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Worship Message - "Make a Joyful Noise - All the Lands"

Make a Joyful Noise, All the Lands
Thanksgiving Message #5 - 2015


Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful season of remembering the many, many blessings God showers on us. What a wonderful season of being reminded to be thankful to Him for His blessings.

Over the past few Sundays, we have considered several Bible passages about being thankful. Passages in which God instructs us about the importance of giving thanks, the reward for giving thanks, and how to give thanks. In case you missed one or more of the past few sermons, and to refresh all our memories of some of what God has to say on the topic, here is a very quick review.

From the Old Testament, in the order they were presented in the messages, in Psalm 106 we are taught to give thanks to God for He is good and His steadfast love endures forever. In Psalm 107 we are instructed to cry out to God when we experience problems and to thank Him when He delivers us. In I Chronicles 29 we are reminded that all the good things we have come from the LORD. God is the source of our abundance. In Exodus 15 we are taught to thank God when He gives us victories. We are taught in later chapters to remember His power so that when we have future problems, we will remember to rely on more of His power, doing that rather than murmuring about our misfortunes.

From the New Testament, in Colossians 3, we can remember to be thankful as we allow the word of Christ to dwell in us richly. In I Thessalonians 5, we are to give thanks in all circumstances. That is the will of God for us. In Ephesians 5, we are to give thanks, doing that rather than using our words for filthiness, silly talk, or levity. In Luke 17, when we are released or saved from anything, we are to remember to give Jesus thanks. Even if no one else does, we are supposed to give Him thanks.

The Bible has a lot to say about being thankful. To more passages - one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament - will be included in this message. As we have throughout this season, may we all learn and do what the Bible says about this topic so we will all be known as thankful people. How pleasing that will be for God.

Today’s Old Testament passage is another Psalm, this time Psalm 100. It is titled “A Psalm for the Thank Offering.”

What an interesting title that is. During our Sunday morning services there is an offering time. That is centered on financial offerings, which are of course important. But there are other types of offerings. Other important offerings. Other offerings that are also pleasing to the Lord. That includes offerings of thanks. The title of Psalm 100 reminds us that, just like financial offerings are critical, so, too, are offerings of thanks critical.

Psalm 100. “A psalm for the thank offering. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!”

Those verses are a message for all people everywhere. Did we hear it? All the lands, make a joyful noise to the LORD.

For the people of Jerusalem, that included the Egyptians who many years before had held the people of God as slaves. At the time of the Psalm, that included the cruel Edomites to the south and the war-like Syrians to the northeast. It included those in lands not yet known to the people of God.
    
For us today, that includes a lot of what we consider to be enemies. Such as the members of ISIS, who are very cruel. It includes a lot of people in Middle Eastern countries who seem to be so set against us and the God we worship. Maybe it includes the Russians as their leader seems to be more and more militarily forceful.

It is not just those of us who are Christians who are taught to make joyful noises to the LORD. All the lands - all the people in all the lands - are given that same challenge. The first part of Psalm 100 is a reminder that we are to communicate that instruction outside ourselves.

Of course, many if not most of those just mentioned as enemies do not want to hear about God, but we are to share the LORD anyway, as often as we might have opportunities to do so.

Make a joyful noise. A noise of thanks. Not only we ourselves, but all lands, are to do that. We are also to serve the LORD. How? Maybe by worshiping? Maybe by praying? Maybe by helping those in need, doing so in the LORD’s name? Maybe by encouraging others to make joyful noises to Him.

Serve the LORD - did we hear it - with gladness. We are to serve, not because we have to and not as a drudgery, but with joy, being pleased we are given opportunities to serve Him - the one, which comes later in the Psalm, who created us and provides for us.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD. That is an instruction to all the lands. Serve the LORD with gladness. That, too, is an instruction to all the lands. Added to that, we are to come into His presence with singing.

What an invitation that is to all people everywhere. God is not just for those who were or are Jews. God is not just for those of us who already believe in Him, seen in our acceptance of His Son Jesus. God is for everyone else, too. The invitation to come into His presence is extended to all people everywhere.

