“Make A Joyful Noise”             Psalm 100       February 27, 2011

 

SI:  Please open your Bibles to Psalm 100.

2011 is the 400th anniversary of the Authorized Version of the Bible.

   It’s more commonly known as the King James Version because it was translated

   under the patronage of James I of England.  It was completed in 1611.

 

The King James is without a doubt the most famous of all English translations.

   And it’s impossible to overstate the influence it had on not only on the church,

   but on the formation of English language and on English and American literature.

 

I love the modern translations of the Bible. 

I still remember when I first got a copy of the New International Version

   back in the 70s and I couldn’t put it down.

The best recent translation is the ESV, English Standard Version.

   An excellent and accurate translation.

 

But when I hear certain Bible verses in my head, I hear them in King James.

   Because that was the Bible I memorized verses in when I was a child.

 

I can’t remember how old I was when I memorized the One Hundredth Psalm,

   but it was in the King James.  And it just sounds right to me in that version.

I love the opening line:  “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

 

So, in honor of the 400th anniversary of this great translation

   I’ll be reading from it this morning.


 

INTRO:  People can get tired of anything—no matter how good it is.

When I was teaching for a brief time right after college, my students used to say,

   “Mr. Sieg, Ft. Lauderdale is so boring.  There’s nothing to do here.”

I would say:  What do you mean Ft. Lauderdale’s boring?

   (I’m comparing it to growing up in Tuscumbia, Alabama!)

There are always things to do here.  You can go to the beach every day!

   They would say:  We’ve been to the beach a million times, it’s boring. 

   People can get tired of anything.

 

You can even take Jesus for granted.  And your salvation. 

How often does the thought come vividly to your mind—

   I was going to hell but now I’m going to heaven. 

Jesus died for me I am a beloved child of God.

   I have an inheritance in the new heavens and new earth.

   I’m going to live forever and be the person God made me to be. 

 

How often does that sweep over you an amaze you?

   Not often enough.  Because even the great things can go dim and stale—

   Even our relationship with God. 

 

So what’s the cure?  What keeps Jesus Christ and all the great things about life

    in him alive and fresh in your heart?

   Worship.

So often the Bible tells us to look at the greatness and worthiness of God!

   “Praise the Lord.  Shout for joy to the Lord.  Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.”

Look at Him.  Look at Christ.  Look at his suffering.  Look at his glory.

   And we respond on the Lord’s Day.   

 

We gather.  We sing.  We pray.  We read Scripture—all to celebrate Christ. 

   It’s worship.  It’s celebratory speech. 

What does worship do for you?  It keeps the great things about Christian life

   alive and fresh in your heart.  Keeps them from going stale and dim.

God commands you to praise Him not so much for Himself as for you.

   It is the means through which your love and affection for him is kept warm.

 

The same thing is true of all your relationships in life.

   They can all go dim and stale.  You can take all of them for granted. 

Parents, brothers, sisters, friends.

   They are kept fresh and alive by praise.  By expressions of appreciation and love.

This is particularly true of marriage.

There was a time when you were head over heels in love with your spouse.

   You thought about the other person all the time.

   At a moment’s notice you would do whatever to be with him or her.

How do you keep that delight?  How do you keep that longing?

   Kept alive in marriage by worship.  Celebratory, appreciative words and actions. 

   By saying:  Baby, you’re beautiful.  You’re great.  I couldn’t make it without you.

 

The most famous marriage vows in the English language are, without a doubt,

   in the Book of Common Prayer written by Thomas Cranmer.

There’s that wonderful line:

   “With my body, I thee worship.”  What does that mean?

   It’s a vow that with every part of me, with what I say and what I do,

   I’m going to praise and appreciate you.  I’m going to worship you.

 

There is a sense in which we rightly praise and worship good things in life.

   We sing the praises of spouses and friends and lesser blessings,

   keeping in mind, of course, that God is the ultimate object of our worship.

And it’s that praise that keeps things fresh.

