Psalms For Summer

Pastor Jerry Gillis - August 12, 2018

Community Group Study Notes

  • Who are we blessed by and what are we blessed for? How is this different from the typical uses of the word “blessed”?
  • What are some ways that you can make God’s way of salvation known in your world?
  • What is one action step you can take in response to what you heard in Sunday’s message?



Memory Verse

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. (Psalm 67:1-2)

Sermon Transcript

These videos are a blessing. We are blessed. You know what's not a blessing is when people use the word blessing to describe things that aren't really about blessing. That's not a blessing. Like if you look at every caption and every hashtag on every picture that anyone ever posts, blessed, right? I can't help but think of the princess bride. Do you remember the little short bald headed guy named Vizzini who kept saying, "Inconceivable", remember that guy? Inconceivable. And then you remember it Inigo Montoya, he would always look at that guy because he would always say, "Inconceivable," and then everything would always happen, right? That he would say it was inconceivable, but it would actually happen. And then Inigo Montoya would look at them and say, "You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Well, I think that's where we are with the word blessed. I do not think that word means what we think it means. I think that we've kind of done something with. In fact, there was a New York Times article that talked about the word blessed being the new brag, that they called it the humble brag because you can't get in trouble. You can brag with the word blessed and you can't get in trouble with it. Right? So in other words, you show all these nice vacation shots, which is basically saying, "I'm on a nice vacation and you're not. I'm better than you." And then under it's blessed, and people are like, "Well, I would comment, but you know I can't because they put blessed on there. So it's kind of like a brag, nut I can't call them out because they hid behind the word blessed. Right?" Or you go to the nice restaurant, and you've got your pictures of your really expensive dinner, and you put it out there and it's just like blessed.

And you kind of go, "Well, you're kind of bragging about like, I mean I'm eating Denny's and you're having this like nice, incredible meal and you're blessed. And apparently I'm not. And so it's kind of like a brag, but it's really not right?" Or you win some nice award and it's kind of like, you know, man, I'm so blessed to be named the best looking person in western New York. And people are like, "I'm not sure how to comment on that. Right? Because they're saying that they're blessed, but I don't know if that's exactly what you know ..." So I just keep thinking about that, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

And so I was reading in June, there was an article in Forbes magazine and in Forbes they talked about this steakhouse in Boston. It's called Boston Chops Downtown crossing. There's a Boston chops and that was [inaudible 00:02:29] the Boston Chops downtown crossing. I think it's a really great restaurant, but what they did is they built inside of this new restaurant, this new steakhouse, they built a $10,000 Instagram table. $10,000 Instagram table. In other words, they put $10,000 into this table, and what they're going to do with this table is that when people reserve it, they've made it such that this table is perfect for posting pictures and stuff.

So the table has this really, really deep, dark wood on it to kind of give a background contrast to the food. They've got these pallets kind of along the wall in the booth where they sit. They have different spheres of lighting where you can actually change the dim and the color of all the lighting on your shot so that when you take a shot of it post perfect on Instagram. And then you can do something like this, you can post this, right? It's like Boston chops. By the way, this isn't a real account. This is Chad Flayderman's account. Shout out to all you Office fans. This Boston Chops, right, "Enjoying the $99 steak at Boston Chops downtown crossing. #Blessed." Right? So that's what you have the opportunity to do if you do that right.

Now, I started thinking about it and really, the idea of kind of this captioning blast or #Blessed, it's so prevalent on social media that it's almost become an online game to try and find out who's using this so wrongly and weirdly. The thing is you can't keep up and here's why. Because there are a thousand posts an hour with the caption "blessed" on them. A thousand posts on our. Now, some of them are legitimate, some of them would be legitimate blessing, and they're used right. But many of them really are not. They're usually associated with some kind of personal gain that you basically want to tell everyone about. That's kind of usually what you see when you see the caption blessed. It's usually some personal gain, something that's gone good for you that you want to kind of tell everyone about.

So again, I'm not using a real Twitter account. This is Regina Phalange if you're a Friends fan, but it comes from real Twitter posts. Check this out, "Man in line paid for my Frappuccino. I bought myself another one so I could have two. #DoubleBlessed. You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means. See, here's the problem with the idea of the word blessed. It would be funny if it weren't so sad, right? That this is another fatality on the side of the road of our self driven culture. The idea of what the word blessed means, the idea of the word blessing, it's taken a big hit. Every time I see people on social media doing this, you know kind of using this blessed caption, or this #Blessed or whatever. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's perfect. That's the perfect caption, but other times I'm asking this question, "Blessed by who, and blessed for what?" Like answer me this. Riddle me this. Blessed by who and blessed for what?

