Declare His Glory

Declare His Glory

This is like coming home again. It’s so good to be back at Berean Baptist Church and to be able to glorify looking at his word and speaking about what he is doing in our part of the world.

Missions is the heartbeat of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. And He succeeded here, atone for our sin once for all at the cross is risen from the dead, ascended on high, and He soon will come again. But before he ascended, He gave us this commission that we should extend His heartbeat to the uttermost parts of the earth.

On behalf of my wife, Sue, and our four grown children and 21 grandchildren. Even saying that I don’t believe it, but it’s true. 21 grandchildren, all of whom reside in Australia and are active in church serving the Lord. Someone said to Sue and me a few years ago, We feel we get good bang for our missions Buck with you guys because all your kids are there.

They don’t get any support. But they’re serving the Lord. I, I thought that was a good perspective. We serve on behalf of Berean Baptist Church in the Asia Pacific region of the world. We have ten countries that this year will be giving oversight to giving pastoral care and coaching to church planters in these various countries. But at the same time, we are practitioners and we continue to do church planting locally in the Sydney area, and we’re nearing the completion of our third church plant, Calvary Baptist Church.

And we’d appreciate your prayers as the Church is now seeking for a pastor. And we ask that that provision would happen very soon. Our newest endeavor is to start a mission organization, and that was begun this last year is called Declare International and works in partnership with a ABWE and another like minded mission organizations. The purpose is to enable Australian and New Zealand churches participate directly in world evangelism.

And to that end, our first appointee went to Togo short term this last year and our second one to Papua New Guinea, and we hope to have many more that will follow God’s heartbeat in missions. In what ways are you involved in mission? Do you dare to dream big, to pray purposefully and expectantly, to go intentionally as part of Berean Baptist Church so that disciples of Jesus Christ are made locally and globally?

That’s what Christ has commanded us to do. But it sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Where do we begin? I think a good starting place is Psalm 96, so I invite you to turn in your Bibles to that Psalm. Psalm 96. In Psalm 96, there are three actions that are declared that speak directly to this process of world evangelization, three actions.

And it all centers around this statement declare his glory. I appreciate so much the worship team. Pastor Steve. My heart was warmed singing those songs and having this focus right through the service. Three actions. The first action is worship for witness, worship for witness. When we think about global evangelism, it must begin with worship. That’s where it starts.

Look at verses one and two. sing to the Lord a new song, Sing to the Lord. All the earth, Sing to the Lord. Bless His name, Tell of His salvation from day to day. This psalm begins with a call to worship, sing to the Lord. We’ve been doing that this morning. And then the Psalm identifies three characteristics of meaningful and missional worship and those characteristics as we worship for witness.

Those three characteristics are to be rightly tuned to God, rightly tuned to God, rightly toned to joy, rightly toned to joy, and rightly tensed to the present, rightly tense to the present. Let’s consider these characteristics. The first one rightly tuned to God. The power of mission resides in our sovereign, Merciful Lord. He is the Savior, He is the Redeemer, He is the Justifier.

And that’s why three times in his opening two verses, he is name. He is the Lord. Souls are never won by clever arguments or threats. No one is converted by rhetoric. Conversely, no one is ever lost. No one ever misses out on salvation because of our bumbling presentation of the Gospel. It is Jesus Christ who saves, and He uses even the stammering tongue to communicate His grace, that irresistible grace that draws people to salvation.

Do you see that it is essential to missions that we be rightly tuned to God? He is the one who brings salvation in the same way that these musicians who were up here earlier today had to tune. So we must tune. If they had not tuned, then they might have produced noise for us. If you think of a full orchestra, if the orchestra doesn’t tune, that’s what you’re going to get.

You’re going to get a lot of noise that underscores how essential it is for you and me to be tuned to God. The second characteristic of our worship that leads to witness is to be rightly toned to joy, greatly toned to joy. You see, three times in his opening, two verses, we’re told to sing. There’s nothing weighty about singing, there’s nothing judgmental about singing.

