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Psalm 100
A Psalm for giving thanks.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

 

The purpose is established: to bless His Name! And who are they who will bless Him through thanksgiving and praise? According to this psalm, it shall be all the earth.  Not that every living being will do so for Scriptures do portray that there will be those who would call upon the mountains to fall upon them when the Lamb of God – Jesus Christ, shall return as King of the Ages to rule with an iron rod upon the nations who raged against Him (Rev. 6:15-16; Psalm 2:8-9). But this term ‘all the earth’ shall be those described in verse 3: the people belonging to Him, the sheep of His pasture.  Psalm 100 is termed as a “psalm of ascent”. It was meant to be sang as the believers stream towards the temple of God upward to Mount Zion where God has appointed to meet His people that they might worship and serve Him.  Although God is omnipresent, He has nevertheless appointed the temple at Jerusalem to be the place He will meet His people. Although this psalm, at the time it was being penned, strongly suggests a gathering of Jews and non-Israelite proselytes who worship the Lord (YHWH) at an appointed occasion in the annual Jewish calendar, it legitimately points forward to a time appointed by God when His Son, Jesus Christ, will be gathering  all who believe and trusted in Him, mediated by the Holy Spirit, into His  heavenly temple  for a grand assembly of redeemed to give thanks and praise….to bless His Name!

Jesus Christ is the type of that temple. In Him alone will God meet us. John the apostle wrote that when the Son came into the world in human form by means of the virgin birth, He dwelt among men (John 1:14). The Greek word for ‘dwelt’ is eskenosen, an old verb that means to pitch a tent (in the past tense). The term ‘pitched tent’ refers back to the first tabernacle (tent of meeting) designed by God and handed to Moses. From this began God’s gracious condescension with His people on a regular basis to instruct them, lead them, receive their worship and offerings, to bless them and be glorified among His chosen people. In John 14:6, Jesus plainly said that no one comes to the Father except by Him. He is God’s Tent of Meeting – the tabernacle or temple – where man is given the only means to reach, meet, commune with God and nowhere else. Repentance and faith in Christ alone are the only Holy Spirit-given graces for us to possess the right to enter into a relationship with God through Christ Jesus (John 1:12-13).

Jesus Christ describes His sheep as those who listen to His voice, those whom He knows and these are they who follow Him (John 10:27). He differentiates His sheep from those who are not – John 10:26 – these are those who do not believe Him.  And it is the believing flock that is referred in the psalm on both sides of the time-space history continuum in relation to the cross at Calvary.  This shall be flock that will enter finally into the presence of God forevermore at the return of Jesus Christ when time ceases to be and eternity begins for all the sheep of His pasture. On that day, there will be

 …no more temple for the Lord Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall be the temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, not anyone who does what is detestable of false, by only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” – Revelation 21:22-27

As each sheep of the Lord looks forward to that day of grand assembly in the presence of the Almighty, His steadfast love and faithfulness are continually proclaimed today, as in the past, to all generations. First, as an ongoing reminder among the redeemed to keep their hearts undivided and thankfully serving the One who saved them. Secondly, as the Gospel to the rest of humanity, so that they may know that  the day of reckoning shall one day finally come. And before that day, the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins in the Lord Jesus Christ – who died on the cross and rose again from the grave on the third day –  is available still to all who will repent and turn to Him in faith. This is the good news and the testimony of God’s unchanging love through His only begotten Son. Blessed be His Name, both now and forevermore!

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happy_anniversary_balloonJOGL has turrned 4 years old today and we did not celebrate it in an outwardly ostentatious way. We peeled away every appearance of what people normally would think of how anniversaries are held; no special numbers, no drama skits, no big band or sumptuous dinner table, guests, etc. No, we decided only for the what is truly essential – it’s all what we need to celebrate – the Lord and His gracious work.

From the Scriptures, we read 1 Peter 2:9-12…

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness ito His marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urged you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passion of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on that day of visitation.

The world today has its pursuits – material possession, hedonism, fame, self-worth, even a trivial pursuit for the elusive fountain of youth proven by the multi-billion dollar skin-care and food supplement business. Even the times past have shown us that people would even bury their dead with their possessions, including living servants as in the case of Pharaohs in their pyramid which were actually burial tombs, with the hopes that they will take these possessions into the other world.  But really, when its time to crossover into eternity, nothing in this world can be taken with us.  Job succinctly said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return” (Job 2:31a).  As Christians, only what was done by God in Christ Jesus for us shall remain for eternity so that God is truly glorified.

We recounted what God has made us in His Son:

  • a chosen race – in love, God predestined us for adoption through the Son according to the purpose of His will to the praise of His glorious grace,
  • royal priesthood – as living stones built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,
  • holy nation – washed by the blood of the Lamb and sanctified daily by the Spirit through the Word,
  • a people for His own possession – Jesus Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession zealous for good works,
  • heralds of His excellencies to the world – pleading with the world to be reconciled to God through the Gospel of His Son,
  • removed us from darkness and placed us in the light of His Son, and
  • recipients of God’s mercy – for by grace we have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ – this is the gift of God.

And admonished one another to remember as well:

  • that we are sojourners and exiles on this world for a temporary period and will one day go home to be with the Lord;
  • we will wage a continuing war against sin;
  • conduct honorable lives in the midst of unbelievers who may love us or hate us;
  • that our vindication shall come from the Lord when He returns for all to see.

We spent an hour meditating on each of these points above and in the end, our hearts were overflowing with praise and thanksgiving to the Triune God for the richness of His kindness graced upon us through faith in the Son, Jesus Christ.

We concluded our celebration with the Lord’s Supper to keep remembering our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross, shed His blood for the propitiation of our sins, rose again and shall return on a day we certainly are looking forward to. In the meantime, we entrust ourselves to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to transform us day by day into the likeness of our risen Lord.

May His Word dwell richly in us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

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