That's why in thinking about this idea, it drew me back to the Hebrew Song Book, which is the Psalms, right, which is what we're studying. This Hebrew song book, and in a moment I'm going to be in psalm number 67. If you want to find your place there, and by the way, I know that I try and do my best to serve you well by putting scripture up on the screen so that you can see it and all that kind of stuff. But I want you to have the text in front of you, and if that's a kind of a hard text, that's fine. You know, you bring a Bible or you use one that's in the seat back in front of you, or on the table if you're in the East Worship Center, or if you use that digitally. So I don't care if you turn, or you scroll, or you swipe, I just want you to have it in front of you, right? I just want the word of God to be in front of you.

Here's why. We take it really seriously and I'm not going to cheat you on teaching it to you, but I want you to see it. I want you to be able to kind of look at it and reflect on it because I'm going to be landing in this place, right? I'm going to be walking through this entire Psalm. It's just a handful of verses. Don't worry, but I'm going to be working through this entire Psalm, and I want you to get it and I want you to be able to walk away with it. Okay? Psalm 67, if you don't know where that is, if you're looking in a Bible, it's right in the middle. If you're on a digital device, type in P-S-A-L-M 6-7, and that's where you'll be able to get it. All right?

Psalm 67, here's what it says. "May God be gracious to us and," what? "Bless us, and make His face shine on us so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you God, may all the peoples praise You. May the nations be glad and sing for joy for you rule the peoples with equity, and you guide the nations of the Earth. May the peoples praise you God, may all the peoples praise you. The land yields it's harvest. God, our God blesses us. May God bless us still so that all the ends of the earth will fear Him." Now, obviously when you read this passage, you can see that at the very beginning and the very end of this Hebrew song is the idea of blessing or blessed, right? That's what you've got in the very beginning and the very end.

Whenever you see that in a Psalm, you know that that's kind of giving you the theme of what the Psalm is about, right? That it's talking about the idea of blessing because it starts that way and it finishes that way. So, that's kind of telling you this is the book end thematically of what you're looking at. Now this was a song, so what would happen is you've got some repetitive pieces in there, and typically what would happen is the song leader would lead the song in some of the verses, and then, "May all the peoples praise you may all the peoples praise you God." That's what everybody would sing back to the one who is leading them in worship. That's kind of how this was structured.

Now, I highlighted the term blessed in the very beginning and the very end, and it's used actually three times. The word blessing is also in there in the second to last verse, but when you see that, that's translating a word that we would simply say in the Hebrew language, [barak 00:08:44] or [Baruch 00:08:45]. Now, maybe you've heard of the word Barack before, right? Well that's literally the word, right, that we use in Hebrew for this particular word. Now, the word Barak or Baruch, you could it either way in Hebrew, translates this, bless. That's exactly what it means, right? Now, you're saying to yourself, "Okay, I got that because that's what they said it said, right? It means blessed." But we have to understand and kind of peel back the layers a little bit if we want to understand what the word blessed or blessing means to the Hebrews when they were using that kind of terminology. Right? You kind of have to peel it back a little bit.

Now, to do that, I'm going to be technical for just a second, but not for long, okay? So, just stay with me because I'm going to teach you something here. Not that you have to go away, there's no test on the way out I promise you. When you're dropping your cards off at the information center, you're also going to be headed to test. Alright, here it is. In the Hebrew language, right, particularly in this context, the word Barak was not really used with vowels. In other words, we would spell it B-A-R-A-K, right? but that's not exactly what you would see. You would just see B-R-K because the kind of the vowels are added so that we can say it, right? They did the same thing with kind of the name of God, right? To say Yahweh, it's Y-H-W-H kind of, but you add the vowels in there to be able to say it, right?