The first two verses of Psalm 100 is an invitation to the world to make joyful noises to, to serve, and to come before the presence of the LORD. And did we hear the word, “singing”? We are to come into the LORD’s presence with singing - with happy songs, joyful songs, thankful songs.

Verse 3 contains a message the people of God were to declare to one another. The message is for us to declare to each other now. “Know that the LORD is God! It is He that made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”

There was a Christian song a few years ago that continues to stick in my mind. The chorus of the song includes the words, “God is God and I am not.”

That is what verse 3 challenges us to know. We need to let Him be God to us, meaning we are to allow Him to shape us and use us. We are to allow His word to form our thoughts and our actions.

We also need to remember He made us.

Of course, there are some theories out and about that we evolved from some slime or whatever millions of years ago, but those theories are not true. We were created. From Adam and Eve, the first two people, to you and me today, we were created. Not by ourselves, but by God.

Therefore, we should be His. I mean, if He was and is powerful enough to create us, should we not be His? We are His people. And did we hear it? We are the sheep of His pasture.

What a beautiful picture that is. Actually, the idea of us being sheep is not necessarily a complimentary thought. Sheep are sometimes pretty dumb. Sheep can so easily be led astray. But sheep are safe when they have a good shepherd, which perfectly describes God. Being in His pasture means He provides the nourishment we need. It means safe water is available for our refreshment. It means He will protect us from dangers. It means He will check on each of His people, making sure we have what we need.

Know that the LORD is God. It is He that made us, and we are His. We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. That is what we are to declare to each other, which is a very good summary of our faith in God. May we face each other regularly to share our faith with one another,

Then, after being reminded to spread our faith to others and after sharing our faith with one another, the people who recited Psalm 100 were invited to enter the Temple. Verse 4. “Enter His gates.”

That was the invitation to enter the Temple. For us, it is the invitation to enter wherever God is worshiped. Enter His gates. How? “With thanksgiving. Enter His courts.” How? “With praise.” Praise Him that He is God. Thank Him that He will be the leader of all who will accept Him. Praise Him that He did create us. Thank Him that He is the perfect shepherd for His people.

Enter His gates and His courts with thanksgiving and praise. “Give thanks to Him, bless His name!”

Remember what it means to bless the name of God. The word “name” means everything about God. Every description of who He is and what He is like. What does it mean bless God? It means to praise Him, to express gratitude to Him, to thank Him. The word “bless” literally means to kneel in worship. To bless God means to praise Him and worship Him.
    
Why should we do that? Why is He worthy of that? Verse 5. “For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures for ever. His faithfulness endures to all generations.”
    
The LORD has shown His goodness in His creative powers.  He has shown His love by offering Himself to all people in all lands. We know from the Bible His faithfulness endures. The Bible promises that He never changes, so the help He gave the people reciting Psalm 100 a few thousand years ago is still available for us now. He will always be available to all.

*      *       *       *       *

All the lands are to make a joyful noise to the LORD. People everywhere are called to serve Him and sing to Him.

That is what we are to share with others as we remind each other that God is good. That He created us and is ready and able and willing to take care of us.

Knowing that, we are free to enter into His presence, thanking Him and praising Him and blessing Him, celebrating His goodness, His love, and His faithfulness.

All that is important. So how can we remember it? To help with that, let’s move to today’s New Testament passage, which is some of the verses in Philippians 4.

The passage begins at verse 4 with the words, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

Consider the context. Paul wrote those words while he was in prison because of his faith in Jesus. The people to whom he wrote were already beginning to feel the effects of persecution because of their faith in Jesus. Yet Paul still gave the challenge to rejoice.

About what? How about what we talked about in Psalm 100 - God’s goodness, God’s steadfast love, God’s enduring faithfulness. And yes, Paul and the Philippians were all having difficult times, but they still had opportunities to share their faith with others, and they knew of the future hope of Heaven.

Rejoice in the Lord always. “Again I will say, rejoice.” That is one way to be able to remember what is taught in Psalm 100.

Verse 6. “Have no anxiety about anything.”

Really?

In the adult Sunday School class last week, Mike, our teacher, asked why people worry. My answer was that worrying can make it seem like we’re doing something about whatever the problem or the situation is. IfI I don’t worry - not saying that I do, and I am getting a bit better at this - but if I don’t worry, might it seem like I don’t care about what is going on?

Again, Paul and the Christians in Philippi were suffering because of their faith. What they suffered threatened their freedom, their comfort, their livelihoods. But Paul wrote to have no anxiety about anything. Again, really?
    
That has to be a whole lot easier said than done. However, Paul continued, “In everything, by prayer and supplication…” Prayer here refers to thanking and praising God for His goodness and His love and His faithfulness. Supplication refers to specifically praying for specific needs to be met.

In everything, by prayer and supplication “with thanksgiving…” Maybe thank Him ahead of time for His answers that will come. Definitely thank Him when He answers.

In everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, “let your requests be made known to God.”

In everything. I read this quote this week - “There is nothing too great for God’s power. There is nothing too small for His fatherly care.”

In everything, pray to God. For every answer, thank God. The result? Verse 7. “The peace of God will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The peace of God will stand guard, keeping the doubts that can so easily come from problems away from our hearts and minds, and keeping our faith, our trust, our praises intact in our hearts and minds.

And finally, verse 8. “Think about whatever is true [God’s teachings are true], whatever is honorable, whatever is just [justice refers to treating God and others properly, which is with love, which is the way God wants Himself and others to be treated], whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious [which refers to speaking fairly and  extends to saying things that are fit for God to hear], whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise.”

Think about these things, which once again leads to the promise, this time in the last part of verse 9. “Think about these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

*       *       *       *       *

Think about what is good. That is what people were invited to do a few Sundays ago. People were invited to write some of the things for which they thank God and share their lists with me. I am sharing some of those things during this season’s messages, including three for today.

One person wrote, “voice.” I think that might have been related to the opportunity to sing. Since the singing would be at church, it most certainly applies to what today’s first passage teaches - to sing praises and thanks to God for His goodness, love, and faithfulness. Singing which, as others hear it, tells them of the goodness and the love and the faithfulness of God, which is a call for them to also come into the presence of the LORD.

“Never leaving my side” is what someone wrote. Isn’t that what we have been talking about today? God’s faithfulness and the call to rejoice, which includes giving thanks to God in all circumstances. Even difficult times. Which we can do when we realize He is, even then, beside us.

And this. “The small miracles - the ones that could be mistaken for chance or for coincidence - for in truth, they are neither.”

*       *       *       *       *

Rejoice in the Lord at all times. Have no anxiety about anything. Pray, supplicate, and give thanks. Think about what is good. Accept God’s peace.

Do all that so you will be able to share your faith with others, so we will be able to remind each other that God is good, so you will be able to feel joyful to freely enter into His presence.

The closing song that is, I Will Enter His Gates. We are going to sing it twice. First as a proclamation to God, then as a way to remind each other of the goodness of God and what should be our reaction to it.
    
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart;
I will enter His courts with praise.
I will say this is the day that the Lord hath made;
I will rejoice, for He has made me glad.
He has made me glad, He has made me glad;
I will rejoice, for He has made me glad.
He has made me glad, He has made me glad;
I will rejoice for He has made me glad.

We will enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts;
We will enter His courts with praise.
We will say this is the day that the Lord hath made;
We will rejoice, for He has made us glad.
He has made us glad, He has made us glad;
We will rejoice, for He has made us glad.
He has made us glad, He has made us glad;
We will rejoice for He has made us glad.

To us and to all the world, the challenge is to make a joyful noise to the LORD, to serve the LORD with gladness, to come into His presence with singing. May this be our desire. Our goal. May it be what we do. May it be what we share, now and always. Amen.


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