Sermons

Covering God with Thankfulness

Sun, Mar 03, 2019
Teacher: Mark Hull
Passage: Psalm 100:1-5
Duration:25 mins 45 secs

Message text

Covering God With Thankfulness
Psalms 100:1-5

Have you ever met someone who just seemed impossible to please ?
A large dog walks into a butcher shop carrying a purse in its mouth. He puts the purse down and sits in front of the meat case. "What is it, boy?" the butcher jokingly asks. "Want to buy some meat?" "Woof!" barks the dog. "Hmm," says the butcher. "What kind? Liver, bacon, steak . . ." "Woof!" interrupts the dog.
"And how much steak? Half a pound, one pound . . ." "Woof!" The amazed butcher wraps up the meat and finds the money in the dog’s purse. As the dog leaves a man waiting in line is watching everything that happened.
He decides to follow the dog. It goes down the street and enters an apartment house, climbs to the third floor and begins scratching at a door. With that, the door swings open and an angry man starts shouting at the dog.
"Stop!" yells the man. "He’s the most intelligent animal I’ve ever seen!" "Intelligent?" says the man. "This is the third time this week he’s forgotten his key."
You ever feel like that man? You see something amazing and it is met with a less than enthusiastic and unthankful response?
Let’s take a look at our text for this morning’s lesson:
Psalms 100:1-5
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I read the story about a couple named Mary and Jim and their dog 'Lucky.' Lucky was an unusual dog. Whenever company come for a weekend visit Mary and Jim had to warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something turned up missing. Then Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys STAYED in his box.
One day Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease.... she was sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, and - the night before go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky - and a thought struck her: what would happen to Lucky? Lucky was HER dog. She thought: “If I die, Lucky will feel abandoned. He won't understand that she didn't want to leave him!” And that thought made her sadder... than the thought of her own death.
The operation was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and she was hospitalized for over two weeks. At home, Jim took Lucky for his evening walk, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.
When Mary finally got to go home, she was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom.
So she spent the night on the couch. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. She was so exhausted she finally went to sleep.
But she woke some time during the night sensing something was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. Then, she began to laugh. The reason she couldn’t move was because she was literally covered with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, her dog had made trip after trip to the basement bring her all his favorite things. He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. Years later Mary was still cancer-free.
Lucky covered her with his love.
Last week we talked about how God showed His love FOR US, by the things He Created, by the Bible He’s given us, and – most importantly – by the gift of His only begotten Son.
This week – we’re going to talk about one of the ways that we can show our love FOR HIM. There are many ways that we can show our love for God, but Psalm 100 is talking about how we can show that love in our worship.
Look again: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! ... Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100:1-2 & 4
One of the meanings of “Worship” is “to adore.” The idea is to praise Him, sing to Him, give thanks to Him and to bless His name. Now this is important on a couple level. First --- it is the mark of what God’s people do.
• Psalm 22:23 says “You who fear the LORD, praise him!”
• Psalm 33:1 tells us Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
• And Psalm 135:3 declares “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!”
• But Psalm 115:17-18 goes one step further: The dead praise not [a]Jehovah,
Neither any that go down into silence;
18 But we will bless [b]Jehovah
From this time forth and for evermore.
[c]Praise ye Jehovah.
God’s people are expected to praise God and give Him thanks... it’s what we do!
ILLUS: The story is told of an old farmer who was sitting down at a restaurant. When his food was served he bowed his head to give thanks.
At the next table a bunch of young men snickered at the sight and one shouted out. "Hey, old man, does everyone do that out where you live?"
The old man calmly replied, "No, son. Pigs don't!"
Giving thanks and giving praise... is what WE DO! It’s one of the ways we express our love for God. When we praise Him, and sing praises to Him and worship Him we’re behaving a little like that dog Lucky... we literally cover our Master with our love.
Now WHERE can we do that? Where can we worship God? Well... just about anywhere. Old Testament greats like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshiped God in the wilderness. David worshiped out on the hills while taking care of father’s sheep. The prophet Daniel worshiped God in the quietness of his room. You can worship God anywhere!
But what’s interesting about Psalm 100 is that it talks about “GOING” someplace to worship. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!” Psalm 100:4
Jeremiah says pretty much the same thing “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD.” Jeremiah 7:2
Going someplace to worship God - with others - is a common concept in Bible. God asked His Old Testament people to come to the Temple to worship. They could praise God (and pray to God, and sing to God) ANYWHERE. But when push came to shove, the major focus of worship for the people of God was at the temple.
What God was doing here was driving home the fact that worship isn’t about US! God never designed worship to be a “Lone Ranger” kind of thing where we could go off into our own little corner and ignore the rest of God’s people.
God has called His people to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Ephesians 2:19-22 says 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
And when you do it right, people’s lives change. Paul wrote the Corinthians that “(when) an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” I Corinthians 14:24-25