Now, with each of the Hebrews ... Stay with me. With each of the Hebrew letters, there is a symbol that goes with that letter, and Hebrew has kind of morphed through the course of time where you've got kind of pictures associated with letters. For instance, early Hebrew was kind of what we call mosaic Hebrew, and guess where that came from? That came from Moses. That's why it's called Mosaic Hebrew, right? And then you've got a different style of Hebrew that we would call Paleo Hebrew, which was really kind of in the time of Samuel the prophet. So, David was in the same time as Samuel and Solomon, kind of in that time range, right? Then you move further to what Ezra kind of initiated, which was kind of an Aramaic Hebrew, and then you move beyond that and you get into kind of a Masoretic Hebrew, which was kind of in the 6th Century AD, where you've got these Jewish scribes who were writing down and making copies of the scripture. Okay?

So, you've got kind of this development of Hebrew. But in the Paleo Hebrew, which is my gas for what we're talking about for this Psalm, it had three particular signs associated with BR and K. Remember you read Hebrew, not from left to right like we do, but from right to left, right? So associated with that, for the B would be a tent house, for the R would be a man's head, and then for K would be open palm. That would be kind of the sign that was written there. You're going, "Okay, where are you going? What does this mean?" Well, to understand where this word comes from, you have to be able to take these signs and put them together to understand what's being said in the word Barak or Baruch. And what's actually being said when you've got a tent house, you've got a man's head, and then you've got an open palm, and you slam all those together and it's the idea of a person who's being given, open palm, an inheritance.

See, that's where this word actually comes from. The word blessed or blessing has to do with the idea that you are receiving an inheritance, that you are being given something. It's kind of the idea of a greater giving to a lesser something. That's  the idea behind the word bless, or Barak, or Baruch, okay, in the Hebrew language. Now, why is that important for us? It's important for us because when we see the word play out in the Old Testament in many places, we can watch as that idea unfolds. In fact, go all the way back to Genesis if you like, in your mind, and what you see as this is, is that God created the sea creatures, and created the birds, and it says this, that He blessed them and what did that mean? It means that He gave them an inheritance, that the fish that He created are going to have an inheritance of the sea. That the birds that he created have an inheritance around the earth in terms of where they get to fly.

And then it says about human beings, it says this, "That they were created and they were to be fruitful and multiply." He blessed them to be fruitful and multiply. What did that mean? That we as the people that God had made had an inheritance of rulership on the earth. You can go all the way. You can go to Deuteronomy chapter eight and you can see that blessing is associated with natural resources that God gave to his people. You can go to Ezekiel chapter 34 and you can see that rain was something that God called blessing because it was a gift. It was an inheritance, so to speak, given to the people of God. You could go to Malachi chapter three and you could see blessing and associated with God pouring out his blessing that were tangible blessings available for the people of God.

So, all through the Old Testament you've got this idea of the receiving of an inheritance and you know what you need to pay attention to here? This receiving of this inheritance was a gift or an act of grace that was a greater giving to a lesser. So this idea of blessing has to do with grace, the giving from a greater to giving to a lesser. Now, this is important because when we're talking about a Psalm that's talking about blessing, and we have to understand it in the context of grace. Now, the Psalm itself cues us into that right at the very beginning of it, right? In the very first part of verse number one, what does it say? May God be what?

Gracious to us and bless us. You See, the word gracious is from the word grace. It's from the very same root. The word grace and gracious come from the same root word, right? So we're reminded that blessing, this blessing is coming from a God who is gracious, who graces us with that which is not our own, but graces us in a sense with an inheritance. Now, when you start looking at verse number one and number two, because you're all are looking at it, because you all have a copy right in front of you. Whether digitally or hard copy, you all do, every single person has one. When you start looking at it, in verse number one and two, what you're reminded of is that we're actually getting shout outs to backwards in time. When we read verse one and verse two. In fact, in the first part of verse one, it's a shout out to the time of Moses and Aaron.

In fact, look at what it says in first part of verse one, "May God be gracious to us and bless us, and make His face shine on us." Now, where have we heard that before? You have to go all the way back to the time of Moses and Aaron. Aaron acting as the high priest and you will see the Aaron's blessing of the people of Israel. Numbers chapter six, here's what it says. "Lord said to Moses, tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them, the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace, so they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."

You see the very beginning of this, we get a shout out back to the time of Moses. What's interesting though is that the psalm here, when it makes reference, it doesn't use the term Lord, it uses the term God. You see Lord was the covenant term of Israel, Yahweh, right? But God is the general term for God being God over everyone. Not just a covenant time of Israel, but God over everyone, and the psalmist is not using the covenant term of Israel, he's using the term that's applicable to everyone. Why? Because this psalm is not specifically just about Israel, it's actually about the nations. It's about the world. So, we are called right back in the very beginning of this time to a priestly blessing, but as we keep reading, we go further back than Moses and it takes us all the way back to the time of Abraham.

