Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 24, 1023
*I love this time of year. But as Christians, we could celebrate Thanksgiving every day.
*Donald Davis says that his kindergarten teacher liked to celebrate holidays more than once a year. Her name was Mrs. Rosemary, and her class celebrated a different holiday every Monday morning. In a typical year, the children might celebrate Memorial Day, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving and Easter two or three times each! And every child in Mrs. Rosemary's class had their birthday celebrated at least three times a year. (1)
*Don't you know those children loved her spirit of celebration! I'm sure they did. But that's just a small taste of the celebration going on in this Psalm of thanksgiving.
*In vs. 1: "Make a joyful noise or shout to the Lord!" The original word here for "noise" was "roo-ah." It had the word-picture of breaking or splitting something apart, so this word "roo-ah" meant "ear-splitting sound."
*And it sounds like a word made for shouting: ROO-AH! It is the same word we see when Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. Listen to Joshua 6:16: "And the seventh time it was so, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: 'Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!'"
*"Make a joyful noise, make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!" -- Same word. It's more like what we would hear at a football game on Friday night than we would hear in church. And most of us won't shout like that 'til we get to Heaven. But that's O.K., because God is more concerned with the joy than He is with the shout.
*Angry people can shout, and they often do. I'm glad to say that I have pretty much given up on that. The only thing I ever got out of it was hurt feelings and a sore throat.
*Some people can't talk at all. But they still overflow with joy, and so can we. I think that's one of the things David was talking about in the 23rd Psalm, when he said: "My cup runneth over."
*You see, when our cup of joy runs over, it's got to go someplace. And this joyful gratitude will be expressed in our lives:
-Sometimes by a shout like we see in vs. 1.
-Or in vs. 2, by "serving the LORD with gladness."
-And by "coming before His presence with singing."
*Somehow, some way, we can all overflow with joyful gratitude for the Lord. We can all thank God. And Psalm 100 shows us why.
1. First: Thank God for His revelation to us.
*The first part of vs. 3 says: "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." There is a healthy dose of humility in this verse as we realize that God is God, -- and we are not. But there is also great honor in this verse, because our gracious God is willing to reveal Himself to us!
*What an honor! What a blessing! -- But how do we get this knowledge, this great revelation from God?
 One way is through God's creation.
*God reveals Himself to us by His creation. As Psalm 19:1-3 says:
1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
2. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
 God also reveals Himself to us by His Word.
*Mike Crews explained that God reveals Himself in His Word by showing us how He interacts with people, showing us what He thinks, and telling us how He feels. That's one of the main reasons He gave us the Bible -- to reveal Himself to us. So in John 5:39 Jesus said: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (2)
 God reveals Himself to us by His Word, and by His only begotten Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
*That's why Hebrews 1:1-3 says:
1. God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets.
2. has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
3. who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
 God reveals Himself to us by His Son Jesus Christ, and by His Holy Spirit at work in the world today.
*Jesus made this truth clear in John 15:26. There the Lord called His Holy Spirit the "Comforter" or "Helper". And Jesus said: "When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me."
*God reveals Himself to us in all of these ways, because He wants us to know Him. "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." What an honor! That the God of the whole universe would stoop down to reveal Himself to puny creatures like us!
*Thank God for His revelation to us.
2. And thank God for the relationships He gives us.
*Verse 3 focuses on these relationships when it says: "We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." I like the "we" in that verse. Christianity is never just a "me" thing. It's a "we" thing, because when we trust in Jesus, we become part of the Family of God.
*And that's what the Lord is urging in vs. 3, when He says: "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." This word "know" is not just talking about facts and information. It's not just head knowledge. It's heart knowledge too, knowing the Lord in a close, personal way.
*This word "know" is the same Old Testament word used to describe the oneness between a husband and wife. And God uses this word to point us to the spiritual oneness we can have in the Family of God:
-Knowing the God of Heaven up close in our heart.
-Knowing the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.
-Knowing Jesus as our best friend, Savor and Lord.
-Having an eternal relationship with God the Father, and with everyone else who has trusted in Jesus Christ.
*Lord willing, Mary and I will be getting on a plane in the morning to go see our Becky in Raleigh. My most embarrassing flying moment was when we were on a trip to Washington. Mary and I had to go through the Atlanta Airport. And we had to ride that underground shuttle train to go to another concourse.
*The car was so crowded that we had to stand, and I was holding on to the pole, just looking around. Then I let my hand slip down on Mary's, and I gave it a couple of those little "I love you" squeezes. All of a sudden that hand jerked away. -- That's right. It wasn't Mary's hand. Yikes! Talk about being embarrassed! I told that lady that I thought it was my wife's hand, but she didn't look too convinced.
*I sure was glad that was a short ride. But why did she jerk her hand away? -- No relationship. I thank God that I do have a relationship with Mary. And thank God that He wants to have a relationship with us all.
*Now in order to have this relationship with God. There are a couple of things we need to know. First, we have to know ourselves, and here vs. 3, God says we are sheep.
*Why does He say that? One reason why is because sheep have a tendency to stray. Left to themselves, sheep wander off and get into trouble. And all of us have. As Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray."
*The other thing about sheep is that they need a shepherd. Sheep are totally defenseless. They cannot take care of themselves. They need a shepherd. We need a shepherd!
*So we have to know that we are sheep. And we have to know that Jesus Christ is the Shepherd. We have to trust that Jesus is the only Good Shepherd who can take care of us.