 

It’s true in marriage.  And it’s true in your relationship with God. 

   Worship and praise keeps things fresh and alive. 

That’s what Psalm 100 is about.

   “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord . . . Shout for joy to the Lord”

 

From the opening line on it calls God’s people over and over,

   to give praise and worship to God

   because he made us and owns us and takes care of us,

   and because he is good, loving, and faithful. 

 

Let’s look more carefully at what this Psalm teaches us about worship.

Three points:

1.  The motions of worship

2.  The affections of worship

3.  The foundation of worship—and each point will be deeper than the one before.

 

 

 

 

MP#1  The motions of worship

Worship of the Lord involves motions.  It involves doing certain things.

   Shout, serve, come, sing, enter.

   All these commands require movement of your body, movement of your mouth.

That makes me a little nervous. 

 

A Baptist, a Pentecostal, and a Presbyterian were arguing

   about who would be raised from the dead first on the Day of Judgment.

The Baptist said:  It’s bound to be the Baptists who will be raised first.

   Just look at how lively we are in our worship—we’re always shouting, “Amen!”

The Pentecostal said:  If liveliness in worship is the standard, then Pentecostals

   are going to be raised first.  Not only do we shout “Amen”—

   we speak in tongues and dance in the aisles.

The Presbyterian said:  You’re both wrong.

    Bible says that Presbyterians will be raised first.

   It’s right here in 1 Thessalonians 4.  “The dead in Christ will rise first!”

 

This Psalm is not an exhaustive list of the motions or elements of worship.

It doesn’t tell you to bring an offering.

   It doesn’t tell you to kneel in prayer.

   It doesn’t tell you to confess your sins.

This short Psalm is not an exhaustive worship manual.

   It’s a poem.  It’s a song.  It’s intended to evoke a response.

But even so, look at some of the motions of worship that it does emphasize.

 

Come into his presence.  Enter his gates.  Enter his courts.

   For the Old Testament believer, the Temple was the holy place where

   the Lord was present in his glory.  So he would come to the Temple.

   And then he would enter the gates and enter the courts in order to worship.

 

What’s the New Testament equivalent?  The church.

Not the church building.  The word “church” simply means “the assembly.”

   The Temple of the Lord is the assembled presence of God’s people.

   You also, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.

Certainly, God is everywhere.  And you can come into his presence in private.

 

But that’s not what is being described in this Psalm.

Worship is an activity in which you come to a place and enter a place

   where God is present because his people have gathered for worship.

That’s certainly one of the fundamental motions of worship. 

   What do you do when you get there? 

The Psalm highlights two things—you serve and you sing.

 

First, serve the Lord.  Some Bibles translate this word worship the Lord.

   We call this thing we do on the Lord’s Day a worship service.

   Have you ever stopped to think about the significance of that?

That the things you do in worship are serving the Lord.

 

It used to be when you went to a restaurant in the South the waitress would say:

   “What can I get for you, honey?”

Now they say: 

   “Hello, my name is Tiffany.  I’ll be your server this evening.”

I liked the old way better.  But think of what it means to be a server.

   She takes your order.  She brings out your food.  She tends to your requests. 

   Tiffany, please bring me some ketchup.  Tiffany, I need more tea.

She serves you.  She goes through expected motions deliberately and attentively. 

 

You are serving the Lord through the motions of worship.

   All the things you do in worship are things he expects. 

What if you were a waiter or a waitress in a fine restaurant and in walked

   a famous movie star or a professional athlete you admired.

How carefully you would take their order.

   How attentive you would be to their food and to their needs. 

   You would be ready to jump into action whenever they needed anything. 

Do you see my point?  Worship and serving are the same.

   And your worship of the Lord requires you to be alert, attentive, and to move.

 

And then, there is this command to sing.

   “Come before his presence with singing.” 

There’s a sense in which singing is the crowning motion of worship.

   The book of Psalms is the highest expression of worship in Bible—they are songs.