Listen to what the Psalm has said in verse number two, "So that your ways may be known," where? "On earth, and your salvation among," where? "All nations." What is this referring to? This is referring to the covenant with Abraham and the blessing of that covenant. In fact, listen to what it says in Genesis chapter 12. The Lord said to Abraham, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse, and all peoples on earth, all peoples, all nations on earth will be blessed through you."

You see right when you're reading the first two verses, we are actually getting shout out to the time of Moses and then even further back to the time of Abraham. A reminder to say that this blessing that we have been given is a priestly blessing that is associated with a covenant that God made with Abraham, that through Abraham he would bless the entire earth. Now, you didn't know you were getting all of that out of the first two verses, right? You're kind of going, "I've read that 100 times, I never thought ..." That's part of why we pay attention. That's part of why we look at the word. That's part of why we break it apart and here's why, because that's going to matter to us in just a minute when we land. It's going to matter to us, in terms of how we apply, how we look at this, why this matters to the church and not just to Israel. Because the us that he's writing to right here is Israel, right? That's the us, but it is going to have some very distinct application to us who are not Israel per se, but are the church.

We are the new testament people of God. It's going to matter to us in just a minute and you'll see that in just a second. Now, when we get to this place where we're landing kind of right now. Here's what we know that Abraham's promise, this covenant was for all nations. And we know that God made good on that promise because from Abraham and Sarah who were really old and couldn't have a child, right? She was barren, but then God gave him a child a promise, and then through this child of promise, there was a nation that was born and ultimately through that nation, even though they were up and down in terms of their service to God, sometimes more down than up, right, came a true Israelite that was born in Bethlehem named Jesus. And Jesus was the fulfillment of everything that Israel was destined to be so that God was making good on His promise that through Abraham all of the nations would be blessed.

In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us that very thing in Galatians chapter three, he says, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole. He redeemed us in order." Listen to this, "In order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the gentiles through Christ Jesus. So that by faith we might receive the promise of the spirit. You see? Here's what we're reminded of ladies and gentlemen, as a New Testament people of God, we have been given a blessing, and what does that blessing? That blessing is redemption in Jesus Christ. That we have been redeemed in Jesus Christ. This is an act of grace. We have been saved by grace through faith. "This is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast," the scripture says right?

So this is an act of God's grace who has given us Christ, who has redeemed us from sin, and now in addition to that, He has given us His spirit as our inheritance. That we have received a blessing and inheritance from God, that we have been redeemed, and we now have the spirit of God as a down payment guaranteeing what is to come. This is our blessing. See, that's when we use the term, we're using it in the sense that we have been blessed that we have an inheritance. Now, the thing with what we're talking about in Psalm 67 is this. Is that this blessing for Israel has a purpose. We're going to see in just a few minutes and where we're going to learn, you're going to find out that the blessing for us in the church also has the same purpose, but the blessing for Israel has a purpose that aligns with God's purposes for the world.

So what are God's purposes for the world? Well, all we have to do is kind of read along in Psalm 67 and we can find out. Here's God's purpose for the world that we see in this passage, is that the way of salvation would be known. This is one of God's purposes for the world. If you've ever wondered like what is God doing in the world? Like what does God want for the world? What is God's purpose in the world? Well, Psalm 67 is actually addressing that question in a number of different ways. And the first thing that we can pick up on is that He wants the way of salvation known to all the world. That's the first thing. In fact, if you look in verse number two, here's where I got that from. "So that your ways may be known on earth and your salvation among all nations," it didn't take me long, did it professor? Like I could figure that out pretty quickly, that what God's desire is is that his ways may be known on earth and His salvation among all nations. That's one of the purposes of God.

Let me give you a second one. The second purpose of God is that the world would worship the true God. Not only that the way of salvation would be known, but that the world would actually worship the true God. Look what it says in verse number four ... Three, five, and seven. Sorry, you can go ... There we go right there. He says this, "May the peoples praise you God. May all the peoples praise You. May the peoples praise you God, may all the peoples praise you. May God bless us still so that all the ends of the earth will fear Him." See, the idea here is this, is that Israel was surrounded by a lot of different nations that did not believe in the one true God, and so what God desired is that through Israel the world would be able to see not only the way of salvation, but who the one true God actually looked like.

