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November 23, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit preaches a Thanksgiving message to the student body from Hebrews 13:15
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina speakers Dr. Steve Pettit, who served as an evangelist for over 29 years before becoming president of Bob Jones University as we reflect on this week's Thanksgiving holiday. Steve will share thoughts about praising God from Hebrews 13 take your Bibles today in turn with me to the book of Hebrews chapter 13 like to take a few moments this morning to talk to you about the importance of learning to praise the Lord and give Thanksgiving to him. So this morning I like to talk to you about praising God like us to read Hebrews 1315 is really a wonderful and important and challenging verse for us as believers about making praise. A just regular part of our life. Notice with the Scripture says by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. We look at the subject of praise. I'd like to begin with this some definition, some maybe explanation about praise how it affects us and then we'll come back and look at the early, the, the direction that we have in this verse about praising God.
So let's just start out with very simply, what is praise. We know it's a war. It's a word. As Christians we use all the time. But what is exactly praise. I think it's first of all important to recognize that praise is a command of God.
Out of all the commands that are mentioned in the Bible the command to praise the Lord is mentioned more than any other command in the Scripture Psalm 150 in verse six. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. We could put it this way to praise God for us as Christians is to obey God.
So the first thing we have to understand is that God is commanded us to praise him is not based on circumstances is not based on feelings. It's really something that were supposed to do, where to bring him praise that he is worthy.
So what is praise. Secondly, praise basically means to boast about God. The Hebrew word for praises. The word hallelujah and accustomed to keywords Halal and Ya.
The last three letters J. AH is a shortened form for God's personal name that would we would say would be Yahweh or Jehovah. So it's praise Jehovah or praise Yahweh and the first word is the word Hollowell and the word hallelujah hallelujah is really a word that is is a universal word.
It transcends all languages, so whatever the language you speak. Everyone says hi hallelujah in the word Hollowell has a couple of key ideas number one it means to have bright or clear light being visible from a store, so the best way to think of it is the radiant light of the sun.
So Elyse looked up and we see the brilliant bright light bursting forth from the sun. That's the idea of praise praise is a bursting for. It also means to cheer or to brag to extol the greatness or the excellence of a person or an event or an object.
I've learned that that sharing and bragging in and saying things about people. It's just natural it's natural for us to cheer for our team is natural to want to tell somebody about the good things that you been able to do to accomplish.
If you have your children you like to talk about your children, you have a beautiful baby you want to show the baby off as just human nature to want to boast or to brag it just comes naturally. Numbers of years ago my family and I were traveling out doing revival meetings in the state of Arizona and whenever we would travel my wife would always want to go to someplace that we've never been before and I was always wanting to get to the place we had to go as fast as we could and so as we were traveling through Arizona. My wife asked me can we stop and see the grand canyon. Well I went and looked and checked out back in the day when we would use maps. I checked out that the the Grand Canyon was 2 1/2 hours north of Flagstaff and you ever been Arizona.
Flagstaff is just a major city in you go to Flagstaff on I 40 and then you drop straight south down into Phoenix and Tucson support so it's 2 1/2 hours north of Flagstaff so it's not is not on the direct route it's out-of-the-way so the first thing is I don't want to go is to have ours up there is to have ours back it's it's a single road. It's a long ways in the middle of nowhere and my thought was, why do I want to go see a big hole in the ground may really it's just a big hole. I got pictures pictures are sufficient for me. Well my wife. She just said, let's go in us and she said will what about the children okay okay okay will do it for the children. So we drove to the Grand Canyon and when. If you've ever been there. We are on the south rim.
You really can't see it because it's below the surface it straight down so even when you pulled in the parking lot you can barely see it and I remember getting out of one of those parking lots and in it's like it's right there.
You just have to walk up to the edge and so my children got out of the trunk and they started running towards the Grand Canyon. I grabbed her hands and we walked up and we saw it for the first it's a mild thing on their is this river is like 15 miles to the other side and I said wow what a whole home is like it was like you're overwhelmed and you respond.
