Sermon

God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

Introduction: Christ’s Psalms, Our Psalms (Psalm 1 and Luke 24:44-47) – Part 2

Before we begin, let us pray.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

(Psalm 19:14)

Last week, we learned how the book of Psalms is Christ’s Psalms. It points to Christ’s person and work. Jesus is the mediator of the Covenant of Grace. He fulfilled the promise of the seed who will crush the serpent’s head, the true Israel who will bless the nations, the king from David’s throne who will reign forever.

At the same time, the book of Psalms is Christ’s PsamIs because the Himself used it in worship. Jesus is the true worshiper from God who intercedes for God’s people in the heavens. He is ascended Lord who is God’s Son and bringing the elect to faith and repentance by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.

This Lord’s Day we will learn about how the book of PsaIms is Our Psalms. It means as God’s people the Psalms is the Church’s Hymbook. From the Old Testament until the New Testament, the Psalms were sung in the temple and even in the synagogue for worship and prayer. Down in church history, the Psalm has been used for singing in worship.

We will study our second sermon point: Our Psalms. This will end our Introduction for this sermon series.

Our Psalms

The writers of the PsaIms come from the span of generation of the Old Testament. We know Psalm 90 was written by Moses. David wrote almost majority (73) of it. And his son, Solomon, wrote some of it as well. At the same time, members of the priesthood also participated in its writting. Asaph, The Sons of Korah, Ethan, and Heman. This signify for us its formal use in temple worship. They used the Psalms for singing and praying to God.

The book of Psalm is considered by the scholars to have beeen completed to its final form during the time of Ezra in the post-exilic period. The structure of the book divided into parts of 5 sections support this conclusion. The first and second section from Psalm 1 to 72 focus on the establishment of God’s Kingdom by his covenant with David. Section 3 from psalm 73 to 89 speaks of its fallings and subsequent punishment of exile. Then lastly, section 4 and 5 looks forward to its restoration by promised Messianic King of God. The content of this final section includes the songs of Ascent and Hallel Psalms used by Jewish pilgrims during sabbath, festivals and ever Passover. This means the Psalms were used by God’s people even until the time of Jesus during the reign of the Roman Empire.

As part of the practice of synagogue worship even during Jesus’ time, he together with his disciples prayed and sung the Psalms as part of the Passover ritual. Mark recorded its occurance in his gospel found in Mark 14:26: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives”. This happened after they had the Passover meal from verses 22 to 25. Scholars believe that they were singing the Hallel Psalms as part of the synagogue practice.

In the same way, Christians after Pentecost were recorded singing the Psalms as part of their worship service. Luke recorded this in his book in Acts 4:24-26. They were singing Psalms 124 and 22.

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed

They sang the PsaIms during their worship at home assembly. They also testified to the inspiration of the Psalms they attributed David’s book as spoken by the Holy Spirit. They also affirmed the inspired way of interpreting the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament. The former is fulfilled by the latter.

The apostles themselves commanded the use of the Psalms in singing and worship. Paul and James wrote:

“When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)

“Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:18b-19a)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” (James 5:13)

The terms translated as hymn, psalms, and song of praise obviously refers to the Old Testament Hymnbook which is the book of Psalms.

Even Tertullian, Augustine, and Jerome to name a few wrote about the use of the Psalms in singing and prayer in worship. Church historian Arthur McGiffert recognized Tertullian saying:

“In the church of Rome nothing except the Psalms and New Testament hymns (such as the Gloria in Excelsis, the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis, etc.) was, as a rule, sung in public worship before the fourth century.”

Jerome wrote:

“In the cottage of Christ [the monastery] all is simple and rustic: and except for the chanting of psalms there is complete silence. Wherever one turns the laborer at his plow sings Alleluia, the toiling mower cheers himself with psalms, and the vine-dresser while he prunes his vine sings one of the songs of David.”

Finally, Augustine who preached on the Psalms remarked:

“If the psalm prays, you pray. If the psalm laments, you lament. If the psalm exalts, you rejoice. If it hopes, you hope. If it fears, you fear. Everything written here is a mirror for us.”

The use of the Psalm in worship continued even in Medieval period. However, in the modern Christian Church the neglect of its importance led to the decline of its regular use. With the advent of the “Praise and Worship” mindset sweeping the churches today, using the Psalms for worship has become non-existent. And this sad state continued until today.

This why the Reformed churches continues to call every churches to reform their worship by calling them to go back to the use of the Psalms in worship Beginning with Luther and Calvin, and the use of the Genevan Psalter, together with the English Reformation’s use of the Scottish psalter, they encouraged the use of these Psalters for worship.

Today, as part of the continental reformed tradition ve receive an inheritance of using the Psalter containing the 150 Psalms and Hyms for worship. Our church order reminds us:

ARTICLE 39

The 150 Psalms shall have the principal place in the singing of the churches. Hymns which faithfully and fully reflect the teaching of the Scripture as expressed in the Three Forms of Unity may be sung, provided they are approved by the Consistory.

So the book of Psalms is Our Psalms because it is the Hymnbook of God’s people. And we concluded today that the use of the Psalter in worship is theological, biblical, and spiritual. Let us encourage to use them in our prayer, singing, and worship. Amen.

Conclusion

ZCRC (Imus), the book of Psalms is Christ’s Psalms and Our PsaIms. Let us worship God in accordance to his Word. Amen.

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