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WHY GOING TO CHURCH
SHOULD MAKE US GLAD
Intro: This Psalm is called “A Song of degrees”. Psalms 120 – 134 fall into this classification. There were Psalms that were sung by Jewish pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem to observe the mandatory feasts given in the Law. These Psalms were to be sung as the worshipers made their way to the holy place to worship. These Psalms ascend the heights of the glory and majesty of God. These Psalms were designed to glorify the Lord and help prepare the hearts of the saints of God for worship in the tabernacle and later on in the temple.
This particular Psalm talks about the place of worship, Jerusalem; the purpose of worship, the Lord; and the power of worship, it brings gladness to the hearts of the worshipers.
David writes, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord”. The word “glad” means “to cause to rejoice”. Several things in the Old Testament were said to bring gladness to the hearts of men. Let me share a few with you.
· Wine – Psa. 104:15; Jud. 9:13; Eccl. 10:19
· Ointment and perfume – Pro. 27:9
· A Wise Son – Pro. 15:20; 10:1; 27:11
· A Kind Word – Pro. 12:25
· Meeting a Loved One – Ex. 4:14
· God’s Law – Ex. 19:8
· The Increase Of Righteousness – Pro. 29:2
· God’s Feasts – Neh. 12:43
· The Lord and His Salvation – 2 Chron 20:27; Psa. 5:11; 9:2; 16:9; 32:11; 40:16; 63:11; 64:10; 86:4; 90:15; 92:4. This is the primary reason for gladness. When you come to understand that you have been redeemed by grace, forgiven of sin and adopted into the Lord’s family, you have a reason for gladness.
· In these verses, David tells us that he has found a reason for gladness in going to the House of the Lord.
Now, as we know, not everyone shares the emotion when it comes to going to the house of the Lord. If they did, His house would be full every time we opened the doors. Some are glad when it’s time to go to church. Of course, some are mad, some are sad, some can be bad, and, if you go to some churches, some might feel like they’ve been had.
David found overwhelming joy in going to the house of the Lord. The same should be true of us! We don’t worship at the tabernacle. We don’t gather at the temple. We gather at the church house. When we come here, it should make us glad. This Psalm gives us some valid reasons why. I want to preach for a few minutes on Why Going To Church Should Make Us Glad.
I want to talk to you about The Purpose For Going There; The People Who Gather There; and The Person Who Is Glorified There. Let’s notice these reasons together today.
I. v. 4 THE PURPOSE FOR
(Ill. David mentions two primary purposes for going to worship.)
A. To Hear God’s Precepts – In this verse, David speaks of “the testimony of Israel”. This is a reference to God’s command to Israel to gather at the tabernacle, and later at the temple, for the three great Jewish feasts: 1.) The Feast of Unleavened Bread; 2.) The Feast of Pentecost; 3.) The Feast of Tabernacles. The Jews made their pilgrimage to the place of worship because doing so honored the Word of the Lord.
One of the primary reasons we are to come together in the place of worship is to hear and heed God’s Word. The Bible should be at the heart of everything we do! Every event should and must be centered on the Word of God. Every service we have is a God given opportunity to open His book and share the Gospel. (Ill. The place of preaching in the church – 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:13-17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.) (Ill. Spirit-filled, Bible-centered preaching will thrill the heart of the saint of God! When you hear the great themes and doctrines of the Bible preached, it will stir your soul! EMPHASIZE!!)
B. To Herald God’s Praises – David says they are also going there to “give thanks unto the name of the Lord.” The ancient Jews made their way to the tabernacle and the temple at great personal cost and difficulty to offer their praises to the Lord. They believed He was worthy to be praised for His grace in their lives, so they paid the price, stood before His prescribed place and they praised His name!
It didn’t take too much effort for most of us to get here today. No one had to walk a hundred miles in their sandals. No one had to ride on the back of a donkey. No one had to contend with dust, dirt and danger to get here today. You might have had to rush around a bit to get here. You might have had to leave a warm house to brave a little cool air. You might have had to turn your back on a favorite TV program or an evening of shopping or dining out, but getting here didn’t cost us too much.
The ancient Jews remembered what God had done for their forefathers. They knew what the Lord had done for them. They knew they had ample reasons to praise the Lord, so they did. How much more do we have to praise Him for? Just stop to consider everything He has done for you in salvation, in provision, in protection, in grace, etc. Add to that the fact that we are commanded to praise Him, and you come to understand that we are behind in the praising the Lord department. (Ill. Psa. 47:1; Heb. 13:15; Psa. 113:1-9, etc.)
(Ill. I can’t speak for you, but I would be ashamed to go to a church where the Word of God was not preached and where the name of the Lord was not praised!)
