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A Call to Worship (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2021 4:00 am

A Call to Worship (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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October 7, 2021 4:00 am

Worship styles can be vastly different. Some people are solemn, while others can be quite animated. But what do we need to know to worship in a joyful, God-honoring way? Find out as we continue our study of Psalm 100 on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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Some of us are solemn when we come to church.

Other people can be quite animated. But in either case, we're called to worship God in a joyful, thankful, God-pleasing way. So how do we do that?

We'll find out today on Truth for Life. We're concluding a special sermon titled A Call to Worship. Let's join Alistair Begg as we continue our study of Psalm 100.

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 what we're called to do. Thirdly, under this first heading, you will notice the extent of this praise. Its focus is in the Lord, its exuberance is undeniable, and it is not, somehow or another, limited. It is not simply joyful and thankful, but you will notice it is universal. Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth!

So it's never an isolated thing. And this is very important for us to remind ourselves of in these days when increasingly the influence of, the experience of the people of God is marginalized. And no matter about our pride-blustering nonsense that intrude upon the political machinations of our world, right at the very heart of things, in this nation today, the people of God are marginalized. Therefore, to the marginalized people of God, the danger comes to say, Well, at least we can retreat, at least we can circle the wagons, at least we can gather and have our own little services.

Nobody else really seems to be interested in it. We're increasingly antagonized and so on. No, we can't do that. 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 back just one page, you see that in Psalm 98. He draws this out in terms of the doctrine of creation. Verse 7 says the psalmist, "'Let the sea resound and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing for joy, let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.'" Now, you see, this is why it is vitally important that we are students of the Bible, that we submit to the instruction of the Bible, 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 countermanding, 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. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, the nations of the world, are the inheritance of Christ the Son.

"'Ask me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,' says the Father to the Son." That is why the promise that God made to Abraham was that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. That is why when Jesus gathered with his disciples before his ascension, he said to them, "'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will be my witnesses, not only here locally and there extensively, but to the ends of the earth.'" And that is why, when you read the book of Revelation, as John looks over the horizon into the fulfilled picture, he sees a company that no one can number from every tribe, people, nation, tongue, and language. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.

This praise, focused in God, exuberant in expression, is universal in its application. But finally and secondly and finally, not only are we told what we should be doing, but we're also told what we need to know. And I love the fact that verse 3 begins with the verb to know.

Know. Reminding us immediately, as I've said, that the foundation of this exhortation is not in our emotions, our feelings, but it is in our knowledge, it is in our understanding. And that is why, you see, the evil one has gotten a great gain when the people of God convince themselves that they're going to actually be able to manage their way through life by listening to one sermon a week and splitting for the rest of the time.

It isn't going to happen. You will never be able to sustain your Christian life on thirty minutes a week from one sermon. You will never be able to convey the truth to someone else unless you know it. And knowing it demands learning it, and learning it demands diligence, and diligence demands time. And that is why he begins, Know that the LORD he is God. In other words, he says, you need to know God. God brings himself within the realm of our perception.

There is no intellectual road to God. We can be argued to God. God has shown enough of himself in creation and in conscience to leave us accountable to him. But it is only in the special revelation of his Son and of his Word that we may actually come to know him. And in Christ, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form. So says the psalmist, I'm encouraging you to make sure this, this, this is happening. But I want you to understand that the foundation upon which those expressions are built are not on the flimsy, circumstantial bits and pieces of life, nor on the ebb and flow of our emotions, but are grounded in a knowledge of God himself, so that this worship is not only joyful and thankful and universal, but it is reasonable. It is reasonable. And the Christian faith is an appeal to the mind—not absent the heart, but still it is an appeal to the mind. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is the only reasonable, reasonable worship.

Logikos is the word. It's logical. You see, it's not an impertinence to go around the world and tell people about Jesus. It's not an impertinence to go into your office and affirm the fact that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. It is a logical deduction from the fact that he is the creator of the ends of the earth. But if we do not have that as a deep-seated conviction and understanding, then we will be pushed around and back into the corner to every pillar and post, thinking somehow or another that it is legitimate for us to imbibe the contemporary notion that this is just my view, this is just my idea, it shouldn't really involve anyone else, and I shouldn't be interfering with anyone else at all.

The evil one has gotten a great gain when we even move into the proximity of that kind of thinking. Loved ones, it is imperative that you know God. That you know God. And you know him as the God who has made us.

