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Temple Hills Baptist Church

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When the Blessings Come Down, the Praises Go Up

October 30, 2016 Speaker: Christopher Lawrence Series: Missions

Topic: Missions Passage: Psalm 67:1–67:7

Introduction

You ever planned a picnic or party and forgot one important thing? You got the drinks, but you forgot the cups. You got the mustard and ketchup, but forgot the cheese. You got the hot dogs, but forgot they come in packs of 10, but the buns are in packs of 8! Worst of all you look around at all your guests only to realize you forgot to invite all the people not not email and you prepared to have your house full. Shucks, that’s a lot of leftovers.

God has been planning an event to celebrate the wedding supper of the lamb. He didn't hire professional event planners, but he has bought You with the blood of his son. And who better to send out the invitations? If you know me and know yourself very well, then we're wondering why would God put such an important task in our hands? Well God knows that we are but flesh so He left us His Spirit and He has been inspiring prayer for this event from ages past. Prayers like we find here in psalms 67. Turn to it which can be found on page XXXX. As you turn there, note that this psalm is a prayer about the expansion of God's Kingdom. Ever wondered why missions is called missions. It’s because God has been on a mission. It’s his mission that his name is glorified in all the earth. Let's read this together.

Psalm 67 (ESV) — TO THE CHOIRMASTER: WITH STRINGED INSTRUMENTS. A PSALM. A SONG.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

The psalms are composed of 5 Books. Books 1 and 2, chapters 1-72, celebrate who God is. Book 3 is for all my reality TV fans out there who like seeing the mess, emotions and chaos of real life, chapters 73-89 are the reality psalms because they reflect those periods of darkness in life we must all walk through. Psalm 88 is the only psalm without praise. You might want to grab another Christian this afternoon to discuss that one. Book 4, chapters 90-106, turn to back God and Book 5, chapters 107-150 are Psalms of thanks and praise, because though weeping may endure through the night, joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 67’s author is anonymous. It's a Psalm about God, his blessing, his grace, his guidance, his justice, and what we’ve been thinking in this series, his mission.

Main point: God, through the law and gospel, is building his church of Jews and Gentiles on one foundation, which is Christ Jesus.

A quick preview of our text shows us the following:
Vv1-3 the spiritual prosperity of the church through the salvation of the nations.
Vv 4-5 the resulting joy of his salvation and the nations praising him.
Vv 6-7 the response of God’s earth and God’s people.

My 3 points
1. The growth and expansion of the church v1
2. The Gentile’s conversion and acceptance into the church vv2-5 Where will spend the bulk of our time
3. The joy when God will do both vv6-7
1. The growth and expansion of the church v1

1. The growth and the expansion of the church

V1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

We open this Psalm with a request, a prayer, “may God”, which assumes our dependence upon him.That He is the one the church must turn to in any and all things. The psalmist addresses his request to the holy One of Israel of whom we read in Leviticus who dwells between the cherubim, in light unapproachable. He who sits high and considers the nations are like a drop from a bucket, like dust on the scales. Isaiah 40:17 (ESV) — 17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

All of our happiness comes from God’s mercy so the first request is God be gracious to me. God be merciful to me a sinner. Who are we that we should come before you, that you should listen to us? The last thing we, the unholy, deserve is your grace.

As the psalmist prays he also has the church in mind, the congregation, all God’s chosen ones. He prays not for himself but for the body. Not may God be gracious to ME. He’s discerning the body as Paul put it regarding the Lord’s supper. He prays be gracious to US, bless US, shine upon US. As a child of God he recognizes his priestly duty to intercede on behalf of the body. To emphasize the idea of the gathering and the body here at THBC we often have to change our song lyrics from I to we. So when we pray you aren’t merely listening to me pray for you, but we are praying together. This must be why the Apostle Paul said I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Saints, next week we will observe the Lord’s suppers so prepare and also consider your the health of your relationships within the church.

This prayer for the church for God’s mercy, grace and blessing is so that it might grow and expand. This is a great prayer to model because we are in need of grace daily and need to grow.

