory, I know of no better place than Psalm 96 to stir up God-centered praise and proclamation of His gospel to all people’s for God’s glorification.
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 rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that /is/ in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.
Psalm 96 contains three intensifying and widening calls to the praise of the LORD, the only true God.
We have been calling this series of studies on Sundays our series on the /church/, but it’s really a series on GOD.
We are studying how we can glorify God in the various mandates He has given to us as believers in His church.
Evangelism is an important message in this psalm but the worship of God is actually its higher message.
It’s worship of God that should drive evangelism (v. 1 and following).
It should fuel our evangelism.
Higher than all is God’s glory, which is ultimately the chief end and aim of evangelism and missions (v. 3, 7-8, etc.)
According to 1 Chronicles 16, the historical background of the words of this song where the occasion the ark of the covenant was brought into Jerusalem under King David, the ark which was the place the glory of God and presence of God dwelt.
It was a time of great rejoicing and praise to God, but the psalm looks beyond the worship in Israel’s walls and calls for God to be glorified throughout the earth and even the earth itself to be a part of that.
It not only looks back to King David’s reign, the psalm looks forward to the ultimate reign of the final Son of David, the Coming King and His Coming Kingdom where the Messiah will rule the earth and will judge the nations when He comes again.
This psalm can be structured or divided into three parts.
Each part of our outline is signaled by a command or call that is repeated 3x:
“Sing to the Lord” 3x in v. 1-2
“Give to the Lord” 3x in v. 7-8 (or “ascribe to the Lord”)
“Let the” 3x in v. 11 (heavens, earth, and sea be glad and rejoice)
*/God Must Be Glorified in Evangelism and Missions By:/*
#. *The Gospel’s Proclamation – v. 1-6*
*v. 1 **Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.*
\\ 3x in the first two verses we are commanded to “sing to the Lord”
The 3 commands to sing are followed by 3 more commands in verse 2 and 3: “bless … proclaim … declare” – in the Hebrew the intensity is highlighted by a rhyming sound with these words in the original language: /bar-e-khu … bashsh-e-ru … sapp-e-ru/
It would be like in English saying:
TELL of the Lord’s name
SPELL out the blessings of His gospel
YELL out to all of the glory of God
A heart that doesn’t sing does not have a musical problem, it has a spiritual problem.
*2 **Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.* \\ This verse moves from praise to proclamation of the gospel.
The good news of God’s salvation we are to proclaim to others from day to day, implying evangelism is to be an everyday natural part of our life, “day to day.”
And this evangelism is properly fueled first by a heart that sings to the Lord in true worship and wants to bless His name, as the first part of verse 2 says.
We bless His name when we tell of His name and His good news to others.
We are not satisfied to bless His name by ourselves, we are not content to worship God as individuals only, we want to let others know this good news so they can sing about it as well and worship with us.
In the book /Psalms of the Heart, /the relation of singing to the gospel going forth was illustrated well in the experience of two Moody Bible Institute graduates John and Elaine Beekman in ministering to the Chol Indians of Southern Mexico:
‘when the missionaries came, the Chol Indians did not know how to sing.
They had no singing music.
With the coming of the gospel, however, the believers of the tribe began to love to sing because they now have something to sing about.
We of all people should be the most singing people on the place of the earth … We have something to sing about.
This [psalm] begins in praise, leads to worship, and flows out in proclamation.’
Verse 2 makes clear that praising God without proclaiming God to others is not complete.
Someone who sings to the Lord in true worship is not content to sing a solo, but he wants to have other voices added to the choir, so he proclaims the good tidings of salvation.
If you have a heart that truly sings about and loves the Lord, the natural extension is you will also share God’s love and good news with others if you deeply love Him.
Perhaps a better measure of our praise and true love of the Lord is not how we speak of Him in the comfortable confines of the church, but how we speak of the Lord outside these walls.
It’s only natural to talk about someone you love, in fact it’s hard not to talk about who or what you love.
Have you talked about the Lord to an unbeliever in recent days?
Do you at least desire to, try to?
Is there an unbeliever you’re praying for?
Do you try to take advantage of opportunities to share, even a little?
Are you consciously thinking of ways to try and bring up things of the Lord to unbelievers?
When someone asks you how your weekend was and what you did, you don’t have to say “not much.”
Why not tell them about your church and what you learned and how much you love God’s people and God’s truth and how it’s the highlight of your week (if it is)?
Next week is a great week to invite coworkers or family members to church.
What does it hurt just to say, “Hey, if you aren’t already going somewhere for an Easter Sunday service, I would love to have you come to church with me?
I could pick you up ...”
I’ve seen some estimates of about 70% of people who visit a church do so because they’re invited, and a good number of friends and co-workers will come when personally invited by someone they know.
People are far more likely to come when invited.
We can’t just sit here and hope some unbeliever will be surfing the web and stumble across our church website and decide in their unregenerate heart to give us a try.
Not too likely a scenario.
We don’t just throw tracts by the road and hope someone picks one up.
The evangelism called for here in verse 2 seems to be the everyday active life witness we are to have and notice it is not just the way we live – we are also to proclaim this salvation with our mouths.
This word “good news” in v. 2 is the same word in Greek for the gospel of the New Testament.
Proclaiming God’s good news, the gospel, is a command, not a suggestion.
This word “proclaim” is the same word translated “herald of good tidings” in Isaiah 40:9.
This word “proclaim” referred to the duty of a herald who walks ahead of the victorious king and announces the report of victory.
*3 **Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.*
\\ God’s salvation is not only to go forth in our neighborhoods, God’s glory is to be declared among the nations.
God’s purposes are much bigger than what’s going on in a local congregation and it’s much bigger than our American nation.
Our worship should overflow to our desire for worship in all nations.
Worship, as I’ve said before, is the fuel of missions and is also the goal of missions.
The highest motive for evangelism and missions is not guilt, it’s the glory of God, as v. 3 says.
It’s a God-centered, God-produced, God-exalting passion in our hearts for God to be glorified and made known in a lost and dying world.
Do you have that desire?
Or are you apathetic to the rest of the world?