Revelation 5—the greatest vision of heaven, is a grand worship service.

   And it is the singing of the elders, living creatures, and angels that

   express worship of the Lamb on the highest plane. 

 

If you’re going to worship the Lord, you have to sing.

   It’s not an option to keep your mouth shut. 

 

I read the King James Version this morning because, as I said,

   this version of Psalm 100 sounds right to me.

But I also read it because there’s an old joke that comes from the first line: 

   “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

 

The joke is that even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. 

   God still wants you to sing.  Even if you have a horrible voice.

   That’s ok.  Because all you have to do is make a joyful noise. 

 

God had made us as beings with bodies and souls.

   Worship requires motions.  It requires you to do things.

   To come, to serve, to sing.

 

But let’s go a step deeper.  Worship is more than motions, it’s also affections.

 

 

 


 

MP#2  The affections of worship

I read a book recently God & Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC. 

   The author, Chad Gibbs, lives in Birmingham. 

   He’s an Auburn fan in a family of Alabama fans. 

It’s about his own personal struggle between his worship of God and football

So in one season he goes on a pilgrimage to a home game at every SEC stadium,

   and spends time with Christians who are crazy fans of that particular team,

   asking how they balance faith and football.  It’s very funny. 

 

Let me read you a few pages from the first chapter.

“Welcome to the American South, where God and football scrimmage daily for the people’s hearts and minds.  Perhaps you think this an overstatement . . . Think of it this way:  suppose an alien were to visit Tuscaloosa, Knoxville, or Baton Rouge—and if you don’t believe in aliens, you can substitute a Canadian.  Suppose this visitor—we’ll call him Corso—were to spend a week observing the ordinary citizens of those towns.  What do you think Corso the alien would conclude about the religious beliefs of those average, everyday people?

 

Well, on Sunday morning he’d probably see them make their groggy, wrinkle-shirted way to a steepled building where some sort of ceremony had begun ten minutes before they arrived.  Inside, he’d watch as they mouthed the words to songs, then struggled to stay awake while a man spoke for less than twenty-five minutes.  Then, for the rest of the week, this place would be the furthest things from their minds, unless by chance something tragic happened . . .

 

On Saturday, Corso would see something completely different.  The people would wake up early, carefully choose an outfit based on the good fortune it had brought them in the past, then drive, sometimes for hours, to a hallowed campus where some sort of ceremony is scheduled for much, much later that day.  All afternoon they would eat, drink, and fellowship with friends, family, and strangers.  Then, when the time came, they would all enter a colossal shrine and join tens of thousands of similarly dressed and likeminded people.  Inside, they would chant and sing until they lost their voices, and afterward they would celebrate like they’re at a wedding reception on Fat Tuesday.  After he sees this, I think it’s safe to say Corso will think he’s found the one true religion—and he’ll probably convert on the spot . . .

 

What’s the aspect of worship that Chad Gibbs is putting his finger on here?

   It’s not the motions of worship. 

On Saturday people gather in a holy place.

   On Sunday people gather in a holy place.

On Saturday they go through a ceremony.

   On Sunday they go through a ceremony.

On Saturday they chant and sing.

   On Sunday they chant and sing.

He’s struck by how similar some of the motions are.

So what’s the difference?  The difference is the affections.  The passions.

   One is full of willing joy and the other is a boring duty.

   That’s what he’s putting his finger on—the affections.

 

Worship is not just motions—as important as they are.  Just look at the Psalm again. 

   What kind of noise are you to make?  A joyful noise.

   Serve the Lord with?  Gladness.

   Enter his gates with?  Thanksgiving.

   Enter his courts with?  Praise.

You get the idea.  True worship is right motions and right affections.  

   True worship is animated with joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and praise.

 

Christianity is a religion of the heart. 

   You become a Christian and you live as a Christian

   by loving and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart.

You don’t become a Christian by being baptized or going through rituals—

   but through a sincerely, heart-felt connection with the Lord. 

