In this Psalm from David's life, John Elmore shows us how the Lord saves through the sacrificial life and death of Jesus, who died for our sins and was raised from the dead so that His people might share of His great salvation with those who need saving from their sin.
Salvation is Here | Luke 1:26-38
Confidence in Our Great Shepherd | Psalm 23
Leaving a Legacy | 1 Chronicles 28-29
When Life Is Painful | 2 Samuel 15-18
What to Do When Stuck in Life | Psalm 40
How God Rescues Us From Sin | 2 Samuel 12
How to Stop Sinning | 2 Samuel 11
Your Confidence, Treasure, and Counsel | Psalm 16
Does God Really Love Me? | 2 Samuel 9
God’s Better Plans | 2 Samuel 7:1-17
What's The Meaning of Life? | 2 Samuel 6
Living in God’s Will | 2 Samuel 5
Trusting God When Wronged (and Trusting God When Wrong) | 1 Samuel 24
Dealing with Other’s Success | 1 Samuel 18:1-16
God and Goliath | 1 Samuel 17:37-47
Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23
In this Psalm from David's life, John Elmore shows us how the Lord saves through the sacrificial life and death of Jesus, who died for our sins and was raised from the dead so that His people might share of His great salvation with those who need saving from their sin.
Good morning, church family. This past week on Thursday, some of our brothers and sisters in Christ woke up to find that their pastor had gone home to be with the Lord…Bryan Dunagan, who was pastor of Highland Park Presbyterian. So they opened a prayer vigil these past few days and right now are crying out to the Lord without their pastor, as Jay, their executive pastor, and my neighbor Aaron Williams lead worship even in the midst of grieving.
So, for Bryan's wife Alison and their three kids, we just want to take a moment to pray over them, as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and for the Lord to lead them through this valley. So pray with me if you would.
Father, we thank you that you have said in your Word you are the God of all comfort who comforts us in all of our afflictions. We thank you and praise you that you have said, "To live is Christ, to die is gain. To be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord." We thank you for your words in Psalm 139 that say there is no accidental death, that you have ordained every day before yet one of them came to be.
Yet, Lord, with all of those eternal truths, we live in this in-between when the final enemy, death, is yet to be conquered, but one day Jesus will do so, as the final enemy to be destroyed is death. So, Lord, we pray, as you have promised, that you would be near to the brokenhearted, that you would carry Ali and the children and that flock at Highland Park Presbyterian as they grieve right now, and in a strange, unlikely combination that they would grieve with hope, knowing that this is not the end.
You have said that you will work all things into accordance of your will and that what was meant for evil will be used for good for the saving of many lives. So, even in this tragedy, Lord, move, minister, collect the tears, and be glorified. In Jesus' name, who has overcome the grave, amen.
You all, my name is John. I'm one of the teaching pastors here. My grandfather-in-law, Laura's grandfather, was an agnostic. He had this kind of conglomeration of beliefs. Two years before his death, he came to the table when we were gathered together with my in-laws, and he broke out this guitar that was given to him from his parents throughout the Great Depression. I didn't even know he played the guitar.
He had this guitar, and he started to sing a song and strum on it. We stopped, and we were like, "Who taught you to play the guitar?" I mean, he was a continual learner in life. He was like, "Oh, my friend from the Bog Riders taught me." I may have shared this with you before. I was like, "The what?" At this point in his life, he was missing teeth. I thought, "Surely I misunderstood."
I said, "The what?" and he said, "The Bog Riders." I said, "I'm so sorry. I don't know what you're saying." He set the guitar on his lap. He said, "John, do you not know what a bog rider is?" I was like, "No. Actually, no one knows what a bog rider is." I mean, raise your hand if you know what a bog rider is. No one knows what a bog rider is. He was like, "Oh." Then the song was completely put aside.
He set it down and said, "Well, the bog rider is the most important job a cowboy can have, but no one wants it. But it is the most important job." I was like, "How have I lived all of my life and never heard about the most important job of a cowboy? What's a bog rider?" He said, "Well, when everyone else is at the mess hall and getting fed and resting up and cleaning up, it's the bog rider's job to go ride throughout all of the pastures to the bogs."
I didn't know what a bog was. The bog is the watering hole. In times of drought, as the water recedes, there's mud along the shores. It cakes at the edge but stays soft toward the middle, and as the livestock, the cattle, the sheep, or whatever, are inching toward that water, they are now walking through mud, and once they get to the water, they turn around to get out and can't. They're stuck in the bog.