By asking that God bless US, he’s invoking the favor of God on His people. The psalmist in following the tradition started with Araon’s priestly prayer from Numbers 6:24–26 (ESV) which says The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

This threefold, divinely inspired blessing was pronounced by the priest with uplifted hands (Lev. 9:22). The pronouncement of this blessing placed God’s covenant name “LORD” (Yahweh) on the people (v. 27). We end our services with a benediction asking for God’s blessing on one another. And we are blessed to go out and be a blessing. We are most supremely blessed because of the Gospel. That God would become a man, like us, to suffer and die for us and then to rise with all power and rule over us. So that by faith in this promise we might, as he prayed, have his face to shine upon us. How do you go from the bottom of hell to the highest sit in heaven, only through the cross of Christ. Selah. Let us pause and think about that. We don’t know exactly what Selah means, but I like to think of them exclamation points. We have to catch our breath after God hits us with his truth and goodness.

He shines on us so we might shine on them. God blesses us spiritually so that His church might grow and expand. Having God’s face shine on us is a promise that he will be present and near to His people. And if God has drawn near to us that gives us hope also that point 2 of.

2. The Gentiles' conversion and acceptance into the church vv2-5

V2 tells us there is a reason and a propose behind God being gracious and kind to us. Is it so that I might be blessed in the city, blessed in the field, blessed when I come and when I go? That’s what we might think, but that’s not what V2 says. God isn’t good to us so that we can cruise through life healthy, wealthy and care free. But the Psalmist says it's so V2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Saints, our prosperity is all about God making himself known, and the weightiness of His glory. God causes his face to shine on us through Christ to make himself visible. Here the psalmist prays that the Gentiles will 1) know His way and 2) know His salvation. In New Testament language he prayed they would know God’s law and his gospel. Omar, said last week that we who are disciples are to make disciples who learn of Jesus and walk in his ways, obeying all that he has taught. God’s law in Leviticus taught us that his ways are holy. Those who have tasted of the Lord's goodness can't but help themselves from making God known to others. It’s like telling a baby to eat and sleep, it’s what they naturally do. All men have been commanded to repent and all are in desperate need of salvation. The psalmist desires that God not only be merciful and gracious to us, but ALL mankind.

Knowing God’s ways is his greatest blessing and display of His grace. There's no knowledge of him apart from him revealing himself through his people, more specifically through his church. You don’t have to wait for church on Sunday to make God’s ways known, just open a Bible. Then invite them to church. Your commitment to the local church says the church and it’s message are important.

We are to steward this knowledge of God’s way and salvation. What impression of God and ourselves are we leaving by our silence leaving with our coworkers and neighbors? Has not our silence bolstered the belief that we are on our own good people. Those who know you will attribute your blessings only to your moral life. They are all thinking man he or she is so lucky, it must be that clean lifestyle you live. They’ve got good Karma. By our silence we’ve denied them the knowledge of our sinfulness and how big the mercy is we've received from God. I was asked by a younger coworker how he could pass the CPA exam and so I explained how I got through. But I had to apologize the following day for leaving out the main ingredient, faith in Christ. He came to me not asking a religious questions, but seeking success. We have to help people get to the real thing they need and move them a little closer to the light because they aren’t asking spiritual questions. He wasn’t even attending church when we met and probably assumed he was a Christian, but is now serving as a deacon.

Do you remember when Nicodemus come to Jesus flattering him oh Rabbi we know you are from God. blah blah. Jesus looked straight through him before he could even ask a question and said You must be born again. God graciously saves when we open our mouths and point sinners in His ways of the law and gospel. People are converted by His saving power. And then we can say with the psalmist in VV3-4

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

Notice this broadening scope of concern. The psalmist didn't want to limit his prayer to just himself, his congregation or his nation or just countries just outside Israel. He remembered the tower of babel and how the peoples were scattered and he wants them to be reconciled. He knew God's love was boundless and borderless. So he prays this God-sized prayer. He prayed for all 7 continents.

In V3 He goes from peoples to ALL the peoples. Those who were separated, alienated, strangers, without hope and once far off so they could be brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians tells us how deep and how wide is the love of Christ. We tend to limit our prayers to our selves at worst and our just those we know at best.

What is the proper response to the blessing of God's mercy and grace through His self revelation? It's that we would opened our mouths so the Gentiles are converted and will praise the Lord. When the righteous prosper the city rejoices. They will rejoice because his steadfast love is better than life. (Psalm 63)

Psalm 22:27 (ESV) — 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

You may recall that at the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:5 (ESV) — 5 there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. The founding of the church is the fulfillment of this psalmist’s prayer. God Gives the pagan nations something better to worship instead of their idols. Better than baal, Dagon, asherah poles, and Molech. Better than Caesar, even greater than the goddess Diana of Ephesus.