I. The Purpose For Going There
II. v. 1, 4 THE PEOPLE WHO
(Ill. While David found gladness in the purpose of their going to the house of God, he also found gladness in who would meet him in that place. He gives us another reason for being glad about going to church. David was glad to go to church because he knew he would meet the people of the Lord there. He tells us something about the people he would meet at church.)
A. A People United In Fellowship – David said, “they said…Let us go” – The Jews saw their time at the tabernacle as a time when they could come together on common ground, for a common purpose. Petty disputes and family disagreements were put aside so they would worship the Lord together.
We could learn a lot from those ancient worshipers. I look around this church today and I realize that we are all different. We come from different families, with different points of view, different backgrounds and even somewhat different belief systems. Yet we are commanded to gather together to worship the Lord, Heb. 10:25.
If we are going to do this, there are characteristics that must be true.
· We must practice love – 1 Cor. 13:1-8; Matt. 22:37-39
· We must demonstrate forgiveness – Eph. 4:32; Luke 17:3-5; Matt. 18:21-22
· We must live in tolerance – Rom. 15:1-2; Phil 2:4
· We must offer restoration – Gal. 6:1-2
When we can do these things from a heart of love and Christ-like unity, we can experience true gladness in our time together at His house. As long as we allow petty differences, hard feelings and an “I am right and you are always wrong” mentality we will never have the right kind of worship experience and we will never be glad to go to church. God give us some mature Christians who are willing to love, forgive, and worship in spite of all things to the glory of God!
B. A People United By Family – David says “Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord…” The ancient Jews were a people connected by blood. They were a family. When they came together for worship, it was a family affair. It was a time to renew acquaintances, catch up on family news and meet the new members of the family. It was like a family reunion every time they gathered.
The church is to function in a similar manner. When we come together, the family is coming home. All the redeemed are united by the precious blood of Jesus. When we come together for a meeting, whether it is to worship, to fellowship, or just to pray we should take the opportunity to strengthen the family bonds. That’s one reason we offer so many opportunities for fellowship. It is important to a healthy family spirit in the church. The church that does not fellowship together lacks unity!
Imagine a family that never shared a meal, or got to know one another; that would be a dysfunctional family at best. It would be a family with serious problems at worse. We need to ensure that our church family closely resembles the church of the book of Acts. They were a church that enjoyed one another’s company, Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-33; Phil. 2:1-4.
(Ill. I can’t speak for you, but that praying, preaching, praising, worshiping crowd is my crowd. I am not ashamed to be identified with them!)
I. The Purpose For Going There
II. The People Who Gather There
III. v. 1, 4 THE PERSON THEY
· Four times in this Psalm David mentions the “Lord”. He was at the heart of all they did. Every moment and event of life revolved around the Lord and His worship. He was the centerpiece of everything.
· When David calls God “the Lord”, he is using the most common name for God in the Bible. The word used here is “Yahweh” of “Jehovah”. This name for God appears over 6,800 hundred times in the Old Testament. It identifies God as the eternal, self-existent One. It reminds that He had no beginning and He will have no ending. It is the name God used to make Himself known to Moses, Ex. 3:14, where God said that His name was “I AM that I AM.”
This name also identifies God as the covenant-keeping One. He is a God Who makes covenants with His people and He never breaks faith. He is a God Who keeps every promise He makes. He keeps every soul He saves. This name identifies Him as a God Who is worthy of all our praise and worship.
· In the final analysis He is the reason we come to church. If it were not for Him, I would not even care about His Word, His worship, or even about you. He saved me, He keeps me, He blesses me and I want to praise Him, serve Him, worship Him and get together with others who feel about Him just like I do.
If you came here just because it’s church time, you came for the wrong reason. If you came to see someone, you came for the wrong reason. If you came to see me, you came for the wrong reason. If you just came to do your thing, or just because it’s what you always do, you came for the wrong reason.
But, if you came because you love Him, you are here for the right reason. If you came because He saved you, blessed you and you want to thank Him for it, you are here for the right reasons. Your worship experience will be real, lasting and meaningful. Those who come for the wrong reasons get nothing out of church. Those who come because they love Him receive profound dividends in return.
· I don’t know why you come. I am here because “I once was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in, and then a little light from Heaven filled my soul; it bathed my heart in love, and wrote my name above.” That’s why I am here!
(Ill. I can’t speak for you, but I want to be involved in His worship. He is worthy and I want to do my part!)
Conc: When you consider everything David said about his reasons for being glad to go to the house of the Lord, can you agree with Him? Do you share His reasons? Are you filled with rejoicing when it comes time to go to the Lord’s house? Or do you feel different emotions when you come to church?
I think this would be a good opportunity for us to examine how we feel about going to church; how we feel about worshiping the Lord; and how we feel about the family of God. If He has touched your heart about these matters, you need to do what He is telling you to do today.