Joy is what emanates from singing. Never underestimate the power of joyful expression of worship to make an impression on people. We see that illustrated in the 16th of Acts. Paul and Silas were wrongly arrested, beaten, thrown into the stalks, into the dark dungeon in in Philippi. And from that dungeon they did not complain. They didn’t cry out against the injustice, but they sang hymns of praise to God.

And that’s why later that night, when an earthquake struck and the jailer thought that everyone surely would have escaped and then discovered that no, all had remained. He went to Paul and Silas with this question What must I do to be saved? What made him think they knew the answer to that question? It was the Psalms of praise, the joy that he heard from these persecuted men.

And that still works today. As many of you know, my wife has had a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma these last year and a half. And we appreciate your prayers along the way. Lots of doctor appointments, including with our general practitioner. Our general practitioner comes from mainland China. And when we first started going to her 15 years ago, she told us right up front, I’m an atheist.

In this follow up appointment in this last year, as Sue mentioned to Dr. Becky, that our grandchildren had recorded a song, put it on YouTube to encourage her while she was in hospital. Dr. Becky said, I’d like to hear that song. Could you message the link to my mobile phone? And so Sue did that. A short while later, she got this text from Dr. Becky.

I want to read it to you. Thank you, dear Sue, It is beautiful in the fallen world we live in. He is our comfort and strength, praying for you all to know him and walk with him closely. Now, that did not sound like an atheist sending a text message, so Sue immediately replied, Dr. Becky, thank you for your sweet and encouraging message.

Have you become a Christian? To which she replied, Not yet, but pray for me. In a later conversation, we discovered that her daughter has come to faith in Jesus and had been witnessing to her, and she is is indeed softening. So pray that Dr. Becky comes to know the Lord. But what was the witness on this occasion? It was the joyful voices of children singing praise to God.

Our joy in Jesus rightly tone draws sinners to the Savior. I want to speak further about this because we live in an age when there is hostility towards Christianity in the West, Christianity is in decline. How do we respond to that here in the United States and other Western countries? Do we ramp up our arguments? Do we become aggressive with our apologetics?

Do we seek to triumph with our intellect? No. I think the right approach today, I’m not minimizing apologetics or any of that, but I think what is needed today is open our doors, open our windows and let them hear us sing. Let them hear the joy that comes from our heart because we know our sins are forgiven. We know that God is present with us.

Let them here. Let them hear our peace in hospital wards. Let them hear our hope in the streets of loneliness, in despair, and let them hear the beauty of our Savior’s love. In contrast to the ravages of lust that have infected our society, the consequences of what our society now permits, the vices our society permits, the consequences are predictable, and our already being felt.

People whose lives have been wrecked by gambling, whose lives have been wrecked by loose living, whose lives have been wrecked by intoxication, whether that’s from alcohol or from marijuana or other sorts of drugs. Lives are wrecked all around us and people are lonely and they are seeking hope. So let them here us saying, let them see. This is where hope is, because this is where God is.

To illustrate, Australia just had a census. One of the points that came from the census is there’s a spike in same sex divorces. Are you surprised? So that euphoria over same sex marriage was just a mirage. You cannot live in disobedience to God and find satisfaction, and our world is loaded with dissatisfied people. So let’s be rightly tone to joy.

Let them hear us sing. Then third characteristic for our worship that leads to witness is be rightly tensed to today, be rightly tense to today. You see what verse two says. It says Tell of his salvation when in a past, in the future know today tell of his salvation from day to day in Lamentations, it’s expressed this way.

His mercies are new. When every morning, every morning through those 11 weeks that Sue was in hospital, that was the verse we kept quoting to each other. His mercies are new every morning. What comes next? Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Salvation. Yes, there is past tense. Jesus completed atonement in the past. That’s finished. And there’s future tense.

