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Sermon Overview + Prayer: "Marvel of Marvels"

PRAYING THE PASSAGE (Psalm 98):

Robert Davidson - No psalm more neatly or succinctly lays bare the heart of genuine worship.
This psalm joyfully and noisily celebrates the salvation God has worked for his people in the sight of the nations, calling on all the earth and ultimately all of creation to join in the jubilant praise of the true and living God who saves, reigns and judges.
Father, as we read this, and any psalm of praise, may the Holy Spirit open our eyes to the majesty, the holiness, and the glory of the only one worthy of such praise – praise for who he is, and for the wondrous deeds he has done. And may what we read be spoken, not merely as words, but as heartfelt praise and worship!

The Joyful Celebration of Past Deliverance – v. 1-6. In the psalms there is never a summons to praise without providing the reasons for praise. The people of God are summoned to sing to him a new song because of His saving acts rescuing them and calling them into a special relationship with Him
Lord, put a song in my heart as I recount your marvelous deeds in my life – conviction, repentance, faith, and forgiveness; provision and protection; guidance and grace; fellowship and family; comfort and care; mercy and, again, forgiveness.

What God has done for His people was for “All the ends of the earth” So, this forms an evangelistic call to the nations to come to the King who alone provides salvation and implies a warning if they refuse.
Father, may my life, my words, my deeds testify to your work of glorious deliverance and transforming grace. Give me opportunities to recount to others the gift of your lovingkindness in Jesus Christ. Give me opportunities to demonstrate a life set free from the enslavement of sin and the cares of this world.

The psalmist invites all of creation to join the chorus of praise. Creation celebrates the coming judgment of God that will set everything right that has gone terribly wrong.
Holy Spirit, open my eyes and ears to see and hear all creation, even now, displaying the glory of the living God, ruling and reigning over all!

The Joyful Anticipation of Future Deliverance – v. 7-9...there will be another divine intervention where “...he comes to judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity”, where the wicked will be punished and those who trust in Him will be saved and vindicated.

John Stott – The occasion of this psalm...certainly foreshadows that mightier salvation from sin, Satan and death, which God has brought to us through Jesus Christ His Son. This is the most marvelous of the marvelous things (v1) which God has done, and it prompts the people of God to keep singing a new song, from ever fresh wonder at His grace.

Isaac Watts was inspired to write Joy to the World while meditating on Psalm 98. Vs 4 deeply affected him: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

Derek Kidner – The psalms we sing now are a rehearsal, and God’s presence among his worshippers is a prelude to his appearing in the world.
Father, as we meditate on your marvelous deliverance, past and future, fill our hearts with faith, our souls with hope, our minds with peace, and our mouths with passionate and exuberant songs of joy!

OVERVIEW OF SERMON:
Isaac Watts based his song, “Joy to the World,” on Psalm 98 in ways likely unfamiliar to most Christians today. Normally associated with Christmas, it may surprise us to learn that the song is ultimately about the return of Jesus. This Psalm comes to us in two sections. First, verses 1-6 are about the joyful celebration of God’s past deliverances. Second, verses 7-9 are about the joyful anticipation of God’s final future deliverance. When God acts to save his people in history, He reveals his covenant love and faithfulness to his people. Ultimately, this Psalm points to the deliverance of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and then His future deliverance when He returns to judge the world in righteousness. “Joy to the World” is meant to, like Psalm 78, affect us and cause us to sing passionately about what God has done for us in the past and to sing expectantly for that future day when the Lord Jesus returns to gather his people and execute final and perfect justice.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Read the Psalm again and discuss insights you gained from C.J.’s preaching.
  2. In what ways can you relate verses 1-6 to your own past experience of God’s grace in your life?
  3. In what ways are you excited and anticipating the ultimate realities in verses 7-9 especially in relation to the return of King Jesus?
  4. In what specific ways can you apply this Psalm to your own hearts and lives?