PREEMENICE | His Story – Our Practice WEEK VIII | Go On Mission Part I – Psalm 96
March 19, 2023 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: PREEMINENCE | His Story - Our Practice
Topic: Old Testament Passage: Psalm 96
Christopher Rich – March 19, 2023
PREEMENICE His Story – Our Practice
WEEK VIII | Go On Mission Part I – Psalm 96
Introduction | First Priority, His Agenda
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we are going to continue our series PREEMINENCE: His Story-Our Practice
What is your First Priority? Who’s Agenda are you about? There is so much competing to be our highest priority. Entertainment seek to captivate our attention. Political and social causes demand our allegiance. Family, work, exercise, and community consume our activity. Relationships, Food, art, music, and sports stir our affections. Not all we prioritized is profitable. In our pain, we seek comfort or numbness leading to consuming addictions. With so much taking our time, filling our thoughts, and clouding our vision, we can easily get disoriented and distracted from who we are called and intend to be. Clear perspective and consistent practices come from being properly oriented around who and what should be prioritized as “First”. This series has been asking:
Who should be first? If there is a God, who created the world, knows us, has a purpose for us, one who is wise, powerful, loving, and “good”, then who we are, how we see ourselves and the world should be from the perspective of God being “first”. The Bible tells us about the God who is “first” and His name is Jesus.
PART I | Jesus is First | Colossians 1:15-20
Colossians 1:15-20 | 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
This describes Jesus’ role in the world, the church, and our lives. He uses the word Preeminent. Preeminent, in the original Greek, means to “hold first place, have the highest rank, possess the greatest dignity, or being chief”. The word is only used once in the entire New Testament and is exclusively ascribed to Jesus Christ as one who, in “everything”, is to be preeminent. Simply put, Jesus is, and is to be, “first” in literally all things. These verses help give us a robust understanding of the implications of Jesus being “first”.
Jesus is the visible image of the unseen God. To see Jesus is to see God. Jesus is the “Firstborn”, meaning chief heir or ruler, of all creation. Jesus is the Creator God. He made all things, and all things are for Him. Jesus is the Sustainer. Everything is over seen held together by Him. Jesus is Head of God’s people. The Church is a body led and loved by Him. Jesus is Preeminent in everything. Jesus is First, He will not be second. Jesus is the Fullness of God. We know God when we know Jesus. Jesus is our Sacrifice. He suffers for us to reconcile us back to God. Jesus is our Peace. We have wholeness when Jesus is first in our lives.
Our Practice - Jesus as preeminent defines His Story and determines Our Practice. Jesus’ story saves individuals who respond by becoming part of His people the Church. Because Jesus is the Head of the Church, He should be Preeminent in our Practices. While not exhaustive, there are four essential ways of being, practices, marks of discipleship the church embodies and emphasizes with the hope of seeing Jesus be first in our hearts, finances, lives, church, community and beyond. At Mercy Fellowship we believe disciples of Jesus who see and respond to Jesus as first will be known individually and communally as people who:
- Gather – Because Jesus is preeminent, we gather around the person and work of Jesus for Jesus. Jesus First means participating with His people.
- Give – Because Jesus is preeminent, He is first in our finances. We give to the purposes of Jesus because He first gave Himself for us.
- Grow – Because Jesus is preeminent, we pursue growth in Him for Him. He is faithful for us and has called us to be fruitful.
- Go on Mission – Because Jesus is preeminent, His agenda is our first priority. His mission is our purpose. He lives, so we live our lives for Him.
These are not duties we perform but they are desires the drive us to discipline. To at times be uncomfortable for the greater reward of Jesus being first in in all things. We can know this is what we’re called to and yet apathy is so easy to set in. Comfort of being safe and secure can lead us to complacency forgetting the mission. We want to reignite our missional imagination by reorientating ourselves around Christ’s mission.
