Times of celebration are necessary in life. If we do not have celebration we do not have Christ. If we lack celebration it is because we do not understand the character of God and the conduct of God.
When God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery they sang and shouted to the glory of God. They sang, “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)
When God rescued David from the evil hand of Saul and anointed him king in Israel he danced before the Lord (2Samuel 6:21-22).
When God returned the Israelites from exile and Nehemiah led the people to rebuild the city they dedicated the wall building “with gladness, with thanksgiving, and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.” (Nehemiah 12:27)
When God sent His only Son into the world to save sinners, the heavenly host of angels praised God and sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
Jesus taught a parable about those who receive God’s redemption should rejoice with a feast like the father who received back his prodigal son (Luke 15).
When the apostle John caught a glimpse of God in heaven, he saw living creatures giving glory to God with unceasing praise, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come… Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:8, 11).
Today we look briefly at Psalm 126 to see 2 actions for God’s people:
Celebrate God’s salvation (Psalm 126:1-4).
During the Israelite exile, there was a time when God’s people lacked celebration. Their failures had caused them to doubt there was a future. Hope appeared as a hallucination or dream.
Yet, the Psalmist is able to rejoice that God’s rescue was a reality. The Israelites were released from Babylonian exile and the future of Zion was restored. Their mouths filled with laughter and tongues with shouts of joy (v.2).
“The Lord has done great things for us” is repeated twice in vv.2-3. Interestingly enough, this is said first from the nations about Israel. Even unbelievers see God’s work and salvation. And then the Israelites proclaim God’s salvation as well.
Today as God’s people at Severna Park Baptist Church and Abundant Life Korean Baptist Church, we are to celebrate that the Lord has done great things. Even more, we are to celebrate believing that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). As two churches with one mission under our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we believe that all things are possible with God as we exalt His name and advance His kingdom in this world.
Today is a day of celebration for many reasons.
– The Lord has sustained SPBC for 54+ years.
– The Lord has sustained ALKBC for 6+ years. Even saw Pastor Yoon lose more hair with planning a wedding and adding a son in-law in marriage to his daughter. Don’t worry it will grow back with grandchildren 🙂
– The Lord has kept His mission of making disciples of all nations with a blessed partnership between SPBC & ALKBC.
– The Lord has helped SPBC utilize its facilities for maximum impact with ethnic church planting and community service.
– The Lord has provided an opportunity for ALKBC to expand its impact to reach the Severna Park & Anne Arundel County with a new worship & ministry location.
As God’s people,
ð Let us never lose hope. When life is filled with trials we can trust God to love us and lead us through every hardship. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
ð Let us pray with praise. When we lose hope or have needs, God does not want us to bear the burden alone. God wants us to seek and rely upon Him. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:4, 6)
We must not only celebrate God’s salvation but we must continue God’s work of sowing.
Continue God’s Sowing (Psalm 126:5-6)
As the Psalmist reflected on God’s salvation he provides a life principle for God’s people. “Those who sow in tears” is a description of a sincere worker who is loving and loyal to their master. If the servant is faithful then they shall reap a reward. Our reaping is a direct result of our sowing.
We cannot expect to sow badly and reap a blessing.
We cannot expect to sow with stinginess and reap success.
We cannot expect to sow half-heartedly and reap a harvest.
SPBC & ALKBC
ð We must sow with tears by sincerely praying for and with one another.
ð We must sow with tears by partnering together as a gathered body in worship and a scattered body in mission.
o My hope is that we continue to combine in worship a couple times each year to remind ourselves that the kingdom of God is more beautiful when there is diversity AND that the mission of God is to make disciples of all nations.
o My hope is that we continue to combine efforts to spread the gospel and start new churches in partnership together. Each of our churches can have members to pray, give financially and some to go in being sent out to plant new churches in the Anne Arundel County region.
God’s word promises that when we sow according to the Lord’s purposes we will reap according to the Lord’s provision. Do we want our own provision or the Lord’s provision for our churches and our lives?
Let’s pray that we worship and work according to the Lord’s purposes.
Lord Jesus, today we pray with joy that you have done great things among our churches. Lord, you have been abundantly faithful. Lord, you have given us much to celebrate. We lift up praise to your name that has joined us together in truth and grace. We worship and fellowship as your redeemed people.
And today we also pray that you would grant us dreams and vision to see your purposes that we can accomplish more together than alone. Help us to be faithful in using our gifts, talents and treasures to serve in the body and in the community. Even though our churches are separating worship locations, we pray that you would unite us in purpose to reach our community with the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.