Summary: Let us give God what He deserves; extravagant thanks!
Text: Ezra 3:11-13
1. Illustration: Philip Yancey in Leadership states, "Like a victorious locker room, church is a place to exult, to give thanks, to celebrate the great news that all is forgiven, that God is love, that victory is certain."
2. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we have plenty to be thankful for, we need to consider what kind of thanks God deserves.
3. Should we...
a. Just say, "Gee, thanks God, good job!"
b. Should we send him a Hallmark card with something sentimental on it?
c. Or does God deserve more than that?
d. Like Philip Yancey states, church should be like a victorious locker room.
e. Ever seen a victorious locker room?
4. God deserves thanksgiving that is...
a. Active Thanks
b. Exuberant Thanks
c. Reasons For Thanks
5. Let's stand as we read together Ezra 3:10-13
Proposition: Let us give God what He deserves; extravagant thanks!
Transition: Our God deserves...
I. Active Thanks (10-11a).
A. With Praise and Thanks
1. So often in church we want to worship the Lord in a way that is comfortable for us. In a way that is safely inside our comfort zone.
2. That means different things for different people.
a. For some that means I'll sing, move my lips and follow the words on the screen, but that's it.
b. For others, they won't even go that far. Singing makes them uncomfortable and they don't like the sound of their voice, and therefore, nobody else wants to hear it either. Thus, for them singing is out of the question.
c. For others, this means moving anything from the neck up, but don't ask them to move anything else.
d. However, in all of this we are asking the wrong question, aren't we? Should the question be what I am comfortable with, or should it be what does God deserve?
e. As with all things we must look for the answers to these questions in the Word of God.
3. The background of our text this morning is the Israelites return after the exile.
a. For them the first order of business is to reconstruct the temple.
b. Worship for them was a top priority, as it should be for us.
c. In this text they are celebrating the completion not of the temple, but merely the completion of the foundation.
d. They was plenty of work yet to do, but for them even the beginning of the completion was a reason to celebrate and give thanks.
4. In verse 10 we read, "When the builders completed the foundation of the LORD’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the LORD, just as King David had prescribed."
a. Now the first thing that we should notice is that they went out of their way to give thanks to God.
b. The priests didn't just come in with their everyday clothes on, but rather they put on special robes whose sole purpose was to be used in worship. They got out of their comfort zone.
c. The next thing that we notice was that they used musical instruments to worship the Lord.
d. However, I want us to play special attention to what kind of instruments they used - trumpets and cymbals.
e. They were loud instruments!!
f. When I used to play in a band we used to say, "If it's too loud, you're too old!"
g. We should also notice that all of this was "just as Kind David had prescribed."
h. It was written down that this is how you should give thanks to the Lord.
5. Now let's take a look at what they did next, "With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the LORD..."
a. They are two interesting words that are used in this verse to describe their worship.
b. praise: to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish (Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary).
c. Now I don't know about you, but that does not sound to me like they sat there with long looks on their faces and folded their hands!
d. They got out of their comfort zones and were willing to look foolish if necessary in order to give thanks to God.
e. thanks: literal to use (i.e. hold out) the hand (Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary).
f. The basic difference between this verb and its synonym, hālal, is that the latter term tends to stress "acclaim of," "boasting of," or "glorying in" an object, while yādâ emphasizes "recognition" and "declaration" of a fact (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament).
g. Illustration: One of my classmates in Bible college once told me, "You can raise your hands to praise the Lord, but I'm never going to do it!" My response to him was, "But that's what the Bible tells us to do!" He said, "I don't care." I thought to myself, how sad!