Declare His Glory Among the Nations

I preached this sermon when we were in the States last year. Today I’m posting the transcription and pictures for those who would like to read it.

Declare His Glory Among the Nations

A sermon preached Aug. 2, 2015, at Heritage Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK.

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I grew up here in Oklahoma City.  So it feels like coming back home, and I really appreciate Heritage as a church family, not just as being back in my home town, but being with people who have known me for a long time.

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We are serving in Budapest, Hungary.  Many of you know that we served in Croatia and then in Bosnia before for many years, so we were in Croatia originally back in the 90s for 2 years, and then in Bosnia for 14 years, then 3  years in the States, and now we are in Hungary, you can see where that star is on Budapest, the capital city of Hungary.

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We are involved in doing Bible Translation in Budapest, as Pastor Marty mentioned, for the Roma.  The Roma are often called ‘Gypsies’, which is really not a very nice name.  People used to think that they came from Egypt, and so they gave them that name.  In fact, today we talk about ‘being gyped’ – well that is because they were not very well liked, and unfortunately known for being thieves, for being dishonest.

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But the Roma – and let me give you just a quick history lesson – come from North India.  If you go back about 1000 years, actually more than that, back to 900A.D – during the Muslim invasion of India, many of the Roma, the people of this tribe Rajistan, left India and they went to the West; they went through Persia – what is Iraq and Iran – and eventually into Turkey;  they found their way up into Romania in Eastern Europe where they were slaves for about 500 years.  After that time they were released from slavery and spread out all over Europe.  Today there are twelve million Roma, and they live in over 25 countries scattered throughout Europe and Western Eurasia.

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People often talk about the Roma language – well, in reality there are 85 different dialects.  So we have 12 million people, in over 25 countries, speaking 85 different dialects, and only about a dozen of them have the Bible in their language.

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The Roma are usually marginalized; they oftentimes live alone in separate villages. pic 08b

 

 

 

 

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This is a little village in Croatia.   Many of them are illiterate; many of them drop out of school when they are young; the girls tend to get pregnant when they are 11 or 12; most of them don’t finish high school – many of them not even elementary school; it’s difficult for them to get a job because there is so much prejudice and they are marginalized.  .   As I read the Gospels, I notice that Jesus had a special place for widows, for orphans, for lepers.  I think that in a sense, the Roma of Europe are sort of the outcasts of society and the lepers of this day, but the Lord says in James, Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith.  He has a heart for the outcast, He is a Father to the fatherless.  God is doing a great thing, and we’ll talk about that a bit more of that as we go on.

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The challenge before us is great.  As I mentioned, scores of dialects, of languages, still need to be translated, so there is a big push today in missions, which I think is healthy, to try to reach that goal.  There are still hundreds of languages that still today do not have the Bible, and so the goal in Bible translation work is that by 2025 – that’s only 10 years away – that every language in the world that still needs a Bible translation will have a translation project at least begun by 2025, and that is our goal for the Roma.  The Decade of Roma Bible translation means that in the next ten years we would love to see that started for every one of these languages that needs a Bible, and obviously to see those projects finished in a short time after that.

So that’s our heartbeat – that’s why we’re there – that’s why we serve in Eastern Europe, based in Budapest, but actually involved in numerous countries throughout the region.

Before we look into God’s word, I want to share with you a video clip which will give you a quick overview of the ministry, and see some of the pictures.  The lyrics to the accompanying song are very moving, very powerful.  It’s a song called ‘I Refuse’ by Josh Wilson, and the lyrics say:

JOSH WILSON – ‘I Refuse’

Sometimes I, I just wanna close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
Well no, they’re not
This world needs God, but it’s easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
like nothin’s wrong.
But I refuse
cause I don’t wanna live like I don’t care
I don’t wanna say another empty prayer
Oh I refuse, to sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh I could choose not to move
but I refuse.                                             ©Josh Wilson

Click the picture to view the video, which will open via YouTube in a new window

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So that gives a bit of an overview of some of the Roma villages, the poverty that you see there, some of the people that are being ministered to by the translation of God’s word into their language.  It’s exciting what God is doing, but there is a lot of work to do, and we appreciate your partnership in the Gospel.

