Summary: What we need to do when life gets overwhelming, when it comes in like a flood; is RAISE OUR PRAISE! Understand me when I tell you that Praise is permeated with Productive Power.
I. Nobody wants to go to prison willingly. Prison does not have the appeal of a Hilton, beach, or exotic location. I know by the reports that we hear of our prison systems running over that it must be the number one vacation destination in the world. It is evident that we are living in difficult times; the Bible says, “in the last days perilous times shall come. Paul would go on and say, “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
A. Jesus would compare the last days to that of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah. He would say that “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” There is no question that out there people are living in bondage and are prisoners to sin.
1. Jer 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? Man will always be corrupt and seek to do evil Job 14:1 Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble. The prisons will continue to fill up and man will stay incarcerated to sin.
a. BUT… where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2. Isa. said of Jesus that The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon (Him); because the LORD hath anointed (Him) to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent (Him) to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
3. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
B. But while you shout over those that are in prison being freed…right now in this house are Christians confined to a prison. Yeah that’s right within the church we have prisoners not of sin but those shackled by the cares of this world. The stresses of everyday living have placed the body of Christ on lock. For so many their “daily walk” has been over taken by their daily lives.
1. It has not always been this way but while we were busy in well doing the enemy has come in and sown thorns into your faith causing the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, to choke out your word and your promises.
2. As I look at the church today, I am amazed at the attitude that some of us have adopted. It blows my mind how many folks come into the House of God week after week and leave the same way they came. It’s mind-boggling to me how some folk treat the church just like they treat their job.
a. They just show up and put in their time, then complain about everything that’s going on, but do nothing to help the matter. It seems like you ought to get tired of the same old things .You ought to get tired of living from day to day without any joy, peace, and happiness in your life…
3. You ought to get tired of being down and out…Going through…Going under… going backwards…You ought to be tired of coming in here week after week and leaving the same way you came…Leaving here with the same ole problems…Leaving here with the same ole heartaches…Leaving here with the same ole heartbreaks…Leaving here with the same ole let downs…Leaving here with the same ole setbacks…
a. I Don’t know about you but I’m tired of being down and out…I’m tired of being the tail and not the head…I’m tired of being the defeated and not the over-comer…but what it all comes down to is how we respond to what life brings to us and how it treats us.
4. Part of our problem is that you won’t praise God in spite of. We all know the saying, “when praises go up, the glory comes down” but do we really know and understand the Power of Praise and its benefits? Praise can cause walls to fall just ask Joshua, praise can stop the fury of fire just ask 3 Hebrew Boys, praise can make a den of lions lose their appetite, just look at Daniel. Look at your neighbor and say, “you need chill out and take a praise pause”!