So, the bog rider is watching the horizon, looking for the birds of death that are swirling and soaring above, knowing that that livestock that is now stuck in the bog is not getting out. The only way they will get out is through the mouth of the buzzard. So the cowboy, knowing he has to go rescue, rides to all of the watering holes, all of the tanks, the ponds, that could have had one of their livestock there.
As he gets to it and finds a cow stuck in the bog, he can't lasso it and pull it out. It would break its neck. So, what the cowboy does is he goes in with a hand shovel, my grandfather told me. He goes in, taking all of that upon himself. He's now walking into that very danger with a hand shovel. He starts shoveling out around the cow, the livestock, whatever is there. He places the lasso around, and then gets the horse to slowly back up as he is lifting it himself, getting kicked, splattered with all the mud, and everything else, and then sets this cow free.
He then returns to the mess hall, to the camp, or wherever he is, completely covered head to toe and seems like a laughingstock, but he did it all for the sake of that one lost cow. Then my agnostic grandfather-in-law turned to us and said, "My friend in the Bog Riders…" That was the name of the band that had taught him. He said, "You know, my friend in the Bog Riders has told me that Christ is the great bog rider."
He was not a believer; he was an agnostic. We had been pleading with God to save his life. I was like, "He is. He is the great bog rider. I am not a good person. He is the one who changed me. He rescued me out of the bog of alcoholism. You know my story. What he did for me he'll do for you. Christ is the great bog rider. That is the picture. He entered into our sin and death solely and only to rescue us, taking all of the filth of our sin upon him, that we might go free. It's true. Christ is the great bog rider."
He looked at me, picked up his guitar, and sang "Home on the Range." It was like, "O Lord, open his eyes! He just heard the gospel, the good news, the only good news, and went to sing this song." It was crushing, but I never forgot it. So, I was sitting one day, and I was thinking about Christ, the great bog rider. I was like, "Is that a cute story or is there actually any truth to this?" I pulled up my ESV app and put in the word bog and searched for it.
There is one instance in the entirety of Scriptures in which the word bog is used. It's used once in the entire Bible. I read it, and it stopped me in my tracks. It's Psalm 40, written by David. As we continue in this Life of David series, we're stepping out of the story narrative of David into one of the writings of David, and David writes that he himself was in a bog and that God went to him, heard his cry, and rescued him out. Christ is the great bog rider.
I'm here to say this morning that that's life. All of life will be this ebb and flow, this cycle of being in a bog, God rescuing us out of a bog, falling back into a bog, and Christ rescuing us out of a bog. That is the nature of this life. I've said before, and I'll say it again, it is so contrary to the nonsensical, heretical prosperity gospel. The Scriptures make it plain and clear. This is so important for our own expectations in life.
When life hits… I'm looking at somebody who was just delivered from breast cancer, Sarah Beth. Praise God. God has told us, "In this life you will have troubles. It's through many trials and tribulations that you must (not might) enter the kingdom of heaven." What awaits us are afflictions, suffering, tribulation, persecution, loss, and death. That is the promise of Scripture, but there is an overarching, overriding, infused promise of God that he will deliver us out of them all, sometimes through them.
So, today, no matter what bog you find yourself stuck in, whether that's sin within or suffering from without, know that Christ is the great bog rider. You will see it in Psalm 40. Let it encourage you that God has not forgotten you. He is not mad at you. He is coming for you to rescue you. Psalm 40. I'm reading from the ESV.
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.'
I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, 'Aha, Aha!' But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, 'Great is the Lord!' As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!"
Psalm 40, written by David, stuck in a bog, delivered by God. What we're going to walk through today in these three movements of the psalm is that we are saved by God, and by God alone, through the sacrifice of God…Jesus Christ, spotless, sinless Lamb…in order to share about God. We've been saved through the sacrifice of God in order to share about God, to proclaim him all of our days.
As I read this, it struck me. I'm thinking about the great bog rider, Christ the bog rider that my grandfather-in-law told me about. I'm reading this, and it says David was stuck in a miry bog. Well, I don't think David is literally saying, "I was stuck in mud, and God pulled me out." He was a shepherd. That's what he did before he was a king. He cared for livestock. He was a rancher.