I want to ask you to turn in your Bibles to Psalm 96, which will be our main text this morning, and I’m going to ask you to stand, if you would, in honor of God’s word.  I noticed that when Ezra the priest gathered the people together and read the law, he had them stand to show honor to the Scriptures.  Now he had them stand, if I understand correctly, from morning until late afternoon – I won’t do that to you, but we can at least stand for a few seconds as we read Psalm 96.  In Psalm 96 the theme is Declaring God’s Glory Among the Nations.  This is really what missions is all about, and that’s what we will be talking about this morning.

I’d like to pray first to commit this time to the Lord before we read His holy word.

Lord, we come before you with open hearts, with open hands, to hear from you.  We thank you for your word that we have in our language, in fact we have so many different translations to choose from.  We have so much that you have blessed us with materially and physically and in so many ways.  Lord God, I invite you this morning as the author of your word to come to be our teacher, that we would fade away and that you would be the One on center stage, that you would be honored, that you would be glorified.  We desire to declare your glory among the nations.  Father, remove from us hindrances, distractions, things on our minds.  Maybe they’re legitimate concerns but right now they don’t need to be in the forefront of our thinking, and we ask that you would show us your glory, show us your marvellous deeds, and show us how we can declare that among the nations.  I believe that every one of your children can have an integral part in fulfilling this mission of declaring your glory among the nations.  So show us, and glorify yourself among us.  In Jesus Name, we pray.  Amen.

Psalm 96 (NIV): Declare His glory among the nations
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
          sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
          proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
          his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
          he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
          but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
          strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
          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 his holiness;
          tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
          The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
          he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
          let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
          Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
13 they will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
          he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
          and the peoples in his truth.

There’s a theme that runs throughout Scripture, from Genesis all the way through Revelation, and it’s simply that God Is Great.  God is Glorious. God is Almighty.  And it is our joy to glorify Him.  That’s basically what it’s all about, from start to finish, the glory of God, the greatness of God, and we have the privilege, we have the task, but we also have the joy of declaring His praise.  That’s what missions is really all about – it’s declaring God’s glory where it hasn’t yet been heard.  I want to look at this Psalm briefly.  We’ll go through and notice several things that stand out to us. 

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It says in verse 2 – Sing to the Lord, Praise His name – that’s what we are to do, that’s what our life should be about, that’s what missions should be about – Praising His name and proclaiming His salvation, and taking the Good News to those who have never heard it.

When are we to do it? … Day after day, there is no end to it.  Day after day, from morning to night.

What do we get to do? … We get to declare His glory.

To whom? …  Among the nations.  That is our mission, that is our task – to declare His marvelous deeds

Where are we to do it? …  Among all peoples.

Why do we do that? … For great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise. He is to be feared among all gods.

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What is our mandate? … Psalm 96

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations,
          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 his holiness;
          tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
          The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
          he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
          let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
          Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
13 they will sing before the Lord, for he comes,
          he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
          and the peoples in his truth.

So if I was to sum up this Psalm using alliteration, I would say

  • Ascribe all glory
  • Among all nations
  • Above all gods

Missions is ascribing glory to God. Where? everywhere – among every nation.  Why? because He is above all gods.  He is above Mohammed, He is above Buddha, He is above the idols that are worshipped, He is above every name that can be named.

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Psalm 96 says ‘Sing to Him a new song’   Now oftentimes, when Scripture speaks about a new song, it’s talking about giving praise to God for something that He did – a new event, a new happening.  For example, Psalm 96 is actually taken from 2 Chronicles chapter 16, and in that situation David was bringing the ark into Jerusalem for the very first time, and he danced with joy.  As it says, ‘He was singing to the Lord a new song’ because of a new event, that God was (so to speak) finally arriving at the altar in the place David had chosen to glorify His name – Jerusalem.

We know from the Exodus that as soon as Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, it says that Miriam and the ladies sang for joy, they sang a new song.  Again and again we see that when God does something new the Psalmist or the writer would write that down and sing it to God.

Spurgeon, in his hymnbook at his church, used this hymn that sort of paraphrases it -Tt says:

          Sing to the Lord, ye distant lands,
          Ye tribes of every tongue;
          His new-discovered grace demands
          A new and nobler song.

As God does new things, as He does something new in your life, it is your joy to declare that to others, to sing that song of praise to Him.

Declare 07  Declare 08This is a little fellowship in Darda, Croatia, and you can see the Roma brother as he is singing and leading worship.  His name is Saša, and his sister Andreanna is next to him, and they are actually writing new songs.  They are a Roma family and just recently they came  out with a new CD that our Roma Bible Union helped to produce.

