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Sing his praises (Psalm 96)

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au

Some things are just meant to be shared

Some things are just meant to be shared. We ought not to keep them to ourselves.

  • Movies

While you can go to the movies by yourself, I think that the whole experience of going to the movies is better when you share it with someone else. I don’t think that I have ever gone to the movies by myself. If no one from my family is interested in seeing what I want to see at the movies, I’ll ring up a friend and see if they are interested in coming along. Some things are better when we share them with others, and I think going to the movies is one of those things. But of course, there are some things that are not just better when we share them with others, there are things that we a meant to share with others. There are things we ought to share with others.

  • Cadbury Favourites

I believe that I’ve mention on several occasions how sometimes I have been given a box of chocolate with the instruction that they are for me and the family. What I’m of course meant to do if I’ve been given say a box of Cadbury Favourites is take them home and open them up there and pass them around and share them with the family. Imagine the disappointment of the person who might have given me the Cadbury Favourites if they found that they didn’t make it out of my office here at the church. A box of chocolates is the sort of thing that you are meant to share with others.

The song of salvation

Today I want to just make what really is a very simple point. We are all to be involved in sharing the good news of salvation with others. Today we are looking at Psalm 96 where the psalmist makes it clear that God’s people are to be singing the song of salvation and declaring his great works among all people and we are to be doing it day after day. God’s people aren’t meant to be keeping this song of salvation to ourselves, but we are meant to be sharing it with others inviting them to join in singing his song. Our calling as God’s people to share the good news, the gospel, with all the families of the earth. We ought to be doing this. The people of God are given a specific instruction in Psalm 96 to proclaim his salvation day after day – to declare it among the nations.

Psalm 96:1-3

Sing a new song to the LORD; let the whole earth sing to the LORD. 2 Sing to the LORD, blesshis name; proclaim his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his wondrous works among all peoples.[1]

 God’s people are to proclaim His salvation. In verses 1 to 3 there are no less than six imperatives. We are told to “sing” three times, told to “bless”, “proclaim” and to “declare”. What we are to sing about is his salvation, what the Lord has done to redeem his people and make them his own.  We are to declare his glory by singing and telling others of his wonderous work which are his saving deeds. While the glory of the Lord can be seen in the things that the Lord has made what is uppermost in the psalmist thoughts are his acts of salvation (see also Psalm 98:1). We are to proclaim these things and “spread them abroad day after day until all people and nations know about his glory.”[2]

God’s people are to proclaim what God has done to rescue them so that others too might join in this new song, this song of praise to the Lord. The idea behind the word proclaim is that we are to tell others and make this news public. The word that has been translated “to proclaim” might have been used to instruct a messenger. The Greek version of the OT translated this word using the verb from which we get the word which to ‘evangelise’ which has that sense of bringing good news.  For us this means telling others the gospel story for this is the Lord’s great act of salvation that is good news for all people. This is the good news that is to be preached to everyone.

Today, I want to look at the reasons the psalmist gives for proclaiming salvation to others for we all need to be convinced and certain that this is exactly what God is calling all of us to do.  We are not to keep this song to ourselves. What God has done to save us is something we are meant to share with others. It is something that we, God’s people, ought to share, and are called to share, and even commanded to announce. Our world might want us to keep this song to ourselves – to just keep it in here on a Sunday, but God wants you to part of a group of people who are singing his praise not only when we come together on a Sunday but day after day. He wants you to be declaring His glory to the nations.

Why sing this song?

Why are Christians to share the good news with others? Why sing the song day after day? Why spend the rest of your life singing it to everyone?

  • Everyone ought to worship the Lord.

The first reason is everyone ought to worship the Lord. He is worthy of all our praise. It is right for people everywhere to praise him for who he is and what he has done for us. The Lord is great and worthy of all our worship.

Psalm 96:4-5

For the LORD is great and is highly praised; he is feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

  •  Unlike the gods of the nations (who are mere idols) the Lord made everything 

Everyone ought to worship him for there is only one God and he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the other gods are “worthless idols”. They are not real gods, for they are nothing but manmade things that have no life in them. Unlike the unreal gods of the nations the Lord made the heavens. He made everything that there is and everyone who has ever existed. He therefore is worthy of all our praise and his people want to see him glorified and honoured. In the last book of the Bible John is given a vision of all creation coming together to worship the Lord. What they declare as they gather around the throne of God is that he is worthy of all praise because he created everything.