So, he would have gone to bogs when he saw the buzzards or realized that one was missing. He would have gone to the bog, walked into it, carried the sheep out, and brought it out into safety. What David is saying is "What I have done for sheep, God, you have done for me. I was stuck in certain death, just like the sheep I've rescued."
As he writes in Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd." So, he's like, "This is what you've done for me. When I am stuck in life, you come after me. I only need to cry, and as I cry, you incline your ear to me. You're ever-present, ever-powerful, and you do enter into my mess to carry me out. You are the bog rider."
Is he yours? Is he the one you cry out to? Whether it's an internal affliction of sin or external affliction of suffering, is he the one you cry out to or do you self-effort? The more you struggle in a bog, the deeper you go. You'll see. You can Google pictures, and there's livestock up to their necks in this mud because they're wrestling and wrestling, and the deeper they go… The more they struggle, the more they sink, but if they cry… If we cry, then God comes.
The only one who can deliver us from a supernatural power of sin is the supernatural power of our Savior. He is the one who can, and also to carry us through the suffering. We have no ability of our own. In verse 12, it says iniquities have overtaken David. As I thought about this, I was thinking about my in-laws. They have some land, and we set hog traps because they tear up the property. (If you're a hog lover, I'm sorry. We kill them. You eat bacon. You know you like it. Don't judge me because they're wild hogs and you eat domesticated ones.)
We put a trail of corn, and it leads into this steel trap. They hit a trip wire in the back of the trap. The door shuts. We shoot them and give them to the buzzards. So, we're walking through the land and checking the traps the morning after, and we hear this thrashing, different than a hog. Then it would be still. We get up to it, and there's a deer stuck in the trap. This poor deer has blood on its nose and its head, as it has been slamming itself into the gate again and again and again. Then I walk up to it.
Laura and the kids are watching, taking a video to see what craziness might happen to me. I walk up, and I have to approach the whole trap, release this huge spring from it, and swing the door open, and this thing is thrashing. I'm concerned because it has horns. I'm like, "This might not end well." But the deer thinks I'm there to kill it. The deer thinks I am there solely… Like, "Oh, this is it. This is the end. I've gotten into this guy's trap, and this is how this goes. I know to fear people because of hunters and the fear God has put in me."
It's freaking out when all I want to do is set it free. That's the only reason I've come. I've come to help it. I have compassion. So it is with all of us when we willfully, by our own volition, walk into a trap of sin. That trip wire shuts, and there we are stuck in our sin. God comes to us not because he's mad at us, not to strike us, but to set us free, just like I do that deer. Every single time any one of them gets stuck, I am there to set it free. We don't have to be scared.
When you're stuck in sin, not to be afraid, but to cry out, to cry out to the only one who can deliver you. That deer is not getting out of that trap apart from me, and so it is with our sin. Apart from Jesus Christ, apart from crying out to him, we are not getting free out of the bog of sin. But it's not just the internal sin; it's also the external suffering, the suffering you didn't choose. I didn't walk into a trap.
I'm thinking about Sarah Beth, who I just pointed to, with her breast cancer or Laura with her breast cancer. They didn't do anything to get that. We just live in a fallen, broken, sinful world, and as the fallenness of the world, so it comes to the body, which is subject to decay. So, you may be sitting there, thinking, "I didn't. I didn't walk into a trap. I didn't take the bait of sin. Not this time. Yet I'm in the midst of this suffering and affliction and loss. So what do I do now?"
The same is true. No matter what the bog of sin or suffering, we cry out to the only one who can deliver us. I felt like God was generally silent when Laura had cancer. I shared this story about the bog rider, and Al Nail sent me a picture. I saved it onto my phone, because as I saw this picture, it was the first time I felt like I heard from the Lord. I looked at it, and the thought that came into my mind was God saying, "That's how I'm carrying Laura," when she had cancer.
So I saved it on my phone. That became my screen saver. I'd look at it and remember, "God loves her. God will carry her through." Then Al and Carol Nail and their family called me over one day, and they gave me this print, which is a picture of a bog rider, a cowboy who went after one in certain danger with the snake and the storm and the buzzard, the bird of death, circling above, and there comes the rescuer.
That now hangs in my office as an Ebenezer of God who has delivered us from this bog and will deliver us from every bog until we're at home with him when he carries us through the last bog that is death. That's the picture. The picture was painted by an artist named Jon Flaming. Jon and Kathy are with us today.
