Sunday, 1 June 2014

I've got the joy joy joy joy....

Below is an extract from this mornings sermon.
The Psalms are a wonderful place to go for praise, prayer and reflection. They illustrate wonderfully the prayers of God’s people. Some are prayers of praise, some of frustration and lament and others are prayers of worship and thanksgiving. Psalm 100 is one of those that is certainly “A Psalm of Thanksgiving”. It is an invitation for us to join together and to acknowledge the great things that God has done. Not only does Psalm 100 call us to praise the Lord with thankfulness – but it also describes to us the nature of thanksgiving. 


“Shout for Joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with Gladness.” Last week I touched on this one briefly when I shared from Colossians 3. “Do all things as if doing them for the Lord.” Friends I don’t know if you are aware but the God we worship is the creator of all things! God created us, He created the world in which we live and He gave us these things to enjoy. More than all of this the God we worship is the very God that came to this earth as a human child; who lived within the creation, and because He loves us and wants to restore us into a perfect relationship with Him He willingly gave His life on a cross so that three days later He would overcome death and rise again. Friends it is through this resurrection of our God that we have an opportunity to be set free from the sin in our lives and be joyful. We have the most amazing story to share with the people around us. I don’t know about you but this brings great joy in my life and certainly causes me to worship our God with a spirit of thanksgiving. Are you experiencing joy in your life as a result of your faith this morning? Friends in our scripture today the Psalmist calls for all nations to worship our God with joy and with singing and shouting and praise. But our shouting should lead to more than a happy noise it should lead us to serving Him because He is the one true God. Worship leads to service, and true service is worship. It is interesting that Church is not a place where we generally shout with Joy. I wonder, how many of you are involved with a sport or love to watch sport or go to live games? I would say most of us enjoy it. When you go to a game do the people just sit there or do they cheer on their favourite teams? You know it’s fascinating how we can go to a sporting event and get extremely vocal for our team but we don’t get loud and vocal when we worship our God, the creator of all things. Our lives are meant to be a joyful call to God. God wants us to get excited about who He is.

Some time ago I was watching a show on SBS about the end of WW2. I saw a film clip of the victory celebration in Melbourne when World War II ended. Friends that celebration was a shout of praise, people were dancing in the street. The war was over – the victory had been won. We need to shout praises to our God – We know who wins the spiritual war in our world – we know who has the victory – Praise be to God. We need to shout joyfully because Jesus has won the victory. We need to be filled with joy and shout about it. That is something to be thankful for don’t you think?


“Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.” Psalms 100:2 (NKJV)

You know there is a huge difference between gladness and sadness. When we come before the Lord – we are to do it with gladness not sadness. We are to come before our God with a willing heart, coming before Him because we want to not because we have to.

I don’t know if you have ever noticed it when you visit other churches but there are times when people come to church on Sunday morning to worship almost like they are coming to a funeral service. Friends we are entering God’s house. we need to come in here on Sunday morning like we are coming into a resurrection service and rightly so because we serve a living God not a dead one. Our Lord has risen from the dead. That is a joyful celebration.


“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” This is the focus of the message this morning. God calls us to enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts. That is, when we enter into the presence of God whether through prayer, worship or even in our everyday walk with God, then we are called to come before Him with an attitude of thanksgiving. 

You know when we come before God in this way our focus shifts from a self-centered one to a God-centered one. When we are a thankful people it prevents things like jealousy and envy from entering our lives. A spirit of thanksgiving creates a sense of peace, harmony, unity of mind and a sense of community. Thanksgiving creates an environment where we are all unified in spirit and working together for the common good. When we come before God with a spirit of thanksgiving we appreciate what God has given us. We never need to worry about what we need or want because not only do we understand that God gives us everything that we have, but also that He will always provide the things that we need. If we are a thankful people who are controlled by the Spirit and by the word of God, then we will reveal it in our worship to God and in the way we live. Instead of imitating the world we will be led by the Word and the Spirit to be joyful in the Lord, submissive to the Lord, and thankful to the Lord. Friends a spirit of thanksgiving helps us to overcome some of the sins that can so easily invade our lives. Idolatry, pride, greed, selfishness and ingratitude. 

It was when our first parents Adam and Eve became “unthankful” that our world began to spiral into sin and judgement. Instead of being thankful for what they had, Adam and Eve believed the lie of Satan that God was holding out on them and it was this jealousy and desire for more that led to their sin. A thankful spirit is a triumphant spirit. Friends we need to be thankful for what God has done for us.
God calls us to have a thankful attitude. You know a spirit of thanksgiving is an inviting one. It creates a positive atmosphere rather than a negative one. Just like a negative attitude is contagious; so too is a spirit of joy and thanksgiving. When we are joyful and thankful, people want to be around us and they are lifted up and encouraged.

Are we a joyful people?
Do we live a life in a spirit of thankfulness to one true God who loves us and provides for us?
Can we like the Psalmist truly say “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with praise?”
When we read Psalm 100 is it a true prayer from our hearts or is it just lip service before God? 
I pray that we will be a thankful people.  A people who are not only thankful for what God gives to us but also for the people who tirelessly work to serve our God. 
"For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen."
Romans 11:36

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