Someday we will be with the Lord. And our the consummation of our salvation will be experienced. But let’s live in the present tense. God is with us and God is good every day. Let the world hear the Gospel in the present tense and we can bring this to bear on issues. Climate change. Sing the Gospel about the one who changes, not economic collapse.

Sing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to fed 5000 with just five loaves and two fish wars and rumors of wars. Sing the gospel about the one who forgives and restores. Let’s be rightly tempts to today. A few months ago, Sue and I had the joy of hosting a couple from Japan. Now you and Lisa are the worship leaders and a BW is newest church plant in Tokyo.

And now here is a hymn writer. He said Think of us by the Japanese get is the I and his point was we need to have our own humanity. And so he and his his wife is a brilliant soprano, have made it their mission to write hymns, new hymns for Japanese churches. They are tense to today. You can look up their YouTube channel.

I recommend it to you. They’re brilliant musicians. You might want to adapt some of their songs here at Berean. They are reaching Japanese young people, young people who are plagued by thoughts of suicide in a dark culture that is surrounded, immersed in spiritualism. Let them hear you sing, worship for witness. Secondly, witness for the world. Witness for the world.

Look at verses 3 to 6. Declare his glory among the nations. His marvelous works among all the peoples, for great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all Gods, for all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols. But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

These are striking verses. God is at the same time delightfully imposing and undeniably peerless. This is our God. Three distinct lives we find in these verses about the witness that we must take for the world. The first distinctive your witness is to be an announcement, not an advertisement. An announcement, not an advertisement. Have you been equipped to share the Gospel maybe with Romans Road or for spiritual laws back 40 years ago at Bryan, I learned how to share the gospel with balanced evangelism.

Many of you remember balanced evangelism? Yeah, that’s all of us older people here. There was evangelism explosion before that. Good soil evangelism. These are all good. It’s good to be equipped to to know what to say if you when you have that opportunity to share your faith. But never think of evangelism as don’t think of it as marketing.

We are not selling Jesus. We are proclaiming Jesus. It is not our duty to convince anyone. It’s not our duty to score. And I fear that in evangelicalism, many have crossed the line into thinking that church growth evangelism is dependent upon our marketing. We’ve to make Jesus appealing to people. That’s not the method of evangelism that Jesus use.

That’s not the method of evangelism that John the Baptist used. They had an economy to the way they evangelized. They declared that’s what they did. John the Baptist said The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe. The Gospel is short to the point. People either repented or didn’t, declared the truth because the gospel is true for everyone, whether they believe it or not.

So let’s not look for clever packaging. Instead, let’s declare his glory. And what glory we have to declare. The text says We are to declare both His glory and His wonders. His glory and His wonders. His glory is who He is, His wonders, what He has done. So who is he? He is the eternal God. He is the self existent one.

He is the merciful God who sent His only begotten son into the world that we might be saved through him. He is holy and sovereign, majestic. He is the creator and He is the Redeemer. That’s half the message. The other half is what he has done. So what has he done? What are his marvelous works? As the Psalm put it?

Well, look at the stars. Look at the ocean. Look at the complexity of your body. God did this. You look at the cross, Look at the empty tomb. Look to the lives down through the centuries that have been transformed by this good news. God did this and look for the King of Kings. Look for the Lord of Lords.

Look for justice, look for eternity. God does this marvelous works where you declare To whom should you declare? The text tells us to the nations to all peoples. Jesus defined the geography as our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. Are there people who are not hearing the declaration about God’s glory and His wonders?

Sadly, there are many, even in our own community, in your Jerusalem, here in Portage, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Hinduism, Islam, atheism, secularism are on the rise. You’ve got Hindu temples here. Are you familiar with the darkness of Hinduism? You have Islamic mosques here, and I’m not picking on these people. We need to look at them as Jesus looked at people as being sheep that are lost, needing compassion locally.

There are people who need to hear globally. There are people who need to hear unreached, unengaged people groups. There are many in the eastern region of Thailand, in the northeast, there are many in India. Japan is the second least evangelized country in the world. And yet Japan is open. Ought not to be the second least evangelized Jesus gave the Great Commission 2000 years ago.

