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1647. Praising God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2023 9:36 am

1647. Praising God

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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November 21, 2023 9:36 am

Dr. Steve Pettit preaches a Thanksgiving message from Hebrews 13:15.

The post 1647. Praising God appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform. As we reflect on this week's Thanksgiving holiday, Steve will share thoughts about praising God from Hebrews 13. I'd like to take your Bibles today and turn with me to the book of Hebrews chapter 13. I'd 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'd like to talk to you about praising God. And I'd like us to read Hebrews 13.15. It's really a wonderful and important and challenging verse for us as believers about making praise a just regular part of our life.

Notice what 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. When we look at the subject of praise, I'd like to begin with just some definitions, some maybe explanation about praise, how it affects us, and then we'll come back and look at really 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 word as Christians we use all the time, but what is exactly praise? And 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 scriptures.

Psalm 150 in verse 6, 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 has commanded us to praise Him.

It's not based on circumstances, it's not based on feelings, it's really something that we're supposed to do. We're to bring Him praise that He is worthy of. So what is praise? Secondly, praise basically means to boast about God. The Hebrew word for praise is the word Hallelujah. And it comes from two key words, Hallell and Yah. The last three letters J-A-H is the shortened form for God's personal name that we would say would be Yahweh or Jehovah.

So it's praise Jehovah or praise Yahweh. And the first word is the word Hallell. And the word Hallelujah is really a word that is a universal word. It transcends all languages. So whatever the language you speak, everyone says Hallelujah. And the word Hallell has a couple of key ideas. Number one, it means to have bright or clear light being visible from a source.

So the best way to think of it is the radiant light of the sun. So when we look up and we see the brilliant bright light bursting forth from the sun, that's the idea of praise. Praise is a bursting forth. It also means to cheer or to brag on. To extol the greatness or the excellence of a person or an event or an object. I've learned that cheering and bragging and saying things about people, it's just natural.

It's natural for us to cheer for our team. It's natural to want to tell somebody about the good things that you've been able to do to accomplish. If you have your children, you like to talk about your children. If you have a beautiful baby, you want to show the baby off.

And it's just human nature to want to boast or to brag and 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 some place 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 Grand Canyon was two and a half hours north of Flagstaff and if you've ever been to Arizona, Flagstaff is just a major city and you go to Flagstaff on I-40 and then you drop straight south down into Phoenix and Tucson and so forth. So it's two and a half hours north of Flagstaff so it's not on the direct route. It's out of the way. So the first thing is I didn't want to go. It's two and a half hours up there.

It's two and a half hours back. 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? I mean, really. It's just a big hole. I've got pictures.

Pictures are sufficient for me. Well, my wife, she just said, come on, let's go. And I said, ah. She said, well, what about the children?

OK, OK, OK. We'll do it for the children. So we drove to the Grand Canyon. And if you've ever been there, we were on the South Rim. You really can't see it because it's below the surface. It's straight down. So even when you pull in the parking lot, you can barely see it. And I remember getting out in one of those parking lots and it's like it's right there. You just have to walk up to the edge. And so my children got out of the truck and they started running towards the Grand Canyon.

I grabbed their hands and we walked up and we saw it for the first time. It's a mile down there. There's this river. It's like 15 miles to the other side. And I said, wow, what a hole.

What a hole. It's like, it was like you're overwhelmed. And you respond. What is praise? Praise is the wow that comes when we discover who God is. It is the shout when we become fascinated with what God has done. As we enter into the pages of scripture and we read what God is like and then 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 of boasting. And then number three, praise is a sacrifice. 1 Peter 2 verse 5, you also as 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 are to bring to God a sacrifice. And what is praise? Praise is a part of that. It is literally our gift to God. By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God.

It is what we bring to His throne 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 go.

Flowers, or you bring something to them. It's just the natural response. And as we come into the throne room of God, we are to bring to Him a sacrifice. And what is that sacrifice? It is the sacrifice of praise. It is our gift to God. It 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 does praise do for you as a believer? How does it affect you? And praise has a definitive effect on the people of God.

And number one, the first thing is it affects your focus. In the Old Testament, the temple was the 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 remember the first time, one of the first times I went to Israel. And I went to the city of Jerusalem and to the location where the temple once sat there. It had been built by Solomon and torn down. It had been rebuilt by Zerubbabel.

And then it was upgraded by Herod. So the second temple was called the Herod's Temple. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And today it's still amazing and it's in ruins. And I remember going there and then standing at the base of what we call the Western Wall, the Kotel. And there up on the mound would have been where the temple was located, where the priests were, where the courtyard was located, where the sacrifices were made.

And when you enter into that area, you personally feel very small. And suddenly you begin to realize how big God really is. What does praise do for the believer? It brings him or takes him away or moves him from being a self-centered focused person to becoming a God-centered person. Psalm 100 and verse 4 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 does worship do for all of us? It is a process by which it delivers us from being selfish.

Folks, we're 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 it's revealed in the scriptures. What does praise do for us? It shifts our thinking away from ourselves. And it allows us to focus our attention on God. So it affects our focus. Folks, if you're not praising God, you're thinking about yourself. And then secondly, it 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 3.

It says, But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest 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? Well, 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 verse 3 that God inhabits the praises of Israel. It literally means that he settles down and he feels at home. When do you feel the most comfortable? For me, it's when I go home. When I go home, I get out of this suit. I get in something that's relaxed.

