Summary: True praise to God is more than a formal exercise; it is a heartfelt way of living that expresses itself in exultation to God.
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/1/09
Text: Psalm 47
Key verse: Psalms 47:1 - O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
Premise: True praise to God is more than a formal exercise; it is a heartfelt way of living that expresses itself in exultation to God.
1. The Sovereignty of the King – 47:1-4
2. The Song to the King – 47:5-7
3. The Supremacy of the King – 47:8-9
A Baptist minister was continually bragging to his other minister friends about the greatness of his church. No matter what they said, he always found a way to claim that the Baptists were better. Eventually his friends got tired of this, and decided to play a prank on the Baptist. One day, they dropped a tablet in his coffee - and soon the Baptist preacher nodded off to sleep. Then they took him down to the cemetery, and laid him in a borrowed coffin, next to a freshly dug grave. They hid behind the bushes to see what would happen. Half an hour later, the Baptist began to wake up. Yawning and looking around him, he began to notice the coffin, the tombstones, and the open grave. Then he shouted: "Amen! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! The day of resurrection has come and the Baptists are the first ones out!"
We have a lot to praise God for.
There are 5 basic distinctives of praise that we need to consider:
1. True Praise Begins in the Heart
A. There is a terrible story about a man who went out to play golf early one Saturday morning. His wife became concerned when he had not returned home by dinner time. It wasn’t until about midnight when he came through the front door, exhausted. “Where have you been?” she demanded “I’ve been playing golf” came the reply. “But that was 18 hours ago. What happened?” “I was having the best game of my life. I was two under par when on the seventh tee Harry had a heart attack and died.” His wife still didn’t understand. “After that it was hit the ball, drag Harry - hit the ball drag Harry . . .”
B. We ought to have a heart of praise - Psalms 86:12 – I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
i. Our hearts can be easily influenced
ii. Praise from the heart is one way of guarding it, because praise preoccupies the heart
a. Our desire to please God
b. Our desire to live for God
C. We never want to be guilty of hypocritical praise - Matthew 15:8 - 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
D. The heart is the last stopping point before exiting the mouth - Matthew 12:34 - . . . for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
i. The heart builds up whatever is put into it:
ii. The process goes something like this:
a. Our senses (eyes and ears especially) are exposed to messages constantly. Some of these messages are good and some bad.
b. Our sin nature goes into battle with our spiritual nature via temptation
c. Our minds begin to go to work. We either begin to:
• Resist temptation and obey God
• Cave into temptation and justify our actions
d. Whatever course of actions we decide to take sends a message to the heart
• If we cave into the temptation, we harden our conscience and our heart is corrupted
• If we obey God, our conscience is clear and the Holy Spirit works to strengthen it
e. Either way, build up enough of the influence, and it will eventually come out in the actions we take.
iii. This is why loving God invites the whole being - Mark 12:30 - And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
2. True Praise Cannot Be Contained
A. We ought to be a people that cannot contain our praise - 1, 6-7 – 1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 6Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
B. We ought to be a people of encouraging praise
i. There is an old story about a pastor leaving a church. At his farewell dinner, he tried to encourage one of the pillar members, “Don’t be so sad. The next pastor might be better than me.” She replied, “That’s what they said last time, but it keeps getting worse.” (Source: John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, p. 159).