Summary: Praise is all about proclaiming God’s glory - it’s not about us.
Make His Praise Glorious
March 5, 2000
I’m going to speak today again on the area of praise and worship. Laura was telling me she thought this would be the third time on this subject since the first of the year. I’m not sure. I know I have spoken once this year already, but God has more and I know it will be a blessing. So, would you turn with me to Psalm 66:1-4 in the NAS:
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Thy works! Because of the greatness of Thy power Thine enemies will give feigned obedience to Thee. All the earth will worship Thee, and will sing praises to Thee; They will sing praises to Thy name.”
Would you pray with me? Father, I pray that you would divinely edit what is not of you, but those things that are of you I pray that they would come through with such force that we would be changed forever. We love you, Lord. Let this be a divine moment, Father, because it is the preaching of your Word and You are a glorious God. Your Word is eternal, Your Word says everything will pass away, but Your Word will not pass away. So, Father, give us insight into Your Word and what we can hang our hat on, and how we are to grow this morning. Have your way with us, we pray, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
I want to focus on the second line of verse 2. In my version it says this: Make His praise glorious. And that’s the title of this message. Make His praise glorious. You know God has already really given the message through the songs that we sang and the words that we received. I never cease to marvel how when I come in with a word prepared, how God will often confirm to me that I’m on the right track by the words that come forth. One this morning was - You are the Source, fix your eyes on Jesus. Set your mind on things above. We sang “He is Worthy.” Wasn’t that a great song? He is worthy. Salvation belongs to our God.
So the message is Make His Praise Glorious and I want to give you a few disclaimers before I begin. First of all, when we talk about worship, we need to be very aware that worship is a very sensitive issue of our faith. How we touch God is very precious to us. So we need to be careful to maintain unity and approach this subject sensitively. Second, when I’m talking this morning I want to focus specifically on that first thirty minutes of our Sunday morning of our service where we come together - we call it praise and worship. But I’m not talking about the entirety of praise, personal praise and that kind of thing - what you do in your car - or in your prayer closet. I’m just talking about Sunday mornings when we come together. And third, when I say “we” I don’t mean just TCF, I mean, yes, us, but beyond us to the whole Christian aspect of praise and worship that’s going on now. Particularly the non-denominational Spirit-filled praise and worship that we experience. I’m using praise and worship interchangeably this morning so let’s not be very particular about those two words even though in my last message I talked a bit about how they are not the same thing. And finally, I want to ask you to bear with me a little bit because there are some messages you preach and then there are some messages where you are unpacking your bags. I mean you feel so passionate about it that you might get a little crazy, you might leave your notes for a long time, you just don’t know what’s going to happen - and I feel that way this morning. I feel so passionate about what the Lord is saying to me, and I believe to you that I would ask that you bear with me.
My thesis statement, if I were writing a paper this morning, is this: Praise is all about proclaiming God’s glory - it’s not about us. Let that sink in a minute. Praise is all about proclaiming God’s glory - it’s just not about us. Fred Herzog was a man of God - he may still be living - I don’t know. But he ministered in the non-denominational Charismatic streams up in Minnesota and Wisconsin back when I first became a Christian. My friend, Gary McCracken, sat under Fred a lot and Fred was a prophetic brother - and you remember the days when every prophecy began with “Thus saith the Lord” - and Fred was about to prophesy, he had a gift, so he began to prophesy and he said, “Thus saith the Lord” - there was a long pause and then he said, “Oops, sorry, that was me!” How refreshing to hear that. You know - Nope, that was me. And when we examine our own praise and worship to God, when He rips open our hearts and lets us see our motives for worshipping Him, I don’t want to have to say - “Oops, sorry God, that was all about me. That was about me insisting that my spiritual needs be met. That was about me getting off on my particular music worship style. That was about me demanding that I have an encounter with You where I could feel your Presence. It wasn’t about worshipping you.” Psalm 115, verse 1 says: Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name give glory . . . The last verses of that say The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do nay who go down into silence; But as for us, we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forever. Praise the Lord! That’s the Spirit that we’re looking for here. I’m afraid that in the Charismatic movement we are not only at risk of being tainted by humanism in our worship, but we are actually already infected. And you know, we baby boomers - most of us - we’re a congregation mostly of baby boomers - there are some of you who don’t fit into that category - but baby boomers are considered the “me” generation with a very strong gospel of self-fulfillment. It’s as if we wear rose-colored glasses everywhere we go - and we don’t even know that we have them on. And we look through this lens of self-fulfillment, so we really need Jesus to deliver us from that filter.