 

 

Songs in their rythm, in their style, talking about what God is doing in their life, by singing a new song.

 

 

The children often gather together in Bible Clubs, which is one of the main ministries that the Roma Bible Union does, and they learn Bible songs.

As it says in Isaiah 42:10,

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.

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So these are children hearing about the Lord Jesus Christ, and giving Him praise.

Unfortunately though, there are still hundreds of languages where there are no songs, are no worship songs, are no people praising and worshiping the Lord.  There are dozens of Roma languages without these songs, without Scripture, without believers in their languages.  New songs are ready to be written, new things are ready to be done, the great commission has not yet been fulfilled.  God is still working, still moving, still going into new places and doing new things.

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So I ask you this morning – Is that your passion?   Ascribing glory due His name – Is that what gets you excited?  Is that what gets you out of bed in the morning, so to speak.   John Piper says that Missions Exists because Worship does not.   What does he mean by that?   Well, all over the world, in fact, today, if you were to divide up the world into different ethnolinguistic groups – in other words groups of people that have their own identity, they speak their own language – there are about 16,000 of those groups.  According to the Joshua Project, about 6,000 of them are completely unreached with the Gospel.  That’s about 40%.  So take this half of the church, and imagine that you guys have the Gospel, you have the Bible in your language, you have churches preaching it, but basically these guys over here don’t.  That’s still half the world that do not have the Gospel.  Someone’s going to have to cross cultures, learn a new language, learn a new way of living and become Christ in that culture.  Half the world, or 40%, even 2,000 years after Christ’s time on earth, still unreached with the Gospel.

Is that your passion?  do you lay awake at night unable to sleep because literally millions of people don’t have the Gospel, don’t have the word of God, in their mother tongue.  Is it your passion to see fulfilled, Revelation 7:9?  As I said, from Genesis to Revelation we have this idea that God glory, and His greatness, and how we are proclaiming it, and one day it will be fulfilled where it says in Revelation 7:9 that

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That’s what we’re driving for; that’s what we’re to be moving to; that’s what should get us excited and get us up in the morning, and be the center, the passion of our life – glorifying God among the nations.

But I ask myself, when I pray do I pray like that?  Do I pray with passion?

John Knox says:

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We make our prayers to you, O Lord God, most merciful Father, for all people in general, that you will be known to be the Savior of all the world by the redemption purchased by your only Son Jesus Christ; even so that such as have been until now held captive in darkness and ignorance for lack of the knowledge of the gospel may, through the preaching thereof, and the clear light of your Holy Spirit, be brought into the right way of salvation, which is to know that you are only very God, and that he, whom you have sent, is Jesus Christ. Likewise, we pray that they whom you have already endued with your grace, and illuminated their hearts with the knowledge of your Word, may continually increase in godliness, and be plenteously enriched with spiritual benefits; so that we may altogether worship you, both with heart and mouth, and render due honor and service unto Christ our Master, King, and Lawmaker.                                                   John Knox

Is that your passion? That Christ will be known as Savior throughout the whole world.  Or, if you’re honest, do you have to admit that your heart has become perhaps cold.  Perhaps you’ve been distracted, other desires have come in and they’ve choked it out?  We have general every day needs, and they are legitimate.  The Lord cares about them.  But there’s a sense where sometimes they can crowd out the eternal.  We worry about our job, our car, our house, and these are things that God has given us to be stewards of, but they are not to rule our lives, they’re not to be, as the Lord Jesus said, the thorns that choke out the Word.

So this prayer of DLMoody is a challenge to me.  Have we grown cold in our desire to see God glorified among the nations?  He prayed:

Our Heavenly Father, we pray you to forgive our lack of enthusiasm. We pray you to forgive us for our coldness. We pray you to forgive us for loving you so little and serving you so poorly. O God, help us to reconsecrate ourselves to you and your service. May the Spirit that came upon Gideon and Joshua and Elijah, and that came on the day of Pentecost, come upon us here. O Spirit of the living God, fall upon us here, and may our hearts be all on fire for the Son of God. And may we be willing to lay aside our dignity and position and standing, and go forth into the vineyard and work for you.

