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Creation Unites in Praise #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
March 10, 2023 12:00 am

Creation Unites in Praise #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Thanks for joining us on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community of God. Today, we're going to be talking about one word in Hebrew, hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens. Praise Him in the heights. And so the psalmist is looking up into the skies, as it were, and from a position of writing the Word of God calls on creation from that perspective and summons everything in the sky to join in the praise to God. It's as if he personifies all of the heavenly hosts and calls upon them from that position of personification to join in the praise that is filling his heart as he writes this psalm. And so he looks into the sky, looks into the invisible realm even, you might say, and summons everyone to praise. Verse 2, praise him, all his angels.

Praise him, all his hosts. Hosts, there being another term for angels, and they're all summoned to the great task of praise. Now, you know that in the world there is a corrupt tendency among men to have an undue fascination with angels, sometimes wanting to worship angels and spiritual beings, and neglecting the fact that they are simply part of the created order, rather, and not objects of worship. Even John in the book of Revelation wanted to fall down before an angel in worship, and the angel told him, no, don't do that.

Praise God instead. But if you look over in the New Testament book of Colossians, just to emphasize this point, Colossians chapter 2, Scripture warns us in the negative sense about an undue fascination and veneration of angels. In Colossians chapter 2 verse 18, you read this, speaking to people in the church, speaking to men as it were, the Bible says, let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind. A preoccupation with spiritual beings is not an evidence of biblical spirituality. Scripture teaches us about them. We're to learn what Scripture says, but our preoccupation, what gathers our fascination, what gathers us in as an object of praise is God, the uncreated maker of heaven and earth, not the spiritual beings that he has made.

The fascination years ago with Frank Peretti's books, you know, and whatever the titles of those were, it was all badly misplaced, badly mistaken. There's not to be this preoccupation with angels. What Psalm 148 does is it completely reverses that human propensity to look at angels as an object of veneration and fascination and says instead that angels should not receive worship, but rather angels should actually join with men in giving praise to God. And so rather than angels being something that we look at to ascribe spiritual worth to, they are commanded by this Psalm to join in the praise of God. Now, as he goes on in verse three, he personifies the heavenly bodies and calls them to join in the praise. Verse three, praise him, sun and moon. Praise him, all stars of light. Praise him, highest heavens and the waters that are above the heavens.

Now, it's always fascinating to me to realize how Scripture in such a short summary and just a few clauses can repudiate and refute entire ways of thinking and entire world views. If you think about what verses three and four say, calling the sun and moon and the stars of light to praise God, it is saying that those heavenly beings are subject to the rule of God. They receive their existence from God. They are sustained in their course by God. God established them.

God appointed them, appointed their circuits, and God is responsible for them staying and being suspended in the sky. Well, what does that tell us? What does that say to us? This verse alone repudiates all forms of astrology, which suggests that the stars somehow determine our destiny or direct our fate.

No, they have no such power whatsoever. They are created bodies. They are subject to the rule of God, and whatever their courses are are determined by God, and they have no effect whatsoever on the course of human life. And so in this call to praise, we are entering into that which does away with false religion, does away with false worldly philosophies, puts even spiritual beings into their place, and everything is slotted into its order that its purpose of existence is to give praise to God. Now, that gives you a sense of how lofty God must be. We look at the stars.

We look at what the most recent telescopes can do, peering into the outer reaches of the universe from our perspective, and we are astonished at the magnitude and the glory of them all. Well, understand that we are looking at that which is simply a reflection of the greater creator who put them into place and sustains them in their routes. And so look back at Psalm 19 for a moment and realize that these heavenly bodies, these heavenly beings, these spiritual beings, they are leading us not to themselves as objects of the affections of our heart.

They are pointing beyond themselves to the one who made them. Psalm 19 verses 1 and 2, the heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanses declaring the work of his hands. Day to day pours forth speech.

Night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words. Their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth and their utterances to the end of the world. This is sufficient testimony to all men everywhere that there is a creator God with eternal power and that there is evidence that men should seek after this God even though that they routinely refuse it. They stubbornly refuse it as Romans chapter 1 says. Romans chapter 1 verse 20, for since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. The attributes of God, his eternal power, his eternal existence, his omnipotent rule is displayed and diffused throughout all of creation, and that is sufficient cause for men to know of his existence and to respond to him, and men's failure to honor him through what is seen is culpable enough to send them to hell. And conversely, for the reader of Scripture, you see that their display of the glory of God is sufficient to cause us to praise him and to be beckoned to worship him and to be responsible for our response.