I asked Jon, "Hey, can you tell me about this picture?" You know, he could have called the picture Cowboy Rescue or Lost Cow or something better than that (he's an artist), but he called the painting Savior. There are not a lot of paintings of cowboys out there called Savior. I said, "Jon, why did you call it Savior?"
This is what he wrote: "Savior is a picture of mercy, hope, and grace. It is a picture of Jesus leaving the 99 to go after the one. It is a picture of the prodigal returning to his loving father. It is a picture of God rescuing me once again and safely carrying me home." The Savior, the bog rider, Christ the great bog rider. So, we're saved by God.
David says two things in this passage. There are two key verbs. The first is he's crying. He says, "I cried out to the Lord. He inclined and heard my cry." The second is he's singing. He says, "God put a new song in my mouth." This is the Christian life, that you are crying and singing, and crying and singing, and crying and singing. It's this cyclical pattern as we walk through this broken, fallen life.
Until we are at home with the Lord where there are no more tears, sorrow, or pain, we will be stepping into a bog and crying out. He will deliver us. Then we'll sing out a song of deliverance and praise, and then we'll find ourselves in another bog of sin or suffering and cry out. He will deliver us and put a song in our mouth, as we just sung, to sing a song of praise. That is what we will do throughout this entire life: crying or singing and crying or singing to our deliverer. It's all about him. We are saved by God.
I think about some of the examples in the Bible. You have Hannah, who was pleading for progeny. "Lord, give me a child." She was struggling with infertility, pleading in the bog of infertility. "God, please!" Or Jonah in the belly of rebellion because of his own sin, pleading with God. In both instances, they're crying out in this bog, and God goes to them not because he's mad but because he's compassionate. He's a father. He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve. He opens wide the gate and sets them free. He pulls them out of the bog, and he'll do it for you.
So, are you stuck today? If you're stuck today, hear me say there are so many opportunities here, and they're all just mechanisms of discipleship. In all of them, you will be led to Christ. If it's financial, there's Moneywise. If it's a struggle or discipleship, there's re:gen or re:gen for students. If you're going through a divorce or separation or hardship in marriage, there's DivorceCare or re|engage to help a marriage.
There are MENd and Courageous Hope for those who have been through the bog of sexual abuse. There's Prodigal for those who have loved ones in rebellion, GriefShare for those who have lost a loved one, and Shiloh for those struggling with infertility, like Hannah, and on and on and on. If you are in a bog, know that in this place you will never receive condemnation. You will receive care, love, and tenderness as the Father gave to us. This is a house of God for you all, for our care…all of us. We are saved by God.
Now, contextually here, as David is writing in real time personally and individually, David goes from offering his song… He's like, "You've saved me. I cried out. You saved me. Now I'm giving you my song." Then he moves from giving a song, offering a song, to "I'm offering you my life." He says, "Sacrifice and offering? That's not enough. That's not even what you desire. What you desire is me. You saved me. I now give myself to you. I delight to do your will. I'm no longer going to live for myself. You saved me. My life is yours."
But we know that David's life is not always God's, that he does fall back into bogs, self-inflicted wounds of sin. He would return to those bogs. Even though he's crying out, "I delight to do your will. Your law is within my heart," he falls back into it. But this value of "I'm not just going to offer you a song; I'm going to offer you my life. You've saved me through the sacrifice of Jesus, so my life is yours." This is the church value of being fully surrendered. "You don't just get a part or a tithe of my life; you get all of my life. You saved me. My life is yours, a living sacrifice unto you." Fully surrendered.
Speaking of animal traps, my daughter has a hamster. Its name is Midnight. I should have brought a picture. It's a cute little hamster. We got home from a vacation once, and I saw drywall by our laundry machine had crumbled. I was like, "Oh my goodness! We have a mouse or a rat in here." I'm not for that. There are five people who live in our home…well, I guess six with Midnight. I don't want a rat or a mouse living there. So I put out these glue traps around the hole.
I get woken up at 5:00 a.m. that next morning, because my son Hill wakes up incredibly early. He's like, "Dad! Dad! Midnight is stuck in the rat trap!" I've never bounced out of bed so quickly. We bought this little hamster for her birthday. I have now killed her hamster. Like, worst dad fail ever. I run down, and this hamster… I mean, all four paws are stuck in the glue trap. Its fur is matted down to the glue trap. I'm trying to pull it out, and I'm realizing, "I'm going to crush its ribs. I'm going to rip its paws out of their sockets. This is bad."