*We become His sheep, and the Lord becomes our Shepherd. This is of course what David said in the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd." In Old Testament times, David couldn't fully understand it. But we know that Jesus Christ is the only Good Shepherd who can take care of us.
*In John 10:10-11, Jesus said:
10. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
*Then Jesus proved He was the Good Shepherd when He died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead. And now, when we trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, He forgives all of our sins and gives us His eternal life. Then we know Him in a personal way. We know "that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture."
*Thank God for the great relationships we have in the Family of God! As Christians we can joyfully echo David in the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd!" I belong to Him. And He belongs to me."
*My most memorable story from this verse is about a Christian who went walking in the English countryside many years ago. He came across a young boy taking care of his sheep, and the sight made the man think of the 23rd Psalm. So, he asked the little boy if he knew it.
*When the boy said, "No," the man began to explain who the Good Shepherd is. He talked about the cross of Jesus Christ and how the Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep. Then he used his fingers to help the boy remember the first line of the Psalm. He pointed as he spoke each word: "The Lord is my shepherd."
*Then the Christian said, "When you come to that word "my," grip your fourth finger tightly with your other hand. And never forget that the Lord is not only a Shepherd, but YOUR Shepherd."
*That night the little boy told his parents about the lesson he learned on the road. The following winter there was a terrible snowstorm. Sadly, the boy and his sheep got lost in the blizzard, and they were not found until it was too late. But when the search party uncovered the boy's body, he was holding on tight, just like the man said. (3)
*That little boy knew the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He had trusted in Jesus. He had received Jesus as Savior and Lord. And that is the kind of relationship God wants all of us to have with Him.
*Can you honestly say "The Lord is MY Shepherd"? He wants to be. Trust in the Lord, and you will know Him as your Shepherd, your Savior, your Best friend, your God and your King.
*Thank God for the relationships He gives us.
3. And thank God for His righteousness.
*Verses 4&5 invite us to:
4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
*The Lord is good. It's one of the first prayers we learned as children: "God is good." Think about God's goodness. God is perfect all the time. He has never sinned even once. And since Jesus is God, He never sinned even once. Imagine that: Never sinning even once in thought or word or deed!
*Thank God for His goodness, because it means we can always trust Him to do the right thing. This world is running over with leaders who will lie, cheat and steal at the drop of a hat, but God never will. We can always trust Him to do the right thing. And we can always trust Him to lead us the right way.
*Thank God for His righteousness.
4. And thank God for His rescue.
*Again in vs. 5: "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
*God's "mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations." Notice that God put mercy and truth together. And I am glad that He did, because we cannot have God's mercy without God's truth. And the truth is that we all need God's mercy.
*King David did. In Psalm 6:1&2, David prayed this prayer:
1. O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.
2. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
*And in Psalm 25:6-11, David prayed:
6. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
7. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O Lord.
8. Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9. The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.
10. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11. For Your name's sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
*The truth is that we all need God's mercy. And the only way we can have God's mercy is through the Lord Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 2:4-6, the Apostle Paul said this to Christians:
4. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5. even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6. and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
*In 1 Timothy 1:15&16, Paul also said:
15. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
16. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
*Thank God for His miraculous mercy! It's the only thing that will get us to Heaven, the only thing that will rescue us from hell, the only thing that will rescue us from our own sinfulness: The mercy of God seen in the cross of Jesus Christ.
*Usually, we think of the Lord's cross or maybe the three crosses on Calvary that day, but there were many more. The cross was used as an instrument of death for almost a thousand years. Countless people were cruelly put to death on a cross. And somebody had to make those crosses.
*That reality was the inspiration for a play about a little boy who lived in Jerusalem during the time of Christ. It is only a story, but it has a good point. This little boy helped out in his parent's carpentry shop. But he hated one of his chores, because he had to help make crosses. The boy's parents needed their son's help, because they had a contract from the Roman authorities.
*One day after he helped make some crosses, we see the boy crying and very upset. "What's wrong?" his parents asked. He answered, "I went to the market place and I saw Jesus of Nazareth. He was carrying OUR cross! They took Him to Golgotha and nailed Him to MY cross."
*The parents replied: "Oh no, son, that wasn't our cross. Other people in Jerusalem build crosses. That wasn't our cross."
*"Oh yes, it was!" he insisted. "When you weren't looking, I carved my name on the cross that we were making. When Jesus was carrying His cross, He stumbled right beside me. I looked, -- and my name was on His cross!" (4)
*"It was MY cross!" -- That was just a play, but in reality, the Lord died on my cross and on yours. Jesus took our place on the cross. He died for our sins.
*But He rose again to give us eternal, abundant life, if we will receive it by receiving Him. "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations."
*Thank God! -- As we got to the Lord in prayer, thank God!
(1) Adapted from "Ride the Butterflies" by Donald Davis - Little Rock, AR - August House Publishers, Inc. - 2000 - pp. 14-15 - My Source: Dynamic Preaching sermon Nov. 2004, #5: "WHY JUST ONCE A YEAR?" - Deuteronomy 26:1-11 - Thanksgiving Day
(2) Sermons.logos.com - "A Thanksgiving To Do List" by Mike Crews - Psalm 105:1-4 - Nov 2008
(3) Adapted from "The Biblical Illustrator" - Psalm 23 - p. 437
(4) SermonCentral sermon "The Lord Is My Shepherd" by Melvin Newland - Psalm 23:1-6