And so, you know, we take all of these things for granted, but every time we walk out under the display of the sun and a bright sun is shining, we walk out at night and the stars are displaying their glory and all points in between. There is this ongoing testimony from the heavens that beckons us to praise God, to acknowledge his existence and to give thanks to him, and so much is their glory revealing the greater glory of God that they themselves are called to contribute to his praise. And so we are living in an environment, we are living in a realm that Scripture says displays the glory of God and calls us to the worship of him. Now, as you read on in verse 4, verse 4, praise him, highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens. The waters that are above the heavens could be a reference to rain clouds.

Some people speculate that perhaps it refers to water in deep space that would account for ice on planets and comets. But whatever the case may be, there is this recognition of the elements of nature being diffused throughout all of creation, and even they are identified and singled out as being responsible and personified to come and join in the praise of God. This God who is the subject and the object of all 150 Psalms. And so it is just expansive in its call to praise. Now look at the language there in verse 5, where it says, let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. Look down at verse 13, you see that that's a little bit of a refrain, a refrain in this Psalm. Verse 5, let them praise the name of the Lord.

Verse 13, let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted. And so we praise God, as we've said in the past, we praise God by recognizing his attributes and honoring him for that. We exalt him for his perfections and deeds. We recognize his greatness and we declare it, we affirm it, we submit to it.

We join joyfully in acknowledging it and recognizing and declaring that God, you alone are the creator of the heavens and the earth, and everything that is under your gaze should join in returning thanks to you. We exalt him for his perfections, which have no limits. The character of God, the existence of God is pre-existent.

He is uncreated, he has always existed, he will always exist, and he is unchanging in the entire course of human time. And so we look at these things, we look at these immutable attributes of his. We look in the heavens and see the majesty of creation. We look around us and we see his works in providence. We look into the New Testament and we peer into the matchless glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, God in human flesh.

We contemplate the glory of his humiliation coming from heaven to earth in order to give his life as a ransom for many. We look at the glory of his words and that authority which caused men who heard him speak say, no man has ever spoken in this way. We look at his miracles. We look at his compassion on sinners.

We look at his strength and courage and judgment on an apostate religious order of his day. We look at him going boldly and courageously to the cross. We look at him hanging on the cross, bearing the weight of the sins of his people. And as he does, praying that God would forgive the ones who were unjustly crucifying him. We look at his glory as he commends his mother to the care of the apostle John. We look at his glory as he looks to the thief on the cross and says, this day you will be with me in paradise. We look on him as he is buried in the tomb and then three days later he comes out in resurrected glory, displaying that his sacrifice for sinners has been accepted.

That he is Lord not only of life, not only of creation, but he is Lord over death, Lord of life. We see him ascending into heaven. We see as we read in scripture that he is at the right hand of God, eternally praying for his people and preserving us through his intercession on our behalf. We see his tender care of providence as he cares for the birds of the air and numbers the hairs on our head and determines and directs the course of our days. And causes all things throughout all of the universe to work out according to his purposes. He directs them to accomplish his will. He causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

He inspired the writers of scripture to give us a perfect book, 66 books in the English Bible. He sent his spirit to indwell us and his spirit is now the down payment that guarantees that we will receive the fullness of our salvation. He comforts us in our affliction. He looks upon the weak and the sorrowing and the grieving and he cares for them and he sympathizes with them. He stands next to the grieving believer at the graveside of a loved one and is there and comforts them with his promises and with his presence.

He's there alongside the one ailing in a hospital bed, not having abandoned them. He's there with parents anxious over the spiritual direction of their children. He's there alongside those who are praying and interceding for the people of God, for their spouse, for their children, for their parents, for other loved ones. He's next to the heart anxious for the salvation of that one that he's just witnessed to.