I flop down on my couch. My wife is there. My family is there. I'm at home. I feel at home.

I'm comfortable. God comes into and dwells 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. It's like tuning up an instrument. I love stringed instruments. By the way, I don't have a problem with brass instruments.

I don't like them too much. But I like stringed instruments. And so I love playing. I have a mandolin.

I have five of them. And I love playing it as much as I can. And one of the things you learn about stringed instruments is they get out of tune very easily.

They're a lot like people. And they get out of tune. The atmosphere, for example, will cause it to get out of tune.

If it's too cold, if it's too hot. If there's a lot of humidity in the air and you're trying to play, it just goes out of tune. It goes out of tune 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 oftentimes it will get out of tune when you don't use it at all.

If it sits in the case, you have 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. And so you have to take time to tune up. Church, as someone said, Vance Havner said, Christians are like instruments. They need to take time out to tune up.

He said churches are like orchestras. We're 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 there and it helps me tune up to a perfect 440 calibration. It's in perfect pitch. It's in tune.

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 then thirdly, praise affects your fruitfulness. Psalm 67 verse 5, let the people praise thee, O God. Let all the people praise thee.

Then shall the earth yield her increase. And 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, there would be a curse upon them. In the New Testament, Jesus said that 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 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. I'm always amazed at the atmosphere of the churches that I go to.

They're not all created equal. And some churches are a little cold and a little dead. And some churches are alive. And you can always tell it in the song service and their praise of God and their worship of God.

And they're engaged in the preaching 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? And very quickly, let's look at Hebrews 13, 15, and notice what he tells us.

First of all, we're to praise God responsibly. He says, by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise of 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? It's 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 when it says by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise, he's speaking about the fact that as 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 1 Peter 2, 5, 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, 1. We are to give to God. We are to present our bodies unto God a living sacrifice. And so what is our sacrifice?

It's 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 4a, 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. And then in Ephesians 5, Paul talks about walking in 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 in love, giving financially, giving of my body. That is the idea of what a sacrifice is, is giving back to God. And so what does Hebrews 13, 15 tell 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, then 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 rock 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. And then notice secondly we're 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 it this way, from the rising of the sun into the going down to the same, the Lord's name is to be praised. In everything we're to give thanks. When things are good, praise God. When things are not so good, praise God. When you feel good, praise God. When you don't feel good, praise God anyway. And you know what praise does for you? It's one of the greatest balances of emotions. Our emotions are usually all over the map.

We're up and we're down. Do you know what praise does for us? It actually lowers our highs and it raises our lows. We all by nature have a tendency to think more of ourselves than we should.

Pride. Do you know what 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 does praise do? It picks me up. It's an upper and a downer. It picks us up and lowers us down.

And it helps us to walk on an even plane. And what you discover is that praising Christians are balanced Christians. And then number three, how do we praise God?

We're 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 and verse 2.

Listen to what it says. It says, take with you words, turn to the Lord, say unto him, take away all our iniquity and receive us graciously so we will render the calves, the word calves there is a cow. The calves of our lips. I remember the first time I read that verse I started laughing because I was imagining your lips looking like two cows. And you bring those two cows to God.

What is he saying here? Well in the Old Testament when you sought forgiveness you always brought to God a sacrifice. And that sacrifice could be from a lamb to a goat to a cow. A cow 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 our fullest praise. Jonah 2.9, but I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to God. We should learn to praise God out loud. We ought to use our mouth to praise God. Amen.

Hello. Amen. Amen. Praise God. We ought to praise him in prayer. Praise God. We ought to praise him in song. Praise God. We ought to praise him on the sidewalk. Amen. Praise the Lord. Now God said to do that. I didn't say to do that.

God said to do that. It ought to be verbal. It ought to be coming out your mouth. What is your tongue?

It's the dipstick of your heart. If your heart's right, your mouth's right. And we should be praising God. And then finally, how do we praise the Lord? We're to praise him intelligently. What is praise? Praise is not ecstatic, uncontrolled emotion.

It's not people running around like chickens with their head cut off. But rather it's intelligent, controlled communication. Giving thanks means I actually am engaged in my thinking and 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 acknowledgement. You could say it 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, then I can begin to praise God's name in the circumstances of my life.

So how do I do that? Two ways. Number one, I confess his name. I called a friend of mine up a few years ago. I said, how you doing, brother? He said, Jehovah Jireh. That means that the Lord will provide.

I said, what'd you get? Praise the Lord. God provided.

Jesus is our provider. How do 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's so many names and I'm gonna have to finish on this.

I won't be able to go through all those names that I have. But 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 ought to do? You ought to take a Psalm and let that Psalm turn into soul medicine. And let it become your guide to praise. And you take a Psalm. You say, which one? It doesn't 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 Psalm and start praising God through the Psalm. 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 we're coming up to 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've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit. Steve is now utilizing his gifts as a compelling communicator and expositor of Scripture and travels to local churches with preaching, concerts, and conferences emphasizing Gospel-centered evangelism and Christian leadership development. You can get more information about Steve's ministry at stevepettit.com. That's stevepettit.com. We hope you'll join us again tomorrow at this same time as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 10:24:58 / 2023-11-21 10:35:08 / 10

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