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Summary: Hosanna! For some these shouts of praise were true expressions of worship; for others they were hollow hosannas – hollow hosannas which were empty words that outwardly appeared beautiful but lacked substance. Is the praise we offer only hollow hosannas?

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Hollow Hosannas

Text: Matthew 21:1-17

Introduction: On the Sunday before His crucifixion Christ entered the city of Jerusalem riding upon a donkey while a multitude of people “went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Mark 11:9-10 NKJV) Hoshana (äåùòðà), a Hebrew word and the Aramaic equivalent hosanna meaning "help, I pray" or "save, I pray,” had become had become strictly a shout of praise or adoration. The crowd was lifting up praise to Christ. They were shouting "praise to you, Son of David". For some these shouts of praise were true and acceptable expressions of worship; for others they were hollow hosannas – hollow hosannas which were empty words that outwardly appeared beautiful but lacked substance. Are the words of praise that we lift up to Christ hollow hosannas? Hollow Hosannas consists of...

I. Insincere Praise

A. Isaiah 29:13 “Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,”

B. That which is insincere is that which is not genuine. Praise that is insincere is nothing more than flattery. God does not stomach flattery or cheap, insincere praise. There is an old quip that says, “Flattery is like soft soap, about 50% lye.”

C. Matthew 15:8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.”

D. Halfhearted or insincere praise does not honor God. Our holy, omniscient God will not pretend that we are honoring Him when we really are not.

E. 1 Corinthians 13:1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

F. Though I shout praise to the Lord but do so with insincerity, I have become a clanging cymbal.

G. We can praise the Lord with great emotion and energy but if it does not stem from our whole hearts and is not founded in truth it is nothing more than collective clatter.

H. Illustration: Two sailors were adrift on a raft in the ocean. They had just about given up hope of rescue. One began to pray, "O Lord, I’ve led a worthless life. I’ve been unkind to my wife and I’ve neglected my children, but if You’ll save me, I promise..." The other shouted, "Hold it! Don’t many any incredible promises yet! I think I see LAND!" When the other one also saw the distinct features of land, he finished his prayer by saying, "Never mind, God!" – copied

I. Psalm 111:1 “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”

II. Incongruent Praise

A. Incongruent means not corresponding in structure or content. Incongruent praise means inconsistency between words and deeds, between saying I love you Lord and demonstrating that love in actions and behavior.

B. Luke 6:46 "But why do you call Me ’Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”

C. "Those who testify by the yard, yet live by the inch, ought to be kicked by the foot!" – B.P. Carroll

D. Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, ’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

E. Imitation is the highest form of praise. The greatest praise offered to Christ is a life lived in His likeness.

F. 1 Samuel 15:18-22 “Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ’Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?" And Saul said to Samuel, "But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal." So Samuel said: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

G. A lot of people play at praise. You can fool everyone around you by going through the motions of praise, but you cannot fool God. He knows whether or not your life matches your words.

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