Worshiping as a synod is a joyful experience, filled as it is with praise of our glorious God via His Word proclaimed, a multitude of voices joined in rousing response, and dependence on Him evidenced by the prayers of His saints thankful for His grace and love in Christ Jesus.
During one of the worship services we sang “I love to tell the story,” whose first stanza reads: “I love to tell the story because of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story because I know ‘tis true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else could do.” The story is the gospel that testifies to God’s merciful love to sinners by grace through faith in Jesus Christ to His glory. (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8, and I John 4:9-10 come to mind).
We whose faith is indeed in the Jesus Christ of THE story, rejoice not only that God had the story told to us, but by the work of His Holy Spirit we believe it to be true and it indeed satisfies our inborn longings for fellowship with God as nothing else could do. Because only THE story is the power God sovereignly uses to save us out of the misery of our sin and restore us to His favor from the moment we believe and forever ultimately in glory…. “I love to tell the story; ‘twill be my theme in glory.”
Telling the story, the good news of the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, is foundational to the work the resurrected Jesus, as its Head, has given to His body, the Church. The great commission (Matt 28), rooted in the assurance of Jesus’ having been given all authority in heaven and on earth, starts with the words: “Go therefore”. Going has the purpose of telling THE story, the instrument used by the Holy Spirit to make disciples of Jesus Christ. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:14, NKJV)
The local church that has been established through THE story being told
(as modeled by the Book of Acts), is a “telling” church. For from you the word of the
Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything
(I Thess.1:8). The effect of their hearing THE story, the gospel, was that they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come
(I Thess.1:9-10). THE story, we might say, has a happy ending for all who believe it unto repentant faith in the resurrected Jesus.
It’s all about THE story: it’s all about the Christ of the gospel for by Him all things were created …and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things
consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself by Him….having made peace through the blood of His cross (from Col.1:16-20). The apostle Paul goes on to proclaim: And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister (Col 1:21-23).
“I love to tell the story, it did so much for me.” But only THE story can do so much; can reconcile sinners with the holy God. And we who have heard THE story unto faith in the incarnate Christ, we need to keep hearing THE story, so we continue in the faith, so we remain grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of gospel which we heard.
We Christians need the churches of which we are members to serve as lampstands, shining the light of Christ not only into the darkness of this present world (and does not the cultural climate of “wokeness” highlight the stark contrast between the dominion of darkness and Christ’s Kingdom?), but we need the church to serve as the firmly established, kept- by- Jesus lampstand to keep us abiding in His light, and living, no matter our circumstances, in the hope of the gospel. We need to keep hearing THE story throughout our pilgrimage to glory.
And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song, ‘twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long, the story of Jesus and his love.
So may the RCUS remain steadfast in telling the old, old story of Jesus and his love. May we be thankful to the church officers who zealously seek to ensure that men licensed and ordained to fill our pulpits will tell only THE story, and not such as might be inclined to add to or take away from the gospel, or interweave worldly thoughts and philosophies into their “telling.” May we cherish the gospel of Jesus Christ and keep renewing our minds with it, putting on the full armor of God (Eph. 6), so we may stand against the devil and his hosts who are always trying to deceive us with a story that is not true.
But we need to be telling THE story in the marketplace as well as within our church buildings. R.C. Sproul, in an article posted July 28, 2009, on Ligonier.org quoted the reformer Martin Luther who once pointedly said: “Away with the cowards who flee from the real world and cloak their cowardice with piety.” R.C Sproul went on to say “Perhaps the greatest need for our day is the need to market Jesus Christ. The church must become expert in marketing, not in the slick Madison Avenue style but in an aggressive, yet dignified way. The marketplace is where we belong. It is where needy people are found. It is not enough for the church to hang a welcome sign on the door. We dare not wait for the world to come to us….The secularist hates the light and is quite willing to offer us a bushel for it… To hide the light or to restrict it to a reservation is to do violence to the gospel and grieve the Holy Spirit.”
We must also be going to tell THE story. The RCUS
is engaged in going not just by way of mission works, and
hopefully personal witness in the marketplaces of life, but it is going into the marketplace which in our day is often the internet. Our website is being made more user-friendly and pointing to all the resources available, like the Reformed Group Network. May the Lord keep enabling and emboldening us to be telling THE story of Jesus and His love.
May we, recipients of Christ’s love, be steadfast and zealous to continue “hearing” THE story so we continue to mature in the faith and in our love and service of our gracious Savior God.
May we become ever more a church which loves to tell the story so other too might experience the love of God in Jesus Christ and may sing along with us: “I love to tell the story, it did so much for me.”