Cantata meditations: Peace, Love, Joy

First Meditation on Peace:

Did you notice the narration earlier?

The world waited with hope, watching expectantly for the peace promised by God in the Scriptures… Peace was brought by the Child born in Bethlehem.

 Let’s read Isaiah 9:6-7:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

  1. This passage shows that the son to be born by the virgin cannot be a mere human son.
    1. This passage has not been fully fulfilled yet.
    2. Remember what the words of the choir anthem were saying, Born a Child to Grant Us Peace. Grant Us Peace Lord… Then Later, Peace on Earth, good will for all.
    3. Verse 6: the Government will rest on His shoulders. We get this picture in the New Testament that Jesus is reigning, but certainly not literally now, but He will be reigning over all (Rev. 21-22).
    4. Look at the names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God: this means that He will do more than any other person can do. He will be fully God.
    5. He will be Everlasting God. I like what one source wrote about this phrase: He is said to be everlasting, just as God (the Father) is called “the Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:9). The Messiah will be a “fatherly” Ruler. Third, perhaps Isaiah had in mind the promise to David (2 Sam. 7:16) about the “foreverness” of the kingdom which God promised would come through David’s line. The Messiah, a Descendant of David, will fulfill this promise for which the nation had been waiting.[1]
    6. He will be called the Prince of Peace: the One who will bring in and maintain the time of millennial peace when the nation will be properly related to the Lord.[2] Verse 7 again emphasizes that there will be no end to His Kingdom.

Praise God! We can experience Jesus’ Kingdom now, but we will not fully experience Jesus’ Kingdom until the end when all is made right by Jesus.

Close:

So, are you surrendered to Jesus? Where are you at spiritually? Is He your Prince of Peace?

Short prayer

End of first meditation

Next meditation, Joy:

Joy:

Message on Psalm 98:

Intro:

In a minute we are going to talk about Psalm 98 which is a Psalm that has frequently been used at Christmas time. It is an exciting Psalm for an exciting season.

Did you hear the intro about the angels appearing to the shepherds?

Did you notice the words to the anthem?

Listen to the sound of the angels singing, hear the joyful music fill the sky? Join with the Heavenly chorus, “Glory be to God on high.” Listen to the news of the wondrous story, echo through the Heavens clear and strong. Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Listen to the sound of the angels singing a Christmas song. See the shepherds kneeling at the manger worshipping the newborn King. Hear the bells of Heaven ringing. Hark the herald angels singing. Then: Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the Newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

The anthem continued with other songs. As I read it weeks ago it made me think of the angels worshipping the Lord.

Psalm 98 goes along with Joy to the World. Actually, it seems that Joy to the World was inspired by Isaac Watts’ study of Psalm 98.

Please listen as I read Psalm 98 and as I pause to reflect on some of the words.

Psalm 98:

O sing to the Lord a new song,

  • Why? We have to keep reading…

For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

  • This is true. The Lord has made known His salvation. Are we not the ends of the earth? We certainly are not, in Israel are we? No, the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of the Lord. This is anticipating the Lord’s final salvation as well. Also, the Lord remembered Israel. You see all through the Old Testament The people of Israel were God’s chosen people, but they did not follow God, so God allowed them to be defeated by other nations. But Jesus came. He is the rightful King of Israel and also of the world. Let’s keep reading:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy
Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth;
He will judge the world with righteousness
And the peoples with equity.

  • Jesus will come again and He will judge the earth (Rev. 11:18).

Let me read more about Joy to the World

Isaac Watts, 1674–1748

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)

As one of the most joyous of all Christmas hymns, this carol omits references to shepherds, angelic choruses, and wise men. It emphasizes instead the reverent but ecstatic joy that Christ’s birth brought to mankind. For centuries hearts had yearned for God to reveal Himself personally. At last it happened as “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The entire Advent season should be filled with solemn rejoicing as we contemplate anew God’s great gift, providing the means whereby sinful man might live eternally.