Typically Christians believe that we praise God and he blesses us. Kinda like I do this for you God and you owe me one. We see here that it is God who 1st gives and man receives and responds. The blessings of V1 come down and then praises go up. If you know the gospel then you know that God initiated a relationship with man. He was the first cause in speaking the world into existence and to speak to our dead hearts.

The Psalmist prays that the gospel would expand because it's his treasure. You'll never tell someone to love what you don't. Ask yourself if a lukewarm heart is the reason why you don't evangelize? We need to be honest with God about where we are spiritually. Only then can we pray specifically for help. Honesty before God sounds like “God my heart is cold, give me the right affections”. New believers are zealous tend to share gospel constantly. How did we lose that passion? God didn’t move and the gospels value didn’t diminish. I'm afraid the reason some don't evangelize or think about missions ìs due to us being weak on the law and the gospel and the sinfulness of sin.

The gospel is the power of God which turns you into holy dynamite exploding with love and good deeds towards those who were perishing just like we all once were.

I recently installed a alarm system in my house that communicates to the sensors from the control panel. So the control panel talks to the sensor in the living room and to the smoke alarm, do you read me. However, we couldn’t get the signal to the sensor at the basement door because it was too far away. So the technician said you need a repeater. He explained you put the repeater close to the steps and it takes the signal and repeats the signal throughout the farthest corners of the basement. This psalmist wanted to be a repeater to spread abroad the good news. He wasn't content to keep the goodness of God to himself. But God wants to use you as a repeater so the those who are far from him due to a closed heart and Bible, might hear the gospel repeated to them.

There isn’t a sinner so far that God can't’ reach them. He’s the God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; Titus 2.11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people. Not all Jews thought this way about the nations. Jonah hated the Ninevites who were a ruthless, Gentile people. He was saddened to see them who repent because of his preaching. They were like a modern day ISIS and interestingly enough Nineveh was situated in what is now northern Iraq near Mosul where ISIS is fighting for control of that city. Are you like Jonah when it comes to Islamic terrorist, thinking send fire and destroy them, Lord. Or like this psalmist, saying teach them your way Oh Lord. The way the truth and the life in Christ because Acts 4:12 there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Perhaps because of the blessings and mercy shown to us, others may be allured to join us. Zechariah 8.23.Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ”

Paul too was once a dangerous man killing followers of the way and God made him an apostle to the Gentiles. Perhaps the next Paul will be called from among ISIS. We need no fear of calling sinners to repentance for there is sufficient grace for all. You won't suffer any lack of mercy because of more conversions. Paul isn’t here, the psalmist isn’t here, but you have been entrusted to teach sinners in his way. You're the repeater.

What will be the response when you announce to your neighbors and the nations that Jesus is King this is his gospel and his commands? Will people say we’re so glad you came to tell us we have been wrong for centuries and turn from our idols. Not quite. Remember the nations are at war with God. Psalm 2:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed?

Our only hope is that God has appointed some from every nation to believe. Our hope is not that we'll find a few good men. There are none. But as many as the Lord has called will receive him and they will be glad at the preaching of the good news. Those who believe will gladly submit to Christ’ government.

Here in V3 the psalmist adds that the nations sing because of God's judgment. How do we rejoice in judgment? Happiness I’m guessing wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when we think of judgement, but one thing is for sure. Christians will pass through the judgment like the 3 Hebrew boys through a fiery furnace because the Son of God went through judgment for us. The saints from all nations can rejoice that God will be there judge. You don’t want a mortal man to be your judge. Man judges by appearances. God’s judgment is according to the truth.

V4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

Our culture has their own reasons for being happy which is often captured in our music. Back in the 80s we learned Don't worry, be happy. We grown beyond worrying it seems in 2016 because now I'm happy and happiness is the truth. Others say I sing because I'm happy because they're free, because God watches me. And so his prayer continues look in V4 at why the nations can be glad. All who love justice can rejoice that the Judge of all the earth will do right.

The Lord guides the nations as Sovereign ruler, overriding the plots and schemes of rulers by providentially bringing all things into conformity with his own will. Proverbs 21.1 The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord and he turns it like streams of water. (Ex. In Dubai, The Sheik of United Arab Emirates gave land for free for churches to be established right there in the middle east). As we heard last week, in his time, God will disciple all nations by the preaching of the gospel. God will establish his kingdom of grace upon the ruins of the devil’s kingdom. Even the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ.