And we’re far from finishing the task. There are nearly a billion people in this world that have no access to a Bible. There are nearly 2 billion people in this world who have no local church in their area and therefore no sustained gospel witness. This must move us to be active in evangelism to take the worship leads to witness, to witness to the world.

It’s time for us to declare his glory and his wonders. That’s what Trinity Church, our second church plant, is doing. This is a church plant that just dropped in our lap. I went to an evening service at one of our fellowship churches in Sydney, and the pastor met me at the door and said, I can’t believe you’re here today.

I, I was just talking to you, to someone about you. And I said, really? He said, Yeah, there’s this this Lebanese guy who is planting a church and he’s looking for help. He wants someone to mentor him. And I told him he needs to talk to you. And so he introduced us and it was like love at first sight.

Me, me and Robert, we’re like the odd couple. He’s big, burly Arabic guy with beard and head shaved, looks like a gang member. And then me and remarkable things by the hand of God happened. That church quickly grew. It now has over 200 people attending. It it’s not a church plant anymore. And that church sings. I wish I could transport all of you there so that you could be in that church.

Hear them sing. Here are people who are first generation Christians, a congregation of first generation Christians who know what it is to have been lost and are overjoyed that they have been found by Jesus Christ. And to hear them sing And they’ve they’ve renovated the auditorium that they have. So it’s as reverberant as it possibly can be. I don’t necessarily recommend that, but that’s what they did.

So it’s all tile floors and all the walls are hard and the ceilings are hard and it’s like a megaphone in the neighborhood. Everybody hears them sing and you know what happens? People walking down the street, they get curious and they come and take a peek inside. And then they’re caught because there’s someone at the door to pull them inside.

Let them hear us sing. So not an advertisement. It’s an announcement. Second characteristic, it’s an absolute, not an all inclusion. It’s an absolute, not an all inclusion. Or we declare because God indeed is great and he deserves to be praised by all people. He is to be feared to the exclusion of all gods, because all other gods are nothing.

Their idols is what I just said, discriminatory. Is it offensive? Maybe not to you, but it certainly is to people outside of these walls. Tolerance is the new standard of righteousness, isn’t it? Everyone and everything must be affirmed no matter what label they choose for themselves. And aren’t we into labels? Days used to be, as the proverb says, even a child is known by his doing what you do.

But now it’s not what you do. It’s who you say you are. What you say your identity is. I went into it. We’re able to teach the Bible in public schools in Australia, went into a class and for my first time in there and the teacher grabbed me out the door and said, I just want you to know that Johnny is ODD

I had no idea what that was. I know what O-D-D spells, odd. And why would you call the kid odd? Certainly. Explain what it is. Oppositional defiance disorder. And she said, just don’t give him any directives because he’s ODD. That’s who he is. I thought, that’s not O-D-D. That’s S-I-N. Discipline will take care of that. But you slap the label on and that’s who he thinks he is.

He’s not responsible. He can’t help himself. That’s who he is. So there are behavioral labels. There are religious labels. I’m a Muslim, I’m a Hindu in Indonesia. People have that on their card, their identity card, what they are. And you’re not permitted to proselytize someone to be something what they are. If they’re Muslim, you can proselytize the Christians and convert them to Islam if you want, but you have to respect who they are.

Should we do that? There are racial labels, aren’t there? There are sexual labels. I’m non-binary, I’m gay, I’m trans, and all of these labels are telling us, you must affirm me, you must make allowances for me, you must permit me to have my truth. Where does that lead? It leads to eternity in hell. There is a way that seems right to a man.

And then there are other ways of death. It’s not loving to tolerate a firm error and evil. All have sinned. All come short of the glory of God. And the Lord came so that we might be saved by reporting in a supporting church. A lady came up to me afterwards because I’d spoken about Thailand, one of the countries that we work in, and she said she had just finished hosting a Thai exchange student.

