Reverend Anthony R. Locke
February 13th, 2011 www.FirstPresTucker.org
at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker
Psalm 100:1-5 English Standard Version
1 A Psalm for giving thanks Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Sometimes in our Bibles there are labels over scripture. I grew up reading the New American Standard Bible which provides labels for each passage of scripture.
John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The title over John chapter one verse one in the New American Standard Bible is The Deity of Jesus Christ. The New Living Bible titles that same passage, Christ, the Eternal Word and the NIV and ESV both title it The Word Became Flesh.
I think labels are helpful to remind us at a glance God’s purpose for providing that text.
The ESV Bible labels Psalm 100 with the title, His Steadfast Love Endures Forever. The New American Standard labels it All Men Exhorted to Praise God.
But I like God’s label better. Verse one reads Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! But just before that much loved text, God’s provides His label for this passage – A Psalm for Giving Thanks.
God provides this passage to lead us into meaningful public expressions of thanksgiving. We could even say that thanksgiving which doesn’t conform to this instruction isn’t thanksgiving at all.
This Psalm doesn’t stand by itself. It is the pinnacle of the Kingship and Lordship Psalms that include Psalm 93, 95, 96, 97, 98 and 99.
Since we live in a democratic society, we don’t recognize verse one as a shout of victory in submission to our King. Israel offered up a joyful noise when they received their first king at the hand of the prophet Samuel.
1 Samuel 10:24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
The last time any of us shouted like this was probably youth camp. You have to tighten your abdominals, put your shoulders back and project your voice upward.
Verse one of Psalm 100 is a loud and joyful shout of loyalty and servitude, of submission and faithfulness to the King. This verse compares well to Matthew 5:3 where it says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We approach God with poverty in our spirit, but a loud voice of jubilation over God’s Sovereign Spirit as the King over all the Earth.
We don’t declare our affections to Jesus with a meek and mild demeanor. Our feelings of thankfulness and gratitude stir within our soul like a raging river which must cast off restraint and flow forth as a joyful noise to God!
Consider that our kingdom benefits and spiritual freedoms are found in the King’s provisions. It’s almost a little self-serving to come before the Sovereign Lord and declare, “Long Live the King!” The eternal begetting of the Son of God as our King of Kings secures our salvation, our eternal life and our eternal glory. But it’s not selfish to want Jesus to reign, it’s mandated worship to the One in whom we live, move and have our being.
Verse TWO converts our joy toward God into kingdom service. We serve the Lord with gladness! This is a transformational perspective as believers. The joy of our salvation becomes our strength. We work as unto the Lord and not unto men. We make our boast in the Lord and not ourselves. We serve the least of these for in so doing we serve Christ.
The joy in our worship is the power that renews our strength. Like eagles that mount up with soaring wings we serve God without exhaustion. We run the race without becoming weary.
When the joy of the Lord is our strength we are empowered to come every week into his presence with singing! If there’s joy then worship never gets boring.
A life transformed by joy, tireless service and singing will make the secular community thirsty to join us in worship to the King. This is the true evangelistic power of a vibrant community of faith. The church doesn’t need new inventive programs to evangelize the world. We need spirit anointed worship.
Verse THREE provides the basic elements of the Gospel from the Old Testament perspective.
First, Know that the Lord, he is God! The only Deity that exists is this One True God. All other ideas of God are false. The Lord God told Moses, “I am that I am.” This is our first message to the world. There is a God who has revealed Himself. He is accessible. He can be known. If we know the Father through Jesus the Son then we become apart of His family.
This God became flesh so we could know Him as a person. This incarnation enables a personal relationship with this One True God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. If we chose not to know Jesus through repentance and faith, then we miss God the Father. Without Jesus we are lost. Jesus is the only way to this one God.
Second, It is he who made us. We are made in His image. We must be conformed to His image as it was revealed in the perfect human being named Jesus of Nazareth. We are called to be holy for He is holy. We are called to love for God is love. We must be kind and gentle. We must defend the weak and the poor. We must pray like Jesus prayed. We must submit to God.
God made us so He knows what’s best for us. A happy human life is only found in submission to the King’s demands. The Ten Commandments are necessary for a blessed life. God wired us to be at peace and content as we find our life in Him. You can’t fight this plan of God. We are miserable until we find our life in God. God made us this way.
Third, we are his. We are not our own for we have been bought with a price, therefore we must glorify God in our body and in our spirit which are Gods. You do not have a right over how you use your body. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit if you are a Christian. You are a child of the King and must live in this sinful world like someone from the holy family.
