AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH – August 14, 2005
Presbyterian Call to Worship
The Small Psalm of Great Depth
I SERVICE WITH GLADNESS vv. 1-2
Why be disconsolate, sad, let alone melancholy. If you know God, then the most precious wonder, greatest power, sweetest goodness is yours. What is there to be sad about ? Do you not want to serve Him ? is it only to BE served that is your desire ? How then do you relate to the One whose service is to bear sin, have physical life extinguished, die and be resurrected on a sinful globe to restore such as you to Him and to heaven! If not, then why not! Remember Colossians 1:11:
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,
and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,
being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power,
for all patience and longsuffering with joy …”
II KNOWLEDGE IN HIM, CREATION BY HIM v. 3
Next, know that He is the Lord. His word is not a suggestion box, but a command (see Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission, Luke 6:46). You know Him by His New Covenant in His own blood (Matthew 26:28). When you receive Him in this way as Saviour, He has borne not only your griefs, but your sins (Isaiah 53:4-6). It is interesting that Matthew 8:16-17 notes on an occasion when Christ healed all the many who came for healing, to Him, that this was to fulfil that passage in Isaiah (53:4). This is an illustration that a prediction may have many phases or aspects. In bearing our grief or sickness, He exhibits the breath of His compassion and concern, His heartfelt desire for us. Yet it does not mean at all that He bears the sickness of ALL, for in the fulfilment there is a series of applications. Nor does it SAY that He would heal ALL the griefs or sicknesses; but that He would heal, He Himself, bearing them.
This He did. When however He bore the sins of those healed in spirit (Isaiah 53:5-6), the ‘we’, this means that this entire group is covered. IF you are one whose spirit is healed by His stripes (not by His ministrations of sickness comfort), then you are one whose sins He has borne. If not, in the end, then as Christ Himself declared, you will die in your sins (John 8:24). Notice that in I Peter 2:22-25, it interprets Isaiah 53:6, by saying to the Christians that by His stripes you are healed, “FOR YOU WERE LIKE SHEEP GOING ASTRAY” – showing that these stripes covered sin as such, straying!
It is then that we are “the sheep of His pasture” as in the Psalm.
But He is GOD, and it is He who made us, so that in becoming such sheep, we do well; we are back home with our Creator, who is now our Redeemer.
It is, says the Psalm, HE who made us and not WE ourselves!
We did not make our minds
our spirits or bodies
or the ways we can understand
the things that the Lord makes;
we did not make our freedom -
for all this God, the LORD, made.
BUT we made our own sin,
Nor did we make our peace with God, which is a
gift by grace (Romans 5:17),
by anything we either did or could do;
But God made this too, by dying in the person of
His Son, on the Cross,
to draw away sin onto Himself (Isaiah 53:6, Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3),
for it is this which separates, severs, cuts off the relationship with God (Is. 59:1-2).
Even your coming to Him is in the last analysis, His decided will (Matthew 11:27),
but remember, He would that all should come
(Colossians 1:19ff., I Tim 2.1-6).
III THANKS, PRAISE AND BLESSING TO HIM v. 4
You have now come ?
Come then with thanks. Come to Church with praise:
a ‘praise’ service is not a performance but an outlet!
BLESS His name, as shown in Psalm 103,
because it IS blessed and you know it, want to show it!
IV EVERLASTING GLORY IS HIS v. 5
God is GOOD, Everlasting and MERCIFUL, Eternally TRUTH. John Masefield’s poem,
The Everlasting Mercy is a wonderful depiction and you are exhorted to read it!
This is something which wells up in you, covers you, entices you, invites you, softens edges,
gives you a cleft in the rock, like Moses, for drawing near to God, encourages you, teaches you
in all your relationships with others. Mercy needs to be received, but it is wonderful to show! Remember the parable of the one forgiven much, and the one little (in Luke 7:40-48), and that of the cruel debtor who though forgiven, did not forgive someone who owed him a mere trifle (by comparison – Matthew 16:22-35).
God’s creation, redemption, mercy never change, nor does His covenant,
the everlasting covenant of Revelation 14, nor does His Gospel (as in Galatians 1);
nor does His Lordship, dynamically directing our steps. WAIT ON HIM!
Remember, in that you do what is good and merciful and kind to the least of His servants, you do it to Him, but if you bully, drive, afflict and prove stubbornly selfish and insist on being out of control, how then are you His servant, and if not, how can you ‘serve Him with gladness! If you are sad, is there not a reason ?
If you are glad, because of Him, your joy no man takes from you (John 16:20,22).
Perhaps for now a heaviness afflicts you, but it will pass if you are His,
when He has established you (I Peter 4:14,5:9-11). Remember I Peter 1:6 comes before 1:8.
If you are reproached for His sake, then the spirit of God and of glory rests on you (I Peter 4:14); and even beyond the pangs of stabilising and strengthening, remember I Peter 1:8: “whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”