Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 27, 1952
NUMBER 46, PAGE 2,5b

"The Joyful Sound"

John T. Overbey, Austin, Texas

The eighty-ninth Psalm is Messianic. The references to God's oath to David (v. 3-4; 19-37; 49-51) that of the fruit of his loins he would raise up one to sit on his throne are alluded to and find their fulfillment in the second chapter of Acts, and are applied to the resurrection, ascension and coronation of Christ in heaven. There are several attributes to the New Testament dispensation alluded to in this prophecy which should challenge our attention, among which is the description of the message of the gospel. In the fifteenth verse the psalmist cries: "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they walk, 0 Jehovah, in the light of thy countenance.

For centuries before the advent of Christ, men looked anxiously for the Messiah which was to come and to those who understand the significance of his coming, the fruition of their hope was fully realized. When the angel appeared to the shepherds who were keeping watch by night over their flock, and announced to them: "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord," they were so overwhelmed with joy that they said to one another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us". That Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind is the greatest message that has ever been made known. Indeed it must have been a joyful sound to those shepherds who were tending their flock. But the fact that Jesus is Savior is of universal significance, for John declares (I Jn. 4:14) that God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

But the fact that Jesus is Savior does not imply that all men will be saved, for first of all, man must want to be saved before Christ can become his Savior; therefore, Christ became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation, (Heb. 5:9). But how does one obey Christ? One obeys Christ when he obeys the teachings or doctrine of Christ. Hear Paul in Romans 6:17: "But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered." But what is "that form of teaching"? The answer is found in the third through the sixth verse of the same chapter: "We who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life." The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is therefore the fundamental doctrine or teaching. In First Corinthians 15:1-4 the apostle Paul calls these same elements the gospel: "Now I make known unto you, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you...For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures." So, everywhere the gospel is preached Christ is proclaimed the Savior of mankind and the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

But the gospel tells of the forgiveness of sin. This is the need of all, the indispensable need, and is met only in Christ. Paul declares, "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) Just before Christ ascended to the Father's right hand he commissioned his apostles to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned" (Mk. 16:15,16). He also told them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem." (Lk. 24:46, 47) Just a few short days after these events took place, Peter stood before that throng of people in the City of Jerusalem, and proclaimed for the first time in the history of mankind the gospel with its conditions of salvation. To those who cried out, "Brethren, what shall we do"? Peter answered, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Those people fully realized the need of the forgiveness of their sins, for their hands were dripping with the blood of the spotless Son of God. Men today need their sins forgiven, and the only way in which they can ever realize that forgiveness is through their obedience to the gospel.

The gospel is the only message that announces to the world the hope of eternal life. This hope is perhaps made known more forcefully in the words of the apostle Peter: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it be proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (I Pet. 1:3-9)

Everywhere the gospel is preached, Jesus is proclaimed the Savior of mankind; the forgiveness of sins is announced; and men are told how they may inherit eternal life in the after awhile. It is no wonder that the psalmist cried: "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound", for what greater news could be announced to mortal man than the good news of the gospel.

But finally, God wants the gospel preached to every creature upon the earth. Just before Jesus ascended to the Father's right hand, while on the mount of Olives, he told his disciples, "Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This they began to do on the first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Christ. Later on, Paul was converted and became one of the apostles, and he said: "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel" (I Cot 9:16) Lord, give us more preachers with the spirit of Paul!

"We have heard the joyful sound:

Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Spread the tidings all around:

Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Bear the steeps and cross the waves; Onward! 'Tis our Lord's command:

Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Sing above the battle strife;

Jesus saves! Jesus saves! By His death and endless life, Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Sing it softly thro' the gloom, When the heart for mercy craves; Sing in triumph o'er the tomb:

Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

— Priscilla J. Owens.