PART II |Our Motive for Mission | Psalm 96:1-6
Psalm 96:1-6 | Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
We desire to be on mission because we love God and we see Him as glorious. Songs are powerful. Songs motivate, songs stir affections. Songs drill concepts into our consciousness that last longer than mere instructions. That’s why commercial have jingles, shows have theme songs, and movies have sound tracks. It’s why we sing songs which most importantly are true and remind us of the goodness and greatness of God. When we know something is great we sing. We are made to sing! Singing can be vocally or with our lives, actions, and enthusiasm. This psalm is a grand mission battle cry that rallies God’s people to be on God’s mission. It is a song of victory to the God who is King and Judge, yes for His people, but also for all people! There is one God over all and He is worthy to worship! We are made to glorify that which we find glorious. We sing and share what we feel and desire. We will share with others what we find awesome. Glory, the word means “of great substance” weighty. It possess immense value. When we are captivated by greatness, excited by something glorious, or love something we don’t have to be instructed to go and tell others about it, we do it naturally as a response. We don’t have to be told to tell others about what we find awesome. We become easily disciplined in sharing with others about what we love because our desire is for them to find it lovely too. We become captivated by God in our heart and it becomes contagious. Mission begins in our hearts. Our hearts are the drivers of all our desires and actions. Worship flows from our hearts. Everyone is a worshipper. Worshippers are natural missionaries. So everyone is missionary for that which they worship. Desire for God’s kingdom to advance drives the church to mission. The mission of the church is not to be taken lightly. It was given to us by Jesus in the Great Commission, so we do not have to guess what we are about. We are to go and make disciples. Christians are Living on Jesus’ Mission not merely because we’re commanded to (though we are) but because it is a natural response to the glorious works of God in Jesus. God’s kingdom advances as our hearts are turned to submit to Him. People who know of and have experienced God’s glory and grace will necessarily “sing to the Lord” and “tell of His salvation”. It will not and cannot be contained.
We don’t sing of and share Jesus because we’ve forgotten who we are. We have forgotten we are a people who know Jesus because of God using countless generations of disciples across continents to spread his Gospel to our time and place and then in His providence he used a person, a group of people, a church, of people saved by Jesus work, all singing one chorus of God’s Gospel of Jesus to save us too. Who did God use in your life to tell you and teach you about Jesus? Were they excited about it? Where they passionate?
We don’t share Jesus with people because we’ve gotten bored with the song. It’s not new to us. We forget how much we need God daily. His mercies are new every morning. We are as dependent on Him today as we have ever been. When we hear the gospel every week, It’s a song of salvation we’ve heard before so we don’t think it’s new but it will be new and make someone new who has not heard it. Worship of God leads to telling other about God. Verse 2 says “tell” verse 3 says “Proclaim”. We are to see God’s salvation as great enough to sing about. We are to tell others about His work, meaning the work of His salvation daily!
We are motivated because we see what God has done as great. For those who have been Saved by Jesus’ Work it is easier to be Living on Jesus’ Mission and tell others about Jesus because we are just telling people about what we find to be honorable and glorious. We simply declare what is true about God, to all people, all nations, everywhere for all time. Every one you know is someone who needs to know about how great Jesus is. In these verses we are reminded God is great. We are to fear him, not in terror, but in humility because He is great. He is respectable. He is to be revered. He is praise worthy. Humility inspiring. He is the Creator who made everything good. This is a powerful God. This a God who is greater than anything or anyone else we could worship. He is able to change and fix what is broken. Worthy of singing to, worthy of following, worthy of trusting, worthy of sharing with others because we love Him and we love them.
We are motivated because we love people and want them to see God as glorious. Our enjoyment of something is multiplied as we share what we enjoy with others. We don’t like to keep things to ourselves we are passionate about because we know of others experience them or meet them they will benefit too! The Great commandment is Love God and Love People. The most loving thing we can do for people is tell them of the love of God shown in Jesus. If we love other people we will share with them what is ultimately lovely. We want people to know God and be in communion with God because we have seen it as good to be in His presence. Splendor and majesty are before Him and in His sanctuary where he dwells with His people. to be in his presence is to be in a place characterized by BOTH Strength and beauty. These are attributes we are naturally drawn to. Strength yes, beauty, amen! Both are desirous and drive us in different ways, but they are rarely experienced together. Strength without beauty is brutish and off putting. Beauty without strength is fragile and impotent. Our God has both in perfect proportion. Other so called god’s do not.
We desire to be on mission because we love people and don’t want them to follow lame gods. Calling people to worship God is to call them to stop worshipping what is lame for what is awesome. This means we need to be able people able to spot idolatry and address it. We need to be on mission to overcome idolatry in our own hearts and lives. “What I am looking to as glorious.” What is my functional hell? I am I hope will save me? Marketing/advertising is really effective at this. They are able to see how people are driven by desires and where there isn’t a natural one they create a need people didn’t even know they had. How often are you introduced to a product you didn’t even know existed and are like “I didn’t even know I needed this but now I can’t live without it.” In the case of marketing they’re creating a need that isn’t there. For us as ambassadors/missionaries we’re revealing a need that is there. “The god’s you are serving with your time, talent, treasure, with your desire and affections they are not leading you joy. They are not powerful enough to change you. They cannot save you from your sin, they cannot hear or answer your prayers. They are not worthy of your worship!” We need to regularly repent of our own idolatry, removing the plank in our eyes to more clearly see the speck in others. This takes awareness and intentionality. To see the idolatry of others and our world means being a student of both. This means living in and engaging with both.
“You cannot live and love like Jesus without spending significant time with the people who don’t know him.”
