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October 6, 2021 4:00 am
Should the focus of a sermon, or our worship to God be our relationship with him or his relationship with us. It's a subtle but not insignificant distinction today on Truth for Life. Alastair begged teachers from Psalm 100 to explain why we gather together as Christians and what it is were called to do. Psalm 100 shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him with joyful songs know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us and we are his. We had his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name for the Lord is good and his love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations. Amen. While our text this morning is one of the most familiar sounds in all of the book of Psalms Psalms are essentially the Church's hymnbook throughout the years and from the time of the Israelites in the temple all the way through the medieval church and right into today, God's people have been employing these poisons. Many of them set to music in order to give voice to their laments to their concerns and also to their praise and to their adoration. The hundred Psalm I think became famous when in the 16th century, a Scotsman who was a friend and contemporary of the reformer John Knox wrote the hundred Psalm in its metrical form and throughout at least the English-speaking world from the 16th century on men and women have rejoiced to stand and sing with the opening phrase all people died on earth do dwell. This Psalm has been upon my mind for a month. No, I was worshiping in a congregation in a small coastal town in East of Scotland and the opening phrase that was given out was 100 Psalm. I was standing on the front row and was quite unprepared for the volume and for the fervency of the praise that then emerge from the lips of the congregation behind me.
The scarcely 200 people get. It seemed as if every one of them from the opening note immediately sang with great conviction are the words of the hundred son and that notion that expedience has stayed with me in the past month, as I've been in other places of worship, I find myself wondering whether I could explain what happened in that morning, simply in terms of the cultural impact of a Scottish congregation singing the metrical sounds or whether an actual fact, and far more likely the fervency of the praise of that congregation was giving a signal of the depth of their understanding of the truth of who God is and what God has done in other words, that what was taking place was not a cultural expression, but it was if you like a spiritual Laura theological expression that gave an indication send a signal of what was going on in the heart of the congregation that idea that concept was crystallized for me when this week I received a telephone call from the car dealership from where I purchased my car and the lady said to me, your car has send us a signal while I said I didn't ask it to tell it to know. She said you don't have to. It just does it on its own and it is sent as a signal indicating that it is in need and if you will bring it to others.
We will meet that need. What I argued with her little bit about that out only to discover that what she told me was accurate. I found it right alarming grades intriguing and I thought I'd strange of a car that is smarter than yourself, and then I thought, no, it's not so strange the congregation.
One thing I strange at all, not in reference to me but then I thought about how we do send signals and how congregation such as our own, sends a signal that is happening. If you're like internally that is then picked up externally that will be expressive of something that is going on on scene and yet something that is of significance and I said I wonder what kind of signal the congregation of Parkside is sending to the watching world sending to itself.
What are we sending.
If you like to God when it comes to this issue of the gathering of God's people for the singing of God's praise and so with that in mind, I want to look with you at this hundred seven as a means of helping us consider just what that signal is this along with the other Psalms does a number of things. For example, provides an answer to those who ask, is usually our children why it is that we attend on an occasion like this.
Why is it that we sing when we attend and what it is that we sing and how it is that we sing. The psalmist helps us to answer that.
The psalmist also in this time, challenges the preoccupations of the self absorbed challenges the notions that each of us is tempted to live with what's going on in the world is directly related to who I am to what I am to what I hope what I dream what I desire, and that when I come.
For example, into a context such as this, then my absorption with myself will take everything that transpires and analyze it absorb it adopt it, provided it fits in with my expectations. Because after all, the world is about me. And thirdly, the sound provides the direction that is necessary for the people of God gathering in the house of God, to seek the face of God by churning together to the word of God. I mentioned not by way of introduction, or because those are my points for this morning because they're not. But I leave them for your further consideration, I just have two main headings and I want us to consider. First of all what it is that we are called to do.
And then secondly what it is that we need to know if we're going to do or where called to do so.
