Our Mission: to Campaign for the Lord's Salvation
Lord Jesus, You have entrusted Your Word to me for my use and to share with others. I confess that I often fail in both uses. Fill my heart with a love for Your Word so that I grow daily in my understanding of Your truth and use it in my life. Then with strengthened faith let me be a ready, eager, and effective tool in bringing your Word to others. Cause Your Word to fill all of our hearts with zeal this morning as You are with us in worship. Amen.
The Word of God is the power for a soul’s salvation. The Word of God creates faith in the heart of a sinner to believe in Jesus as His Savior. That faith then shows itself in one’s life and confession. If God’s Word is what brings salvation, but the Word is not preached and no one takes the Word to others, how will sinners be saved? May we all answer the Lord’s call to share His Word by eagerly saying, “Here am I! Send me!”
Jesus compares believers to salt and light. Salt has a preserving quality. We are the salt of the earth offering preservation from sin and death as we share the Gospel. But if we lose the Gospel and its power, we’ve lost our saltiness and are of no value. We are the light of the earth. We let our light shine by word and example and since that light is a reflection of our Savior others will see Jesus by the light we shine.
Text: Psalm 96:1-5
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Dear fellow Christians:
Here we are, at the end of October and the political campaigns are in full force. Right now, politicians and their campaign teams are working hard to bring their messages to the public. Their hope is to convince the public that their plan for governing is the one that is good and right.
Of course, as we know, the political systems and the politicians of this world are far from perfect, and if we expect perfection to come from the governmental processes of this world we will be disappointed every time. That is not to say that these processes should not be taken seriously. In fact, we as Christians have an obligation to our government. Especially in this country where in a sense we are the government, we have a responsibility to make good use of the authority invested in us as the American people. However, as Christians, we know that there are limitations with regard to the politics of this world. There is only so much that can be accomplished in the realm of politics, and no more. There is only so far that the realm of politics can reach, and no further.
Politics are of limited consequence. Matters concerning the message of God’s Word and His salvation are the only matters of eternal consequence. Although we recognize the authority of our earthly political leaders, our true leader is the LORD God. People in this world spend a lot of time and energy promoting political campaigns, but most fully, we want to be involved in the Lord’s campaign, to spread his message of salvation to all people. That is our mission. OUR MISSION: CAMPAIGNING FOR THE LORD’S SALVATION I. Spreading the message II. Living the message
The Lord’s salvation is our message and it is the subject of our text for today. We can use this text to shed light on our mission to spread the message. In Psalm 96:1, the Psalmist writes, “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.”
The Psalmist’s hope in this verse is that of true mission work: for the Gospel of the Savior to be preached in all the world, to every living person. However, interestingly enough, over the years the words of this Psalm have primarily reached those who are already in the believing church of God. If He wants unbelievers to be converted, doesn’t it seem to be a little problem that its been mostly believers who have read his words over the years? Not at all, because mission works starts with believers-from the time of the Psalmist until our time today as we are gathered here together this morning. His words are motivation and encouragement for all believers to go out into the world and work for the salvation of all people by preaching the Gospel of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
The psalmist wants the people of the world to sing a new song. Without the Gospel message of free salvation and forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, there is no new song. The message of free grace in Jesus is truly a unique and new idea that is not promoted by any other way of trying to receive salvation. In all other attempts of man to be saved, there is always the same old song: salvation by required works. The idea of being accountable to God’s law is ingrained in mankind so it is not surprising that it continues to pop up over and over again in the false religions of the world. It is not a surprising that the idea of gaining salvation by works is as old as time itself. But it is only in the Gospel of Jesus that people will learn of the new song of God’s free love and grace that has been accomplished completely apart from man himself, and that it completely covers all of man’s sins. People will not come up with this “new song” on their own, but only the “same old song” of trying (and consequently failing) to achieve salvation by works. That is why mission work is so important, so that this new message of salvation can be known by those who would otherwise not know it.
The ultimate goal of mission work is to reach the entire world, so that no soul is left behind. This can seem to be an overwhelming job. But its important to remember this work is done one soul at a time, so every time we are able to bring the Gospel to someone who needs it we are accomplishing the mission.
In verse 2 of our text the psalmist writes, “Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” The Psalmist writes that this message of the good news of the Lord’s salvation is something that is to be proclaimed everyday.
If we think of ourselves as those campaigning for the Lord’s salvation, we can be impressed with the tenacity of the political campaigns going on right now. You barely go an hour, let alone a day, without seeing or hearing a political commercial or news report, or seeing a political sign posted in someone’s front yard. Isn’t the Lord’s salvation also worthy of this kind of attention, and in fact more worthy? Well, one thing about the major political campaigns is that they cost a lot of money, and that kind of money isn’t always available to us. But, still the same, the Lord’s message of salvation needs to be out there.
As stated earlier, the Lord’s salvation is the only thing that we can be involved in that goes past the short time that we are on this earth. If anything deserves our daily attention in some regard, this does. We need to be looking for ways to proclaim the Lord’s salvation everyday as individuals and as a church. And more than just looking for ways to do this, we need to be praying for opportunities to do this, because they are out there, and the Lord is more than happy to give them to us.
Now can it happen that we can go through a full day and not have opportunities to proclaim the salvation of the Lord? Yes, but what we want to avoid is missing the opportunities when they are there because we are just not paying enough attention, and because we are not making it a high enough priority in our daily lives.
In verse 3 the psalmist writes, “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” When we think of mission work, sometimes our first association is that of mission work happening overseas in the midst of great heathenism. The Psalmist definitely is referring to that here with the word translated in our text as “nations.” That word in the original Hebrew has the idea of other nations apart from one’s own. But the psalmist’s words do not neglect the idea of the people very close to us either. He says to “declare the Lord’s wonders to all peoples.” The word translated “peoples” has a special emphasis on one’s own countrymen, or the people we’re close to all the time.