PART III | Living On Mission | Psalm 96:7-9
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, 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 holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Telling people about God is a privilege we’re granted and an action we’re called to. We want to be part of something glorious and amazing. God’s attributes of glory and strength reminds us how weak and fragile/broken we are, this causes us to tremble before Him. We are called to His presence, drawn to His presence, and we are humbled in His presence. The closer to God we find ourselves the greater and more majestic He seems. We will Ascribe = Regard God as He is. To recognize His greatness will lead to worship. It drives sacrifice. We want to give to God who is so great. It drives us to His presence. We want to be with God in communion with Him because that is where life and peace is. We need to know what is true and right about God to be able to share Him with others. We need know God’s salvation is both needed and valuable.
Need to know the product. Brand ambassadors who didn’t know about the product or worse yet didn’t like it were terrible. They actually did more harm than good. They had to be cut. People who knew the product who enjoyed it were so effective because they would reach out easily because they knew they were offering people something great and enjoyable. They didn’t care about being seen as weird because they were motivated to care more about getting the message out for the people’s benefit than if the people thought they were odd. But we don’t want to be seen as weird. We fear people/revere their opinion of us more than what God says about us. When we’re are worshipping and sharing with others something/someone we find as glorious we stop caring about how they perceive us because we will value their salvation over our own reputation. Isn’t amazing that God’s plan for the expanse of His kingdom is for those in His kingdom to participate in sharing His kingdom with others. It has to be a genuine joy of responding to who God is. You cannot fake it. People have a high filter for being “sold” to or if you see them as a project to be completed.
We have to have genuine relationships with people. Multilevel marketing…. Ewe…. “You look like a guy who takes his diet seriously… you should try this Are you interested in having greater heath and working towards financial freedom? We don’t form relationship for mission to notch another conversion on our belt like we’re the ones who save people or we’re working on our down line. The mission is the restoration of relationship, so we preach the gospel and tell people about Jesus because we genuinely care about them. Who we are the people God wants you point you Jesus? To share the Gospel with? How are you going to engage?
Mission happens in the local church. The church is an embassy of God’s Kingdom. Being on the mission of making disciples includes serving. We have to believe deeply this is the greatest benefit to people. We will call them to Jesus. We will call them to “his courts” to be with His people the church. This means we need to be in “his courts”. Being on mission is being with God and His people. You being present, you being engaged, you contributing, you serving are all things that witness and demonstrate to active power of God to make people new and make them part of a people. Invite people to our gatherings to see other sing, hear God’s word taught and preached, to see our community together. When we remember how precious the stakes of the mission are it should drive us to desire to purse the mission more vigorously.
PART III | Urgency of the Mission | Psalm 96:10-13
Psalm 96:10-13 | 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Mission scatters the local church. We gather as an embassy, but we are deployed in our community as ambassadors who are sent on mission. If we are going to “say among the nations” then we need to be among the nations. But we have to do more than merely be present in the places and people around us. We need to be prepared to tell people what is true. In love for them and love of God be faithful to tell them the truth.
We desire to be on mission because we recognize God is the King and there is the urgency of God’s judgement. There is a declaration piece. At a certain point being on mission has to include telling people to repent of sin and trust Jesus alone. To be clear, He is the way, and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. Our response to who God is; is to tell people who God is.
God is the king. He is the Creator. He is the judge. This is big contrast from our world and the natural disposition of our hearts. Creation sings at the Creator begin glorified. All will be restored. God being the judge, creator and king is a cause of heaven and earth being glad and rejoicing. It means justice is promised. Justice is coming. Justice will be satisfied. Judgement drives urgency. To be on mission is to know these truths at a foundational level and engage with people in the advancement of what is true. We’ve been warned so we know we’ve been loved. God’s judgement is perfect and it is sure. He judges with equity. He is righteous and faithful. This should bring concern for those who don’t know Jesus. This should be unsettling. But there is good news. As sure as there is judgement for sinners, there is mercy and grace for those who are In Christ. He has borne our judgement for us. He has given us His righteousness. So we don’t fear judgement we long for it because it mean an end to sin and injustice. In means the culmination of God’s mission to restore all things.
Hebrews 9:27-28 | 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Pray for those who don’t know Jesus. By name. Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel. Don’t be weird but don’t be afraid to be we weird. Make friends. Be a friend. Earn access. Be personal. Let’s be a people who are incredibly comfortable with the Gospel and our position before God that we are resolved to have many uncomfortable conversations about Him with those that don’t follow or know him.
Our time here is short. The mission is large. There is only one activity as believers we won’t able to engage with in the new heavens and new earth at Jesus return… evangelizing and sharing Jesus with those who don’t know Him. So let’s be people who are Saved by Jesus’ Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, Living on Jesus’ Mission to love God and love people enough to tell them to Trust Jesus.
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