Let's look at verses one to inform under the heading what we are called to do some 100 is very similar to Psalm 95 and if you turn to Psalm 95 just a couple of pages back in your Bible, you will notice the direct parallels that exist. Psalmist air rights come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation, and it would appear that this time would've provided the proclamation for the festival gatherings of the people of God. Their routine gatherings but also their special gatherings and as I looked at verses one and two. It was almost as if the people of God were being assembled the congregation. If you like was being gathered as they were making their way and not in cars as we do now, but by means of fruit and perhaps calling out to one another as the anticipated their arrival at the sanctuary at the place of God at the place of his appointing and if verses one and two would represent the procession then verse four would be representative of the arrival once they had arrived. The invitation was then given to enter the gates in a particular way and to secure the opportunity provided to give thanks to God. Note under that first heading of where called to do that is just notice. First of all that we need me in no doubt concerning the focus where it is.
If you like the emphasis lies or to whom we are looking you will notice that God, the Lord predominates throughout the entire sign shout for joy focus to the Lord. Worship the Lord come before him know that the Lord is he his gates thanks to him. His name so it is impossible to read these simple five verses without acknowledging the fact that the focus if you like the preoccupations of the people of God when they gather is to be to him and we used to sing years ago as a congregation a little repetitive song.
We are gathering together unto him, and it is unto him that the gathering of the people must be.
This of course is very very important as because of our focus is off. Everything is off. When we conduct weddings as pastors.
I think we always give the same instruction to the congregation, and particularly to the wedding party and the girls bridesmaids and groomsmen are always asking where where should my hands be in where my supposed to be looking in our see the same thing. The rule of thumb is simple.
If you don't know where to look. Look at the bright and if you're not looking at the bright look of the person speaking so little bright and look at the one who, speaking the only distinction, and that is for the bright she's allowed to look at the bright group and when you think in terms of the gathering of God's people. If you like. If the sightlines of the people of God were to be drawn. Sightlines would be drawn away from ourselves away from any human preoccupation and would be drawn up to God.
How would we meet God.
Where would we meet God we meet him as he reveals himself to us. How does he reveal himself to us in the wonders of creation in the person of his son in the truth of the Bible, but our focus is there to change the picture go to the golf tee where you're taking a lesson and as you hit golf balls, and your teacher comes alongside you. One of the questions they will inevitably ask you is this what you're talking what your target they want to know where you're aiming will be able to tell. Then when you tell them where you're aiming whether your alignment is on or it is off and when we come to an event such as this. When we gather among the people of God, our alignment, our focus is absolutely essential and loved ones when my focus is on me and my needs and my emotions and how I'm doing and what I'm afraid of what's happening in my finances and where I'm going in my life. There is not a song written that will be able to shake us from those inevitable preoccupations. The only way is for our focus, then to be aligned in God himself. Focus. Secondly, exuberance, exuberance, shout for joy.
The same thing shout to the Lord.
You may say well we don't want any shouting in here that we don't want any strange shouting, but a little exuberance wouldn't be too bad. Would lose sense of excitement lose sense of anticipation little bars amongst the congregation the way that you might have before attendance upon the Shakespeare play or Hollywood musical or the arrival of one of your favorite singers or the anticipation that is represented in arriving at a golf course a solid one hour before you play because you simply want to luxuriate in the anticipation of what is represented in that moment when you begin those 18 holes sure and show up late. If you choose, you can arrive with a moment ago. If you want but I wager that if you love the game and everything else is equal, you will be there in very good time and you will not simply be talking to yourself and drinking tea. You will be already getting in the groove saw that when play begins. We are already warmed up to go shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Actually the word that is used here in Leiden Juba lacked the day all is found in the Anglican prayer book the hundred Psalm was included in the Anglican prayer book in the 16th century, and it is the word that would be used for the celebration of the arrival of a sovereign of the king who takes his place in the capital of the nation, or who sits upon his throne, and the people in acknowledgment of his arrival would shout out in exhalation, and in praise. It is if you like the British, three cheers, it is their head-to-head. Hooray that is represented in the gathering of the people of God, and this exuberance is marked. You will notice by joy, by joy, by joyfulness by gladness, not by gloom. Reverence is not gloom, reverence and joy and thankfulness are not opposites. There is that which is flippant and superficial and exuberant and largely irrelevant and it is that which is reverential and awesome and joyful and thankful which is the enthusiastic expression of a life in touch with God and the psalmist says.
