Sermon Notes and Audio
The incarnation of Jesus, His birth, was according to the promise of salvation. Jesus came from eternity past to a manger in Bethlehem, just as promised by the Prophet Micah, and fulfilled the promise of salvation through His finished work on the cross. We are going to consider Psalm 98, which presents God as the Victorious King. God brings the joy of salvation for all who believe in Him, and will defeat and judge all who reject Him. Psalm 98 is in a group of Psalms called Enthronement Psalms, used at festivals to celebrate God as King (47, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99). The birth of Jesus brings the joy of salvation from God to us.
The joy of salvation looks to the past and proclaims what God has accomplished. Vv1-3
Biblical faith, is historical faith. In the past, God has acted in the lives of His people throughout history individually and in major events. Some think this Psalm was written after the return of Israel from Babylonian Captivity. Whatever the setting was, a great victory is being celebrated which God has won on behalf of His people.
V1 Victory, V3 Our God’s victory- Hebrew= yeshuah- salvation, victory.
The joy of salvation from God is the theme of this Psalm. Salvation should cause us to sing a new song- an awe inspiring song of the breadth, depth, height of who God is. The Hebrews would celebrate God’s mighty acts by writing a new song.
V1 Sing a new song to the LORD, for He has performed wonders.
After the Exodus- Moses wrote a new song- Exodus 15:1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying, I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously!
Old songs are new songs to those who have not heard. New songs of praise are appropriate for new and fresh experiences of God’s grace. When God does a great work in your heart you should praise Him for what He’s done.
Salvation has been completed by the right hand and mighty arm of God.
V1b His right hand and holy arm have won Him victory. . .
Isaiah 52:10a The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations.
There is no human effort in salvation, it comes from the power of God. No person can save themselves. No person is beyond hope. The power of God has secured our salvation.
Salvation has revealed the righteousness of God in the sight of the nations.
V2 He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
Salvation comes from the steadfast love and faithfulness of God.
V3 He has remembered His love and faithfulness to the House of Israel.
Steadfast love is an eager, and ardent desire. This is not kindness in general, this is unmerited love with a purpose, and it endures forever, continually, without limit.
Salvation is so great, the whole world will know about it.
V3b All the ends of the earth have seen our God’s victory.
Isaiah 52:10b All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
The joy of salvation looks to the present and exalts the Lord our King. Vv4-6
V4 Shout to the Lord, all the earth- make a joyful noise.
The world is noisy, and distracting. God’s people are to shout to the Lord, and make a joyful noise over all the clutter of the noise in the world. This is a bold declaration of the glorious name of our God. Notice the outward expressions of praise- v4 Be jubilant, shout for joy, sing. V5 Sing to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and melodious song. V6 With trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn shout triumphantly in the presence of the Lord our King.
There is a time for quiet worship. There is a time for joyful abandon. Worship comes through surrender. You cannot worship in rebellion. God’s people are called to praise Him and hold nothing back. God has held nothing back from us and He deserves the best of our affections!
God’s people praise Him through singing. Congregational singing and celebration in worship is a holy act.
John Wesley- “Sacred Melody” Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep, but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.
Jonathan Edwards- So far therefore as we sing this song on earth, so much shall we have the prelibations of heaven. And this will make our public assemblies some image of heaven. We praise God here on earth and simultaneously join our voices with the hosts of heaven. We prepare ourselves for the day when we will see the Lord face to face and sing His praises forever.
God’s people pray to Him through singing. A large portion of the Psalms are prayers. The people of Israel sung them. They were sung in the days of the NT, sometimes by the whole congregation, and sometimes by only the choir- “To the Choirmaster” in the Psalms.
There are other biblical songs.
Colossians 3:16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.
The worship leader could say, let us lift our voices together in prayer as we sing this next song!
God’s people proclaim His truth through singing.
Ephesians 5:18-19 Be filled with the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord.
The joy of salvation looks to the future when the Lord will come to judge the world. Vv7-9
The Psalm goes beyond a reflection of the past to a joyful anticipation of the universal restoration of all things, when God’s kingdom is eternally established on earth. Our Lord Jesus is the Great Warrior who will overcome the rebellious kings and their armies, redeem His people and judge the entire earth.
When sin came into the world- a curse fell on the earth. Death came into the world.
Galatians 3:13-14 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree) that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The Judge of all the earth will return. God the Father has entrusted judgment to God the Son.
John 5:27 He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out- those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment.
As judge He will separate the righteous from the unrighteous. Those who reject Him will be judged on the basis of their works and their sin. The sins of all who receive Him were judged at the cross and He will reward His servants when He returns.
The Lord will judge in righteousness.
The Lord will judge in truth.
The best human judge, is still dependent on the testimony of man, many of whom will lie. The Lord judges with all of the facts before Him. He is the eyewitness, and no jury is needed.
The Lord will judge with justice, and without partiality.
J.I. Packer- Knowing God- “God the Judge”
- The Judge is the person with authority.
- The Judge is identified with what is right and good.
- The Judge is a person of wisdom, who dispenses truth.
- The Judge is a person who has the power to execute a sentence.
The joy of salvation is a gift to all who follow Jesus.
Isaac Watts was born in England in 1674. His parents were known as non-conformists. They refused to accept the authority and practices of the Church of England. Watts was weak and sickly, and only grew to 5 feet tall as an adult. As a young man, he thought the singing of the church was terribly weak, without the Gospel. So he began to write hymns. His early hymns presented the Psalms in light of the Christian faith. His father was arrested twice for non-conformist beliefs and put in prison. Watts would stand outside the prison and sing hymns to encourage his father. Watts went on to preach, and to write 750 songs. He is referred to as The Father of English Hymns. In 1719 Watts wrote Joy to the World based on Psalm 98.
Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.
Interesting. . .This is a well-known Christmas song, yet there are no shepherds mentioned, no manger, no wise men, or angels. Why is that?
It wasn’t written as a Christmas song!! The original theme was the Second Coming of Jesus. 100 years later, 1839, Lowell Mason adapted and arranged the song into a melody many believe to have been written by Handel.
Jesus came to earth as a baby in a manger. He will return as the Conquering King! Even so, come Lord Jesus!