Look at that. It is he who made us. He made us. Do you want to challenge contemporary Western thought?

There it is! He made us! We are not a collocation of atoms.

We're not molecules held in suspension. We are not the product of chance evolutionary forces. Evolution came along at the right time to combine with German liberal theology to explain the absence of a God who is real. And to the extent that contemporary Christianity plays footsie with those godless notions, we jeopardize, in human terms, the generations that follow us. Let us be in no doubt that the Bible begins, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And we are his, he is the potter, and we are the clay. He is the shepherd, and we are the sheep.

We have nothing in ourselves as a basis of pride. All that we know of God is the foundation of our praise. But they always come to me and say, Well, why can't we sing more of those songs about how we're feeling? Well, the answer is, it's fine for you to sing songs about how you're feeling, but most of the time, if I sang a song this morning about how I'm feeling, it would not be what you expect. Therefore, the only hope that I have is that I don't tell you about how I'm feeling, but I remind myself of who God is.

Right? So, we're not going to start with, I just want to praise you, lift my hands, and say I love you. Because I'm not sure that I do.

We say, Well, that's not good. You're the pastor. You're supposed to. That's fine.

I'm just telling you straight up. I maybe want to sing a song that says, I don't want to be here. I want to crawl under the blankets. I'm frightened to be here.

I want to go… It could be anything, couldn't it? That's why we have to start where we started. We start with God and his glory.

Not us. What do I need to know today? That he's the potter. He made me. Yeah, funny me.

Funny you. He made you. He created you. And he recreated you if you're in Christ. Ephesians 2 10. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.

You see, when I bring my knowledge of God in all of his greatness, and then finally, verse 5, in all of his goodness to bear upon things, then I realize this is the foundation of genuine praise. God is great, God is good, and you will notice his love endures forever. In other words, this doesn't come just with a lifetime guarantee. This comes with an eternal guarantee.

And his faithfulness continues through all generations. Every experience of our life brings us to new places, doesn't it? And now you're getting already bored with me, as if I was somehow her great, tremendous grandfather.

I'm a novice at the thing. I don't know what I'm doing. But nevertheless, I know I now am one.

If I were in any doubt, I'm married to her grandmother, so it has to be the case. But now I find myself saying the same things that grandparents have always been saying, except they were my grandparents. Oh, I don't know how my children are gonna manage. I don't know what will happen to our grandchildren. Oh, this world has become so wicked.

Oh, what are we gonna do next? Psalm 71, verse 17. Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I'm old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

You see, loved ones, our responsibility extends far and beyond whatever this means to us in the moment. Our responsibility has to do with the place that we take in the continuum of God's unfolding drama of redemption. And that, you see, is why the gathering of God's people matters. There is a direct correlation between the absence of teenagers in the gathered worship of the congregation and their ultimate departure from any kind of engagement with the church in their university and post-university experience.

The statistics do not lie. It is a mythology that our children will suddenly wake up one morning and determine that of themselves they've all decided that this is a great idea, when for the last five years of life, they have resisted us at every single point along the way. Do I have to go? Why do we have to go? What are we doing?

What are we getting? It doesn't mean I can't listen, I don't hear, he's not clear. Every excuse in the book, and the temptation has gone, Oh, forget it. I'm not even gonna put up with this anymore. Go do what you want.

You can't do it. Why? Because from your youth, he has sustained you. To this very day, you are aware that he is potter and creator.

And we have a responsibility now to ensure that the generations beneath us are brought under the tutelage of these truths. Oh, it can't happen in the gathered praise of God's people. I'm not suggesting that this is the aegis for it, the agency of it, and its totality, not for a moment.

But it is a vital aspect of it. Let me finish in this way. First of all, with a word of encouragement to us, and that is that when we think in terms of the faithfulness of God about which we've been singing and a love that endures forever, it's a reminder that the potter is not going to discard his work. He may crush it, he may break it, but only to remake it. Some of us may be going through an experience of that in our lives, circumstances or such, that we feel as though we're under the crushing hand of God. But be confident in this, that there's nothing vindictive in it. He may discipline us the way a good father will discipline his children, but always with the purpose of fashioning us according to his plan. He will not discard his work, and the shepherd will not abandon his sheep. We may be confident in that.

But here's my final thought. And it emerged when I had the privilege of playing in the Cleveland Indians Charity Golf Tournament. I was there as a guest of someone.