I'm pleading with God for Midnight that's stuck in a trap. I don't know if any of you have ever prayed for a hamster. I have. I'm like, "Lord, save Midnight." I'm Googling. If it ever happens to you (it won't), you get olive oil and rub it on the glue, and it emulsifies it. Anyway, I get the hamster free. I set the hamster back in the cage, and for days after, as I went to check on the hamster, it would come to me like a little dog.
Hamsters aren't very… Well, I don't think they're smart. They don't have much of a personality. This one all of a sudden… It knew me. It was like, "You saved me. You rescued me." I was like a hamster whisperer. It would trot into my hand and nuzzle. (It didn't do that.) It felt good. The little thing loved me, because I think it could smell my hands and was like, "That one saved me from death."
I didn't have the heart to tell it, "No, I almost killed you." Penny knew. She wasn't pleased. Then, over time, I just became another person who would give it water and food. It didn't really think anything of me. I was like, "What happened to us? We had a thing." That's what can happen in our lives when we forget what we've been rescued from and who our rescuer is.
There's that moment where you're like, "I'm yours. What you have just delivered me from I will never forget. I'm yours, sole affection due to you, all the glory, all the praise, all the devotion." Then there's that heart drift, that inevitable heart drift, like, "Who are you again? Yeah, you just kind of give me my food and water." Yet his love remains. It says in the Scriptures when we are faithless, he remains faithful, this undying, unconditional love despite our fickle love.
So, David writing in first person failed, just as we do, but there was one being written about who would never fail, whose love would never ebb and flow, whose love would never deviate from its appointed affection. He would set his love upon us, and it's written about Jesus. Here in Hebrews 10, after it recites the verses from Psalm 40, it says this:
"When he said above, 'You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings…'" It's the author of Hebrews expounding on Psalm 40 and what it means."…(these are offered according to the law), then he added, 'Behold, I have come to do your will.'"God the Son doing God the Father's will. "He does away with the first…" This is the law, the covenant of Moses. "…in order to establish the second." This is the new covenant.
"And by that will…" By what will? By Jesus' will to lay down his life and be raised again that we might be saved. "…we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." He did it for us. What we could not do he did. What he wouldn't do we did. He lived a sinless life that we could never live so we might go free, and we lived a sinful life that we could be sanctified and, by that sacrifice made once and for all, have been set free.
It says in verse 12, "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice…" Remember, saved by God through the sacrifice of God. "…he sat down at the right hand of God…" _Tetelestai. "It is finished. I have done what I have come to do. Behold, I have come to do your will." In doing his will, what it means is that he perfectly fulfilled the law that we could not.
He lived a sinless life and became the spotless Lamb of God who placed himself in the bog of sin and took all our filth upon himself, that we might go free…the humiliation of the cross for us, for you. He came into it, entered in. God took on flesh and entered into our mess to set us free because he loves us. He's not mad at you. Then, in that perfect fulfillment, also, wrestling in the garden, "If possible, let this cup pass," yet he says, "Not my will but your will be done."
So, the author of Hebrews says, "And by that will we have been sanctified…" The prophetic words by the Spirit through David of Jesus. It says, "Behold, I have come to do your will…" The reason you are saved is because Jesus loves you and came for you and set you free from the bog of sin, death, and Satan. He paid it all…all. You were saved by the sacrifice of God to be a living sacrifice to God.
As we follow Jesus, that we also would lay down our lives, take up our crosses, and follow him daily; that in view of God's mercy we would offer our bodies as living sacrifices; that it would be no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us; that all of our lives are like, "It's yours," but unlike Midnight, to try to come back and remember the bogs and cry out and abide in him, and by his Spirit… Not by your own gumption, your own effort, your own trying harder to make yourself an offering to God, but just walking with him.
So, it says also in Hebrews 10, "This is the covenant that I will make…" Listen to it. It says, "I will make," not "They will do." "…I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds…" So, all of it is God doing the work in us. As we abide with him, he's going to do the work.
