How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and by Your favor our horn is exalted. Psalm 89:15-17
I was so moved in church this past weekend, hearing a wonderful story about the spread of the gospel to a remote people group in Asia. More than 120 years ago, my church sent a missionary couple to go to this people group - people who were self-described as wicked savages. Their language had not yet been written down, and this missionary couple left their comfortable life in the Midwest (as comfortable as it could be in 1890!) to ensure that these people would hear the gospel. They were obeying Jesus' command:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15
For 37 years, this couple learned the language, wrote it down, preached sermons, discipled the people, translated the Bible and introduced men, women and children to the gospel. Their goal was that the people would turn from their wickedness to the living God.
“Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them." Acts 14:15
The beautiful story of the gospel can transform hearts and lives. This story, about Jesus, who died for our sins, was buried, rose again, and was seen by many people before returning to heaven, has saving and sanctifying power.
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. I Corinthians 15:1-8
The missionaries in this story faithfully served their Lord and Savior for nearly 40 years before coming back to the United States and going home to be with the Lord. But their work is still reaping great rewards! Of the 600,000 people in the group in Asia, 500,000 are now believers! They have an active and living church, and are sending missionaries out among other people groups in their region to spread the gospel.
Certainly, these souls are blessed who heard the gospel's joyful sound and their joy is bearing their spirits up through their Redeemer's name. Our Lord gladly gave them salvation and their, and our King, lives forever! Glory be to His name!
Blessed are the Souls that Hear and Know
Words by Isaac Watts
Blessed are the souls that hear and know
That Gospel’s joyful sound;
Peace shall attend the path they go,
And light their steps surround.
Their joy shall bear their spirits up
Through their Redeemer’s name;
His righteousness exalts their hope,
Nor Satan dare condemn.
The Lord, our glory and defense,
Strength and salvation gives;
Israel, thy King for ever reigns,
Thy God for ever lives.