And I enjoyed it immensely, although it took forever, and it was great. But I have to be honest and say that I didn't know any Indians, and so it wasn't really that exciting to be around them. When the people gathered to take photographs and sign things, I was like, Who's he?

I don't say that to the detriment of those people. I say it because I had no clue. And so, all of the excitement was strange to me. Somebody could legitimately have turned around and said, The only reason you're not excited is because you don't know who this is. You don't know who this is. If you knew who this was, you'd get an autograph. You'd get your photograph taken.

You would want this on your wall. You just don't know who it is. And loved ones, the reason for the absence of Spirit-filled praise from the lips of the assembled congregation at Parkside Church in some measure is directly explicable there. The reason that you are not involved in bellowing out the praise of God, sir, is because you don't know who he is. And I want to invite you to get to know him. And when you get to know him, then you will understand what's happening in the people around you. To quote my old favorite singer, whose name I'm just forgetting, Andre Crouch, they say, I'm a holy roller, and what they say is true.

And if you knew who I am rolling, you'd be rolling too. And that is at the very heart of it. Either we are not alive, or we are inactive. In other words, we've gone to sleep. That which once filled our thoughts no longer fills our thoughts. That our expression of God as a creator and as a potter, as a faithful God, has been dimmed because, in terms of the parable of the sower, the pride of life, materialism, affections of other people, illicit notions have squeezed the very issue out of us. So all that is left now is the shell.

All that is left is the kernel. Now we are simply going through the motions. We are alive, but we're half dead.

We are no longer active. When God brings life to people, when he sets their feet upon a rock, when he establishes their going, he puts a song of praise upon their lips. And, loved ones, I need you to understand this, and there is no condemnation in it. I am we. We are sending a signal.

The question is, what's the signal? Is it the joyful, audible, thankful, universal, exuberant praise that God deserves? Or is it, ah, there we go. Yeah, I went to the second service. Yeah.

Yeah. It was okay. I don't know. He was back.

I don't know. It was all right. Or for me, oh yeah, I did the services, I went home. The routine services of Parkside Church—the routine services of Parkside Church morning and evening—provide one of the greatest evangelistic opportunities that exists for us as a people. But the enthusiastic participation of the congregation is a prerequisite for the welcoming of those who are wondering about these things.

And believe us, when they show up, they get the signal. And so does our heavenly Father. May he help us. So has God put a song of praise on your lips? Are you expressing your worship to God? You're listening to Truth for Life, and Alistair Begg will be back shortly to close the program in prayer.

So please keep listening. We're learning how vital it is to know God and to know his Word. Here at Truth for Life, our mission is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance, and our intent is to supplement, not to replace, your local church. In fact, our hope is that Alistair's messages will even encourage local pastors all around the world. One of the ways we provide encouragement for pastors is through the annual Basics Conference that Alistair hosts in Cleveland, Ohio. And I'm excited to let you know Basics 2022 is officially on the books. If you're a pastor or you serve in church leadership, mark your calendar for May of 2022.

Registration is open online at basicsconference.org. It's our hope and prayer that this daily program is helping to strengthen and equip local churches. And you can be part of that mission when you give to Truth for Life.

Giving is easy online at truthforlife.org slash donate, or by calling 888-588-7884. When you give today, we want to invite you to request your copy of a new book from Alistair's friend Sinclair Ferguson. It's titled Devoted to God's Church, and in the book Sinclair explains that church is not meant to be a weekly add-on to your otherwise busy life. It's meant to be the center of your life. So what does that mean?

What does it look like? And why is that so important? Request your copy of Devoted to God's Church.

Find it in the app or visit truthforlife.org slash donate. Now here's Alistair to close with prayer. Father, help us. In these things we pray. We're not talking now about style.

We're not talking about some format or some formula. We just want to be reminded again that out of the fullness of our hearts, our mouths and our lips declare your praise. That you've created us to praise you. That the nations, the Muslim nations of the world need to hear from Jesus. Indonesia needs Jesus. India. Pakistan. The continent of Africa.

All the Uzbekistans of the Eastern Bloc countries of old. Cleveland. Me. Hear our prayers for Christ's sake. Amen.

I'm Bob Lapine. Have you seen your church struggle in searching for a new pastor? What should a church be looking for? Join us tomorrow as we begin a series titled The Pastor's Study to find out what God-given ministry looks like. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-13 08:33:43 / 2023-08-13 08:42:01 / 8

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