What is praise praise is the wow homes when we discover who God is, is a shout when we become fascinated with what God has done. As we enter into the pages of Scripture and we will read what God is like event God helps us to understand him, then what is the appropriate response. It is wow praise the Lord for who he is and what he does.
So praise is the idea boasting in the number three praises a sacrifice. First Peter two verse five you also is lively stones are built up a spiritual house and holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. We, as a priest or to bring to God a sacrifice and what is praise praises a part of that is literally our gift to God by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God is what we bring to kids thrown from our hearts.
It's the natural thing you want to give people gifts that you love. It's a good custom that when someone invites you to their house to eat that you buy them a gift before you got flowers or you bring something to them. It's just the natural response as we come into the throne room of God.
We are to bring to him a sacrifice and what is that sacrifice is the sacrifice of praise is our gift to God is because he is worthy of our praise. So we are to praise the Lord that leads me to the second thing and that is what is praise do for you as a believer. How does it affect you and praise as a definitive effect on the people of God number one. The first thing is it affects your focus in the Old Testament the temple was a house of God. It was the center place where God was worshiped by his people and when the people of God would come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and they would enter into his house. Suddenly, their focus would be on the God of that house.
They were overwhelmed with the house. I'm of the first time.
One of the first times what Israel and I went to the city of Jerusalem into the location where the temple once sat there at been built by Solomon and torn down at been rebuilt by the ruble and then it was upgraded by Herod's of the second Temple was called to hear Herod's Temple.
It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and today it's still amazing in its and ruin, and I remember going there and then standing at the base of what we call the Western Wall. The hotel and thereupon the mount would've been where the temple was located where the priest were where the courtyard was located where the sacrifices were made and when you enter into that area, you first you personally feel very small and suddenly you begin to realize how big God really is, what is praise do for the believer. It brings them or takes them away removes him from being a self-centered focus person to becoming a God centered person. Psalm 100 verse four says enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise. This is God's house.
These are God's people. We are coming to worship him.
We are coming to bring him sacrifices of praise worship is not about me. Worship is not about the way that I feel worship is about who God is and what is worship do for all of us. It is a process by which it delivers us from being selfish folks where selfish, we don't have a temple to go to to see the bigness of God. We have his word because we are heavenly people, and we worship the Lord who is located in a new Jerusalem. A city that we will see one day with our eyes, but now we see by faith, we believe, as is revealed in the Scriptures. What is praise do for us. It shifts our thinking away from ourselves and allows us to focus our attention on God so it affects her focus folks, if you're not praising God your thinking about yourself and secondly affects your awareness of God. Let me put it this way, the presence of God is always sensed and felt when people praise him listen to Psalm 22 verse three it says, but thou art holy, O thou that inhabits us the praises of Israel. Have you ever wanted to feel close to God. If you don't feel close to God. Is it because God's not close but we know God is close because he's everywhere present.
He's omniscient Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you. So wherever I go, God goes and if I'm a believer, the spirit of God is within my body so the Lord is there yet. Often times we feel like God is a million miles away.
So what can I do about that. And the answer is you start praising God why because it says in Psalm 22, three, that God inhabits the praises of Israel.
It literally means that he settles down and he feels at home winter, when do you feel the most comfortable for me when I go home. When I go home I get out of this soon. I get is something that's relaxed. I flopped down on my couch. My wife is there. My family is there. I'm at home. I feel at home uncomfortable. God comes into and swells with his people who praise him, we sense his manifest presence when we praise the Lord.
Praise affects the sense of your awareness of God is like tuning up an instrument.
I love stringed instruments. I don't by the way don't have a problem with brass instruments, I just don't like him too much, but I like stringed instruments and so I love playing. I have a mandolin. I have five of them and I I love playing. It is much as I can. One of the things we learned about straight. You are about string instruments as they get out of tune very easily their lot like people and they get out of tune the atmosphere.