You weren't saved by works. You won't be sanctified by works. We just walk with him, and he does the work. We just abide with him, as we just sang. It's this abiding. He works in us. So, Psalm 40 rightly says, "…your law is within my heart." And not because we have memorized it, though we should, but because of the new covenant, that the Holy Spirit lives in you, and he is the one who will move in you to follow God.
Then he gets over here and is like, "So I'm going to follow you. I know who you are. I've seen your goodness. I know your character. You're my deliverer. You are the great bog rider. Just as I rescued sheep, you rescued me, so I'm following you. I delight to do your will. I don't want to do my will anymore. My will leads to bogs. I'm following you."
Then it's not enough. David is like, "And I'm going to tell everybody. I can't keep silent. How could I? There are others who are stuck in bogs. Every single one of eight billion people is stuck in a bog of sin or suffering. How could I remain silent? They've got to know." So David in this refrain says, "I won't restrain my lips. I won't hide your deliverance in my heart. I will tell the great congregation again and again and again."
So, it says in verses 9-10, "I have told the glad news of deliverance [the gospel] in the great congregation [assembly of people] …" "I'm going to tell everybody." "…behold, I have not restrained my lips…" Here's the positive example. "I'm going to tell the glad news of deliverance, and I'm not going to restrain my lips." Positive, then negative.
Now he says again, "…as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart…" _ It's not good enough for David to be like, "Well, you saved me. Man! I'm so thankful. I'm going to praise you." He's like, "I haven't hidden it. I know you've done it, and I'm going to put it on display. I'm going to tell others because of you. You're the only one. There is no other bog rider. Every other religion or cult or dead works system will fail. There is one, Jesus Christ."
It says in Acts 4:12, "There is no other name by which men are saved." They have to know. "I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation." This is a second core value of the church, which is missional living. We're not living for ourselves anymore. Love God and love others. Period. That he would be made known.
God's disciples tell of God's deliverance. It says in Psalm 107:2, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…" If we have been redeemed, let us say so because, it says, God has redeemed us from our trouble. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…" Speak it. Tell everyone. Here's the reason: God didn't save you for you; God saved you for him.
This is a doxological book about the glory of God. God saved you for him, for his glory. We're beneficiaries of his mercy and grace unto the praise and glory of God. If he saved you for him and not for you, then our lives are to be for him. He saved us. Saved by God through the sacrifice of God to share about God. It is his main way of telling.
Now, some are saved through dreams and visions. It's happening across the 10/40 Window in the Middle East. As people seek God, he's revealing himself to them in the so-called closed nations. The Holy Spirit is like, "Yeah, closed? Watch this." And they come to faith. They say, "I saw a man in white; it was Jesus," and their lives are never the same unto persecution or death. But most of us sitting in this room probably haven't received Christ through a dream or vision. We received him through someone telling us about him.
Someone stepped out of the perceived awkwardness and was like, "Has anyone ever told you about Jesus?" How sad that we would be content with our own salvation and then restrain our lips or hide his deliverance in our hearts when he's like, "I saved you to send you, just as I did David. When I rescued him, I then moved in him to tell everyone, to not restrain his lips, and he didn't. He delighted to do my will. Will you?"
Or are you going to think, "Oh, that would be awkward to have a faith conversation at work or with my fellow classmates or teammates or as a stay-at-home mom. That would be weird. I mean, we're having a drink on a business trip, and it would be so strange if I talked about faith." No, it would be strange if you didn't. It would be strange for you to be saved and not tell others who are in a bog in need of salvation. That's what would be strange. Yet I do it.
Yesterday, I was getting my oil topped off at this little drive-through thing, and I recognized the guy. I was like, "Hey, Quinten, right?" He was like, "Oh, yeah. How are you doing?" We started talking, and he did the thing. He topped it off, and I pulled out. My oldest son Hill went, "Dad, you've got to tell Quinten about Jesus. Why didn't you say anything?" Conviction of the Holy Spirit and conviction of your children. I was like, "You're right."
I hit the brakes and backed up the whole line. I was like, "Hey, Quinten! Hey, man." I mean, it felt a little out of ordinary. We were talking 5W-30 and viscosity, and all of a sudden I was like, "Has anyone ever told you about Jesus?" He was like, "What do you mean?" I was like, "Man, I always just used to think it was about rules, that by following rules I could be right with God. It's not the case. I always failed." I walked through my story and shared the gospel with him. He was like, "I've never heard that." And he never would have had I not stopped to share.
