I’ve heard a wise and savvy pastor say recently that the signs of a living church is the practice of the two Great Commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” There is another sign of a living church and that is a focus on the Great Commission: go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28). In my experience, whenever a church or organization loses focus on these three, the vision for gathering and worshiping simply gets diffuse and distracted. When it comes to the expansion of His Kingdom, God’s dreams ‘big,’ and so should we!
Psalm 67 is loaded with promises (which in God’s mind are essentially guarantees). For those who have put their trust in Jesus, He will bless us and keep us which then in turns brings blessing to all the nations. By weaving both the Blessing of Aaron (67:1, see Numbers 6) and the Blessing of Abraham (67:2; see Genesis 12:1-3), two ‘heavy hitters’ in the Bible, the Word of God gives the assurance of the harvest of the nations. At the end of the psalm, it becomes a fait accompli (a ‘done deal;’ pardon my French). The guarantee of a great harvest of the nations comes at the end of the psalm: “the earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us!” (67:6). The invitation and promise of blessing is not without requirements, however: “God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!” (67:7). To fear him has nothing to do with angst, anxiety, terror or phobia, but rather everything to do with awe, respect and honor for His great name, and His “saving power”(67:2), aka His salvation from death through Jesus’ death and resurrection). “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” (vs. 3 and 5; with an emphatic “all of them!” in the original).
This dream of course comes at a dear price. Revelation 5 gives us another part of His dream: representatives (a multitude!) from every nation, tribe, people and tongue stand before Him and praise Him: “worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
Our walk with God will always be about what He has done for us, rather than what we can do for Him. This is the heart of the Gospel message: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Left to ourselves, we are incapable of fulfilling the Great Commandments or the Great Commission! In every ministry at TCC, whether among adults, children and students, we keep reminding ourselves that it is all because of what Jesus did for us (embraced by faith in Him). What we do for Him becomes an act of worship, out of gratitude for He has done! Let all the nations praise Him, all of them!
Reflection for the week:
What is the cost the Lord is asking you to pay to fulfill the Great Commandments and the Great Commission in our midst? The Gospel message constantly asks us to set new priorities where God becomes more and more central in our decisions, whether small or big. In what ways have you compartmentalized God?