For example will cause it to get out of tune. It is too cold it's too hot. There's a lot of humidity in the air and you trying to play it just goes attitude goes attitude when you use it.
So if you play the instrument a lot.
You have to stop and retune it up because it just doesn't stay tuned all the time and often times it will get get out of tune when you don't use it at all. If it sits in the in the case yet to pull it out. The first thing you have to do is you have to tune it up so the truth is you have to tune up your instrument. It's not a permanent thing. So you have to take time to tune up churches. Someone said that Vance Abner said Christians are like instruments they need to take time out to tune up. He said churches are like orchestras were trying to build a bigger orchestra when everybody shows up out of tune. We need to take time out to tune up.
And so my mandolin.
I have a little tuner that sits on the headstock therein.
It helps me to not to a perfect 440 calibration it's in perfect pitch.
It's in June. The song says it this way, tune my heart to sing thy praise, praising people are in tune with God. If you never praise God then you're out of tune.
So take time out to tune up. And thirdly, praise affects your fruitfulness. Psalm 67 verse five.
Let the people praise thee, O God, let all the people praise the then shall the earth yield or increase in God, even our God shall bless us in the Old Testament there was a direct correlation between the material blessing and prosperity of God's people and the appropriate worship and praise of God's people. In other words, when God's people were rightly related to him. They were in obedience to his law they were worshiping him in the temple. Then there was a blessing that he brought to them when they disobeyed him that would be a curse upon them. In the New Testament, Jesus said the father is glorified when we bear much fruit. Now the Old Testament and New Testament are not one and the same when it comes to physical material prosperity. That's not that's not the same thing but we do know this, that the people who worship and praise God consistently become spiritually fruitful and useful people, and it definitely affects your usefulness and fruitfulness for God. Every Sunday morning and Sunday night I get to go out to local churches and preach in. I'm always amazed at the atmosphere of the churches that I got there. Not all created equal.
In some churches are a little cold and little a little a little dad and some churches are alive and you can always tell it in the song service in their praise of God in their worship of God and there engaged in the preaching and and there's a responsiveness back and forth. It definitely affects our fruitfulness and usefulness for God so that leads me to the last point, and that is how do we praise God very quickly. Let's look at Hebrews 1315 and notice what he tells us he says. First of all were to praise God responsibly. He says by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God that little statement by him therefore is actually in reference almost you could go back to the whole book of Hebrews for what is Hebrew speaking about is speaking about the superiority of the New Testament over the Old Testament, the superiority of Christ over the Mosaic law and basically Hebrews is saying that Jesus is better and what is says by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise he speaking about the fact that is a New Testament Christian. We are part of a better priesthood.
We are all priests under Christ and therefore as a priest. We have a responsibility we have a duty we are to give to God offerings and sacrifices so we read in first Peter 25. He says you are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, the kind of sacrifices that we bring to God are not physical like animals but they are spiritual in nature and you know what many of these sacrifices are for example Romans 12 one.
We are to give to God where to present our bodies in the God a living sacrifice did so. So what is our sacrifice is the dedication of our bodies to the Lord. Paul talks about the sacrifice that was given to him to support him in his missions. So Philippians 48 Paul says that the church of Philippi sent a gift to him and he called it a sacrifice, acceptable, well pleasing to God. So when I give money to support gospel missions. This is a New Testament sacrifice in Ephesians 5, Paul talks about walking and love as Christ loved us and gave himself as a sacrifice to God. So what is a New Testament sacrifice. It's me loving people giving of myself, so giving and love giving financially giving of my body that is the idea of what a sacrifice it is giving back to God. So what is Hebrews 1315 tell us it tells us it tells us that the duty of a New Testament Christian is to praise God and God said that if we do not praise him.