But there's a third purpose that God has for the world and it's this, that God would be enjoyed. The God would be enjoyed. Listen to what the writer says in Verse number four. "May the nations be glad and sing for joy. May the nations be glad and sing for joy." You see, sometimes when I talk with people, the idea that God could be enjoyed is not what's on their mind. What's on their mind is the idea that God is to be ... You're to be scared of Him. Like you've got an obligation to Him. You've got a duty to Him. And guess what? Sometimes that's absolutely true. When we fear God, we reverence God, but there are also times where it kind of like, I mean like when you think about God and you think about yourself, it's intimidating, right? It's kind of scary. Like there's a god who's made everything and you're kind of going, "Whoa," right? That happens.

At least it happens to me. Maybe I'm alone. Am I alone up here on this platform? Am I all by myself? Okay, there's like 12 of you going, "No, you're not alone." Thanks for that. I'm going to need group therapy with you 12 people. We're going to be in together and the rest of you apparently you're good. Like, "Everything's fine, no man." So, there's that, right? But we don't often think about how God is actually to be enjoyed. Do you know the whole beginning was that God was making human beings to be in relationship with Him? That's how this all started. Do know it's actually how it all ends too? That God will be their God and we will be His people, like these are the bookends of the whole story that God is with us, and He's our God and we're enjoying Him, and we have found ourselves in to Him, and now we know exactly who we are when we're found in Him. We've never become more like who we're supposed to be than when we find ourselves in Him, because he is our all in all, He is our everything.

See, this is the whole point, right? That God can be enjoyed and why can God be enjoyed? Because of how God has revealed himself. In fact, God has revealed himself as so many things in the scripture, but there are three that we can pick up just right here in Psalm 67 that are worth our time to think about why God can be enjoyed. The first one is this, He can be enjoyed because He's gracious, right? Because he's gracious. We've already figured that out from verse number one, right? It says, "May God be gracious to us and bless us." We already know that there is a God who is capable of being filled with grace. And listen, if you haven't thought about this, I want you to pause for just a second because in case you've forgotten it and you need a reminder, there was a time in your life, if you are somebody who has been transformed by Jesus. There was a time in your life where you are so upside down in darkness and in sin that you didn't know what to do with yourself, but God who didn't owe you anything, who owed you absolutely nothing, still stepped out and rescued you from the mud and mire, and set your feet upon a rock, and gave you a new song in your mouth, and it was an act of grace.

You can enjoy God because you've got a God who does that. He's done that in your life, and He's doing that in many people's lives. You can enjoy a God who is gracious. By the way, you can also enjoy a God who is just. He's just. In fact, listen to what the writer says in the second part of verse four, he says, "For you God rule the peoples with equity." You're just. Listen to me, you do not want to serve a god who's not just. That's not god at all, because a god who's not just, he can easily just go, "Well, you know, I mean it's just sin, it's bad, it's gross. It's whatever, but I'm not going to do anything about it." No, no, no, no. That's not a god who's just. You don't want a god who's not just. You want a God who's going to take care of every detail. Everything is going to stand in front of Him and He's going to deal rightly with it all.

Now, that's sobering on one front, but it's also comforting on another one. Because every one of our brothers and sisters who have been killed and persecuted through the ages just because they've named the name of Jesus, that's not lost on Him. He knows. You can enjoy a God who's just because He rules with equity. He's true, He's right. Your sense of fair is not always the same as God's sense, because God always has all of the information at the exact same time, and He always chooses in holy wisdom. And so when we are in our kind of in our puffed out chest kind of world going, "Well, I'm just mad at God because He didn't do what I wanted Him to do." Wow. As a creature saying to the Creator, who knows everything at the same time, that is the height of arrogance and the height of pride.

By the way, sometimes in our anguish we say stuff like that, and here's the good news, He's gracious. He can handle it. It's not like we said something, and He's like, "That did it. That is stepping over the line. It's the straw that broke the angels wings." Is that a real thing? I don't even know if that's a real thing. I just made that up. Like you didn't know that, like I had to qualify that. Okay, I just made that up. He's gracious and He's just, you know what else he is though? According to this text, He's sovereign. That means He's in control. That means nothing escapes. Listen to the last part of verse four, it says this, "And he guides the nations of the earth. He guides the nations of the earth." You know why that's such good news, because like just in our context in the United States, when you live in a really, really kind of powder keg, political climate like we live in, where everybody's angry at everybody and outraged about everything all the time.