“Joy to the World” is a paraphrase of the last part of Psalm 98:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth; with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.

Although it was originally a song of rejoicing for Jehovah’s protection of His chosen people and the anticipation of the time when He would be the God of the whole earth, this psalm was intended by Watts to be a New Testament expression of praise. It exalts the salvation that began when God became incarnate as the Babe of Bethlehem who was destined to remove the curse of Adam’s fall. The text was originally titled “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom” when it first appeared in Watts’ hymnal of 1719.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns. Let men their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains 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.

He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.

Express gratitude for our Savior’s birth with these words—[3]

Short prayer

End of second meditation

Third Mediation Love

 Notice the words once again, “hope came down, too, because a Savior was given. And joy came down in the celebration of God’s gift of grace.”

Think about God’s love. A group of college students were reading through John chapter 3. They then came to verse 16 and one student said, “Everyone knows John 3:16.” The pastor leading later said, “If you think that everyone knows John 3:16, you really do not know John 3:16.” John 3:16 is powerful.

Let’s read John 3:16-18:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  1. God loved and God gave.
    1. Notice that God loved.
    2. Notice further that God loved to the point where God gave.
    3. God loved and he loved everyone.
    4. No one is left out.
    5. God so loved the world, it is the Greek word: kósmos which means the inhabitants of the earth.
    6. God so loved the world that He gave. How are we with giving? Are we giving people? I like how Swindoll pointed out that we are never more like God than when we give.
    7. God gave his only “begotten” Son, or His “one and only Son” or His “unique” Son.
    8. God so loved the world that He gave His only “begotten” (sticking with the NASB) Son…The rest of the passage picks up the purpose: that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    9. Salvation is opened to all people but only through Jesus. Look at John 3:18:
  2. Salvation is only through Jesus.
    1. John 3:18 says: He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    2. We have to believe in Jesus.
    3. Salvation is opened to anyone through Jesus.
    4. Salvation is exclusive in that it is through Jesus, BUT Christianity is inclusive. Christianity is opened to anyone.
    5. I remember the 1996 presidential debates. Senator Bob Dole was debating President Clinton. The moderator asked Bob Dole about his tax cut proposal and Senator Dole instantly replied to the moderator that “he is eligible.” This meant that the moderator is eligible for the tax cut.
    6. Everyone is eligible for the free gift of salvation in Jesus.
    7. Rejecting Jesus is rejecting God the Father.
    8. Let’s look at John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    9. We see this idea all throughout the New Testament, actually all throughout the Bible. We need a way to take care of our sins and it is only through Jesus.
  3. Applications:
    1. Do we believe this truth?
    2. Do we care?
    3. Salvation is real and eternity is real.
    4. Do you believe in Jesus?
    5. Is Jesus your Lord?
    6. Are you trusting in Him for salvation?
    7. Do you want others to as well?

A man is rushed to the hospital where a doctor examines him and informs him that he is critically ill. The patient is told that he will die unless he gets proper treatment. The physician then prescribes medicine for the sick man and says, “If you will take this, I can assure you with absolute certainty that you will get well.” Now, what should the man do? Should he just lie there on his sickbed and believe that the doctor knows his business, that he has diagnosed his illness correctly, and that the prescription will surely make him well? No, that is not enough. If that is all he does, he will die. To live, he must take the medicine.

When a person offers you a gift that has cost him or her much, it does not become yours until you receive it from that person. The beautifully wrapped package in the outstretched hand of the giver will do the receiver no good until he or she reaches out and takes it. Likewise, reception of God’s gracious gift of eternal life is necessary before a person can benefit from it. Receiving a gift from someone else does not constitute a meritorious act or good work, and the Bible never regards it as a work. It is simply a response to the work of another.

Confess, Believe, trust, commit: Firmly make the decision to be with Him in order to become like Him and to learn and do all that He says and then arrange your affairs around Him.

 

Prayer

[1] Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1053). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1053). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 368.

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