Go, therefore, into the highways and byways…

Psalm 9:1, 11, 14 (NLT) “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done….Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem, tell the world about his unforgettable deeds….Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem’s gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me.”

David writes this psalm with the purpose of proclaiming the good news of God to everyone. He states three times within the psalm to tell of God’s wonderful, unforgettable deeds all the while praising God. The other part of the psalm is typical of David’s writing in that he mixes in commentary about wanting God to stand up for him and avenge him for the trouble his enemies have caused.

The time has come for the church to get off the pew, as bench warmers, and get into the game of winning souls for Jesus. Too long we have sat back in the pew and put our heads in our hands hoping that God will move and fill our sanctuaries on Sunday mornings and nights and Wednesdays and any other times the church doors are open. God can do anything. We know from scripture that “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). However, the truth of the matter is that God uses people to accomplish His goals. He wants to use us to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), just as Jesus did while He was incarnate.

Many people have bought into the lie that “if I just live a good life before people, my life can be my testimony.” Jesus did tell us, “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16), but He also told us, ” Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Teaching requires the use of speech. Again, in Mark 16:15, Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” How can we “preach” the good news if we don’t open our mouths? Are our actions and good deeds going to tell people that they need Jesus to have eternal life? Will our deeds/actions tell people that the sin in their lives is killing them physically, soulfully, and spiritually and sending them to hell?

Then in Luke 24:47, Jesus told the disciples, “It was also written that this message [the good news of the gospel] would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations...” Again, I ask you, if you don’t open your mouth to “proclaim” the good news of the gospel, how will it be “proclaimed…to all the nations”? Then we read in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Jesus sends us out as God sent Him out. But to do what? He sent out Jesus to “seek and save that which was lost” (Matt. 19;26). How did He seek and save the lost? Jesus went throughout the area around Jerusalem teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (Matt. 4:23). Jesus could have done none of these things without opening His mouth. The Bible clearly teaches us, “there is power of life and death in the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). Therefore to bring life to people, we have to use and open our mouths by telling them the good news of the gospel, inviting them to know Jesus, and praying with them to receive salvation/healing. The Bible also tells us, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved(Rom. 10:9-10). People CANNOT come to repentance and then salvation if they don’t open their mouths confessing their sins and asking forgiveness. We CANNOT lead them to this point without the Holy Spirit and without sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have got to become like Paul and burn it into our core being to “not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 1:16). And why, “because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (ibid.).

Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Roman church of believers, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:14-15). Then Jesus wraps up the whole “being sent” message to us by saying, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem [your town where you live], and in all Judea and Samaria [the state/country you live in], and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Father, you have made it perfectly clear to the church that our mission is to be about Your business of expanding the kingdom. You gave us the parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:17-23), “
A certain man [Jesus] was preparing a great banquet [for his wedding celebration] and invited many guests [all who would believe]. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.‘ The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited [and refused] will get a taste of my banquet.‘ ” Father, I have heard Your message loud and clear this week and will go out into the world and bring in those that are unable to find their way (to seek and save that which was “lost”) and to compel others to come into the house of God and taste of Your goodness that leads to eternal life through the salvation gift of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. May all of your people heed this message of the Great Supper and be known as, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Empower us with the Holy Spirit as You did the apostles and the early church to spread the good news of the Gospel, so that we may be witnesses for you to all the nations and make disciples of those we lead to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.