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O Spirit of God, come upon us and give us power to work for Christ; power to preach the Gospel, power to tell the story of the Cross.                                                       Dwight L. Moody

So that is my desire for you this morning, that God would kindle or perhaps re-kindle in your hearts a passion for His glory, a passion for His glory being declared among the nations.  A passion to see God’s word go to new areas and transform lives.

Now most of you know the person on the right in this picture, Charles Darwin, but let me give you a little interesting story.  Darwin traveled around the South Seas, and he came to the islands of the New Hebrides, and he was looking for the missing link, because in his theory he thought that Ok, there’s got to be a missing link here, a lower life form.  Well, he thought he had found it when he saw the cannibals in the New Hebrides – the way they lived, the uneducated, the killing of one another, eating one another – he thought for sure that he had found this lowest stratum of humanity and that nothing could lift them higher.

Unbeknownst to him, there was about that same time, another gentleman named John Paton.  He was a church planter in Glasgow, Scotland, and he heard about a telegram that came through from the London Missionary Society.  Imagine if you get this email that says, Well, our two missionaries in the New Hebrides were clubbed to death and eaten the other day, so we need sombody to replace them.  Now, how many of us would say, Yeah, sign me up!  I’ll be there tomorrow!  Well, that’s what Paton did.  He left a very successful church planting ministry in Scotland and went to the New Hebrides and he labored there for over thirty years.

Well, here comes Charles Darwin in 1877, 35 years later, and he could not believe the transformation there.  He saw these former cannibals that were clothed, lived in homes, singing hymns, they were going to school.  Why?  Because John Paton went, declared the Gospel, and the Gospel is the power of God for salvation, and it transformed the lives of these cannibals.  Many people don’t know that Darwin was so moved by this; not only did he realize that, well, certainly that wasn’t the missing link, but he gave a very large contribution to the London Missionary Society.  God changes lives – they may be cannibals or they may be Roma in modern day Europe.

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We held a conference in Budapest about a year ago, and we gathered together Roma pastors and leaders from a dozen different nations.  As we were sitting there in the part, everyone was in groups, and I noticed there was one man, a big ol’ guy, and he was about six foot, maybe 250cm, and I noticed that he had scars up and down his arms – I could see them all the way across the room and I wondered what that was all about.  Well, when testimony night came he stood up and said that he used to get so drunk (which, incidentally, is a big problem among the Roma.  Many of them take their welfare checks or whatever and they just go get drunk.  The kids are hungry, they don’t have shoes, and as you saw in the video one of the shots was just giving shoes and socks to the kids, and washing their feet and giving them something clean to shod their feet).  Anyway, Armin would get so drunk that Satan would just whisper in his ear, Why don’t you just cut yourself?, and he would just take a knife and just slice himself – you can still see it to this day.  It got so bad that, at one point, he got so drunk that Satan just whispered to him Why don’t you cut out your own heart?, so he took the knife and began to carve in his own chest.  This is the kind of debauchery that he was living in, but today Armin is a pastor of a Roma fellowship in Serbia.  God changes lives.  There are many, many testimonies like this.  You take someone who was maybe making their living by begging on the street, and now Biljana is a Christian writer.  She works and does evangelism in our kids’ clubs, she writes stories for other Roma.  God can transform lives, whether that be 150 years ago in the South Seas, or if it is just a few months ago in Serbia.

So, is that a desire that you have?  to see God glorified among the nations and see lives transformed?   If you stop and think about it, God is a missionary God, and if you have the Spirit of God you will care about what He cares about.  Do you want to see God glorified among the nations?   If you do not have a missionary spirit, in a sense you do not have God’s Spirit, because He is a missionary God.  He left his home in heaven, he left his royal throne and became a man incarnated among us, was hated and beaten, was an outcast (kind of reminds me of Roma), was finally put to death but He rose again and He will come again.  He is a missionary God and in the meantime as we wait for His return, He has given us a commission to go and make disciples of what? of all nations.   So, until they have the word of God in their language, until lives are transformed through God’s words, until new songs are being written in every language, there is still work to do.  There is still a task.

Thomas Brooks says;

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By that he means that if we know the Lord Jesus, we’re not going to be content just to go to heaven ourselves.  We are going to want others to accompany us.

Or as Richard Baxter said:

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In other words, we are channels to take God’s salvation to the ends of the earth.  We are not saved as a means in and of itself.  We are saved to glorify God, and we are saved to be a channel to take His glory to the nations.

