The Gates of Zion

September 20, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Missions Emphasis

Topic: Missions Scripture: Psalm 87:1–7

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 20 September 2019

Text: Psalm 87v1-7

Opening Discussion: According to Wikipedia, a gate is “a point of entry to a space which is enclosed by walls. Gates may prevent or control the entry or exit of individuals, or they may be merely decorative.” Have you ever been locked in or out of somewhere because the gate was locked? Share your story.


Psalm 87 is attributed to the sons of Korah. The Korahites were doorkeepers and custodians for the temple. THIS short psalm, opening with the praise of Zion, or of the Jewish Church (v.1-3), passes into a glorification of the Church universal, when all the nations have come into it (v.4-7). The glorification falls under two heads—God’s acknowledgment of those who flock into his Church (v.4-6), and their acknowledgment of the blessings which they receive through it. The two "selahs" divide the psalm into two stanzas, each of three verses, and a short epode consisting of a single verse.

Psalm 87, predicts the conversion of all nations to Christ under the beautiful PICTURE of their birth in Zion. The writer celebrates the glory of the Church, as the means of spiritual blessing to the nations/ exclusively from Jerusalem. Zion is a type or picture of the gospel-church. This Psalm reminds us that Zion - that the city of God, the people of God, will be made up of every tribe and tongue and nation. This song reminds us of the coming conversion of the nations and of their incorporation into the Book of Life and points us to something of God's choosing love. It reminds us of how glorious the church is in God's eyes and why.

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: Psalm 87:1-7
  1. There are 3 praises of Zion mentioned in verse 1-3. Can you identify them?
  2. Which word is repeated in verse four, five and six?
  3. What is the difference between Zion and any other place the Psalmist made mention of (i.e. Babylon, Tyre, etc.)v.5?
  4. Verse 5 is not teaching that everybody is saved or will go to heaven. What is it saying?
  5. The second part of verse 5 says “And the highest himself shall establish her”. How did God do this?

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

There are TWO powerful pictures the Lord gives us in scripture. Gates of Zion and Gates of Hell. The Lord loves the Gates of Zion, and promises that He will build His church and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. How is the local church key, in fulfilling the purposes of God in the Great Commission?

  •  Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

Peter describes Christians in the New Testament church as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). How is this description of Christians connected to the Great Commission if at all?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

God’s kingdom is advancing all around us. Paul says in Colossians 1, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (vv. 13-14). Wow! God is doing the work of transferring people from the clutches of Satan and this world into a new kingdom. His kingdom. We get to play a small part in what God is doing. How?


Here is an excerpt from a letter by a pastor ministering in Arlington, Virginia. “There was a young lady named Colleen that I and a number of other from our church were reaching out to at Starbucks. She didn’t know Jesus, but she loved to be a part of our campus planning meetings. I would say to her, “Colleen, come on over and tell us what we Christians are doing wrong. We need your input. We’re just trying to save you anyway.”

And she loved it. She loved the people, and she loved hanging out with us. We got involved in her life. We gave her money to participate in an AIDS walk. It was a genuine friendship. But eventually she moved away to New York. I didn’t see her get saved, and it broke my heart.

Three years later, I was greeting people at the door of our church, and I saw Colleen walk in. Previously, she would never have set foot in a church. But there she was walking toward me with a huge smile and tears in her eyes. She was 8 months pregnant and unmarried.

She said, “Eric, I’ve heard that it takes a person 85 times to hear the gospel before they’re saved. Well, it took 86 for me. Thank you for telling me about Jesus.”

I didn’t lead Colleen to the Lord, but I was part of it. One more person transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Amazing grace.

Whether your church is in Dallas, Texas or Sydney, Australia, Philly or New York, La Paz or Orlando, God has strategically placed you and the members of your church in that place. He has radically converted you and called you to be missionaries. Why? Because he wants his kingdom to be revealed, he wants the lost to be saved. And your church gets to play a part in it. What a mission!”

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