Praise the One True God: A Universal Call to Worship (Psalm 100:1-5)

Sermon by Daniel L. Sonnenberg | September 29, 2015

Psalm 100:1-5 A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!  2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  3 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.  4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!  5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 100:1-5 ESV)

Psalm 100 is a hymn of praise, for many THE hymn of the Psalms

  • We sang it earlier today in a common paraphrase:

         All people that on earth do dwell,

         Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;

         Him serve with joy, his praise forth tell;

         Come ye before Him and rejoice.

  • It’s so comfortable and familiar it can be taken for granted.
  • Let’s look at it again to see what can be learned from it afresh.

The setting for the psalm is clearly some sort of public worship service, but we don’t know the details.

  • The context is the community of faith entering into God’s presence and the witness that community makes about the character of the Lord.
  • It’s a call to worship.

Like many churches, we begin our service with some kind of CALL TO WORSHIP.

  • A good call to worship has three elements. It tells us

Have you ever received an invitation to a birthday party?

  • A good party invitation – or any invitation – will usually contain the same three elements.
  • It tells you who is invited; what is going to happen; and whose birthday is going to be celebrated.
  • For example, when I was 6 years old my parents invited all the boys in my first grade class to come out to our farm to play baseball and celebrate my birthday.
  • The invitation included:
  • WHO IS TO TAKE ACTION – Come one, come all – all boys in Dan’s first grade class;
  • WHAT ACTIONS ARE TO TAKE PLACE – come spend the afternoon playing baseball with your friends;
  • WHO IS THE OBJECT OF THAT ACTION – come and celebrate Dan’s 6th birthday!
  • Incidentally, guess what kind of gifts I received at that party – a baseball glove, three bats, two rubber coated baseballs, one softball and 4 regular baseballs. We had a great time. No surprise!

Likewise, Psalm 100 is an invitation or call to worship. It tells us

  • WHO IS INVITED to worship
  • WHAT ACTIONS ARE WE TO TAKE PLACE in worship; and,
  • WHO IS THE OBJECT of that worship.

Who is invited to worship

Let’s look first at who is invited to worship.

Well, it may be a very large worship service – ‘ALL THE EARTH’ is invited

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

  • “All the earth” here is parallel to other places in the psalms where “all peoples,” “all nations” and “all the ends of the earth” are called to worship.
  • So a universal audience is in mind at one level.
  • The entire earth and all of its inhabitants are called to worship the Lord.
  • Why? Because Israel confessed that there was only one God, who enjoys a universal reign.
  • That’s what Jesus confessed to the devil in the wilderness when he quoted the first commandment saying, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”
  • Likewise, we call all men and women and children everywhere to come to worship.
  • Why? Because we believe, like Israel, and like Jesus, that God created all peoples of the earth, and therefore is Lord of all.
  • He deserves our worship as the creator and sustainer of all things.

But this is balanced with the actual historical community that first used it in worship – Israel – probably in the second temple community after the exile.

  • It balances the call for universal praise with an awareness of its own identity as God’s called out people: Look at verse 3,

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

  • “He made us” is not to be understood as initial creation, but God’s action of claiming Israel as his priestly nation through
    • the election of Abraham (Gen 12),
    • the redemption of the nation from Egypt (Exo 19)
    • and the return of the people from exile.
  • The verb translated “made” is often used for God’s redemptive action in history.
  • Their historical experiences are the reason Israel should acknowledge God.
  • What’s your historical experience as an individual, as a community of believers?
  • What has God done for you in the past?
  • Has your experience convinced you that Christ is God, that there is no other?
  • Has he proven himself to you by his Word and his Spirit, by his working in the circumstances of your life?
  • Our confession today is similar to the psalmist’s.
  • With Peter we can say, “We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…”  “Once we were not a people, but now we are God’s people.” 

While the call to worship is universal, there is an understanding that not all have responded to the call.

  • So we balance the two by responding to the call to worship ourselves by coming together as a local community of faith,
  • And by calling others to worship through our evangelistic work, seeking to gather other sheep into God’s fold


Second, let’s look at what actions are to take place in worship – both What are we to do? and How are we to do it?