He's next to the young man charting the course of his life. He's next to and loving the person lying on their deathbed, anticipating an entrance into glory. All of these things, beloved, so easy with just a basic familiarity with the Bible in the course of the life of Christ, for us to just see that there is this endless scroll that we can just turn and see new displays of the glory of God in creation, in providence, in the church, in our salvation, in glory to come. All of it collectively surpassing our understanding in its display of the glory of God. Each one individually being capable of fulfilling our mind with meditation for days on end, never too exalted.

Remembering the kindness that he showed to us in our salvation, delivering you from your sin, delivering you from guilt, restoring you, renewing you, causing you to be born again, giving you a sense of the forgiveness of sin and making the word of God come alive to you. Don't you see, beloved? Don't you see that everywhere we look in the world around us, there is a call and a beckoning to praise God, that every aspect of his work in your life as a believer is beckoning you to respond with praise. Oh God, thank you for what you've done. Thank you for being with me even in this hardship. Thank you for loving me in Christ.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your glory, your grace, your goodness. Beloved, we have an infinite fountain from which to drink that would enable us and empower us to respond to this psalm and to join in the praise that it calls us to. Review the scroll of things that we just considered and take your choice, take your pick, and realize that right there you have that which is sufficient to beckon you to praise. And so it's just so important, it's just so important for us to remember that we are to read this psalm in light of the prior 147 that came before us.

There is a cumulative impact beginning in Psalm 1 and going all the way to this climax. There is just, you could think about it that there is this great staircase leading us into the very throne room of heaven, step by step walking us up into the throne room so that we are on this exalted height, peering as it were by faith into the glory of God and responding in, in praise to him. It's really breathtaking.

It's just stunning in its magnificence. So that there is rightly, as we're considering these things together, there's rightly a sense of a holy hush that falls upon us, recognizing that God through his word has brought us into a holy realm where his glory is on display, where earthly matters have been put into their place and set aside for a time and forgotten. And we are swept up in a contemplation of the glory of God and all we can do is fall down in response and say, Oh God, I worship you. Oh Christ, I honor you.

I worship you. With Thomas I say, my Lord and my God. To the spirit of God we give him equal honor and equal reverence with the Father and with the Son.

It's a triune display of glory. And you know, beloved, one thing that I would say here at this point is that contemplating these things in a worshipful way is that which transforms us from glory to glory, that which conforms us to the image of Christ. It's contemplating these things, meditating on these things, these glories of God, these glories of Christ, that as we peer by faith into the glory of Christ in this way, that is what transforms us into greater conformity with his image. It's what the Apostle Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 3 verse 18.

You don't need to turn there. But he said this, We all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord the Spirit. As we reverently peer into the glory of God in the contemplation of these things revealed in his word, as we respond in obedience to Scripture and worship him in response, and we acknowledge these things and we embrace them with our affections, that is the driving force in your sanctification. God conforms you to the image of Christ as you reverently behold his glory revealed in the word, give honor to him in response. God, through the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, conforms you and step by step makes you more like Christ. This is how we are conformed to the image of Christ, not through obedience to external human rules, but by beholding the glory of Christ revealed in the word and praising him in response to it.

It's magnificent. That is the power of Christ. The power of the word of God unleashed in your life is by contemplating it reverently, submissively, worshipfully, and saying, Lord, I look at this call. Praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him, praise him. And Lord, my heart says, yes, I agree, I embrace, I submit, I praise you. You've been listening to Don Green with a message called Creation Unites in Praise here on The Truth Pulpit. We hope to see you again next time, but before we go, here again is Don with a closing word.

Well, thanks, Bill. You know, my friend, I wanted to let you know about one of the hidden gems of our ministry, if I could put it that way. Available at our website, thetruthpulpit.com, is a link to our featured series. And in those featured series, you'll find topical series that will help you on many important issues in the Christian life related to the Bible and Roman Catholicism, matters of homosexuality or transgenderism, dealing with the ministry of the Holy Spirit today, parenting resources, and so much more. Again, you can look for our featured series at thetruthpulpit.com.

It's available for free download, or we'll be happy to send you CD series if you would like that. Just go to the website, thetruthpulpit.com. Thanks, Don. And thank you, friend, for joining us today. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time to The Truth Pulpit, where we teach God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 05:21:49 / 2023-03-12 05:29:44 / 8

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