Revelation 4:11

11You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.

There is only one God who made everything and everyone and that is why everyone needs to hear about him for all people need to worship Him and Him alone. This is the first reason why we ought to be proclaiming his great deeds to all people. Our God is worthy of all praise. He is worthy of everyone’s praise.

I often think we forget this. We sometimes worry about whether it is right for Christians to come along and preach the gospel to those who have who have their own god and their own beliefs and customs and ways of doing things. Yet the Bible says that there is a good reason for preaching to the nations. All their gods are mere idols. “The Hebrew word for ‘idols’ (eililm) basically means ‘nothingness/worthlessness’.”[3] The Bible claims that the so-called gods of the nations are in fact non- existent. They are empty and valueless for there is only one God and it is everyone’s duty or honour and privilege to worship him.

As believers we are to help people to see this reality. We are to help people see the world as it really is – it is God’s world – and they are to join in singing his song. We preach to everyone because there is only one God, and he is to be worshipped by all the earth.

  • He can be known

The good news is that God who has made everything has made himself known. He has introduced himself. He has a name. We can know him. His name is the LORD.

When you see the word LORD written in capitals in your Bible you need to recognise that this isn’t a title like what might be used by the English nobility (Like Lord Greystone, or Lord Bryon). It is rather God’s name by which he made himself know to the people of Israel. It perhaps would be better translated “Yahweh”. It’s his personal name. The Creator has introduced himself. He has made it possible to know him.

Many years ago know Bette Midler sang a song called “From a distance”. It was a song that described God looking down at the world from a great distance merely watching. The song portrayed God as distant and remote and uninvolved in our lives. That’s how unfortunately many today think of God. He might have created the world, but he has left it to go on its own merry way. If there is a god he is not interested in what goes on in our lives. But God is not like this. He has come close to us and He has revealed himself and made himself known. He has got a name. He is the Lord, and he invites us to draw near and worship him.

  • He invites us to draw near

We therefore come with a message that the nations need to hear. It is a gracious invitation to acknowledge God for who he is (to give him the honour due to him) and to draw near to him. This invitation is found in verses 7 to 9.

Psalm 96:7-9

 7 Ascribe to the LORD, you families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; bring an offering and enter his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him.

  •  We draw near through the sacrifice of the Son 

The word “ascribe” is used three times to call or summon people everywhere to acknowledge the Lord and come into his presence.  We come into his presence by bringing an offering – one that makes it possible for us to draw near to him who is a holy God. For us this offering is one that he has set apart for us before the beginning of time. The NT makes it clear that we can only have this confidence to enter the Most Holy Place and draw near to God because of the offering of His Son.

Hebrews 10:19-22

 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

It is the LJC that makes this worship of the true and living God possible. All the burnt and sin offerings that Israel made were only pointing towards the one true offering of the Lord Jesus. He deals with our sin completely. In him we have been forgiven and reconciled to God. It is the Lord Jesus who makes it possible for people to join in and sing this new song, this song of salvation. Therefore we are to preach the good news of Jesus and declare his glory among the nations. The invitation goes out to the nations through the gospel for them to be reconciled to God. This is the message that we are to declare to the nations.

(2) The Lord is coming in judgment

The first reason for sharing the gospel is everyone ought to worship the Lord. It’s about who God is and what he has done to redeem us so that we can draw near to him. The second reason for proclaiming the good news to others is a day of judgment is coming when everyone will stand before the Lord. This also is what must be explained to the nations.

Psalm 96:10-13

 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken.  He judges the peoples fairly.” 11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound. 12 Let the fields and everything in them celebrate.  Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy 13 before the LORD, for he is coming— for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his faithfulness.

  • The Lord is coming to put everything right

The Lord is coming to put everything right for he reigns and judges fairly. This is why the heavens rejoice and the earth is to be glad, and the fields are to be jubilant and why the trees sing for joy. Finally, the day will come when our world will be released from the frustration that it has been subjected to on account of the sin of humanity (see Romans 8:18-22). God will release it so that it can be all that he intended it to be. The Bible looks forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells and not the corruption and wickedness that we see now (2 Peter 3:13). We will look forward to a day where there will be no more war, no more dying, no more pain and suffering and when every tear will be wiped away (Rev. 21:4). The Lord’s coming will be a great day where everyone and everything will sing God’s praise, but it will also be a day of judgment.