 

Everything you do as a Christian must involve the heart. 

   If there is no joy in your worship, and no gladness and thanksgiving and praise,

   in other words, if your are not stirred and animated by your affections,

   then you aren’t truly worshipping. 

A man could give his wife a card or flowers or a diamond bracelet—

   but if he didn’t have love and joy for her in his heart, it would be empty. 

 

So how do you stir your affections?

It’s sad to see that some churches in America think that the way you stir

   the affections of Christians is to turn a worship service into a pep rally.

Whip up people’s emotions by creating an atmosphere like a ball game

   or a rock concert.  There’s nothing biblical about that.

 

Just as often as the Bible speaks about joy and gladness in worship,

   it speaks of reverence and awe and fear.  Those things are mingled.  

   There is joyful singing and tearful confession.

Exuberance at a football game and joy in worshipping the holy and living God

   will certainly look different.  There’s nothing wrong with that. 

It doesn’t bother me that Christians can get crazy and jump up and down

   at a football game Saturday and don’t do the same on Sunday morning.

 

It does bug me a little when believers are late to worship even though

   they would never miss a kickoff.  But even then, I realize that coming to worship

   is a spiritual battle.  And the Devil works overtime on Sunday morning.

So I’m glad for every soul who walks through these doors, even if 10 minutes late.

   Their presence here is a spiritual victory for the kingdom of God.

 

But back to the question.  Where do the affections come from?

You know how easy it is to come to worship and go through the motions

   but not to feel joy and gladness, praise and thanksgiving.

I’ve done it.  I’ve preached without joy. 

 

That brings us to the deepest point of the Psalm, the heart of this Psalm.

   what I’ve called the foundation of worship.

We could also call it the heart of worship.

 

 

 


 

MP#3  The foundation of worship

What is it?  It’s in verse 3.  In fact, it’s summed up in the first word of that verse.

Know . . . That’s the foundation of worship.

   Know ye that the Lord, he is God.

   It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves.

   We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 

The Psalmist says that the foundation of our worship

   is knowing who the Lord is and who we are in relation to him. 

It’s this knowledge that stirs our affections and motivates our actions.

 

Before we delve more deeply, just think about this in an ordinary sense.

The more you’ve invested in knowing something,

   the greater potential it has for evoking your praise.

This is true of hobbies, sports teams, friendships, anything you love—

   knowledge and worship are inseparably connected. 

 

There is a kind of loop—

   The more you know about it, the more you sing its praises, the more you enjoy.

   The more you worship, the more you seek to know. 

Whenever you meet a person who really loves something and is always singing its

   praises, he always knows lots about it—and tells more than you want to know!

 

The One Hundredth Psalm shows us this inseparable connection between

   the knowledge of God and the worship of God.

There are four stanzas in this Psalm. 

   The first stanza says:  Shout with joy, serve him, sing to him.

   The second stanza says:  Know the Lord is God, know we are his people.

   The third stanza says:  Enter his gates, enter his courts, praise, give thanks.

   The fourth stanza say:  For this reason:  He’s good, loving, faithful.

Do you see that pattern of praise and knowledge? 

 

Listen to the way John Piper put it: 

   We must see him clearly, and we must savor him dearly.

   We must think biblical thoughts about God, and we must feel biblical emotions for God.

   And the knowing must be the basis for the affections;

   And the seeing must be the basis for the savoring;

   And the thinking must be the basis for the feeling.

 

The foundation of worship, the heart of worship is knowing God

   and knowing who you are in him.

What does this Psalm say about him?

The Lord is God.  In Hebrew, Yahweh is Elohim.

   LORD in all caps is the personal name of God, Yahweh.

   It’s the name he uses in his covenant relationship with his people.

Elohim is the general name for God as the Creator, Ruler, and Lord.

   Psalmist says this is what you have to know—That the God who is your God,

   who has made himself known by name to you is the King and Ruler of all.