When we assemble together and worship correctly, we create an atmosphere where newcomers – even unbelievers – are convicted of their need to worship God because WE are worshiping the way we should. In a sense I think we make them jealous of the love we have for God.
So church worship is when we gather together to sing praises, give thanks, and give praise. It’s what we DO as Christians. And, it’s what God asks of us. He desires that we PRAISE Him, and THANK Him, and SING to Him.
Now there are people who have a problem with that. A lot of skeptics and atheists have mocked our faith because our God asks His people to praise Him, and thank Him, and sing to Him. They attack our God and make fun of Him because this seems so selfish and egotistical and self-focused.
But why? Why would God NEED our praises and our thanks, etc.?
Well here’s the deal - God doesn’t. God doesn’t NEED our praises and our thanks. God doesn’t - but WE DO! We’re the ones who need to do this.
Someone once said that everyone is born with a “God sized” hole inside them. There’s this need inside of all of us to worship SOMETHING. It could be a worship of wealth or sex, or possessions, or power. And if we don’t fill that hole inside you with God - something will fill that void. And most often, the something that fills this hole in our lives... will be “me.”
You see, if God isn’t the one I worship... my life will no longer be ruled by His standards. At that point it will all be about what “I” think is right or wrong. It will be all about ME as the measure of righteousness (everyone is compared to my self-righteousness). It will all be about a shifting set of morality based upon what benefits ME and pleases ME
You see, we’re all made in the image of God. We all have one common set of ancestors (Adam and Eve).
No matter what shade of color our skin is, we’re all related.
Shortly after the Civil War, someone wrote a cute little children’s song that goes this way:
“Jesus loves the little children .
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
It’s been a popular Christian song for decades. It’s a great song because that’s EXACTLY what God’s attitude is, and always has been.
But you see, here’s the deal: our praises acknowledge that God is bigger than we are and that we need Him and that we realize how much He has blessed us.
Our praises to God “ARE NOT” required because God is egotistical and self-centered. Oh no. Our praise to God is required of us because - if we don’t do it, then WE will become egotistical and self-centered.
CLOSE: There’s a story in the Gospels that illustrates this perfectly. Luke 7 tells of a time early in Jesus’ ministry where He has begun to become popular. It seems that everywhere He goes; people flock to hear Him and be healed by Him.
He’s loved by everyone... except the Pharisees. The Pharisees hate Him. And they’ve done everything they can think of to destroy Him – but nothing seems to be working. But then, a Pharisee named Simon thinks he has an idea.
He invites Jesus to his home for a great banquet and invites all kinds of people there to meet Him. At first glance you’d think Simon was trying to honor Jesus... but that wasn’t the plan.
From the moment Jesus arrives at Simon’s home, Simon does everything he can to insult Christ. He refuses to wash Jesus’ feet (a common courtesy for guests), refuses to anoint His head or even greet Him with a kiss. These would be expected ways of greeting an honored guest.
But then, a woman enters the room. She wasn’t invited. In fact, she would never have been invited to a place of honor in that city. She was a prostitute.
Why had she come? I suspect she’d heard of Jesus and merely wanted to see Him. He’d have been one of the celebrities of the age. I believe she merely wanted to see Him and then slip quietly out the backdoor before anybody was the wiser.
But when she gets close to Him, something shakes her. There was something about being this close to Jesus that overwhelmed her. I believe she sensed how pure and righteous Jesus was... and suddenly she realized how sinful and shameful she was by comparison, and she began to weep.
Her tears have streaked the unwashed feet of Jesus and now she’s so ashamed that she kneels down at His feet, anoints His feet with her perfume and dries them with her hair.
Now Simon has been watching this little drama unfold, and I can see him... smile. This man claims to be a prophet, but He doesn’t even know who this woman is!” All Simon has to do to destroy Jesus is destroy this woman - to expose her for what she is in front of all of his guests.
Now Jesus can handle insults. He’s been insulted by better people than Simon. But He will NOT allow this woman to be treated like that. And with the skill of a surgeon Jesus begins to cut away at the hypocrisy of this Pharisee.
Jesus says: “Simon, I have something to tell you.” Simon responds: “What is it you want to tell me... teacher.” And Jesus tells this story.
“There were once 2 men who owed moneylender a great deal of money. One owed about $50,000. Another owed about $5,000 (the text speaks of pence or denarii, but I took the liberty of describing their debts in current monetary values). Neither of these debtors could repay their debt, and so the money lender – thinking to cut his losses - cancelled the debt of both. Now, Simon, which would love the moneylender more?"
Simon responded “I suppose the one who owed the most – loved the most.”
Jesus responded: “Well said Simon, you have judged correctly.”
In Luke 7:44-50 we’re told the rest of the story: “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head but she has poured perfume on my feet.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-- for she loved much.”
And then Jesus rebukes Simon with these words: “But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” You see, Simon was a good Pharisee. He didn’t think he needed much forgiving because he was a“righteous” man. He didn’t love much, because he’d never felt he needed forgiving much.
And I realize it all came down to this – he who has been forgiven much, loves much. They are the ones who are most likely to “cover God with their love” in their praises and singing and worship.
But unless you belong to Jesus, it doesn’t matter how much you praise or sing or thank God. For your worship to matter, you must first belong to Christ.
INVITATION

This sermon is based on
a sermon given by Jeff Strite.

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