A sermon idea based on Psalm 85.
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
One of the most regretful aspects of how we’ve modified the Christian message is that we have boiled the word “salvation” down to such an individualistic and simplistic term. There is so much more to the essence of salvation than simply no longer going to hell. In fact, that isn’t the biblical message of salvation at all, and Psalm 85 is a great testament to the fullness of what salvation really is.
At the end of the day, we need to be healed and made whole, restored to the condition in which God intended us to thrive, surrounded by his peace, assured by his love, and blessed by his righteousness.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
Psalm 85 is written in four stanzas, or movements, that reflect a desire for God to do again what he has done in the past for his people – bring salvation, restoration, peace, and righteousness.
Verses one through three are about remembering what God has done before. You were favorable… you restored… you forgave… you pardoned… you withdrew your wrath… you turned from anger.
Verses four through seven are a prayer, requesting God to do it again.
Verses eight and nine are a record of how God answered with a “Yes!” I love that the author doesn’t necessarily relay a specific revelation but, rather, offers an answer based on God’s consistency in character and love. “Surely, his salvation is at hand…” because, God is a God who saves.
And verses ten through thirteen flesh out the details of what God is still willing to do for his people. Times will be good again because of God’s peace, righteousness, and blessing upon the land.
The psalm gives us a full picture of what salvation looks like to God’s people. It’s not merely being spared from God’s anger, forgiven of our sins, or delivered from potential destruction. It’s all of that and more.
Enjoying God’s salvation is ultimately about life being restored to the peace and harmony God intended. It’s when our relationship with God, with each other, with the earth, with history, and with the future are all realigned with God’s purposes. It’s when sin no longer wrecks and ruins everything. That’s God’s desire for all people – that everyone gets to enjoy his goodness forever.
The big call-to-action in the message…
Take a look at your life and ask the question, do I see the fruit of God’s salvation and restoration in my life? Or have I merely been hoping that everything will work out in the end even though I’m not experiencing a full transformation of my character?
See how God’s salvation has changed the lives of other people and entire communities throughout history. Remember what you have personally seen God do in your life and the lives of those in your personal circle. And ask God to do it again and again.