The Lord is going to shame us, for he is going to take a dumb rock and put on that rock a mouth and that walk is going to shout to our shame, for he says if we do not praise him. The rocks will cry out, we should be God's people who are constantly bringing to him the sacrifice of praise in the notice. Secondly were to praise God continually by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that means at all times. The psalmist said this way from the rising of the sun into the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised in everything were to give thanks when things are good.
Praise God with things not so good, praise God. When you feel good, praise God when you don't feel good, praise God. Anyway, your praise does for you is one of the greatest balances of emotions are emotions are usually all over the map were up and were down do not praise does for us.
It actually lowers our highs and it raises or lowers we all by nature have a tendency to think more of ourselves that we should pride your praise does it gently lets me down so I don't crash and burn. It humbles me. But you know what when I'm low and depressed and down. What is praise. Do it picks me. It's an upper and a downer, it picks us up and lowers us down, and it helps us to walk on an even playing and what you discover is that praising Christians are balanced in the number three how do we praise God were to do it verbally. He says that is the fruit of our lips. This is a very interesting phrase because it comes from an Old Testament Scripture Hosea 14 verse two. Listen what it says it says take with you. Words turn to the Lord saying to him. Take away all our iniquity, and receive us graciously.
So we will render the calves were calves. There is a cow. The calves of our lips.
I'm a first time I read that person started laughing because I was imagining your lips looking like two counts you bring those two cows to God what is he saying here will, in the Old Testament when you saw forgiveness you always brought to God a sacrifice and that sacrifice could be from a land to a goat to account.
Account was the most expensive sacrifice, but the animal was an expression of your heart and what he is saying is this, that when we recognize that God forgives us of our sins.
What are we to bring to God the most expensive sacrifice we are to bring our hearts and bring to God are full. Let us pray Jonah to nine but I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to God.
We should learn to praise God outlet we all use her mouth. Praise God meant hello man. Praise God without appraising in prayer, praise God. Well, praise and install praise God we ought to praise them on the sidewalk.
Praise the Lord. Now God said to do that.
I didn't say to do that. God said to do that it all be verbal will become not your mouth, what is your tongue is the dipstick in your heart, your heart try to mouse right we should be praising God and then finally, how we praise the Lord would praise him intelligently. What is praise praise is not ecstatic, uncontrolled emotions, not people run around like chickens with her head cut off, but rather is intelligent, controlled communication, giving thanks means I actually am engaged in my thinking. My understanding of who God is and so it's intelligent controlled communication that little phrase there giving thanks to his name is not the normal Greek word for Thanksgiving.
It's a different word.
It's actually the word for confession or acknowledgment said this way, acknowledging or confessing his name and the idea is this, that the more I understand God and understand his names because his names in the Bible reveal his person and character. The more I understand those names that I can begin to praise God's name in the circumstances of our much of my life.
So how do I do that to ways.
Number one. I confess his name. I called a friend of mine up a few years ago us and I don't brother.
He said Jehovah Gyro. That means that the Lord will provide us it would you get praise the Lord God provided Jesus as our provider how I praise him. I praise him according to his name.
I understand his name.
Therefore I understand who he is and I can understand what he will do so. There so many names I might have just finished on this. I will be able to go through all those names I have with the second thing to do is to read and praise God through the Psalms. Next semester our theme is entitled encountering God. It's a study in Psalms and you know what you to do your to take us all and let that Psalm turn into soul medicine and let it become your guide to praise and you take us on to say which one it does matter.
They all work and when you get on your knees instead of trying to figure out what to pray. Just get on your knees and take a solid start praising God. And I promise you that as you praise God through those Psalms you will begin to sense the presence of God, you will start encountering God through the Psalms, so coming up Thanksgiving. Praise God father, thank you for your word. Help us to praise you because you're worthy of praise in Jesus name, amen.
You been listening to a Thanksgiving message by Dr. Steve Bennett Pres. Bob Jones University.
We hope you'll join us tomorrow at the same time as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform