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Summary: 4th in a series of 5 sermons on the Core Characteristics of the Church. This sermon explores the church as a praising community.

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The Church as a Praising Community

Acts 2:42-47

Psalm 111

Acts 2:47 tells us that the early church was praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

Praising is a core characteristic of the church; an essential element in its DNA.

Wherever the church exists, there will be praise.

What is PRAISE?

Praise is an act of worship or acknowledgment by which the virtues or deeds of another are recognized and extolled.

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Praise is an expression of approval or admiration, of gratitude and devotion for blessings received.

(from The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

The praise of man toward God is the means by which we express our joy to the Lord. We are to praise God both for who He is and for what He does (Ps 150:2). Praising God for who He is, is called adoration; praising Him for what He does is known as thanksgiving. Praise of God may be in song or prayer, individually or collectively, spontaneous or prearranged, originating from the emotions or from the will.

The godly person will echo David’s words, "My praise shall be continually of You...And [I] will praise You yet more and more" (Ps 71:6,14).

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The Importance of being a praising people.

1. Praise is commanded

Over 50 times the Psalms include the imperative: “Praise the Lord.”

The word praise occurs 209 times in all the Psalms; over half of those occurrences (about 117) are in the last third of the Psalter, in the last 50 psalms (the triple digit psalms – 100 to 150).

Passages like ps 150 command us to praise God

Psalms 150

1 Praise the LORD.Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD.

Jesus healed 10 lepers, but commended only the one who came back and praised him with thanksgiving.

The writings of the apostles are filled with prayers and words of praise, worship and thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:19-20

19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Keep this in mind—that you are commanded to praise God—when you don’t feel like praising God; for example in the midst of adverse circumstances.

It is never wrong; never hypocritical, to obey God

There is something wrong when we must tell Christians that they should be joyful.

Jesus came, “so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.”

John 17:13

The true church is a praising community.

2. Praise is the only appropriate response to the wonder and glory of God.

We are to praise God both for who He is and for what He does

Psalms 150:2

2 Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praising God for who He is called adoration; praising Him for what He does is known as thanksgiving.

3. Praise lifts our hearts, lightens our load, changes our countenance

Ps 43:5

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, (who is) the help of my countenance, and my God.

ASV

The German people, unlike some other ethnic groups, are not known for their exuberance or their show of emotion. The PA Dutch in particular are known for being rather closed with our praise and complements and rather demanding of what we expect of others. (Remember, I’m just a PA Dutch boy from Schoeneck, so I can talk about myself and my people.)

We are too often like the man who after being married 30 years found that his wife was not happy in their relationship. She wanted him to express his love for her more often. His response was, I told you when we got married that I loved you; and I’ll let you know if I ever change my mind.

Sometimes on a Sunday when I survey the crowd and I look into your faces, I wonder what’s wrong! It’s not that most of us are not well-adjusted and happy; it’s not that we are not excited about God and in love with him; its just that we don’t let it show!

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