  • The Lord is coming in judgment

This is the other reason that we need to preach the good news to the nations. We need to proclaim His salvation so that people might be forgiven and be ready for His coming. This is the only way that they might be delivered from the judgment and share in the new heavens and the new earth. The fact is that our neighbours and our friends and family need to hear the message of God’s salvation. They need to be given the invitation so that they might draw near to God and be numbered among the righteous.

This is a second reason why we must promote the gospel and keep sing the song and proclaiming the salvation of the Lord. God is coming in judgement and people need to be ready for that day. They need to be rescued from His judgment. We not only need to help people see the reality of the one true God, but the gospel gets our friends and families ready to stand before Him to sing the new song. They need to hear the message so that when the whole earth becomes the temple of the Lord, the dwelling place of God, they are there singing praises to the Lord.

Sing His praises

In the busyness of Christmas what we need to remember is that just like God’s people of old, we are to be a people who are singing God’s praises, proclaiming his salvation As the apostle Peter wrote to believers…

2 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises, of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

The people around us need to hear the song of salvation. They need to hear God’s people proclaiming the praises of him who called us out of darkness. The might look like they have it all together, but their gods are nothing but meaningless idols. They might not be the crude figures that people once carved out of wood or crafted out of silver or gold and then stuck up on a shelf in their home, but people are still living their lives for things that don’t last and that will ultimately prove to be completely empty and worthless in the scheme of things. Here on the north shore they might look like they have it all together, with everything that they need, the right education, good careers and enough money to buy the things that they want in life, but they aren’t prepared for the coming of the Lord. They haven’t joined in the song of salvation and aren’t ready for the day of judgment and they will miss out on the new thing that God is doing, the new heavens and earth. If we don’t sing the song of salvation and declare his glory, then they won’t be joining in on that day.

I sometimes think that we are tempted to think that there is nothing that we can say to people who, at least on the surface, seems to have it all together. But we don’t simply preach Christ because he gives people a better and more fulfilled and happier life. He does that but the gospel isn’t just about being happier it is about the reality that people need to come to grips with. Our God is worthy to be praised and honoured. All people should ought to worshipping him for his worthy. All people need to be right with God. This world is passing away. Our lives are short. We are to be proclaiming his praise and declaring his glory for one day they will stand before God in judgment.

  • Everyone needs to hear the song

All people need to hear of his marvellous deeds, and they only do this as his people sing the song of salvation loud enough for others to hear it. We need to keep proclaiming his salvation day after day. We have been given a marvellous message of what God has done to save us and we are meant to share it with others. We are meant to keep it to ourselves. We are meant to be spreading it around and passing it on to so that all people hear the good news.

As the angel said to the shepherds that first Christmas what he had for them was good news which was for all the people, that on that day, in the town of Bethlehem a Saviour had been born for them (Luke 2:10-11). At Christmas time we sing his song, praising God and declaring his glory. Christmas is a great opportunity for literally doing this – singing his praises and inviting others to join in singing with us. This Christmas we will be out on the street carolling and singing God’s praises for sending to Son into the world. Pray that many will hear the song and want to join in. Invite others to come and celebrate Christmas with us – ask them to the Carol service or the Christmas day service.

Friends, we have a message that is for everyone. Everyone needs to worship the Lord. The man or woman in Chatswood with the wonderful house needs to worship the Lord. So too does the mum down at school with her kids and the guy at your work that is difficult to get along with or your neighbour who you chat with over the fence. We are to be declaring his glory among so that all people might have that opportunity to hear the song of salvation.

Learn to sing the song day by day

Friends, the gospel is a message that we are meant to share with everyone and not keep to ourselves. So, let’s learn to sing the song out loud. Let’s sing it this Christmas so that others can hear it. Let’s bless his name and proclaim his salvation day by day.

Psalm 96:4

 For the LORD is great and is highly praised; he is feared above all gods.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are taken from the Christian Standard Bible. (2020). Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Marvin E Tate, Psalm 51-100, Word Bible Commentary page 512.

[3] John Dickson, Promoting the gospel, 21.