I said to her, How did that exchange student respond when you brought her to church? And She said, Why would I bring her to church? She’s Buddhist. Let’s not respect labels except for the ones that God places on us. We’re sinners. We need a savior. And then third characteristic your witness is about in actuality, not an aspiration, an actuality, not an aspiration.

Notice the present tense in verse six Honor and Majesty are before him strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. It’s present tense. Yes, The consummation of Christ kingdom is future, but the reality who God is and what He does and what he means to us is present tense. And so let let your message be wrapped in truth and beauty.

In the present tense. Worship gives rise to witness. Witness to the world. And then we come full circle with the third and final point the world for worship. The world for worship. The God versus 7 to 9 ascribe to the Lord of Families of the Peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory.

Do His name, bring an offering, and come in to His courts, worship the Lord in a splendor of holiness, tremble before him all the Earth. Have you picked up on the Triads in this Psalm? It was Lord, Lord, Lord at the beginning. And our response? Sing, Sing, Sing. And now, after the witness, the Declaration has gone out. The nations are called to ascribe, ascribe, ascribe.

Every people group on Earth is to ascribe to the Lord. And what are they? To ascribe glory and strength to Him? And why must this be ascribed? Because this glory is due to his name. He deserves it. We sang earlier in the service the hymn All for a thousand Times to sing. Now that may seem like hyperbole. Let’s make it a goal.

Let’s see. A thousand more tongues converted, raised up to sing our great Redeemer’s Praise it. Let’s not stop at 1000. 10,000, 100,000. A million. God deserves all of it. Let’s ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. The song is the beginning. The offering is what comes next. In verse eight. What shall we give? Let’s give our bodies a living sacrifice wholly acceptable unto him and the manner of worship is dictated in verse nine.

Do you sense a solemnity in the splendor of holiness and tremble before him? All the earth worship? I believe one of the reasons that Christianity is in decline here in the United States, in Australia, other Western countries, is the absence of holiness and fear. When churches reduce God to what He does for me rather than what I reverently do for him when he when we humanize God, when we packaged him in something that people might find more attractive, our worship is idolatrous.

We’re not worshiping the true God, we are worshiping our own invention. And I think that is one of the reasons that we have seen decline. The world is not stupid. It’s looking for authenticity. Shame on the church for offering marketing entertainment and self-gratification. When Jesus Christ said, Take up your cross and follow me. I want to close with an example of how this works by the mercy of God.

Many people at this very moment are being saved and gathered into churches in the Bay in a region of Papua New Guinea. Our team set a goal to see 100 men come to faith in the Lord. They knew that if the men were converted, then the women and the children would follow. The area that they were targeting was plagued by tribal violence and a cycle of payback sorcery, murder, horrifying things, women raped, huts torched, people ambushed, and these horrors dated back generations.

Could the gospel break this level of depravity? But we know. So it’s the power of God. As we heard earlier in the service, one of the strategies to try to reach men was to have a week of meetings, practical skills like carpentry. Those workshops were offered and and these tribal elders came. They wanted to learn how to use tools.

And we gave out some tools to them as well. The gospel was preached every night to a marquee like a circus tent is full of men and men came to faith in the Lord one after another, repenting, turning to the Lord, and the pain is now changed. Some of these men now are leaders in a recently graduated church plant in a place called Case of Sorrow.

Others are part of the next church is being planted in the neighboring village, replacing the blood curdling screams of murder that once filled this valley are the sweet sounds of worship. Men and women, boys and girls tuned to God, tone to joy, tense in the present. The old is gone, the new is come. This is the point where you declare his glory, where you let your worship fuel your witness so that your witness to the world multiplies worship.

Heavenly Father, we look to you and we plead for your mercy. We have loved ones who don’t know you as Savior would you be merciful to give them no contentment, but to bring conviction through the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness and judgment. And Lord, we have a world around us where you give us courage to declare your glory.

And we pray, Father, for many more to be saved. In Jesus name, Amen.

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