 

Ponder that, preach it to yourself. 

The God of all Creation has told me his personal name.

   He has made himself known.  Dimly in the Old Testament era,

   and now in clarity in God the Son Jesus Christ.

 

And who are you  in relation to him?

He created you.  You are his handiwork.  He has declared all he has made good.

   Think about that.  You are made by God.  You have great value.

He claims you.  He knows that sin has come into his perfect creation.

   He knows your sins, weaknesses, and failures even better than you know yourself.

   But even so, he claims you as his own. 

And he cares for you.  You are the sheep of his pasture.

   That means everything that happens in your life is part of his plan for your good.

   Think about that.  Ponder it. 

 

For the Lord is good, his mercy (his covenant love) is everlasting,

   and his truth (his faithfulness) continues to all generations.

He’s a God who delights in pouring out his love and faithfulness along the lines

   of generations.  One way of looking at this is that we see and experience

   the love and grace of God through the conduit of other believers.

 

Do you know these things? 

Do seek to know more and more about who God is and who you are in him? 

   Are you putting yourself in places, where you can know more?

   Are you reading and meditating and thinking?

Do you delight in knowing more and more stories of his love and faithfulness

   to the generations?  Do you spend time with Christians hearing these things.

It’s by seeking to know that your affections are stirred

   and the motions of your worship are invigorated.

 

 

I heard a testimony this week that surprised me because I’ve known this man

   for years but never knew the details of his conversion.

His name is Jerry Gutierrez. 

   Jerry is a Peruvian and was a third-generation Communist.

When he was in college he was the secretary general of the youth communist

   party in Peru and was being groomed for leadership.  He advocated violent

   overthrow of the government and was on his way to becoming a guerilla fighter.

But he became a Christian, left the Communist Party, even though there were

   many attempts on his life for doing so, and he became a Presbyterian minister.

 

I met Jerry years ago through my old youth director, Verne Marshall.

Verne’s parents were missionaries in Peru, and it was through them that

   Jerry heard the Gospel.  But I never knew the whole story.

As I said, I just heard it this week while listening to a sermon.

 

Jerry knew the Marshalls, and he liked going to their house to argue atheism and

   mock Christianity.  Then one day a right-wing death squad tried to kill him

   and Jerry asked the Marshalls if he could hide in their house. 

Even though he mocked their faith, he knew they would not betray him.

  So he hid there, after that, he started visiting often.

   But he would still argue against Christianity and refuse to believe.

 

Then one day (the day) he came to their house, Mr. Marshall said:

   Jerry, there’s a postcard for you from America.  Of course, Jerry hated America.

He said:  I don’t know anybody in America, who would send a postcard to me?

   Mr. Marshall said:  We’ve told our friends in America about you,

   our proud, young Communist friend.  We’ve asked them to pray for you.

   One of them has written you a postcard.

 

Jerry took the card.  It was from a 12 year old girl from one of the Marshalls’

   supporting churches with a note telling Jerry she was praying for him.

And on the front of the card was a picture of a Teddy Bear.

   Jerry said:  That card broke my back.  And he bowed to Jesus Christ.

That’s our God.  The Lord, who claims his sheep.

 

And it doesn’t stop there.  Jerry came to America to study. 

   Been back to Peru many times.  When he is there, has to wear a bullet proof vest.

   He’s started an orphanage.  Now his son there carrying on the work.

That’s our God:  His faithfulness endures to all generations.

How is Jesus Christ and salvation and all the great things kept fresh?

   Through worship.  By serving God and singing to God on Lord’s day.

   With motions animated by affections of joy and gladness and thanksgiving.

How do those affections arise in your heart?  By knowing Him.

   So do all you can to know God more, know his grace.

   That’s why the fellowship of your church is so important. 

Hearing stories of God’s grace, and Christ’s faithfulness from other believers,

   helps you know him better, stirs your affections and animates your worship.

Put yourself in places where you can know him more

   and then give him your praise.