Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

August 27, 2017 Sermon

“Full of Joy: God is Worthy!”
Psalm 33:1, 68:3, 100:2, 145:7
Ted Jansen August 27, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 

1.)        Let us sing the second verse of “Joy to the World!”    When we sing that verse joy comes from the truth that the Savior reigns.  The Lord is in control.  The Lord is King.  That is the source of the joy.  The rest of that verse invites all to sing and then affirm that creation echoes our joy.  We get a sense that because our Savior reigns, this bring joy to all.  Joy to the World!    

            I believe that joy comes when we offer our praise to the Lord who is worthy.  We are filled with joy when we worship and focus on an attribute of God.  That is what we can glean from this second verse of Joy to the World. 

 

2.)        God is worthy of our worship, our thanks, our praise, our lives because of the way God is expressed and known.  This basis alone of worship, that God is worthy, is enough for us to focus our hearts and give our heart, mind, soul and strength to expressing our love for God.

            Worship is an authentic expression that focuses our lives on God in thanks and praise.  As I thought about God and God’s attributes I wanted to look at some lists from scripture.       

            I began searching for lists of the attributes of God and I discovered a website from the Josh McDowell Ministry.  They had a page called the “Attributes of God.”  This was helpful to read and review and I have printed the attributes, in their words, that God expresses.  (I have copies of the expanded list along with scripture if you would like a copy.)  Here is a sentence expressing God and God’s attributes from the Josh McDowell ministry website.      

           

“God is a personal Spirit, is all powerful, is ever present, knows everything, is sovereign, is holy, is absolute truth, is righteous, is just, is love, is merciful, is faithful, never changes.” 

 

            As you consider this expression of God and explore God’s attributes what are the ones that seem to be most important to you?  Which ones help you focus your joyful praise to God?   

 

3.)        When we consider the lives of people that we want to honor we focus on something this person has accomplished, achieved, or how they lived.   

            If I would ask you to think about the first person that comes to your mind, who achieved or accomplished a lot, or who lived a life with honor in these different fields you could come up with a name of a person.  Who is someone in sports, music, art, medicine, education, business, and ministry?  A name came to you because of some attribute or achievement. 

            We will give honor and attention to what which we focus on. 

 

4.)        How many of you spent time on Monday looking at the eclipse?  I would guess that a lot of us did that were able.  We looked at it through glasses or a pinhole because we were told that it was going to be a long time until another one would occur.  We were told that it was going to be special and unique.  We were told to take precautions as we viewed this eclipse.   

            On Monday afternoon we could have looked at a lot of things but we were focusing on the sun and moon and how they were lining up.  We were looking in one direction and wanted to experience something special!     

 

5.)        When we worship God we look up and away from our day to day, to see something special, something unique, something that is good for us.  When we worship it is not a once in a lifetime event, or moment, no this can be something we do on a regular basis. 

When we look up to God and the expression of attributes we don’t have to have special glasses or a pinhole paper.  We can look to God and gain joy when we offer our praise and worship.   

 

6.)        Do you ever lose joy in your life when you look around at your life, or the lives of others, or the things that people are doing in our state, our country or our world that bother you?  I believe this happens when we focus more on these areas than on the attributes of God in worship. 

a.)        When we look around we look at our situation and circumstance and depending on what is happening that might makes us happy or give us heartache.  When life is good, however we define that, we feel “happy.”  We might think it is because of us.  But we know that can change.  We are also thankful that when life is bad, or hard, or filled with tough times, we feel “heartache.”  But we know that this will change as well.     If we just look at our life we might not have joy.     

b.)        When we look around at other people’s situations and circumstances this also might make us happy or give us heartache.  Sometimes we compare ourselves and this creates in us discontent, dissatisfaction, or pride.  We spend time focusing on others in comparison and this doesn’t give us joy. 

c.)        When we look around at things going on in our city/county, our state, our country, our world we can get discouraged or encouraged, depending on what you are focusing on.  We realize that things change, sometimes they get better, sometimes they get worse, depending on what we are focusing on.  Do you have a sense of joy as you look at our country and some of the things that have made our news in the last few weeks?  Regardless of your perspective when all we focus on is our culture or world I propose that this does not give us joy.        

           

7.)        Listen to the scripture of joy.  Psalm 33:1, 68:3, 100:2, 145:7.    

            “Sing joyfully to the Lord; you righteous, it is fitting for the upright to praise him…But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful…Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs…They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”  

 

8.)        As I was exploring the word “joy,” in the Old Testament I read about a time when great joy was experienced.  It was in 2 Chronicles 7:1 – 10 when King Solomon was dedicating the Temple.  We can read about how elaborate all the sacrifices and feasts were as this was the focal point of the nation for days. 

In this time of worship, dedication and joy the scripture mentions that David, who was the father of Solomon and at this time was deceased, had a practice of having the priests play instruments and say, “His love endures forever!.”   So Solomon was doing the same thing at the dedication of the Temple.  Solomon wanted the people to focus on God and God’s love that would last forever.  This attribute, the love of God, was like a banner that was lifted up in front of the people as they worshipped God.  There was great joy in Jerusalem on this day. 

             

9.)        When I looked up the word joy in the Hebrew it is ranan.  One definition is that it means to shout in jubilation at God’s saving acts.  The people in the Old Testament saw and experienced God’s saving acts in their lives.  They remembered this and shouted with jubilation as they offered their praise, and joy was known in their lives. 

 

10.)      When I thought of the importance of focusing on an attribute I thought of David and his son, Solomon, who taught and made sure the worshippers spoke the words, “His love endures forever.”  We all need to be reminded of God’s love to us and to the world.   

I remembered those words, “His love endures forever,” in Psalm 136.  This Psalm is interesting in its structure.  After the beginning words the phrase, “His love endures forever,” ends the verse.  It was designed as a type of worship response to help people focus. 

As I read verse 1 an idea came to me to help us have joy in our hearts.  Here is Psalm 136:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.”  I want us to share this as a way of focusing our hearts and worshipping the Lord is word.  One group will say, “Give thanks to the Lord,” another group will say, “For He is good,” and all of us will say, “His love endures forever.”  Let us do this and be filled with joy.  (Do this several times with the congregation.)

              

11.)      “Sing joyfully to the Lord; you righteous, it is fitting for the upright to praise him…But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful…Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs…They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”   (Psalm 33:1, 68:3, 100:2, 145:7.)