Last Sunday I had the church service at the assisted living facility. I could not get my act together the week before and wrote the message Saturday night! This is not at all like me, and I typically like to have a solid rough draft done by mid-week. Below is my transcript.
The Scripture readings were Psalm 100 and 1 Peter 1:3-9. We sang 4 songs, and 2 of them were Psalm 100 (actually singing it, KJV) and “I’ve got the joy down in my heart” which you may remember from childhood but I thought a fun song to sing and the old folks seemed to enjoy it.
My message this morning is on Psalm 100. It is considered the most widely known and loved Psalm after Psalm 23. It is affectionately called the “Old Hundreth” and also called the “Jubilate” – which means “o be joyful.”
(Let’s say o be joyful together: o be joyful.)
This is a Psalm of praise. The focus of our worship according to Psalm 100 is the Lord Himself. We are to come into His presence for His sake alone. Worship is not about us. It’s all about God!
Psalm 100 has 5 short verses, and its language is not fancy or elaborate. It is a simple recital of facts about God. Yet these plain facts are quite wonderful. Sometimes a familiar passage can lose its meaning to us, and we need to rediscover it.
The Psalm begins “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” in the traditional King James version. The NIV words it: “Shout for joy to the Lord.” The wording here indicates enthusiasm, like an outburst of delight.
There are times to worship God quietly, even silently. Maybe in your church background church services were more solemn. There is a place and time for solemn worship. But there is also a time to make a joyful noise! The Message is a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible, and it words Psalm 100 verse 1-2 this way: “On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.”
Many years ago my husband and I attended a church that had very enthusiastic worship. Sometimes they would applaud God. And back then, I was not so sure about that, and it made me a little nervous and uncomfortable. Should we be applauding God? But this Psalm – and some other Psalms too – are really quite enthusiastic in their approach to worship.
Think for a moment about the phrase “make a joyful noise” or “shout for joy to the Lord.” … It may bring children to your mind, more so than adults. We are more accustomed to children being loud, excited, and jubilant. What happens to us as adults? Sometimes we get too serious, and we lose our ability to make a joyful noise. Maybe we are too worried about what other people think?
I know that we all have different personalities, and some people are naturally more quiet and serious, while others are naturally more loud and upbeat. That’s okay. I can actually be both. In some ways I am a very serious person, but I can also get enthusiastic and passionate about certain things too.
Maybe we should consider what types of things in life cause us to make a joyful noise. If we get enthusiastic and make a joyful noise about a sporting event or a TV series or a new car or a vacation, but we never or rarely get enthusiastic or make a joyful noise about God – then maybe something is wrong. Maybe some spiritual self-examination is in order.
Why don’t we get as excited about God as we do with some of these other things? This can affect our Christian witness or testimony. If people see that we get joyful about lots of things, but we don’t seem to express much joy or enthusiasm about God – this sends an unfortunate message. God is not worth getting excited about.
Psalm 100 has a definite pattern. There are two calls to worship, and two explanations for why God should be worshiped.
The first call to worship is verses 1 and 2: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
And then verse 3 tells us why God should be worshiped, and this is about who God is: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
Verse 3 begins with “know ye.” – How we worship depends on what we know about God. Our worship should be mindful. “To know” is to have firm ground underfoot, and it’s the prerequisite of praise.
What do we know? Here in verse 3 we know that the Lord is God, our Creator, and our Shepherd.
The idea that we could make ourselves is absurd, and we should worship the One who made us. God designed and created us, and he also understands us and has a special care for us. “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
God didn’t make us and then disappear into the far universe. In the New Testament God actually became human, and lived among us, as the Lord Jesus Christ. God is near. And under the New Covenant in the New Testament, the believer has a second and greater reason for praise: he or she is a new creation in Jesus Christ – says 2 Cor. 5:17.
The gospel of John says that we become a child of God when we believe. John 1:12 says “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
These are definitely reasons to make a joyful noise: the Lord is God, the Lord made us, and we are his people.
The second call to worship in Psalm 100 is verse 4:
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
And then verse 5 tells us why God should be worshiped, and this is about the attributes of God: “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
The goodness of God should fill us with thanks and praise. A Christian Bible teacher and theologian said this: “The gods of the heathen were not good. They were selfish and capricious. You could never know when they might turn against you and do you harm. Not so our God. The God of the Bible is and has always been good.”
Let’s say God is good together: God is good.
“His mercy is everlasting.” Consider the great mercy that God showed us on the cross of Calvary. Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve.
As sinful people we deserved punishment, but Jesus – God the Son – took our sin and punishment upon himself … bringing salvation and eternal life to those who believe. As receivers of mercy, we should be givers of thanks.
“his truth endureth to all generations.” God’s truth here refers to His trustworthiness or faithfulness. God is faithful to His promises from generation to generation. Verse 3 said: “we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” and Jesus, our Good Shepherd, does not abandon his sheep. He stays by us. He’s dependable.
I find that being dependable, being trustworthy, following through on what you say you will do – is not a common trait in our society anymore. People say things that they do not mean, with no intention of following through on it. I find that very frustrating. But God – thankfully – is not like that. This is good news that should lead us to enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise.
⇒ Did you notice that all the different reasons to joyfully praise and worship God are about who God is: God is our Creator and Shepherd who is good, merciful, and faithful.
This means we always have a reason to worship, and always have a reason to be thankful and joyful people – no matter what the circumstances in our life may be at any given time. Life has ups and downs.
Sometimes I think we mostly thank God for what he has done for us, and often it is earthly and physical provision for which we are thankful. We should thank God for the many tangible, physical blessings in our life. However, we don’t want to forget to be thankful for who God is and his attributes, and the eternal life we have through Christ.
As I said at the beginning: Worship is not about us. It’s all about God!
The passage I read from 1 Peter earlier in the service said we have reasons to rejoice even when we have trials and grief in life. And I’ll close my message with 1 Peter 1:3 and 4:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”
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