Malthie D. Babcock said: Your love has a broken wing if it can not fly across the sea.  

F.B.Meyer states that The church that is not a missionary church will be a missing church when Jesus comes.

James Denton said: The only one among the twelve apostles that did not become a missionary became a traitor. 

There is a theme that runs through the life of the Lord Jesus in His last words to us, and that is that we are to have a missionary spirit.  You may not go physically; I’m not saying that everybody should pack up and leave tomorrow.  Maybe some of you should!  I don’t know, that’s between you and the Lord.  But it’s the heart that the Lord looks at.  Whether you go, whether you give, whether you pray, is that your passion that God would be glorified among the nations?

Psalm 24 was a Psalm that George Truett used to love to talk about in support of missions and says that:

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God is worthy of praise from everyone who lives on this planet, because He is the sovereign God and He is worthy of praise.  So our job is to declare His praise among the nations so that all may know, so that all may have the opportunity to bow their knee.

Truett said that A church that is not a missionary church does not deserve the ground upon which its building stands.   So we are to be driven by that, by the glory of God.  We are to be emboldened to see His name declared among the nations.

Notice what the Psalmist says in Psalm 40; in verses 1 through 3, we see a couple of themes here that go along with we’ve already seen in the Psalms.

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1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.

So the writer of the Psalm is saying God rescued me.  We don’t know the details.  David was always running from Saul, and time and time again God rescued him from his enemies.  So he says, I praise you, God, you lifted me out of this pit, you put a new song – I’ve got a something new to talk about, a new event, where you delivered me.  But notice – I stopped in the middle of the verse; I didn’t continue… David says many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord. 

That’s the purpose – when God does great things in our lives, we praise Him with a new song, but the end result is that others may see, others may fear, and trust in the Lord.

The nations, or the people groups, known as the Roma still need to hear and still need to have the Word of God in their mother tongue.  They still need to be told of the greatness of God.

You know, it doesn’t stop with you and me.  Psalm 40 says that God brought him up out of the pit of destruction; He turned it into a new song so that many would see and fear.

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So that’s my challenge – that as God does new things in your life, don’t let it stop with you.  Be a channel; share it with others – maybe your next door neighbor, maybe people you work with, maybe people on the university campus, or maybe people like the Roma in Eastern Europe.  That’s the missionary spirit.  The spirit of God.

Spurgeon has a lot of great quotes, but there are several I want to point out here.  He says:

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Are you a missionary? or are you an imposter?  In other words, what he is saying is that it says something about our own hearts, our own souls, if we don’t care about those who have not heard, that 40% of the world which is still waiting for the Gospel; the hundreds of languages that still do not have the Bible in their mother tongue.  That’s the missionary spirit; that’s what we should ask ourselves – Does my life show proof of being a child of God;  who has the Spirit of God; who has the desire to declare God’s glory among the nations?

Now it can be fearful to go into missions, whether that be physically, or through giving, or through sacrificing in some other way, but we have to keep it all in perspective.  It reminds me of James Calvert who was a mission to Fiji, and as he was getting ready to disembark in the Fiji Islands where, again, he knew there were lots of cannibals, the captain of the ship said, you’re crazy for doing this! You’re risking your life, and risking the lives of everybody going among these savages.  Calvert turned to the captain of the ship and said, We already died before we left.   What he meant by that is that he had already died to his self, his own self-will, his own desires, even his own life.  The Lord Jesus said that if you desire, and try to save, your own life you will lose it, but if you give up your own life for my sake, and the sake of the Gospel, you will find it.  So we have to lay those things on the altar and say, Lord, if I die, if I live, either way it is for your glory and for your honor and for your praise. 

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So I challenge you, as we draw this to a close – Do you have a desire to glorify God by spreading His word among the nations?  I want to challenge you again – When you think about the Roma, the Gypsies, please keep them in prayer, because all the effort in the world that we do – working, living, learning the language, translating, and other things like that – unless the Spirit of God brings regeneration, new life, to the Roma, there will be no change.  But as He does that, there is incredible change and we are witnesses of that.  And you can be a part of that, each and every day, by praying.

E.M. Bounds says:

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We serve an almighty Regent, and almighty God, and he has given us the task to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest; to pray that the harvest which is white will be ripe.

I came across this poem, and I want you to listen to this in light of mission and in light of the call to pray for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Traveling On My Knees

Last night I took a journey
To a land across the seas;
I did not go by boat or plane,
I traveled on my knees.