We need to be very concerned about overseas missions and support that in every way we can. Even in something as simple as giving monetary offerings to the mission fund we help do the mission work described in this Psalm in a very real way. But let’s not let it be lost on us that there is very real mission work we can do concerning unbelievers all around us. It’s mission work every time we get to speak about the Gospel to a friend or relative or co-worker who needs to hear that saving message.
Also, sometimes its easy to think that overseas is where people really don’t have the slightest clue about message of Jesus and the salvation found in Him. There is a certain amount of truth to that, but I really am noticing that there seems to be more and more people in our own country who really don’t know the first thing about the Lord’s salvation. They might know the nameJesus and know about how He was crucified, but not much more, and not about what Jesus and His cross really mean for them personally. It’s not that all the unbelieving people out there in our neighborhoods have heard it all before and don’t want to hear about it anymore. There are a lot of people who haven’t really heard and understood the message of the Lord’s salvation of free grace in Jesus, and there are a lot of people who are interested in hearing about it when they are finally told.
The psalmist goes on to say, “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.” Because the Lord offers salvation which brings eternal life and happiness when we leave this world, we have to say with Psalmist that the Lord is great and greatly to be praised. And it comes as no surprise that a God powerful enough to do this for us, is the same powerful God who created the world and the universe.
The Bible tells us that people have a natural knowledge of God and that people have a natural, inborn knowledge of God’s Law. People are aware of their sins otherwise they wouldn’t feel those pricks of conscience that we all feel at times. People are aware that they need to put their trust in something to make things right in their lives. The problem is, there is only one solution to the problems that we and all people face—the problems of sin and evil, and sickness and death. The one solution is the Lord God, Jesus, and the salvation from sin’s consequences that He won for us.
Unfortunately, people have tried to find gods to trust in. These range from false gods carved into wooden or stone idols, all they way to making themselves their own gods. There is no hope in these things. Our mission is to show people that there is something in which we can hope. Our mission is to show people that the God who has so readily shown himself in the creation of the world is their God. Our mission is to then show people God’s plan of salvation in Jesus, which is not found in creation or in oneself, but is only recorded in God’s Holy Word. He has proved that we have a hope of salvation from all sin, evil, and death by the fact that Jesus conquered all those things by dying on the cross and we are assured of that by His resurrection from the dead. Because death could not hold Him, now death cannot hold us either, or anyone out there in the world who believes His message of salvation. Our mission is to bring that message to people.
This message and mission of the Lord’s salvation is perfect and wonderful. The problem is that we are not perfect and wonderful. When this mission and message don’t succeed, it is because sinners are involved in the process. To expand upon that though let me refer to the example of the political process. Two things that will doom a political campaign are if it is out-campaigned and if it is exposed for being a fraud. The same holds true with us and our campaign to promote the Lord’s message of salvation. We should make no mistake about it, the Devil is also campaigning hard for the souls of all people, and he wants to out-campaign us. If we become indifferent or complacent we will be out-campaigned.
Also, when it is apparent that our lives don’t mirror the Christianity that people associate us with, our message becomes unbelievable, not because God’s Word is not still true and effective, but because our contrary lifestyle becomes what people focus on instead.
If these things happen with us, it’s not as though God’s message and mission of spreading that message will fail, God has already promised that His kingdom and His mission will prevail, but He will just do it without including us. I think we would all rather be a part of God’s plan and mission to spread the message of His Salvation than not to be part of it.
When we are not carrying out our mission to spread the message of the Lord’s salvation and supporting this cause, it is because it has slipped in importance in our lives. Our text tells us this mission is something that we should be thinking about and trying to accomplish on a daily basis, and yet it can happen that the Lord’s salvation is pushed out of our daily lives by all the other things that have pushed their way into our daily lives.
If we’re not careful, things in our lives that are meant to be a part of our lives (but a less important part than the LORD’S salvation), can become the most important things in our lives. If this is the case, then we ourselves are dealing with the sin of idolatry when it should be our mission, as our text says, to lead others to leave idols and believe in the message of the Lord’s salvation. Anytime something is more important to us than the true God and His message of salvation, we have another God in our lives, which is an idol. The idol can be money, our jobs, our hobbies, even our own families. With the Lord’s salvation as our mainstay and our mission, all other things in this life will find their proper place.
Well, let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of committing these sins to one degree or another. But the message of the Lord’s salvation says that we have forgiveness for these sins in the blood of Jesus Christ so that we don’t have to suffer the punishment of Hell for these sins. When this message is believed in the heart the effect can’t be to casually go on continuing to sin because it will be forgiven anyway. Rather, the message of the Lord’s salvation gives us renewed strength to pursue His will. We know how wonderful it is for sinners like us to hear that despite our sinfulness we are forgiven and we are going to heaven because of Jesus. We have to also make it our mission to get that message to others, because without that message there is no hope for eternal salvation and happiness.
Its the end of October and the political campaigns are in full swing. The governmental issues of this world are important and we should take an interest in them, but how much they pale in comparison to eternal and ultimate significance of the Lord’s salvation. One thing that we as Christian missionaries can take from the political campaigns is an example. Let’s look at the fervor, enthusiasm, and desperation that we can see from these campaigns, and let’s think about the attitudes that we should bring with us as we campaign for the Lord’s salvation. These political campaigners know election time is drawing near, and the time is limited in which they can secure votes. The Lord has also told us in His Word that the end is coming, and that there are many who need to hear the Gospel before there is no time left to hear it.
May the Lord of salvation impress us all with the importance of His mission, and may we respond by doing this work out of thanksgiving for what He has done for us. Amen.
Mission Festival Speaker
—Seminarian, Eric Libby