You know what's just good news? I can enjoy God, because He's sovereign. He's in charge. He's not flipping out, stumbling around heaven going, "I don't know what I'm going to do with the United States. I do not know what I'm going to do. Michael, Gabriel, anybody help me out." Now, God's not doing that, right? He is completely in charge. He knows what he's doing. He knows how He's putting things together. It doesn't mean He's causing everything. It means that he's using everything ultimately for His ends and his purposes, because His purposes cannot be thwarted. This rush to the end of history is happening. This return of the savior is happening, and this is what we have to keep in mind, that God can be enjoyed because He's sovereign.

Now, let me ask you this question. What does this mean for us? In other words, when we're asking the question, "What is our blessing for? The fact that we have been redeemed, that we have been given the inheritance of the spirit, what is that for? We know it's from God, but what is it for?" Well, it's for exactly what it was for, for Israel. Just jot this simple statement down. Our blessing is for God's purposes in the world. That's what our blessing is for. Our blessing is for God's purposes in the world. You see at the end of the day Psalm 67 is a missionary psalm. It's a psalm about the people of God and what the people of God are to be about and to do, and that they have been blessed to be a blessing, that they have been blessed to fulfill the purposes of God in the world.

And you see in the beginning of psalm 67, it invokes a priestly blessing. Remember that right? "The Lord bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you." It's this priestly blessing that's given here to Israel, but you know what's true about Israel? Is that it wasn't God's intent that there would just be individual priests, but that the whole nation would be priests, that would mediate the presence of God, that would demonstrate who god is.

In fact, listen to what it says in Exodus chapter number 19. God says, "If you obey Me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations, you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." These are the words you were to speak to the Israelites, that they were destined to be a kingdom of priests, not just one priest who was ministering, kind of, the presence of God to the people or blessing the people. Guess what? He wanted all of the nation to be, listen to this, a vessel of blessing to the nations. This was always God's intent with Israel and this is God's intent for the church, that He wants us to be that kind of people.

In fact, Peter Actually, when he's talking to the New Testament church, he actually borrows language from Exodus chapter 19. Notice what he says to the church. "You're a chosen people. You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." And do you know that we're also destined to be a kingdom of priests? The book of Revelation tells us the same thing. Listen to what it says in chapter five, "They sang a new song saying you are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you Jesus were slain and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation. And you have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

Ladies and gentlemen, listen carefully, if you've been transformed by Jesus, you're a priest and you're a part of a priesthood. And that priesthood is destined to do some things, to mediate the presence of God in the world that we live in. Your blessing is not just for you. Your blessing is for God's purposes in the world. This is what we have to come back to over, and over, and over again and remind ourselves of that. In fact, when you're reading this Psalm, 67, if you read it in the Hebrew language minus the heading, it's 49 words. Walt Kaiser pointed this out. Dr Kaiser, who used to be the president of Gordon Conwell Seminary. He's kind of an old testament biblical archeology scholar. He pointed this out, I had not known this. This has 49 words, and sometimes what ancient Israel would do, and sometimes even modern day Israel does, is they will read this psalm in the 49 days between Passover and Pentecost. Because it has 49 words, they will read it for the 49 days between Passover and Pentecost.

Now imagine that. The time of the redemption of Jesus at Passover to the time of the giving of the inheritance of the spirit at Pentecost for the blessing of the nations. And this is what they're reading leading to that place. Wow. I start thinking about that and I can't help but think that our blessing is for God's purposes in the world. And so what we should do is we should ask some very direct questions of ourselves, because we've already seen in the text itself some of God's purposes for the world. We've already outlined those. So, how do we apply this in our own lives? Well, we start asking questions that are more pointed.

Jot these application questions down. Here's the first one. How can I make the way of salvation known to my world? How can I make the way of salvation known to my world? Let me give you a few things to think about. Here's one. We can actually open our mouths with our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends, our family, our fellow students. We can actually open our mouths and testify to the gospel of Jesus Christ that humanity that is broken and sinful can be restored to relationship with God. Because of what Jesus has done by his death and his resurrection taking our sin upon himself. And that if we turn from our sin and put our faith in what Jesus has done and not what we can do somehow in our own pride and self sufficiency, but we put our faith in Jesus, we can now be reconciled to God through Jesus, by the power of the spirit, and we can know life that is truly life. We can actually open our mouths and tell someone that. That's one way we can make the way of salvation known to the world, to our world, to our little world.