What we are to do in worship

What are we to do in worship?

  • The first 3 and last 3 commands of the psalm describe worship actions:
  • shout, serve, come (2X), give thanks, and praise.
  • All the terms are common in the psalms and especially in hymns of praise.
  • It assumes a corporate worship setting.
  • It functions as a CALL TO WORSHIP as we said earlier.
  • And its purpose is to move the worshipers physically and emotionally out of the workaday realm into the sacred realm.

But the key term here is the word “serve.”

  • Similar to English word “service,” in the Bible it can mean both “serve through working” and “serve in worship.”
  • Here the meaning is obviously worship, but the double sense of the word “service” – meaning both worship and work – indicates that an act of worship is part of a deeper relationship that a person has with God.
  • In Hebrew, “serve” describes the type of behavior that a human OWES to the king and to God.
  • So it’s a LITURGICAL VERSION OF THE 1ST COMMANDMENT – “you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.”
  • Like Israel, we are called to serve the Lord in worship because we OWE it to him, as our God and King.
  • Especially because of what he has done for us in Jesus Christ.

How we are to worship

We’re told by the psalmist not only what to do in worship but also how we’re to worship.

First, we’re to worship joyfully.

1 Make a joyful noise (or shout joyfully) to the LORD, all the earth!

2 Serve the LORD with gladness!

  • Here, “joy” is not an external expression required of those who come into God’s presence, but rather joy that wells upward from within.
  • It’s the emotion the Lord draws out of human beings when they are gripped by his divine presence among us.
  • Our thanklessness, our negativity, and our hopelessness that come from the world are transformed by the redemptive power of Gods’ presence.
  • Joy and gladness are NOT REQUIREMENTS OF WORSHIPERS, BUT FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT’s work in our lives when we present ourselves humbly to the Lord in worship.
  • It’s an attitude of the heart.

But we’re also we’re commanded to abandon the normally reserved constraints of the workaday world and give ourselves away in communion with God.

come into his presence with singing.

enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.

  • It’s right also literally to express joy, to sing, even shout, in praise and thanksgiving to God in worship.

But the command literally right in the center this psalm is in v. 3

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!

  • We’re not talking about MERE INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE.
  • In the ancient Hebrew there was no division between theoretical and practical knowledge.
  • Because “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture,” we worship by obeying the Lord’s will.
  • It’s not good enough to just hear the Word, we must do what it says.


Finally, we’re told who is the object of our worship.

The object of our worship is the One who graciously reveals himself to us as Yhwh, I am that I am, the LORD.

  • Notice how the psalmist makes the LORD the object of every verb:
    • Make a joyful noise to the LORD;
    • Serve the LORD;
    • Know that the LORD, he is God!
    • It is he who made us, we are his;
    • Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    • Give thanks to him; bless his name!  
    • For the LORD is good;  

The object of our worship is also the One who has initiated an intimate, covenant relationship with us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • V. 3 says, he made us, and we are his – we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”

Finally, the object of our worship is the One, in V. 5, whose “lovingkindness endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.”

  • God is faithful, God is trustworthy, God fulfills his promises.
  • What he has done in the past, can be relied on in the present and in the future, as long as people exist.
  • Are you struggling with a difficult decision?
  • Are you fearful today or sorrowful?
  • Are you facing a difficult trial or temptation?
  • Are you wondering if God can forgive you?
  • Are you suffering in some kind of pain?
  • Are you wondering if God is still there for you?
  • Do as the psalmist invites and commands us here.
  • Bear witness in thanksgiving and praise to your fundamental conviction that the character of the Lord is the most trustworthy and defining reality in the universe –  
  • – and is best summed up: “the Lord is good, his lovingkindness endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” – even to you and me, even today.  PRAYER.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.  (Jude 1:24-25 NAU)

Categories: 2015, Articles, Psalms, Sermon Series, Sermons, Sermons by Scripture, Sermons by Series

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: