Advent 2019: Rediscovering Christmas: Fifth Sunday: Life after Christmas-12/29/19

Rediscovering LIFE after Christmas

Text: Psalm 98

Introduction: PP: Johann Sabastian Bach, the great composer once said

All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment!

PP:

Bach began his compositions with J.J. (Jesus Juva) which means ‘Jesus help me’.
He ended his compositions with S.D.G (Soli Dei gratia) which means ‘To God alone the praise!’

PP: Next Slide

Music is such an important part of our lives. Think about it: Music is all around us:

Theater, movies, TV shows, stores, malls, elevators, public restrooms, pubs, restaurants.
It’s on our phones, stereos, mp3 players (if you still have one) Internet, cars.
It’s played at sporting events, in schools, in common areas in the workplace.
It’s heard when birds sing, crickets chirp and frogs ribbit.
It’s indelibly etched into our minds and hearts. (How is it I can remember words to songs I heard 40 years ago but I can remember 5 things I need to get from Shoprite w/o writing a list?)

Music touches our hearts and minds like nothing else… and I believe God intended it that way.

Over and over in the Bible we read:

Sing a new song unto the Lord.

I believe God tells us that for a least 3 reasons:

To find new, fresh ways to express our praise, our honor, our love to God.
To find new, fresh ways for God’s Word, to touch our hearts and influence our lives.
To find new, fresh ways to express our thanks to God for His mercies that are new each morning.

Song writers and musicians have been doing that… well, almost forever. Even in the church:

PP: Fanny Crosby: Wrote over 8000 hymns!

Blessed Assurance, He HidethMy Soul, Praise Him! Praise Him!, Rescue the Perishing, Near the Cross, To God Be the Glory.

All new songs in her day, written and intended to be sung to the glory of God.

PP: Chris Tomlin: While not as a prolific songwriter as Fanny Crosby, has written and sung over 500 new songs to the Lord.

Good, Good Father, Jesus Messiah, Forever, Holy is the Lord, Even So, Come, Enough, All to Us, Home, Everlasting God, Unfailing Love, and many more.

Two very different songwriter/musicians, who lived in two very different times in history and who had two very different styles of songs and singing.

But BOTH had a tremendous impact not only on the Christians of their day, not only on Christians today, but I suspect for generations to come until the Lord returns.

But, there’s one more I want to mention who lived a bit earlier than either Crosby or TomlinHis name was PP: Isaac Watts.

Background: (Dave McFadden) A young boy once complained to his father that most of the hymns they sang in church

were boring to him too far behind the times

tiresome tunes and meaningless words.

His father put an end to his son’s complaints by saying, “If you think you can write better hymns, then why don’t you?” The boy went to his room and wrote his first hymn, “When I Survey TheWondrous Cross.” The year was 1690, and that teenager was Isaac Watts who also wrote:

Come, We that Love the Lord, Our God, Our Help in Ages Past, Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed, I Sing the Mighty Power of God, Andmany more including one well sing today, Joy to the World.

Did you know that Isaac Watts didnt intend ‘Joy to the World’ to be a Christmas song? While it certainly is not wrong to sing it at Christmas, its real meaning is tied to Psalm 98.

You see, Watts wrote ‘Joy to the World’ to be a commentary, of sorts, on Psalm 98.

PP: Next Slide

Please allow me one more moment before I get into our text for the morning.

How was your Christmas? I’ve heard a few people say ‘I’m so glad Christmas is over!’ Perhaps you’ve thought or said that yourself.

You see, for far too many, even many Christians, this Christmas season was celebrated with little real thought of Christ.

So when the Christmas season is over, we just move on, we get back to the routine of life… whatever that may be for you.

But here’s the thing, especially for those who are saved by God’s grace and as a result are followers of Jesus… the Christmas season is just the START of life for us.

So… I believe its fitting we end the Christmas Season, with Watt’s song ‘Joy to the World.Because though it, we can rediscover Life After Christmas,as we return to the concept of Advent.

You see, as the Christmas Season is primarily about preparing for the coming of Jesus to the manger in Bethlehem,
Advent also includes preparing for the second coming of Jesus in glory, to consummate all things under His reign…

Forever.

It’s the advent theme of Jesus’ promised return, that fuels, not only Psalm 98, but the song ‘Joy to the World.

Transition: So, open your Bibles to Psalm 98.

Psalm 98:1-3 Be Joyful: God Reveals!

PP: Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things! His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Psalm 98 is one of my favorite Psalms because it’s so full of praise, of shouting, of music, of clapping, of singing… of JOY! For Jesus’ promised return.

Verses 1-3 recount the first coming of Jesus to bring salvation to the world.

