My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Psalm 34:2-3)
“Now I Believe You!”
Long ago, in ancient Greece, there was a prestigious lawyer named Demosthenes, who was known for his persuasive and passionate oratory abilities. One day, a would-be client approached Demosthenes requesting legal representation. As the story goes, the man pled his case with a lack of passion and urgency. And Demosthenes wasn’t interested in representing a man who acted as if he didn’t even believe his own testimony.
So as he listened, Demosthenes grew more and more cavalier toward the man who, in turn, began to grow unsettled by the great lawyer’s apparent lack of interest. Finally the man couldn’t take it anymore. He became emotional, crying out in a fit of passion that the things he was saying were indeed true, to which Demosthenes shrewdly replied, “Ah, now I believe you!”
As followers of the risen Christ, we too have a story to tell, a case to plead. After all, God has called us to bear witness to the truthfulness of His Gospel (Acts 1:8). This gets to the heart of the very reason why the church exists. Our purpose is “to proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness” (1 Pt. 2:9). Therefore we must be theologically precise about the excellencies of Christ as they are put on full display in the Gospel.
Are We Believable?
But getting the Gospel right isn’t only about the intellectual affirmation of correct doctrine. As crucial as that is, there’s something else we must consider—something that will require some serious honesty and discernment on our part.
In order to get to the bottom of it, we must ask ourselves a very pointed question: As a congregation that exists to bear witness to the truthfulness of the Gospel, is LifePoint Church believable? To say it another way, if Demosthenes were to parachute into one of our worship gatherings, would he get the feeling that we actually believe that this Good News is 100% true? Or is our witness in danger of being too bland and dispassionate to be believable?
To accurately discern this, we must hold up our worshiping and witnessing next to what Scripture teaches about such things. And it would be hard to do better than Psalm 34:2-3 (quoted above). So let’s spend a moment evaluating ourselves in light of the psalmist’s example.
In these two verses David demonstrates the exuberant nature of worship that is truly believable. He isn’t exactly keeping his cool. In fact, it’s as if he’s trying to urgently tell us, “Hey sleepyheads! Wake up! This is what worship looks like when the joy of the Lord lays hold of your heart! It gushes out! You can’t contain it!”
If David were talking to Demosthenes, his enthusiasm for the Gospel would probably cause the great lawyer to lean in with piqued interest. There isn’t a whiff of aloofness, nor a hint of reserved nonchalance. No, the Good News has stirred up true joy within the psalmist and he wants everyone within earshot to get in on the celebration!
Psalm 34:2-3 is meant to clue us in on what it means for us to be a congregation of bonafide Gospel witnesses: If the manner in which we celebrate the Gospel isn’t believable, we ought to be suspicious as to whether our trust in the Gospel is authentic. The hard truth is, we can talk about Jesus all we want, but if our talk never leads to a fresh and joyful responsiveness among us, perhaps we haven’t yet truly grasped His Gospel. I wonder what you think about that.
As it stands, we have two options before us. The first is to soberly examine ourselves (2 Co. 13:5) by prayerfully asking, Do I really believe this Good News? And for that matter, is my believing believable? Or we can shrug it off and go about our day without thinking much about it. For you, which will it be?
I pray that we’ll seize this opportunity. The Lord is inviting you and I to give profound consideration to how the inward quality of our worship affects the outward expression of our worship. We must do whatever it takes to become more believable for the sake of the Gospel. We’re called to give the Demostheneses of the world a compelling reason to say, “Ah, now I believe you!”
Songs for Sunday, May 29, 2016:
Our Song from Age to Age
As performed by Sovereign Grace Music
All Glory Be to Christ
As performed by Campus House Worship
The Power Of The Cross
As performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty
All I Have Is Christ
As performed by Sovereign Grace Worship
My One Comfort
As performed by The Modern Post