Do you know how else we can do it? We can do it by giving. What do I mean by that? Well, what we do here at the chapel is we partner together with dozens, and dozens, and dozens, and dozens of other ministry arenas here locally, regionally, nationally, and around the world. Where we might not be able to get to that place, but we can help see to it that the Gospel does get to that place. That's part of what we do when we give in some of our partnerships. And that's a part of how we make the Gospel, make the way of salvation known to the world. You know how else you can do it? Go. You can go. See, some of us. We have been in our places of comfort for a really long time, and maybe God would want to get a hold of you. You're like, "You know what? Man, I'm like early retired, things are going well. What am I going to fill all my time with?"

I got some ideas, and they don't have to do with just picking up seashells or hitting balls. I'm not suggesting those are bad things. They're wonderful, but I'm suggesting your life can matter for much more than that, and maybe God would want to do something significant. Maybe He'd want to call you into a place where the Gospel, listen to this, where the Gospel isn't named very often. Do you know that in the world that we live in, there are 7.6 billion people in the world? If you know that 3.1 billion of them don't have access to the Gospel routinely? 3.1 billion. Do you know where most of them live? In what we call the 10-40 window. So, let's say you flattened out the globe, right? And you've got the United States over here, and you just kind of flatten out a map of the world. The 10-40 window is the North latitude of 10 and 40, cutting across the globe. That's the 10:40 window. Okay. The north latitude 10 and 40 across the globe.

Do you know what finds its place in that? Northern Africa, the Middle East, and most of Asia? That is primarily where the gospel has not been named. That is primarily where the some four plus thousand unreached people groups of the world live. Do you know that 61% of the people that live in the 10-40 window are considered unreached peoples? 61%. We still have plenty of work to do, because when you look at the whole world, 7.6 billion people and 3.1 billion know who Jesus is. Whether they've rejected them or not, but they know who He is. That means that nearly 41% or something of the world, we've got unreached. 41%, no access to the Gospel. So, maybe it's share right in your neck of the woods. Maybe it's give, maybe it's go. Maybe it's all, or some combination of all of those things, I don't know. But this is how we make the way of salvation known in our world.

Let me give you a second question. How can I promote the worship of the true God, the one true God? Well, let me start here. First, if you don't know the word of God that reveals who God is truly, that's going to be starting place number one. You want to stay away from people who are telling you and giving you all kinds of weird winds of doctrines that are coming your way about who God is, or what this is, or what that is. Know the word of God. Know how God has revealed Himself to us. Because God is the one who has inspired the writing of the Scripture. Not in a dictatorial fashion, He did that through the context of personality, but God by His Spirit has inspired the writing of what we have so that we have a true revelation of who He is. So if we don't know His word, then we don't know whether things are true or not. That's why people get so turned upside down, and they're like, "Well, you know, let's be honest, the Muslims, and Buddhists, and Christians all really worship the same God." Not if you've read the Bible, they don't.

Because if you read in John's Gospel, it's really clear. If you don't believe that the son of God is God, then you don't know the father. If you don't know the son, you don't know the father. That's what the revelation from God says through Jesus. That's not just what we're making up, right? We have to know these things. If we want the world to see the one true God, we have to know how He's revealed himself, right? But you know, here's some maybe kind of an equally strong way, if you want the world to see the one true God, stop worshiping all the faults ones. The god self, the god of pleasure, the god of comfort, the god of money, the god of success, the god of fame. We're chasing all of these gods. It's no wonder the world has no idea who the one true God is, because we haven't been able to show Him to the world because we're too busy chasing all of these little g gods that the world has given to us.

But let me ask you a last question to think on. How can I demonstrate that God is to be enjoyed, right? Basically all I'm doing is pulling from the purposes of God that I've already uncovered from psalm 67 and now we're asking these questions personally. How can I demonstrate that God is to be enjoyed? Well, here's one. When you stopped kind of fiddling around with religion and you start fiddling around on the outskirts of kind of show up and be a good citizen, and you start pressing into what it really means to know God. Like I'm talking a real God who, who's really active, who really speaks through His word, who really transforms our life. When we really press in and we start to see that, we start experiencing a peace that is beyond comprehension, or understanding. We start experiencing a contentment that even in the midst of the storms of life, people are going, "What is going on with them?"