Hearts changed by the gospel are moved to sing. A new heart takes delight in both hearing and participating in praise to our God. The converted give thanks in everything. Psalm 68:3–4 (ESV) — 3 But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! 4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! Book 5 of the psalms was written just for that purpose.

Imagine how the nation's will contribute to the praise of our God. Can you hear the praise of those set free from the bondage of suriyah law, witchcraft, and syncretism. Saints let the gospel loose and let the captives free.

God has been guiding the nations through the Light of creation. Micah 6:8 (ESV) — 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord requires of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? The light of creation is dim and we need special revelation through God’s word that guides the nations in his way. We are a Baptist church, but we are also a reforming church. We hope to be conformed more to Christ image each time we encounter his word. His word will guide that nations as well.

Jesus has more sheep to bring into the fold. If you are one of the sheep then you should care about other the welfare of other sheep. The psalmist is looking forward to a day when the church would prosper and be one. The death of Christ guaranteed the answer to this prayer for the nation's joy. This is encouragement to pray and to ask grand things of God. If this is your passion, join us for corporate prayer at our Sunday evening services.

Jesus pursued us for the joy set before him. We should seek the salvation of the nation's because their joy will be our joy.

My third and final point:

3. The joy when God will both grow the church and accept the nations vv6-7

6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

In VV6-7 we see that even the earth smiles on the nations and blesses them with it’s fruit. We learned in our last series that the Levites gave grain and drink offerings and animal sacrifices, that’s how blessed they were. The Lord ordained sacrifices and provided abundantly so that his people could give back to him. As the redeemed, the food we receive from the earth and we enjoy with thanksgiving to God. In all that we do whether we eat or drink we do for his glory.

V6 God our God. Many have the blessings of this world's goods, but have not God. Poor people envy the lifestyle of the rich and at the same time celebrities just want to be normal. Many pursue this world’s treasures, but what is gold to a dying man? Material blessing could open up all sorts of temptation and lead your heart away from God faster than Solomon’s concubines. So be content with what you have have on earth and to call God your God. We will boast in the Lord our God, the savior of the ends of the earth, Yes He’s MY God!

Some are wondering is it presumptuous to declare that God will bless us, not just once but twice? This is not word faith or prosperity theology, though I’m sure this verse has been abused. Rather like V1 the tone here is hopeful, quietly confident, not in one’s own power to declare what will be, but in a loving God. Those who by grace call God their own may humbly expect he will bless us. Missionaries can also look forward to reaping a bountiful harvest of new sons and daughters of God. We can expect both a material and a spiritual blessing for his church. So we can also look for God to provide for the needs of his children. The blessings we receive on earth are sweetened because we receive them as mercies from God. The Lord is pleased to give his people what they need if we seek him first. Leviticus 26:4 (ESV) — 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

V7 All who have joy in God and his saving work will also fear. He blesses us so they, the Gentiles, will fear Him. All the world will be like the saints in this regard. We will all fear the Lord. We will all one day be on bended knee even those who would not bow their hearts. The redeemed nations will fear, that is, worship the Lord with a godly fear. God’s blessings call us not only to love Him, but to fear Him. To maintain high thoughts of him and to be afraid of offending him. By God’s power the division of the nations at the tower of babel will be completely reversed with the preaching of the gospel. As we who have been brought to the church invite others to cast in their lot with us. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 (ESV) — 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Conclusion

Will your friends, family coworkers, neighbors and the nation's miss the Lamb’s wedding supper simply because you never invited them? Perhaps you read these words yet you don't resonate with all this talk of gladness. You say there's so much evil running rampant which is true. You say and my life sucks. Life can be challenging. Friend, that's why Jesus came to give us new lives. So friend don't look inward. There are no answers there and you don’t need to find yourself. Look forward, look upward by faith. And once you do then God will turn your eyes and affections outward to the nations because He has a mission to complete. So what do we do now, just wait for Jesus to return and stare at the sky?

6 mission steps: Learn, pray, go, send, welcome, mobilize

Children, while the world prioritizes getting a fast start on higher education and starting their careers as the ultimate goal in their lives, consider taking advantage of going of your youth and go on a missions trip. If God is your God then go one summer while you're in high school or before starting college go and make disciples both here and abroad. Go while your parents are still supporting you and while you’re still single.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast
Let’s conclude on time together. Matthew 22:1–14 (ESV) — 1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.” ’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Let’s pray.

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