Christmas Musical - Celebrating Our New Song

Dr. Rob Green December 19, 2021
Outline

Genesis 4:23-24 - Listen to my voice, you wives of Lamech, give heed to my speech, for I have killed a man for wounding me; and a boy for striking me; if Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.

Psalm 40:1-3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

4 reasons Christians have to sing joyfully at Christmas time

I. Because of God’s Willingness to Hear Our Cries

Psalm 40:1 - …inclined to me and heard my cry.

Exodus 3:7-8 - The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…”

Judges 16:21 - Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.

Judges 16:23 - Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.”

Judges 16:22 - However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.

Judges 16:29-30 - Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.

John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

II. Because of God’s Ability to Pull Us Out of Any Pit We’re In

Psalm 40: 2 - He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay…

Romans 5:20 - …where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

III. Because of the Stability Our Savior Provides for His Children

Psalm 40:2-3 - … He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…

Psalm 18:2 - The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 62:1-2 - My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 - For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Psalm 40:2-3 - … He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…

IV. Because of the Impact Our New Song can Have on Others

Psalm 40:1-3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

- one of the ways you can evaluate a person, or a group of people, or even an entire culture is by listening to their music…

- and that’s not a recent phenomenon, it’s as old as mankind itself…

- in the book of Genesis, we read that God created the world and then made mankind in His image so we could be visible representatives of His truth and beauty…

- that included working and living and creating the kind of culture that would mirror and reflect divine attributes…to be fruitful and multiply and fill God’s earth…to be dominion-havers as some Bible students have said – so the world would be filled with God’s glory…even the music that would be written and sung and played and performed…

- regrettably that plan went awry rather quickly in God’s Word…so that by Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve had sinned and rebelled against their Creator…

- by chapter 4 their son Cain rose up and killed his own brother because of his rage and jealousy…the polar opposite of living in a way that was consistent with God’s design…

- but then it got worse…(because unabated sin always gets worse)…and we read by the end of Genesis 4 that one of Cain’s descendants, a man named Lamech…commits a senseless murder, and then writes a celebratory poem, and perhaps even a song about it…

Listen to my voice, you wives of Lamech,

Give heed to my speech,

For I have killed a man for wounding me;

And a boy for striking me;

If Cain is avenged sevenfold,

Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold” (Genesis 4:23-24).

- some Bible students that is the first recorded song in the Bible – glorifying senseless murder…and we’re not even out of the first four chapters of the book of Genesis…

- see, you can tell a lot about a person, or a group of persons, or even an entire culture by listening to their music…

- there are many songs in our contemporary cultures, whose words I would not even put on the screen this morning because they are so wretched and defiled…yet you could turn on a radio or whatever device you use to stream your music and within seconds have such ideas blaring as loudly as you desired…

- and not just that…but many of us have songs that are stuck in our heads by days gone by that contain words we know displease the Lord…and it’s amazing how a place, or an event, or sometimes even a smell can bring all of that back from the recesses of our minds which shows how powerful music can be…

- that’s why we’re glad this morning that our Savior who was given to us at Christmastime can even transform our music…

- King David said it like this…Psalm 40:1–3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

- I am thankful for our choir and orchestra, and for the collection of Christmas music they are going to present to us today…

- while they minister to us…please listen carefully to the truthful words, and enjoy the beauty of the music…

- and join us in praising God that our Lord and Savior can put a new song in our mouths, even praise unto our God…

PRAY

- [First Half of the Musical]…

- our choir and orchestra will be coming a bit later to present the second half of our musical this morning…but at this time I’d like to ask you to consider more fully the Psalm we quoted at the beginning…

- Psalm 40:1–3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

- let’s think about this passage for a few moments, looking for 4 reasons Christians have to sing joyfully at Christmastime.

I. Because of God’s Willingness to Hear Our Cries

- we don’t know for sure the situation that King David was in when he wrote this Psalm, but often that is a blessing because we can use the principles in a variety of settings in which we find ourselves…

- we know this – he was both relieved and amazed that God… Psalm 40:1 - …inclined to me and heard my cry.

- can you think of other times in the Bible when the Lord behaved similarly…

- one that came to my mind was when the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt…

- do you remember God’s words to Moses at the burning bush?...

- Exodus 3:7–8 - The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey…”

- it’s been well observed that one of the primary differences between biblical Christianity and the other religions of man is that others are various attempts for human beings to stretch or jump up to try to please and connect with a god through their own righteousness or good works…whereas biblical Christianity has a much clearer understanding of both the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God and our complete inability to bridge the gap between the two by our own merit…

- your sin has separated you from your God…the prophet Isaiah said…

- so we need someone to come down to deliver us…

- the word “incline” in Psalm 40 is an interesting one…what does it mean for God to be willing to do that to us?...as individuals on a very personal level…

- when you look at other similar uses of the word “incline” in the Bible, you find that it literally means…

- bowed down with all His might

- stretched himself

- gave a thrust

- we have to be careful not to read too much from one passage of Scripture into another, but an interesting parallel use of this this word inclined is at the end of the life of Sampson…

- you probably remember when he revealed to Delilah the source of his strength and she in turn told his enemies and shaved his head…

- Judges 16:21 - Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.

- it certainly looked like the enemies of God had won a great victory…in fact the Philistines the passage tells us… Judges 16:23 - Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.”

- but embedded in that narrative is a small detail – do you remember what it was?... Judges 16:22 - However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.

- note to self – if your enemy’s strength comes from the length of his hair…you might want to assign someone to give him regular haircuts…

- because the passage ends with 3000 of the Lords of the Philistines calling for Samson to amuse them while they watch from the rooftop of a house…and Samson asks the boy leading him to take him to the pillars of the structure…

- Judges 16:29–30 - Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.

