DUNCAN/Come, let us worship

DUNCAN/Come, let us worship


If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to Psalm 95 as we continue to make our way through the Fourth Book of the Psalms. This Psalm that we’re going to study today is about worship. There’s nothing more important in the Christian life than worship and so it’s very appropriate that we would be studying a Psalm calling us to worship.

Now let me outline Psalm 95 for you before we study it. Verses 1 – 2 give us a call to worship. Verses 3 – 7a give us the reason why we ought to worship. And finally, verses 7b – 11 give us a solemn and sobering warning.

I. A Call to Worship

The first thing that we see in this Psalm is the very overture of God’s grace in the gospel in saying, “Come,” to us. Have you ever realized that when you hear the minister speak God’s word to you in the call to worship, you are hearing the gospel extended to you? Do you remember in the garden that when Adam and Eve sinned and rebelled against God, God did what? He drove them out of the garden, and He said to them, “Go!” And He put flaming cherubim at the gate of the garden so that no one could come back into His presence. God, for penalty against their sin, drove them from His presence and from the garden. And so when we hear in this Psalm the word “come,” that word itself speaks the grace of God in the gospel to us.

Do you realize that for God to say to you, “Come fellowship with Me, come into communion with Me, come worship Me,” that it cost God the blood of His own dear Son to issue you that invitation and command? He bids you do something that you couldn’t do except for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. So when you hear a psalmist call you and say, “Come,” you are hearing the overture of God’s expensive mercy to you in Jesus Christ.

So there’s the first thing we see in this Psalm about worship: this call to joyful song and to fellowship with God is a gospel call. God’s very call to you depends upon the gospel. It’s expensive. It cost God much, but He offers it to you freely. And for you to be able to come into His presence and worship Him is something tremendous.

II. A Reason for Worship

Now, when we come to worship, what do we come for? Why do we come to worship? Well, the psalmist tells us. And that is the second thing that we learn in this Psalm: the reason why we ought to come. And in this Psalm at least four reasons are given why you ought to worship God. You see them in verses 3 – 7.

Look at verse 3: “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” He’s sovereign. His majesty is over all. The peoples may worship thousands of false gods, but God is above them all. He’s greater than any god, any claimed god, any false god. Verse 4 says, “In His hand are the depths of the earth; and the heights of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” The second reason cited is that God created everything, and He rules the world. That’s a pretty good reason to worship God. He created everything and He rules the world. But it doesn’t stop there. Look at verses 6 and 7: “Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Why should we worship God? He not only made the world, He made us. And in verse 7: “We are the sheep of His hand.” He not only made us, but He is our Shepherd. Why should we worship God? Because He’s sovereign over all, because He made the whole universe, because He made us, and because He cares for us.

If you feel like as you gather together for worship with the people of God that you’re just going through the motions, let me suggest to you that the truths of verses 3 – 7 must not be presently gripping your soul. But if you realize that your Maker made you, and that the One who flung worlds into being – speaking them into existence by the word of His power – loves you and cares for you, you will not but be able to worship with gladness in your heart when you come into His presence.

If you really believe what the Bible says, if you really believe what the Bible says about God making this world, the only question you have to ask against Christianity is, “You’ve got to be kidding! That the God that made this massive universe, in which there are hundreds of billions of galaxies, really cares about a being so small and insignificant as you or me?” And the Bible’s answer is, “You better believe it! Because He not only made that universe, He made you. And He loves you in Christ Jesus, and He takes care of you.” If that won’t help you worship, my friend, I don’t know what will.

III. A Warning for Worship

But there’s one more thing. There’s a warning, isn’t there, in this passage? And it surprises you. You’re not expecting this. It has been so upbeat, so uplifting, so encouraging all the way down to the middle of verse 7, and then suddenly, “Do not harden your hearts.” What’s going on here?

The passage quoted of course refers to the children of Israel’s testing of the Lord in Exodus 17 at the waters of Meribah, and it refers to Moses’ own unfaithfulness at the waters of Massah in Numbers 20. Do you remember what happened because of this? As a result of the unbelief of the children of Israel in Exodus, and the disrespect which Moses showed for the word of God in Numbers 20, neither the generation of the children of Israel from Meribah nor Moses entered the Promised Land.

And so what is the message of the psalmist to you and me? The message is you cannot worship God with an unbelieving heart. You cannot worship God if you do not take Him at His word. You cannot worship God if you do not believe on Christ as He is offered in the gospel. True worship is by faith, and unbelief is inconsistent with it. We cannot live our week unbelieving in God’s word, untrusting of Jesus Christ, unresponsive to the gospel of grace, and then come in and manufacture worship. It cannot happen. Worship must be by the Spirit, by grace, by faith in Jesus Christ, believing in God’s word, submitting our will to Him and following Him on the pilgrimage. All of this is a part of true worship. And it’s such an important message for us. May God bless His word.

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