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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Churchspeak- Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So!

I think one of the things that scare people away from church is the language we all like to use. As with many of our jobs away from church, we develop a kind of short-hand way of communicating. If I used standard short-hand from my job here, you'd probably have no idea what I was talking about- VSD, LSO, LAVH, CMP, blah, blah, blah…. We communicate in ways that the people around us, "the in crowd," can easily understand.

This presents us with three problems in our witnessing to others.

The first and most obvious is that if there is an in-crowd, there must be outsiders. It divides us into two groups of people, those who are in "the-know" and those other people. The others are not like us. Well, don’t we want them to be like us? The gut reaction, non-thinking answer is, "Of course we want them to be like us!" But I am always pulled back to the Apostle Paul's way of thinking about this..."follow me as I follow Christ." I don't want to help people be like me. I don’t even want them to be like Paul, although that’s a closer approximation to Christ than I am. I want to help them be like Christ!

The second issue is that this is usually an inauthentic (fake) kind praise, worship or reverence. Even though this may make it easy for us to say things quickly and succinctly, I don't honestly think most people who use these catch-phrases all the time know what they are talking about most of the time. Too often we get lazy about investigating things for ourselves, and we suffer for it. And our witness suffers for it. And, MOST importantly, others suffer for it!

The third issue, and I don’t remember where I heard or learned this but it is a sentiment I completely agree with. If people don’t understand what you’re saying, then you have failed to communicate with them.

Today's phrase is “LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY SO

Do you know where that's from in the Bible? Psalms 107:1-3

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south.” Psalms 107:1-3 (NKJV)

Our responsibility as thinking Christians is to understand, verify and test the quality and truth of the information we are taught, before we pass it on to others as part of our witnessing to them.

So, let’s check it out…

WHO are the redeemed, and what does it mean to be redeemed? 

To understand a thing we must first be able to define it. Very simply put, redeemed means to buy back, to turn something of value in and to get something of value back.

Illustration: I know that no one reading this blog is old enough to remember S&H Green stamps. But, when you went shopping at certain stores, you would get a bunch of stamps corresponding to the amount of money you spent. Actually they were probably 1 cent on the dollar, or less when my mother was doing this. Anyway, you took all these stamps home, and had your child (that would be me) lick them and paste them in a flimsy book supplied by the company. Who knows how many people touched those books and stamps! When you had enough of these books sitting around, you looked through the catalog and “cashed” them in for a prize / gift. Of course, this meant that you had to drive to the other end of the state to accomplish this. And, even as a child I didn’t think these “gifts” were in step with the value and effort it took to get enough stamps.

Others may disagree, but I think this is an adequate illustration of Biblical redemption. Something of incredible and immeasurable value, Christ’s life, was turned in for something of dubious value, our souls.

Christ's death is central and key to the gospel message. Why is it so important? Remember, back in Genesis, we moved away from God, and went our own way following our own free will. So Christ came and paid a price to redeem us (pay for our sins) and offer us reconciliation (reunion) with God. Jesus Christ's shed blood is the basis of our reconciliation to God. The Biblical use of the term redemption involves being delivered from punishment; that is, redemption implies that we are freed from the consequences of our sins. Christ made the sacrifice so we wouldn’t have to face our just punishment.

Paul wrote, "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour" (Ephesians 5:2).

So, who are the redeemed? Those who are blood-bought children of God. 

We have further witness from Paul: In exhorting the elders of the church at Ephesus, he said: “…shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

Witness of Peter: “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” I Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)

Witness of John: “You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Rev. 5:9

Christ has given His very life for us. He sacrificed all so that we may have open and clear access to Our Father…

Now that we know who the redeemed are, and how they got that way, what are the redeemed to say?

The redeemed are to tell of the love, goodness, mercy and grace of God. Tell that He saved us and that He will save anyone who comes to Him through Christ. The Gadarene demoniac, found in Mark 5:18-19, is a great example of the saving grace and power of Jesus. When Jesus cast out the demons from the man, he wanted to become a disciple of Christ, but Jesus had another ministry in mind for this redeemed individual.

“And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." Mark 5:18-19 (NKJV)

Where should the redeemed say it?

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them.” Mark 16:15, 20

When should it be said?

All the time. Here we go back to the psalmist, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalms 34:1 (NKJV)

And from Paul: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NKJV)

Why should the redeemed say so? 

There are certainly many more reasons than I can list here, but here are four:

1. Because God deserves the praise and the glory. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor...” Revelation 4:11

2. Because our Lord commanded us to do so. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20. [The Great Commission]

3. Because we each have a testimony to tell. Your friends are more interested in what God has done for you than what He did for Paul or Peter, James or John! They can read about the apostles in their Bible, but they can actually see you with their own eyes and hear you with their own ears!

4. Because the world needs to hear what we have to say…so tell them the message of God’s love, mercy and grace!

CONCLUSION:

God has put every one of His children on His “witness list”. Every day that we live, every place that we go and to every person we meet, let us all “SAY-SO” for Jesus.

Amen...

(originally posted 3/1/11)



2 comments:

A Joyful Noise said...

Oh yes, I remember the green stamps! And the prize was worth the effort to our struggling family. The cost of our redemption was worth the pain and suffering that our Lord went through to purchase our Salvation. Yes, may I ever be ready to Say So and praise His name.

Doc said...

I betray my age by using such examples, but I think this illustrates the point well. Many things we would not have been able to purchase with cash, were attainable with this system.
And so with Christ and our redemtpion. There is no price that we could have come up with to pay the price, so someone stood in our place...
Thanks for reading and commenting.