Step out of whatever perceived awkwardness out of love for your fellow man, woman, or child and be like, "Hey, has anyone ever told you…?" I think sometimes we don't share about God after having been saved by God because we're like, "Man, I am striking out. Nobody ever prays to receive Christ. It's just weird, and then that relationship… And I don't know, man." So we don't. We restrain our lips. We hide his deliverance in our hearts.
Can I just set you free? You can't save anybody. It's not your job. It's not my job. I mean, Quinten didn't fall on his knees and confess Jesus in that moment, but our job is to scatter seed and water seed, and it makes it really clear in Corinthians that God makes it grow. That takes all the pressure off. I can't save anyone. Jesus saved me. How in the world could I think that I'm going to save somebody? There's no pressure. I'm just meant to tell, to share about God.
So, if you're saved, do you share? Do you restrain your lips or is it the refrain of your life? Pick one. Do you restrain your lips or is it the refrain of your life? I think it's a daily decision. We're going to be around other people every day for the rest of our lives. Will I restrain or will it be the refrain? I'm going to tell everybody.
If you're comforted, do you share? In our Community Group, there are a whole lot of bogs…loss of parents, loss of siblings, trials, difficulties. In our Community Group, for the most part, when we come together, there's this element of fellowship, but a lot of it is like, "I need to tell you about this bog I'm in." It's us sharing it and then being washed in prayer and counseled and carried along. It's the vitality of coming together with the body of Christ.
In Hebrews 3:13 it says, "Encourage one another daily so you won't be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" or, I would add, the difficulties of this world, because as ones who have been delivered, you can speak truth into others. There are college friends here, Camille and John Wheelock. We had dinner with them last night, and they said, "We knew when you were going through your worst that one day you would pastor people." I was in the pit 18 years ago, and they told me what life was going to look like outside of the pit.
That's what the body of Christ does. It's like, "Hey, this is not the end. God will have the final word." So, I know right now… It says in the psalm that his iniquities were covering his sight. He had sunk below sight. But you have your brothers and sisters in Christ saying, "This isn't the end in Jesus. He will have the final word no matter what bog you're in. He will deliver in this life or forever in the next." This is not the final word, because you've been saved by God through the sacrifice of God, so every day that you have breath, share about God.
Three months before my grandfather-in-law died, Laura and I went to visit him. We didn't know how much longer he would have left. We were on our knees. At this point, he was bound to a chair that he couldn't get out of, just weak, dying of cancer. We shared Jesus with him again, and he rejected Christ. He said, "I'm sorry. I must be such a disappointment as a grandfather, but I don't believe what you believe."
Then, in the same conversation, he went from rejecting Christ to accepting Christ and prayed that day to receive Jesus Christ through an hour-and-a-half-long conversation. He was a thief on the cross. Of no merit of his own… He couldn't offer God anything but a "Yes, I receive the gift." Christ, the great bog rider, came to my grandfather-in-law late in his life and had his eternal life.
I know in a room this size there are a lot of bogs, some of sin, many of suffering. We've done this before, and I want to invite you to do it again. If you need prayer right now because of some situation you've found yourself in…you need to cry out, and you need others to pray over you…I want to invite you to stand right now. I understand it requires a great deal of humility to stand up and say, "I need prayer." As you do, in a word, you can turn to those around you and say, "It's financial. It's mental. It's with my family," or whatever it may be.
What we're going to do is respond in song after we pray, but right now, if there's something you're struggling with, something you're wrestling with, some difficulty, take a moment and stand up. I want it to be clear who's standing for prayer. Then, brothers and sisters in Christ, may no one around you stand and not be prayed for. Move toward them. Let them share in a brief moment what it is. Lay your hands on them and pray over them. All right. Let's pray now.
You all can continue praying over them or praying yourself, thanking God for the bog he has delivered you out of.
Father, we thank you for sending Christ, the great bog rider, who has delivered us and continues to deliver us. I pray that we would tell everyone of your deliverance, of your salvation, trusting that you will save more. Lord, as David said, rightly, "I cried out to you. You set my feet upon a rock, the rock of Jesus Christ. You put a song in my mouth." We now stand, and we sing this song of deliverance. We sing to you because you alone are worthy. We sing to you out of overflowing praise. Thank you for saving us. In Jesus' name, amen.