As you come to the place of God. He says when you gathering the sanctuary of God. Make sure that you do so in such a way that there is an exuberance about your approach now. Again, we need to acknowledge that unless this begins with God and who he is. We have no hope here. That's why sometimes we sing the song when the cares of life seem overwhelming because they do don't and my heart is sinking down. I'm gonna gonna I'm going to.
I am gonna lift my hands to the one who helps me to the one who bears my crown.
So this is not some sort of emotional height. This is actually a progression of thought which acknowledges who I am and where I and since the circumstances of my life and experience within the far greater context of who God is and what he is done and the people of God have I been confronted with this road. All of the ages, remembering, and now my and in chapter 8, when they bring out the book of the law and the teaching comes from the book of the law and the people began to weep under the instruction of the Bible, the leader says to the people told me don't go home crying. He says go home and enjoy choice food and choice drink because remember the joy of the Lord is your strength.
The joy of the Lord when Paul writes to the Philippians in the context of Roman persecution in the tyranny of all of the onslaught against.
He says to them rejoice in the Lord.
And again I say rejoice. See how vastly different this is from that which just starts with ourselves.
It is to be found in the nature of this joyful expression not only joyful but thankful thankful enter his gates with thanksgiving God loves it when we say thank you so I don't want to say thank you for pardon. I didn't hear the data well.
When upon life's billows. I am tempest tossed when I am discouraged thinking all is lost, then I'll count my many blessings. I'll name them one by one and then it will surprise me, or the Lord's time. Thankful for the gift of this day.
Thankful for the gift of this place. Thankful for the gift of these people thankful for the provision of God's work.
That's just the start, he thankful people, raise the song and then thirdly, under this first heading, you will notice the extent of this praise, its focus is in the Lord. It's exuberance is undeniable and it is not somehow or another limited. It is not simply joyful and thankful but you will note it is it is universal shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth is it is never an isolated thing. No, because there is no nation in the world that is exempt from this there is no nation in the world that is excluded from this Jehovah Yahweh is not a tribal deity of Israel, but he is the sovereign ruler over the whole earth. If you turn like this one page you see that in Psalm 98 he he he draws this out in terms of the doctrine of creation. Verse seven says the psalmist C rezoned and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the mountain sing for joy. Let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth easy.
This is why it is vitally important that we are students of the Bible that we submit to the instruction of the boy so that we get our heads and our hearts recalibrated on a daily basis because of so much that comes against us. That is actually counter mending, undermining these essential biblical truths and the extent to which this is happening is quite undeniable. Therefore, what I have to do what we have to do is make sure that our minds are brought under the tutelage of the Bible college Scriptures for us to offer to God exuberant God focused worship listing to Truth for Life with Alastair big part one of a message titled a call to worship. So the question is can we worship wherever we are. Whenever we feel close to God. Like in the privacy of our home, or watching church on lifestream instead of attending in person does church membership really matter author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson explains why active participation in the local church does matter in a book titled devoted to God's church core values for Christian fellowship private time alone with God is undeniably vital but belonging to a local church family is also essential.
It's not an optional extra for believers when you read the book devoted to God's church you'll find out what each of us is called to as engaged participating members in the local church. You'll also discover the hallmarks that should be evident in every Christian church like teaching that is based on the body corporate worship communion together. Find out why each of us is called to serve within the local church and to support the mission of the church. There will always be differences between churches as far as personality or procedures go, but it's important to keep the main things central and fundamental in the book devoted to God's church author Sinclair Ferguson looks at those main things without getting sidetracked by the controversies surrounding any particular element or procedure.
Request your copy of devoted to God's church today, you'll find it in the mobile app or online at truthforlife.org/donate. I'm Bob Lapine.
Hope you can join us tomorrow for the conclusion of today's message will find out why it is that people don't think you'll hear what you need to know to worship joyfully and thankfully the Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living