It refers, not as the Christmas carols do to the angels and manger, but to God’s calling to remember the marvelous things He has done by making known to us His Salvation.
It refers, not to the love of Mary for Jesus, but to the love of God for sinful humanity.

But, both Christmas carols andJoy to the World’ refer to the salvation that has come… in Jesus, as a result of God’s great love for humanity and His great faithfulness to His promises in the OT of the coming Messiah.

Christmas carols talk of the first coming of Jesus to bring forgiveness of sin, salvation is coming.
‘Joy to the World’ talks of Jesus’ return where sins and sorry will be no morebecause salvation in its fullness has arrived.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Joy to the world, God has done the work of salvation for us!

Psalm 98:4-6 Be Joyful: God Rules

PP: Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Perhaps these verses best give root to Watt’s song ‘Joy to the World.’

Jot to the World the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.

These verses look at Jesus as not being just Israel’s King, but as King of the whole earth.
Remember Jesus’ first coming was not particularly about His role as King, but as Savior.

Jesus has come.. again, in both the Psalm and the song, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords… let all the earth receive her King and rejoice!

Yes, those who have rejected Jesus will experience fear, but those who love His appearing, will rejoice.

It’s in verses 4-6 that our expression of joy, is commanded by God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord
Break forth in joyous song and sing praises
Sing praise to the Lord with a variety of instruments
Make a joyful noise to the Lord.

Friends, two things

First, God wants your life to be joy-ful!

Because He has saved you. (verses 1-3)
Because He is your King. (verses 4-6)

The Apostle Paul in Romans 15:13 writes:

PP: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

There’s only fullness of joy in those who believe in Jesus.

Second, God has given us a variety of ways to express our joy. PP: Do you see it in verses 4-6?

Make a joyful noise to the Lord
Break forth in joyous song and sing praises
Sing praise to the Lord with a variety of instruments
Make a joyful noise

Charles Spurgeon once said:

God is not the God of uniformity. There is a wondrous unity of plan and design in all He does, but there is also an equally marvelous variety.

Break forth in joyous song…

Gives the idea of being enthusiastic. Our joy when we come to worship God, should be boisterous and intoxicating!

Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Joy to the world, Jesusis KING! Jesus reigns!

Psalm 98:7-9 Be Joyful: God Returns

PP: Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Jesus’ return will be great joy to those who believe in Him… It also includes the seas, the world, the rivers and hills.

They will all rejoice at Jesus’ return and His coming judgment.

JTW:

And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Look, the reason we rejoice at Jesus’ return to judge the world is not because we want to see Jesus condemn people to Hell. But because Jesus will return to make all things right, and all things new.

When Jesus returns, we will be with Him forever. That’s why we rejoice!

But… that’s not the case for everyone. Here we again see Watt’s connection to Jesus’ second coming and to Psalm 98.

He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove. (JTW)
He comes to judge the earth… with righteousness… equity (Psalm 98:9)

Certainly we don’t see that yet.

But, one day, Jesus will return to judge the nations, all nations will be judges in righteousness and equity.

Certainly we don’t see that yet.

But, one day, God will make the nations bow down to Him.

The apostle John put it this way in PP: (2 slides) Revelation 19:11-16 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but Himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thighHe has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

You see everyone will meet Jesus when He returns, everyone… alive and dead. And they will meet Jesus:

Either in love… or in judgment.

In just a few moments when we sing ‘Joy to the World, perhaps you’ll think about how you, will met Jesus, when He returns?

PP: Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

Joy to the world… are you ready for His return?

Conclusion: Psalm 98 is a song of celebration!

It sings of the wonderful things God has already done AND the even greater things He has in store for us.

Is that God worthy of your praise? Is that God worthy

Of you make a joyful noise to the Lord?
Of you breaking forth in joyous song and singing praises?
Of you singing praise to the Lord with a variety of instruments?
Of you making a joyful noise to the Lord?

Has God done anything for you to celebrate?

At school, in the workplace, in your home?
How about here at CBC?

Is God getting the attention in your life that He deserves… demands?

As the Christmas season is over and you head into the new year, will God still be the object of your affection?
Will you rejoice over Him tomorrow and the next day, as you have during the Christmas season?

Is God hearing new songs in your heart?

Will you seek to find new, fresh ways to express your praise, your honor, your love to God?
Will you seek to find new, fresh ways for God’s Word to touch your hearts and influence your lives.
Will you seek to find new, fresh ways to express yourthanks to God for His mercies that are new each morning?

Yes, the Christmas season is over… but ADVENT can last throughout the year if… each day you remember to prepare for Jesus’ return.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

Church, sing a new song unto the Lord!

 

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