Summary: God’s joy is with us, that is why we celebrate.
The God of Joy: Why GIBC Rocks
One the basic things we got to know about God is - His joy!
Today we celebrate 20 years of Grace International Baptist Church. This is awesome! Look around you we see an international gathering. This tells me you are no afraid of change, in order to fulfil your purpose a stated in the bulletin “helping people to have a heart for God and for others,” to the glory of God. So I am proud to be here with you, to serve God with you here. I want to be around celebrating the 40th anniversary, God willing. Furthermore I believe that God is proud to be here today as well. There is something that God delights in, that is when His people choose to come, without being forced, to worship. When His people come celebrating, bringing out the goodies, singing, God is delighted. That’s the main theme of the text this a.m. the God we serve enjoys a good gathering, celebration, a party!
God outlines what to bring to His party, - it would be embarrassing to come to a party and bringing the wrong costume. I believe God’s still handing out the invitations to anyone who choose to believe there’s a party in heaven. He is gladly receiving the RSVPs in prayers you say and is waiting patiently for the music to begin, for the festivities to start, for joy that will rock the new heavens and the new earth. With every gathering like this today, we are just practising like a dress rehearsal for the real Party when Jesus comes again to take us home. Part of life here is preparation for that ultimate blowout. But how does God want us to prepare and what’s there to bring to His party?
I believe He would like us to be prepare by bringing in…
þ Exclusive Worship: no compromise in the worship of the Lord our God. (v.1-4)
1 These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD , the God of your fathers, has given you to possess-as long as you live in the land.2 Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. 3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. 4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.
God has brought His people out from slavery in Egypt and preparing His people to take hold of their liberty, and He expects His people to really respond to this new freedom. To celebrate His goodness and His greatness. He expects His people to respond to Him as the Hero who made their dreams come through. Into a new place, new destiny God tells His people to party with Him only, to worship Him alone. They are NOT to copy the ways of the nations but worship the One God who brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. They were slaves for Egypt but now they are free under the guidance and love of God and now they are the landowners.
In the 20th anniversary of GIBC, I choose to believe that God desires GIBC to do the same. He wants us to celebrate the death of Christ on the cross, because by it the price is paid for sin. There is forgiveness! He wants to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection because without rising from the dead we have no way of knowing He is really God. There is new life, hope for newer things, new heavens and new earth. And I believe God is going to do new things here. We will have new adventures together, we will live as brothers and sisters, as a family that’s ever expanding for Christ, always having new things to try out, new people to win for Jesus, new ministries, dreams, new stories of changed lives as folks here are baptized … And for that to happen we must not in any way concede to our prevailing culture which tolerates anything but the exclusive claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. Which by the way shows the intolerance of those who preach tolerance. The fact is those who have studied comparative religion will find out that all religions do not teach the same thing. They all have distinct exclusive claims, that void or contradicts each other’s views. So we should ask question which claim is the one that’s rises above it all and have some verifiable truths?