I saw so many people there
In deepest depths of sin,
But Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.

But I said, “Jesus, I cannot go
And work with such as these.”
He answered quickly, “Yes, you can
By traveling on your knees.”

He said, “You pray; I’ll meet the need,
You call and I will hear;
Be concerned about lost souls,
Of those both far and near.”

And so I tried it, knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease;
I felt the Lord right by my side
While traveling on my knees.

As I prayed on and saw souls saved
And twisted bodies healed,
And saw God’s workers’ strength renewed
While laboring on the field.

I said, “Yes, Lord, I have a job,
My desire Thy will to please;
I can go and heed Thy call
By traveling on my knees.”
—Sandra Goodwin

So everybody who is a follower of Jesus Christ can do great things for the Glory of God, through prayer.  We serve an Almighty God who has given us the privilege of being involved in prayer, of bringing requests to Him.  So I challenge you for your missionaries – pray for them; pray for their requests; pay attention to their emails and their prayer calendars; find out how you can pray for them and encourage them in any way you can – because we are all moving towards the same goal.

Revelation 7:9 says:

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That’s when it will be fulfilled; that’s when God’s glory will be declared among all the nations.

I want to share just one more video clip … Click the picture to view the video, which will open via YouTube in a new window

Declare 23

I like that song because it talks about, Lord, we want to sing, we want to praise you, but we want to do more than that.  Move us, keep us from just singing – move us into action.

I want to challenge you in closing just to seek the Lord as to what He would have you do for missions – whether that is talking to your neighbor, or discipling someone in the church, maybe considering missions as a career.  Someone asked me recently why I became a missionary, and I had to say that it wasn’t a lightning bolt, it wasn’t anything spectacular.  It was basically saying, I’m available to you, Lord.  Half the world still doesn’t have the Gospel.  I’m able to go.  I had health, I had the ability to go, so I went.   Some people say you have to have a call, and I don’t know, maybe you do – that’s controversial – but God also takes volunteers.  So, think about it.  Think about what you’re going to do with your life.  Is it the bigger picture?  Is it not just what you’re doing when you get up in the morning, what you’re doing every day, the things that need to be done, but the things that can often choke out a passion for God’s glory?  Or do you have a bigger picture of God’s glory, that He will one day be glorified among every tribe, every people, nation and language, and that we can be a part of that.

 

Very practically, I just want to ask you to pray for us.  Paul often said, Brethren, pray for us.  So we have a new prayer card.  I know you don’t have it, because we just got it printed, and those are in the back.  I would covet your prayers and ask you to pick this up, put it somewhere where you will see it, sign up for our prayer letters if you would.  We love to be able to come to you at a moment’s notice via Facebook, email, whatever.  Like I did recently, when we got news that in one of the Roma churches in Croatia, the windows had been broken out and there were threats to burn down the building.  We need to get that prayer information out there.  Other requests come up all the time.  So give me your email address, if you don’t mind, or go to our website and follow the blog, follow Facebook, find out what these prayer requests are – not just for us, but for your other missionaries, too.  I know that Tiff and Sladjo are coming home, and it’s not easy serving in Bosnia.  I was there for many years.  They need your comfort, encouragement, your listening ear.  Any other missionaries that you know of – think about how you can encourage them and how you can pray for and stand with them.

I am convinced that the greatest joy comes, not from just hording things for ourselves, or looking after ourselves, but how we can serve others.  Sometimes in our culture, we are bored because we have so much.  Even spiritually, you can have any book about any topic in the Christian bookstore, and we get so in-focussed.  I heard a little ditty once, and I’m not sure if it is totally balance, but a friend of mine said once – When your intake exceeds your output, then your upkeep will be your downfall.  If we’re only thinking about ourselves and gathering more for ourselves, even spiritually, it can actually be to our detriment, but if we have a grander vision of God’s glory, not only in our own lives but among the nations, that’s where our joy can be found.

Lord, we praise you that we are your children, and have the opportunity to be part of what you are doing.  We know, Lord, that you’re going to do it, and it’s all moving towards the end when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and you are worthy of that, you truly are.  We praise you, we honor you, and we want to be a part of that.  Use us, give us a passion to see Your glory declared among the nations.  And it’s in Jesus name that we pray.  Amen. 

 

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