Summary: A 2nd year church anniversary sermon.
O Come, People of Grace Baptist
(Anniversary Sunday, 2006)
TEXT: Psalms 95:1-11 – “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice.”
This is the second anniversary of Grace Baptist Church here in Grafenwoehr, Germany. On July 18, 2004, GBC was organized as a local, New Testament Baptist Church. And on this second anniversary, I want us to look at Psalm 95 to remind us what Grace Baptist Church is all about.
Today is not about US; it’s not about GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH even; it’s not about A BUILDING we’re going to be moving into in a few weeks or months. Today is about the head of this church—GOD. Three words kind of serve as a handy outline of this text.
I. THINK FIRST OF ALL THE WORD INVITATION
Illus. – Don’t you love an invitation to something important? Dave Woodward, the missionary to England who was at our missions conference last year once received a personal invitation to visit the House of Commons. He had developed a good relationship with some important people in his town, and one day in the mail came a beautiful, gold-embossed invitation from the local MP (Member of Parliament).
He was told to go to a certain entrance at the House of Parliament—over there next to Big Bend—and inform the guard who he was, remembering to bring his passport to prove his identity. When he got there, he was disappointed to see a line a mile long at the entrance, but he followed the directions given him. The guard checked his identity and told Dave to wait until further notice.
A few minutes later an attendant came to the door and shouted above the noise in a wonderful English accent, “Mr. David Woodward, would you please come forward and I will escort you to your seat.” Now assuming an air of importance as he passed about 300 people waiting in line, he went to the front of the line, and sure enough, he was ushered into the inner chambers at one of the choicest locations, where he was greeted personally by the MP who showed him his seat.
Now that would be pretty cool wouldn’t it? Not nearly as cool as being called into the presence of God for worship. That’s what we have here—an invitation to come and worship in the presence of God.
What is the invitation?
First, we’re invited to sing to the Lord and make a joyful noise to Him – Psalms 95:1 – “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
Second, we are invited to come before Him with thanksgiving, and again, to make a joyful noise. I guess some people back then couldn’t carry a tune either because TWICE David talks about not just singing to God, but just making a joyful noise. Listen, God doesn’t care if you can sing or not. He’s just delighted to hear you make a joyful NOISE to glorify Him.
Beloved, hearty, praiseful singing has been a part our church since it was begun in 2004. Every service, we try to sing joyfully to the Lord, to honor His name in song. Our song service is not just attached to the service like an unneeded appendix; it’s central to our service. It’s our time to WORSHIP the Lord in song.
We’ve also sought to engender a spirit of thanksgiving to the Lord. We have much to be thankful for as a church too. We have seen our church start off as a little mid-week Bible study. We didn’t see how we could start Sunday services because we felt we needed a class for the children. But thank the Lord, He brought in workers to teach the children’s class and ushers and nursery workers. So we started Sunday services in May of 2004 right here in this room.
But I remember some discouraging days. I remember one Sunday night when the only ones who came were my family. I remember other services with just one or two other people. But slowly, bit by bit, we saw people start to become faithful, and to become core people in the church.