Let us pray: Dear Savior, You created us to be the crowning glory of Your entire creation. You created us with the ability to freely choose from our hearts to praise You and honor You. Lord, through sin countless souls have chosen to ignore You and steal Your honor for themselves. And in so doing they never reach their potential as human beings, they never live up to the high calling for which You created us to begin with. Lord, today we are armed with Your forgiving love. Since it is a total gift, through it inspire us to praise You with hearts, hands, and voices. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO ALONE IS WORTHY OF PRAISE!
TEXT: Hebrews 13: 15: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” I Peter 2: 9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners Who Have Come To Praise Our Living Lord!
What are the three most important sentences which simply must be used to insure healthy, happy relationships with other people? What are the three statements you need to etch in your brain to insure a good marriage and lasting friendships? What are the three most important phrases you can teach your kids so that they’ll be happy and well-adjusted? Well, here they are: “I love you!” “Thank you!” and “I’m sorry.” If we all used those three little sentences more everyone would get along a whole lot better, won’t they? Why? Because all three statements are really words of praise. And praise uplifts instead of tears down. Praise breeds hope, confidence, and joy instead of anger, frustration, or depression. Think about it. When you say: “I love you.” You’re praising that person for having admirable qualities which you find irresistible. When you say: “Thank you.” You’re praising that person for caring enough to assist you and put your needs above their own. And when you say: “I’m sorry.” You’re not only admitting your shortcomings, but also praising that individual for being correct.
If using these statements is vital for healthy human relationships, how much more do they apply to our relationship with God? With those thoughts in mind today I want to remind each of you:
DON’T FORGET THE UNFORGETABLE, PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW!
Throughout the Bible there are more than 200 references about praising God. All sorts of different Hebrew and Greek words are used with these meanings: “Praise, thanksgiving, confession, courage/excellency, glory, commendation, declare, give praise, glorify, speak well, boast, and even sing a hymn.” Today we’re focusing on what it means to praise God. So, let’s examine all this a bit more closely.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. The whole concept of thanks-giving revolves around praise. By thanking God for specific blessings you’re acknowledging His goodness, His compassion, and His love toward you. You’re acknowledging His giant heart which He holds out to you. Certainly we see His loving heart in the form of job, possessions, health, kids, and the like. But the purest form of His loving heart is seen in Jesus Christ. In giving us His all, in giving His life for ours in order to save our souls, Jesus holds out to each of you the best God has to offer—eternal life and peace of conscience. Surely that is worth our praise!
All of us face tough times in life. They range from unemployment to sickness to interpersonal rejection to emotional distress. Wise people know that if you dwell on those things negativity feeds upon itself and a downward spiral toward depression ensues. However, if you refuse to give in to those troubles and instead dwell on all those big and little blessings of God you’ll feel better. So, praise is good for us. It uplifts us. It gets us to think about something and Someone greater than we are. Praise is also good for God. Think about how you feel when your spouse or your kids say to you: “I love you, I’m sorry, or thank-you.” When others honor you and your good judgement with those words you’re uplifted. Since we were created in God’s image, that means God is uplifted when we direct such expressions of praise toward Him, too.
You feel good when you leave church on Sunday for a reason. That reason being: God has touched your life and healed your soul by giving you His gift of forgiveness in Christ. In essence, He has honored you, praised you, for your response to His love. And of course, we praise Him back throughout the service which helps complete this eternal circle of joy. When you’re busy praising God you don’t think about greed, lust, or anger. When you’re busy praising Him you’re not dwelling on your pride or your selfishness. No, praise crowds out those negative thoughts. To be sure, humility is a necessary ingredient of genuine praise. For true humility accepts and acknowledges goodness outside itself. And since God is outside of us and gives us faith, hope, and love in Christ, genuine praise is all about Him instead of being all about us.
Praising God is not merely mouthing that often trite expression: “Praise the Lord.” No, it is a lifestyle, an attitude of your heart and soul which is eternally grateful for His goodness and which isn’t ashamed to share such happiness with others. Peter says that in our text when He talks about how God has made us into members of His personal family through the blood of Christ and then, because of this huge honor our only response can be to honor Him back—“to declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Likewise, the writer to the Hebrews speaks of praise as a lifestyle. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
Every one of us has experienced selfish praise. That is when others try to butter us up with loving words in order to get their way. Such false praise doesn’t uplift or inspire joy within. Instead it is just another example of human selfishness. But when people freely, out-of-the-blue praise us with no ulterior motives, the opposite emotions occur. With that in mind, don’t just praise God when you need something. As Hebrews says: “do it continually.” And then both your own joy over this gift of life and God’s joy over giving it to you will be made complete!
My friends, Don’t Forget the Unforgetable! Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow! It’s the reason God made you, redeemed you, saved you, and continues to give you life. Praise is the reason for our very existence. Yes, praise Him with your heart by dwelling on His goodness. Praise Him with your voice by telling of His blessings. Praise Him with your hands by doing everything in a way which honors His name. And if you do, you’re life with be happy, rich, full, and blest. Amen