Joy in the Journey

Psalms 95:1-2 ESV

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”

The Lord does not require that we have beautiful sounding voices with professional sounding music and instrumental arrangements for us to sing to him or for us to share with the body of Christ, either. He is more concerned with what is in our hearts and with the message our songs convey.

For, our songs can be professionally produced by humans and have a great sound to human ears, but have nothing to do with giving true praise to our Lord, or with true worship of him, or with sharing his messages with the body of Christ for their spiritual encouragement.

And we, as believers in Jesus Christ, should not judge another believer’s ministry of music by whether it has a professional sound to it, either. We should be listening in the Spirit with spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit wants to convey to our hearts.

For, the whole point of singing to the Lord is to give him our true praise, from our hearts, which is evidenced by how we live our lives. He is not interested in lip service only, but with people whose hearts are given over to him in true worship of him (Rom 12:1-2).

Psalms 95:3-5 ESV

“For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.”

Too many people today who call themselves Christians do not honor God for who he is. They treat him with contempt, instead. They act like he is a genie in the sky just there to do everything for them and to give them whatever they want, but that they do not have to honor him.

The “gospel” that is permeating much of the church is a very self-serving “gospel” of men which literally and willfully dishonors the Lord. It says Jesus does it all for us and we can deny him as Lord, refuse to obey him, ignore his commands, and continue living in sin, but that he owes us heaven.

This is a slap in the face to God! This is an insult to the Spirit of grace. For, Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, but so we would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.

When Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross, he bought us back (he redeemed us) for God that we would now honor God with our lives (with our bodies). For, we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

His grace, which brings salvation, trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. For, Jesus gave himself for us on that cross to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

[1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Eph 2:10; Tit 2:11-14]

Psalms 95:6-7 ESV

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.”

To worship Jesus Christ is to surrender our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds of the Spirit of God that we might discern God’s will for our lives (Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-24).

It is to humble ourselves before him in repentance, in submission, and in obedience to his commands. It is to become his servants. Our lives are no longer our own, for Jesus bought us back for God with his blood shed on the cross. Now we are God’s possession.

Now Jesus is our Lord (owner-master), and our lives are committed to him and to his service. But this is not forced upon us. We choose to worship him. We choose to bow down to him and to honor him with our lives. We worship him because we love him. But this is not optional for the true follower of Jesus Christ. We owe him our worship and our praise. But it should be a joy to us, not a drudgery, if Jesus is living within our hearts via his Spirit.

Psalms 95:7-11 ESV

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.’
Therefore I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

This is repeated for us several times in the New Testament in Hebrews 3-4. So, this is a warning to the church, to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. We are not to be those who harden our hearts to the Spirit’s voice and who decide we don’t have to honor God, obey his commands, leave our sins behind us, or submit to Christ as Lord.

This is a warning to us that we should not repeat the same attitudes and behaviors of the children of Israel of the Old Testament. For we who believe in Jesus Christ are now true Israel, whether Jew or Gentile by birth.

If we decide to ignore our Lord’s commands and to continue living in sin, which is to live in disobedience to our Lord, the warning here is that we will not enter into God’s eternal rest. We will not have eternal life with the Lord, but we will die in our sins because we refused to die to our sins.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10).

So, the encouragement here in all of this is that we are to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. We are to honor God for the holy God he is by giving our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. Our worship of him is not to be lip service only but should be evidenced by our actions.

We are not to turn away from the Lord and to go our own stubborn way. It will not go well for us in this life or in the next. We are to love the Lord our God with our whole being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Thus, we will obey God and we will do no harm to our neighbors.

Therefore, we will rejoice in the Lord in truth because we love him, and because we desire him, and because we want to obey him and serve him with our lives. Even though life will be hard at times, we can have joy in the journey because of God’s love for us and because of our love for our Lord.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Hymn lyrics and music by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

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