Sermon

God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever (Psalm 100 and Mark 16:15)

Psalm 100 is summary of the previous kingship psalms. In history, it is considered as the “banner hymn of the Reformed tradition” for it contains important points about God’s covenant, providence, and holiness.

Like the previous psalms, this psalm is a brief psalm about God and the thanks giving of his people. It contains a simple structure of two pair of verbs for the first section and a triad of verbs for the second section. Overall, the message is clear: God is our creator and provider. We worship him in his goodness, love, and faithfulness.

We can divide our sermon into two points: 1) Serve and Make Known our Covenant Lord; 2) Give Thanks to Our Good and Faithful Shepherd-King.

Before we begin, let us pray:

Lord God,  you have declared that your kingdom is among us. Open our eyes to see it, our ears to hear it, our hearts to hold it, our hands to serve it. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Serve and Make Known our Covenant Lord

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 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. (Verses 1-3)

We have here a pair of verbs in parallel with each other. We can consider them as synchronous with one another and we can interpret them to progressing in point or possibly a line repeating the same meaning but repeats magnify each point.

To make a joyful noise mentioned already in our previous psalms corresponds to the proper response of faith and repentance. It is a response of gratitude to the God who created and redeemed us. That way it assumes the forgiveness of sin by the atoning work of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer.

This is again how we interpret eschatologically. We apply the verses to us and only when it has fulfilled in Christ and the Spirit. The psalmist, as an Old Testament saint, looks forward to it while we, as New Testament believers, glances back to it. This how we apply these texts Christologically.

Now again, these commands are applied not only to Israel exclusively but “to all the earth” which means it is universally applied. All creation is bound to worship God as our Creator. His kingship is applied to all creatures. This is why we know how this verse is in a sense typological as well. It means while Israel enjoys the rule of God during time it is only but a type and shadow. It looks forward to the time of its fulfilment by the antitype or reality. Of couse, they look forward to Christ.

Serving God, of course,  assumes an office. Again when we consider the offices of the Old Testament we can summarize them into three: prophet, priest, and king. The psalmist serves in the priestly office. We know Christ  when he fulfilled the Mediatorial office of the Messiah, he did so as the final prophet, priest, and king. He is the ultimate antitype of all the Old Testament types.

Therefore applying this to believers we know in Christ, we too are prophet, priest, and king in Him.  This means we are called to serve the LORD in gladness knowing He alone saves us and gives as the desire to do so.

Now, as priest in Christ we can come into his presence but no longer offering any sacrifices aside from the once and for all sacrifice of Christ. This means our service to God comes only to believers in Christ. That while the call to worship comes to all without discrimination, the ability to do so is only given to those who possess faith.

The next pair of verbs which are to come and to know assumes the presense of faith. Only those who can hear hears. Coming into the presence of God we must come knowing he exists and will confidently approach God knowing he rewards those who seeks him. The preacher of the Hebrews wrote:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 12:6)

The function of knowing is important in the Iife of a believer. We can only believe what we know and assent to be true. This understanding affects believers and unbelievers differently. For unbelievers, historical and temporary falth, lacks the abillity to adore. They can know with their minds but their hearts cannot revere their object of worship. They only imagine a god after their own image. Ultimately, they worship an idol. Without regeneration, there is no conversion. So for unbelievers and hypocrites, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

For believers, know that our Creator-King is also a Shepherd-King. The psalmist exclaims, “It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”  Our Covenant Lord takes care of his people. He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

All our lives we have lived automously and even while we live in a Christian community we still tend to live selfishly like misbehaving children rebelling against the authority of our own parents. We want to live our way. We worry instead of being grateful during prosperity. We complain instead of being patient during adversity. We often think we can improve God’s providence over our lives.

Knowing God rules and reigns over us, and he takes care of us helps us trust Him with our lives and learn to content in any and every situation. Again, while we can know these things we still need to know them daily in our lives (Philippians 4:11-13).

Give Thanks to Our Good and Faithful Shepherd-King

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

The last section contains a triad of verbs: enter, give thanks, and bless. All these assumes again an attitude of gratitude which again assume a response of faith and repentance which again assumes a believer exercising faith as prophet, priest, and king in Christ.

To enter implies walking and this the walk of believers giving thanks to God and blessing his name. This is the path of the godly. It is the way to holiness. This is to aim for the glory of God.

The psalmist grounds our worship as his people in the goodness, love, and faithfulness of God. We are called to reflect these attributes of God in our worship of Him. Ultimately, we become who we worship and of course those whose who worship idols become deaf, mute, and blind just like them. And yet for believers worshipping the One True God, they become holy like him.

And yet we can only do what is pleasing to him when we learn to enjoy him for his goodness, love, and faithfulness. We can only worship God and do what is pleasing to him when we can truly enjoy him for who he is. To walk in godliness means we give thanks to him and bless his name which means we live the rest of our lives in daily acknowledgement of his goodness and love.

The gospel of Christ comes to those underserving of God’s love and goodness. The gospel we proclaim to all the earth is a gospel which grants forgiveness and sanctification to sinners who do not deserve mercy nor grace. And yet this is what God has given us and it alone causes us to live our lives in utmost gratitude to him. Grace begets gratitude.

So Christian, have we learned to enjoy God for his goodness to us or do we constantly worry and complain? Let us submit our lives to him and live in contentment of his provisions.

Conclusion

ZCRC (Imus), let us know and serve our Covenant Lord. Let us walk in his ways and live under his rule. May the Lord grant us all these in the name of his Son by his Spirit. Amen.

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