"Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 100)
We serve an All-Powerful, Ever-Present, and All-Knowing God. A God that has made the supreme sacrifice to restore our fellowship with Him that we may abide in His presence forever. It was nothing on our part for we all fall short of His Holiness. Yet, through His Son Jesus Christ, He has made a way that we can come into His presence. When we enter His gates we must do so in faith knowing He is God and knowing who God is. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)
In previous times and now, services unto the Lord for worship start with Praise and Thanksgiving to God. As only He is worthy of our Praise. "For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods." (Psalm 96:4 NIV) None can in right manor approach God who daily pours out His blessings upon His people, more than we know and much more than we deserve, without bowing before Him in praise. We must seek Him in humility thus knowing our dependence upon His goodness. Praising God prepares our heart to receive His truth in our spirit.
This Psalm of Praise exhorts all the earth to Praise Him as the heavens do. Job knew of the praise that the heavens gave to its Creator. Job knew long before NASA confirmed the stars sing praises to God. "When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7) The earth itself praises God, and all that grows from it. "Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; For He is coming to judge the earth." (1 Chronicles 16:33) Even the creatures of the sea are commanded to give praise to the Holy God their creator. "Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths." (Psalm 148:7 NIV) Man, the crown of God’s creation, should approach the gates of God in Praise, as all of His creation knows that He is worthy. Many a man seldom has the courtesy to give God thanks.
We have here an invitation to come and worship Him in gladness for He is our God and provider. He provides us with what we cannot buy, our time, talent, and treasure. We have nothing to bring to Him but our heart and our service. "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5) The Lord loves a cheerful giver, (2 Corinthians 9:7) and we come in the ordinance that He has decreed praise. As we do we are drawing nearer to Him and He will draw nearer to us. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8)
Whether at home or in our Church, we can go through our prayers of praise and melody of heart sing to Him in our own holy of holies. We, as His Son Jesus, have come to worship and attend unto Him our God. We have arrived in our hearts proper attire of Praise and worship to enter into His courts to commune with our Heavenly Father. As we come into His courts with gladness and special holy joy for the privilege that we have been given our real fellowship is an honor unto God. Through His gospel message we have been called and set apart as the Children of God, and this is the reason for our gladness, as we have been called to come into His house. "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD." (Psalm 122:1) It is a time of Praise, gladness, thanksgiving, and worship.
It is not a time for our comfort as our comfort is in the Lord, but we are there to glorify God with our joy for by His grace He has permitted us into His house to offer our sacrifice of praise. "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15) We have come unto His house to learn of God and who He is and who He is in us.
We come to learn and meditate upon these things. We learn that the Lord He is God, the only living God. "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me." (Isaiah 46:9) God is our Creator. It is He that made us and not we ourselves. Others worship gods of their own making, but we worship the God that created us. He knitted our bodies together in the womb, and He breathed the spirit of life into our bodies. All men are His possession by creation, but the Christian is twice His by creation and redemption. Therefore we are not our own as all belong to God.
God is the sovereign of the universe. All of creation is of His making and subject to His Divine will. All creation operates under the Word of His Law. As followers of Jesus Christ, the Christians are His moral agents. All of creation will be held accountable for the actions that they take physically, mentally and for man spiritually. We are at liberty to be forgiven through His grace for our missteps, but we are not at liberty to live as we will but under His will. The Christian is not only His sheep who belong to Him but the sheep of His pasture. "For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” (Psalm 95:7-8)
God is good and therefore does good. He is a God of infinite goodness and mercy which is everlasting and endures forever. The saints who are vessels of His mercy will in eternity be glorified monuments of His mercy. God is faithful and true. The word of His truth shall endure forever and not go forth without accomplishing the work through us. "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11) The heavenlies praise Him, the earth praises Him, and all creation praises Him. Man if you desire to enter His gates, then praise and worship Him for He soon comes to judge the quick and the dead. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war." (Revelation 19:11)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, September 11, 2015