Fourth, we are his people. We are the visible community of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Israel used to serve that function as God’s visible people, but now the Kingdom of our Lord is known through the Church.
Yet don’t get arrogant. We are the sheep of his pasture. Sheep aren’t very bright. Sheep are lost without a shepherd. We are totally dependent on God’s redemptive activity. When it comes to choosing the right path, we need God’s instruction. We need God to impose His will over us to make us happy, healthy and wise. Kings bring people into submission. Pray for God to bring your soul into submission to His will.
I’ll save verse FOUR for a future sermon. It repeats the mandates of the passage. WE MUST enter His gates with thanksgiving. WE MUST enter His courts with praise. WE MUST give thanks to Him and bless His name.
What inspires us to worship God? What traits about God draw our souls into worship? Verse FIVE. For the Lord is good.
Many sermons are preached with this title. God is Good all the time, and all the time God is good. He was good to Adam and Eve when He put them in the Garden. God was good to save the family of Noah. God was good to Abraham to make him the father of many nations. He was good to bring Israel out of slavery in Egypt.
God was good to set our feet upon the Solid Rock the Lord Jesus, to put a new song in our hearts, even praise unto our God, that the unchurched might see, fear, and come to faith in Jesus.
God was especially good to send His only begotten Son, the precious Lamb of God, to be the propitiation for our sin. Jesus took our curse so that we could be blessed. Jesus took our black stain so that we might be made white as snow.
God is good to us every day. God’s goodness leads us to repentance.
God’s steadfast love endures forever. His favor on His people will never diminish. The faithfulness of God will never stop for it is fixed more securely than the stars in the heavens.
God swore an oath to King David and to the Lord Jesus Christ that the Father’s love would never stop being given to His covenant people. God’s love is an unsearchable reserve. It is wider than the East is from the West. It is deeper than the ocean and broader than the sky.
God’s love permanently redeems us like Boaz who redeemed Ruth out of her lostness. God purchases us with the blood of Jesus and frees us from the bonds of sin.
God’s steadfast love endures for ever. Our sin does not wear God’s love thin. Our transgressions can’t separate us from His love. Our iniquity doesn’t make God have regrets. The Devil reminds us and God of our sins, but Jesus reminds God and us of His shed blood.
God’s love is not a fair-weather love. God loves us from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. God loves and cherishes His people with a steadfast love that endures all time, all our imperfections, all our failures and all our faithlessness. God’s love will endure until our death and beyond. It is eternal.
And God’s promises are true for all generations. God’s commitments were not just for the people named in the Bible. The faithfulness of God was not just reserved for our grandparents. God’s faithfulness is to all generations.
My dad’s family came over on a ship from Great Britain. My mom’s grandmother came to America from Germany. My mom’s grandfather was American Indian.
Looking backward, God’s love and goodness sustained my family ancestors.
But that’s looking backward. Looking forward, there’s enough goodness in God and enough love flowing from God through Christ for all my children and grandchildren. God loves them more than I do.
Right now my children are young and cute. They don’t make decisions I can’t reverse. The consequences for their choices are under my control. In the future they will stand before God on their own. They will bear the burden of their choices.
And I can trust that God loves them more than I do. God will care for them as a loving shepherd who takes care of His precious sheep. There will be moments of triumph and regret. And in the midst of the sunshine and rain God’s love will sustain the future generations of my family.
God never lies. God never gets tired. God never forgets His promises. God is trustworthy.
God gave us this Psalm for giving thanks. He is worthy of our gratitude and thanksgiving.
How about you this morning? Does your heart rally with shouts of joy to King Jesus? Do you serve God with gladness? Do you have salvation joy that incites you to make your boast in the Lord? Is weekly worship and singing a chief appetite and commitment?
Do you know this One Living and True God? Are you living holy? Are you living by His commandments? Are you maintaining the temple of God as an appropriate dwelling place for the Holy Spirit? Are you worshiping weekly with the rest of the visible people of God?
Are you taking time to meditate on God’s goodness? Does the steadfast love of God bring you to repentance and a renewed commitment of faith and obedience?
Can you trust your children to the love and faithfulness of God? Are you at peace with their future? Can you claim God’s promises for them? Can you trust God to care for them?
God isn’t distancing Himself from us. Our sin separates us from the God who loves us. God is calling to us with words of love. May we hear that call and respond with faith. May we respond to His invitation to worship and give thanks. Long live our King Jesus!
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.