We have a joy that is unspeakable. It's hard for us to put our lips around it, because God, even though when times aren't happy and things aren't good, there is still this irrepressible joy because we know who God is. Listen, if you're in a place in your life where you don't enjoy God, it's simply because you don't know him very well. It's just that simple. Because the more you know God, the more you enjoy Him. The more you know God truly for who He is, the more you long to know Him. As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul longs for you oh God in a dry and weary land. This is what happens in our hearts, we long for God, the true God, the only God, and we enjoy Him, because we know how he's revealed Himself in Jesus. And we get to know Jesus in real ways, not in just academic ways, not in just ways that are kind of consistent with what people on the outside would look at as religion, but in real genuine relationship.

Like they know us and they're like, "Man, they know Him. They know Him. I want that." Listen, they don't want all the trappings, what they want is Jesus. And so when we learn to enjoy Him, that's when the world will be able to see that. So here's what I want you to do. I want you, when you're leaving, I've kept you over two minutes in that's your problem. I want you when you're leaving, I want you to take these application questions home, and this week I want you to press into them. Listen to me carefully. Some of the most deceived people that I know in the world are people that hear the word all the time and don't respond to it. It is the height of self deception. It is the height of self deception to hear the word and do nothing with it.

This is the danger of the church in the West. We've got so much access to the word yet we don't obey, we don't listen, we don't do anything with it. My challenge to you is this, you and I, we take those application questions and we bring them before God, and we ask the spirit of God to show us how He wants us to respond. We just put our yes on the table before he even asked the question. My answer is yes, Jesus. Now what is it you would have me do in response to this? I've already settled the issue. I'm not debating with you. My issue is already settled, I've put my yes on the table. Now I just want to understand what you want me to do, and then do it, right? So, I want you to do that. So, on your way out when you drop off the cards that you're jotting down for our brothers and sisters at other churches, I want you to make sure that those questions go with you, and that this week you ponder them, and you think about what God would want you to do.

Let's bow our heads together. Just before we're leaving and we are leaving in just a moment, you might be here and you're kind of listening to all of this and you're going, "Man, this seem kind of like a family conversation." Well, it sort of was. You're probably right about that, but here's what I want you to know, that the blessing that we have received in knowing Jesus can be yours by faith. It can be yours by faith. We're no better than anyone. In fact, blessing as we've already talked about, is an inheritance. It's given by a greater to a lesser, and it's an act of grace. That means we didn't do anything to deserve it. Like God didn't look and go, "Oh man, Jerry, yeah, he's really worthy of this." It was quite the opposite. I was unworthy of it, and yet I'm a gracious recipient of God's grace.

You can be as well if you will just simply humble yourself before him and recognize that you can't save yourself, that only Jesus can save you, and that you put your faith in your trust in Him. And if you want to talk to somebody about what that means, what that looks like, we'd love to do that. We won't take very long with you, but long enough to be able to help you understand what that looks like. And so when we dismiss in just a moment, I would ask that your first place that you would go would be right across the atrium into the fireside room, and speak with one of our pastors, one of our prayer partners in there about what it means to know Jesus, and to have relationship with him.

And Father for those of us who say that we know You, who have been changed by You, I pray you'd help us to understand as your church that we have been given the same commission, that the blessing that we have received. The fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise, the fulfillment of the idea that we are a priesthood. That this blessing, this inheritance of the spirit that we have received, that it's for your purposes in the world. That you actually want us to be a people who let the world around us know the way of salvation. That it's in Jesus and no other. There are not many roads to God that Jesus has said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. And no one comes to the father except through me." That He alone is the way, and that you want us to be a people who demonstrate what life, living for the one true God looks like, and how we can enjoy that.

Please help us to be that kind of people, so that the world around us might experience what you've called us to be as a people. A people that have received the blessing so that the world may be blessed. That's really been your heart since the covenant with Abraham. You blessed to be a blessing, and so God may we be a blessing to the world around us by demonstrating the truth of who you are in our lives, in our choices, in our words, and in our deeds. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. I love you folks. Be a blessing.

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