Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:1-2 ESV
What is joyful to the Lord? What brings him delight and pleasure? It is us, his saints, delighting in his righteousness and in his laws, which are for us to follow.
It is us appreciating and taking pleasure in the ways of the Lord, which are the ways of truth, righteousness and purity. It is when we are happy to do his will, and his law is within our hearts, being lived out through our lives daily. And, he delights in truth in our inner being, and in broken and contrite hearts, and when we walk in obedience to his commands.
“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (Ps. 147:11 ESV).
And, to fear the Lord is to honor, value and respect him for the mighty God that he is, which means we forsake our sins and our idols in order to walk in his ways and in his truth. For, this is what brings him joy.
And, then he is joyful when we audibly give him praise and thanksgiving reflective of what is in our hearts towards him, which is then evidenced by how we live our lives for him and for his glory.
For, the Lord does not want our lip service only. He is not interested in empty platitudes of praise to him if we are not walking in obedience to him. He wants us totally in submission to him, living lives which are holy and pleasing to him, for this is our acceptable worship of him.
And, he wants us no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but he wants to renew our minds in him so that we learn what his will is, and so that we do his will, and so we serve him with our lives and we no longer serve our flesh (Rom. 12:1-2).
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.
Psalm 100:3 ESV
What does it mean to belong to the Lord? What does it mean to be his people? The sheep of his pasture?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 ESV
This really is it, in a nutshell. We listen to God, not just with our ears, but attentively with our whole hearts, and we heed what he says, and we follow him in his ways and in his truth, and we do what he says to do.
We no longer live for ourselves, for our own sinful pleasure, but we live for him and for his purposes and for his glory and praise. So, we die daily to sin and self, by God’s grace, and in his power, and daily we put on Christ and his righteousness and we now honor God with our lives and with our bodies (1 Peter 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24).
It means we now serve the Lord with our lives, and we do the works he prepared in advance that we should do, allowing him to work his will and his purposes in our lives and out through our lives. Now we say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and by the power of the Spirit living within us we now live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
For, we now belong to him. We are his possession, his people, and he is now our Lord (owner-master) and we are his servants, slaves to righteousness.
But, that isn’t all. For, because we are his sheep, and we are his followers, and because we are doing what he says, and saying what he gives us to say, we are also hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake by those who are of this world (including the worldly church). So, we will have all kinds of evil spoken against us, and we will be rejected and ostracized and even kicked out of church fellowships because we are following our Lord in obedience.
[Matt. 10:22; Matt. 24:9; Lu. 6:22; Lu. 21:17; Jn. 15:18-20; Jn. 17:14; 1 Jn. 3:13; Matt. 5:10-12; Lu. 21:12; 2 Tim. 3:12]
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 100:4 ESV
What are the gates of the Lord? Well, for one, Jesus is the gate, the door, the only way to the Father in heaven through whom all must enter if we want to have eternal life with God. And, we enter through that gate, which is narrow (restrictive), by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ.
But, this faith is not a feeling or an experience or some intellectual assent to who Jesus is or was. It is not words we repeat after someone else, either. This faith is God-given and divinely persuaded as to God’s righteousness and holiness, thus it submits to Christ as Lord, and it surrenders to his will, and it walks in obedience to his commands (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
And, that is why it is narrow, and why it is that few enter, because not many people are willing to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. For, they still want to maintain control of their own lives (Matt. 7:13-14).
And, true thanksgiving to God, and true praise of our Lord, again, is not with our lips only. Yes, we need to audibly give him praise and thanksgiving, but it is empty if it does not come from our hearts first. And, the only way it truly comes from our hearts is if we truly take pleasure in his ways, in his truth, in his righteousness, and in walking in obedience to his commands.
For, if we are still walking in the ways of our flesh, doing what is pleasurable to us and what is pleasing in our eyes, then we are not truly giving God our thanks or our praise. For, to truly thank him for what he did for us is to do what he says to do, to honor him with our lives, and to forsake our sins and our idols, and to walk in obedience to his will for our lives.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100:5 ESV
God is faithful in all that he does and to everything he said he would do. But, we have to understand his promises by reading them in context. For many people read God’s promises in scripture and they broadly apply them to anyone who calls himself a Christian or a believer in Jesus Christ.
But, along with all of God’s promises in scripture are stipulations and restrictions and many “IF” statements, too, i.e. they are conditional promises. They only apply to those who meet those specific requirements and those conditions, too, which God determined in advance that we should follow.
Therefore, not everyone who says he believes in Jesus Christ has eternal life with God. Only those who walk (in practice, in lifestyle, in conduct) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God have that promise of eternal life with God. It is only promised to those who forsake their former lives of living for sin and self and who now live to Christ and to his righteousness, in the power of God at work within them (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-24; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 2:6-8).
So, it is critical that we know the truth of what the scriptures teach regarding God’s promises and to whom they apply, and to know what restrictions or what conditions apply, too, for there are many. So, we need to study the scriptures in context, one book, one chapter and one verse at a time, but always interpreting those scriptures in the full context in which they are written.
For many people are being led astray by clever enchanters who twist the scriptures to their advantage and who take scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say. So, know what the scriptures teach – the whole counsel of God – and then obey your Lord, for your eternity depends on it!
I Pray for Them
An Original Work / June 4, 2013
Based off John 17
“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”
“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”
“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”
“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”
“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”