Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Oil of Gladness"-And The Gainesville High class of 1977 Big Red Elephants

Our class reunion was held this weekend with the last day being on Sunday July 31st.
I was cautiously waiting for it to happen all summer since I live still in our hometown of Gainesville,Georgia. I have served as a pastor, chaplain, evangelist and preacher the last sixteen years. Through the past two years a church plant I have been working with has worshiped in a local funeral home in their sanctuary. So I was asked to preach and help organize a proposed worship service to conclude Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening activities. My greatest motivation was having the privilege of preaching the gospel to my classmates. Yes, my friends have all settled down on the idea that I am a preacher by now. As an elementary school student I had to take speech. In high school I definitely did not give a Christian witness. I apologized about that at the start of the service.

Some of us had supper at the Collegiate Friday night. We painted "The Rock", A Gainesville High School tradition, on later that evening. We had about sixty out of our graduating class of 185 students. Then we all spread out over the town. The next day we had a growing crowd for the event on the lake. That evening the crowd grew more at the Elks Club for great food and dancing.
A feeling of appreciation grew during the whole weekend for the chance to be together.

It was fun out on Saturday night at the Elks Club event. Preachers often get left off the party list. I headed home early to prepare to preach. By participants accounts many were out late. I had no idea how many classmates would attend a worship after the revelry and late hours. Classmates had to make plans to travel back to their homes spread all over the country Sunday.

The worship service exceeded every event in numbers. Many workers helped to get many of our talented musicians playing and singing. A guest gospel choir also attended. Southern gospel, black gospel, hymns and contemporary praise music all hit the mark. We had about 120 plus at the Memorial Park-Riverside Chapel sanctuary. Classmates, relatives, friends and some of our teachers.

The spirit of anticipation was high. We had classmates play guitar, sing and it was lively. Hand clapping, smiles and hugs were unrestrained. I was emotional as I preached the gospel. My sermon was called Heritage,Legacy,Inheritance. The Scripture was John 14:1-7. People cried, laughed and there was a rhythm that was not generated by me. My friends were generous with encouragement. I preached hard on while we were blessed we have to look to Jesus Christ as our one and only hope, our rebellion in sin, peace with God, forgiveness of sins, Heaven, Hell and Christs substitutionary atonement. I asked people to repent and turn to Christ for our sure and only hope. Many cried, some smiled and rejoiced. I had no alter call as we were not a local church and had no church to join or one to baptize them. I preached for new life and conversion. Our celebration at the end was explosive. We took an offering for the Jo Farr scholarship. She was a favorite teacher who had died and mother of our classmate Cason Farr. I expected a few hundred and we received over $2,400 for a graduating student at GHS.

This service has changed me. Many friends and family all week have said the same thing. I was thrilled yet humbled to preach and greatly desired to do so. Was it my preaching that did it? NOOOOOO!!!!! It was theologically solid, emotional with a broken heart preaching. I had said from the start I wanted conversions or stones thrown at me. I want all my friends to be able to sing "When we All Get To Heaven"
and know it's true. Like a football coach I broke down the DVD of the worship service. Ouch! Broken sentences and challenging pronunciations. Was I speaking English as a second language? Yet something
was different about the service anyway. From song to prayer to the reception of the hearers of the preached word it was awesome and different and I could not really say why.

Today as I drove back to the work I was thinking about salvation, forgiveness and hurts being healed. "The Oil of Gladness" came to my mind. I check the concordance on Bible to see if there was such a thing as "The Oil of Gladness".
It was like the service had not yet ended in my spirit. Here is what I found in Scripture about what is the "The Oil of Gladness".

Here was the first passage found about the "Oil of Gladness."

Psalm 45:7
"you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;"

In further context "The oil of gladness" is what was used by God the Father to anoint Jesus Christ. This wrecked and humbled me.
"6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the ***oil of gladness*** beyond your companions;"

The "Oil of Gladness was not just in the Psalms but in the Old Testament in the major prophet book of Isaiah.
Jesus preached on this passage in Luke 4:18 in his first public sermon in Scripture.
To be in a worship service with Jesus. It happened at the synagogue.
In worship Jesus preached the Oil of Gladness!

Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV)

1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the ***oil of gladness*** instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

God anointed Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament.
Hebrews 1:8-10 (ESV)
8But of the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the ***oil of gladness*** beyond your companions."
"You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;

Jesus preached this "Oil of Gladness" he was anointed with it from
God His Father.
I have heard happiness is a mirage and often just the absence of pain and you are in the company of pleasure.
Joy in the Lord is satisfaction, relief, contentment after longing, that we are resting in Christ.

Friends our service was anointed from on high with the "Oil of Gladness"!

Jesus Christ was at our worship service and I do not mean that in a "lalala" way.
No, I mean Jesus Christ was AT our worship service and anointed it.
I believe people were saved, the oil was poured on hearts as the Holy Spirit ministered and healed and reconciled and celebrated with us. We were not a church that day as a local church. We were with the "great cloud of witness" in celebration as part of the universal church of the ages.

Jesus Christ was with us, and I mean really with us and He was the success, He received the glory he made it happen and last. It was a different service than others. Why? because there is no one like him and can do what he does.

Jesus Christ came to our reunion worship service.
He anointed our praise with the OIL OF GLADNESS.

In Christ Alone!


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