- what word in that passage do you think is the same as “inclined” in Psalm 40:1?...”and he bent”…with all his might…

- can you imagine Samson flexing that one last time and actually pulling that house down?...

- the point is – when David says that God inclined Himself to him…it wasn’t a casual glance or a fleeting thought or a minor expenditure of resources…

- isn’t that an essential point of the Christmas story…we didn’t just have a minor problem that required a casual glance…

- God inclined Himself to us in the most powerful and personal way possible…

- John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

- if you’re here this morning and wondering what God’s stance is toward you…

- would He be willing to listen to you if you wanted to repent and believe in Christ…

- or would He be willing to answer a particular prayer or meet a particular need…

- here’s the answer – in His love and grace…He’s ready to incline Himself to you…

- to bow down with all His might…to stretch Himself…to give a thrust…just like He did in a manger in Bethlehem…

- sing joyfully at Christmastime, because of God’s willingness to hear our cries…

- secondly, sing joyfully at Christmastime…

II. Because of God’s Ability to Pull Us Out of Any Pit We’re In

- David said – Psalm 40: 2 - He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,

- have you ever been in that situation, where you felt mired down and unable to move…

- I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this…but when I was in Bible College and seminary, I worked my way through school by building inground swimming pools…

- that was up in the Gary area and the suburbs of Chicago around Lake Michigan…and I can say with integrity…a lot of those areas have a very high water table, coupled with a sandy clay soil…

- the words you never wanted to hear on excavation day was…we just hit water…because you had to get that hole deep enough, and stable enough to build the pool…but sometimes the water and clay was running in as fast as you could dig it out…

- often that everyone getting their books on, grabbing hand shovels, and spending the day doing what we affectionately called “mucking out the hole”…

- it was in the heat of the summer, so the sun is beating down on you, and as fast as you could shovel the mud is coming in around you…and pretty soon you can’t move…[this is probably what happened to Jimmy Hoffa, by the way]…

- but on more than one occasion while attempting to free myself, my foot came out of my boot and the boot stayed put…

- you needed someone to get you out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay…

- now, that’s a sad story that I hope will cause you to feel badly for me…or laugh at me which is probably more likely…

- but it stops being funny, doesn’t it…when you think about a human being who just feels stuck…

- stuck in a pattern of sin where there doesn’t seem to be a way out…

- or stuck in a problem where there doesn’t seem to be a solution…

- God sent his own Son to pull us out of those very kinds of pits…

- if you are here this morning and you have never trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord…you might feel like there is no way out…

- here’s a great Christmas verse -- Romans 5:20 - …where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

- we would invite you to pause, even right now, and simply pray and acknowledge your sin before a Holy God…and then to thank Him for inclining Himself to you by sending His Son at Christmastime, and choosing to trust Him as your Lord and Savior…

- Christian friend – we all know there are times when we can take steps, even as followers of Jesus Christ…that can muck things up pretty badly…

- you might say – I’ve dug a pretty deep pit for myself…Romans 5:20 applies to that as well…

- why not decide to take steps right away to move toward repentance and faith…and getting the help you need to with grace and enablement of God…you can start climbing out?...

- 1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

- that’s a truth worth singing about…

- thirdly, we can sing joyfully at Christmastime…

III. Because of the Stability Our Savior Provides for His Children

- David went on to say…Psalm 40:2–3 - … He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;

- biblical Christianity provides a comprehensive world and life view which gives stability in a very unstable world…

- that’s why we can say with the Psalmist…

- Psalm 18:2 - The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

- Psalm 62:1–2 - My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

- the last couple of years have been especially turbulent…and who knows what the coming days might bring…

- but you don’t see followers of Jesus Christ running around setting their hair on fire…why?...because our God has set our feet upon a rock and made our footsteps firm…

- of course what’s especially beautiful about this picture for NT believers is that the Rock ultimately isn’t a book or a set of principles…it’s ultimately a Person, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…

- do you remember what Paul explained to the Corinthians…1 Corinthians 10:1–4 - For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

- that’s why we have a new song in our mouths…a song of praise to our God…

- this is also why Christians aren’t constantly complaining about gas prices, or politics, or pandemic issues, etc, etc, etc…

- because our question is – well, do I still have Christ?...He’s all I need…

- that doesn’t mean those other issues don’t have some role in our hearts and lives…but they are not all consuming, because otherwise a person’s life and conversations are an endless series of verbal quicksand…the sky is falling here, the sky is falling there…help, I’m sinking…

- Psalm 40:2–3 - … He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;

- there’s a calmness and confidence that comes because of what God accomplished for us at Christmastime…

- [could develop how delightful it is to see this aspect of the gospel play out through the various ministries of our church…]

- lastly, Christians can sing joyfully at Christmastime…

IV. Because of the Impact our New Song Can Have on Others

- Psalm 40:1–3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

- one of the great blessings of Christmas is the possibility that you could have a positive spiritual impact on someone else…

- you’ve been rescued, and now you’re pointing someone else to the rescuer…

- the end of verse 3 raises a series of interesting questions, doesn’t it?...

- when others watch you live…are they more likely to want to place their trust in the Lord?...

- when others hear you speak… are they more likely to want to place their trust in the Lord?...

- when others read your social media posts.. are they more likely to want to place their trust in the Lord?...

- [develop – thankfulness for the many who are serving in our Christmas outreaches this year…and for the Savior who makes all of that possible]

Authors

Dr. Rob Green

Roles

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Church

MABC Department Chair, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Bio

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Dr. Rob Green joined the Faith Church staff in August, 2005. Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Pastor Green has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 9 books/booklets. Rob and his wife Stephanie have three children.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.