Summary: In the literature of success the theme you will confront most often is the theme of persistence. The athlete who didn't have a chance, but who by perseverance and persistence became the best. The Bible is loaded with this theme as well.
Captain Eddy Richenbacker was in an airplane crash in Atlanta
and was rushed to the hospital. He was going in and out of
consciousness. It was thought that he would not survive. The most
famous radio commentator in the U.S. then was the late Walter
Winchell. He said in his broadcast, "Friends, pray for Eddy
Richenbacker. He is dying in an Atlanta hospital. He is not expected
to live out the night." Richenbacker was listening to that broadcast,
and when he heard this he took a jug of water and threw it at the
radio knocking it across the room. He said, "I'm not going to die.
I'm not going to give up." Here was a man wh survived many trials
because he never gave up. When he received the Horatio Alger
Award, which was given to outstanding American men who fought
their way from poverty to success, he said, "My mother, a very poor
woman in Columbus, Ohio, taught her kids to pray, read the Bible, to
follow Jesus Christ and never to give up."
In the literature of success the theme you will confront most often
is the theme of persistence. The athlete who didn't have a chance, but
who by perseverance and persistence became the best. The Bible is
loaded with this theme as well, and one I never saw before is the
persistence of Lot. Two angels came to Sodom, and Lot seeing they
were strangers invited them to come to his house and spend the night.
Their response to his hospitality was very definite. We read in Gen.
19:2, "No, they answered, we will spend the night in the square." Lot
did not know he was arguing with angels or he might have weakened,
but he did not take no for an answer. Verse 3 says, "But he insisted so
strongly that they did go with him and entered his house." His
persistence in showing hospitality led to his being saved from the
destruction of the city. We could go on and on with illustrations of
how persistence is the key factor in every form of success.
Never give up, for the wisest is boldest,
Knowing that Providence mingles the cup;
And of all maxims, the best, as the oldest,
Is the stern watchward of 'Never give up!'
This morning we want to pursue this theme as it applies to our duty
as priests in offering to God the sacrifice of praise. One of the
primary dangers with every new idea is the danger of faddishness.
We jump on the current bandwagon of what is hot, and ride that until
we tire of it, and then hop on the next fad express that tingles our
fancy. It is a part of our culture, and Christians are as guilty of it as
anyone else. The church is constantly following fads and promoting
some theme as the greatest idea since sliced bread, and then a few
months after it is passe and nobody even remembers what it was, for
we have moved on to a whole new world of posters, flyers, and
promotional gimmick for a new idea.
There is a risk that we will treat praise like this and go through a
phase of praise thinking, and then move on to something else and leave
praise behind. It is my prayer that we will not treat praise as a fad,
but recognize that the Scripture demands that it become a perpetual
part of our lives. We are to never give up, but be persistent in praise
all of our days, and then on into eternity. To promote this kind of
persistence we want to focus our attention on the word in our
text-continually. "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer
to God a sacrifice of praise." The Greek word is diapantos, which is
used 7 other times in the New Testament. It is used in the very last
verse of Luke: "And they stayed continually at the temple, praising
We know the Apostles did not live 24 hours a day at the temple
praising God. The point is, it was their regular pattern of life. They
did not just stop in on the day of atonement to praise God. They did it
persistently, and so for us also, praise is not to be a periodic function
of the priesthood of all believers. It is to be the regular and perpetual
duty we are to never forsake. In Heb. 9:6 the word is used again to
describe the duties of the Old Testament priesthood. "When
everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly
into the outer room to carry on their ministry." The word regularly is
the same word as continually. Just as the Old Testament priests had a
ministry that did not cease, so the New Testament priesthood has such