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Summary: No work is complete until God has been thanked and praised. It was like that with the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. This sermon looks at the Place and Power of praise.

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THE PLACE OF PRAISE. Neh 12:27-47. WBC 27/2/5am

Chance for testimonies, later.

"monday & friday- going to work on a monday" and "coming home on a Friday" .wmv video clips of a sluggish polar bear (Monday!) and a hoppy penguin (Friday!)

THE FEASTING AND THE FASTING

Need to start by saying ‘this is part I of a 2 part sermon’

- part 2 on Palm Sunday morning-

- if you get just one sermon/part- you’re not getting the whole package

o if you LIVE or expect just one part- you’re not getting the full package

 I’m not preparing you for the Christian life

• Presenting you mature

… you may not make it through

Need to understand that the Christian highway is littered with fallout/casualties who have not understood the balance, here

- who have lived.. preached… expecting the Xian life to be one big ‘high’

o like in ch 12

o always praising, celebrating, ‘victorious’

o and then have been shocked by a life event or the ‘dark night of the soul’ (that has lasted for years)

o or those times where there are few answers: mystery

o * basically, we’ve failed them by not telling the whole story… preaching chapter 13

- equally- folks don’t make it if they live only in Ch 13 (the fasting)

o where only joy is ‘solemn joy’

o don’t want to get too excited about anything or ‘go for it’ in case

 it’s emotionalism

 I fall

This chapter is unmistakably about celebration… praise- its power and place. Our need for it. God’s need for it. The rightness of it

- and we should unashamedly DO IT. Unreservedly

The Bible says:

Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

There is a time to mourn- and there is a time to praise. When it’s time to praise- you MUST, to be healthy

And here the order of the day is singing

- 2 choirs were ordered up on the wall to process around and with others sing the praises of God

- the singers and musicians were called in from the villages to do it

This, too, is there centrally in scripture:

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Eph 5:9 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.

This is not like the KFC ad! “Susie it must be hard being married to a slap head!”

- this is what God wants us to do. For His good and ours!

THE PLACE OF PRAISE

The wall had been rebuilt. In 52 days. Under attack.

But the job wasn’t finished… complete… until God had been praised and thanked

- that was the crowning capstone!

I wonder how often we forget to praise and thank God

- for our lives…. Salvation… families… marriages… money… businesses

o seriously!

o It’s not until things go wrong that we notice how good they HAVE been. And then we can be quick to moan

o But we haven’t recognised, praised or thanked while we had the chance

 Hence have missed the chance to

• Practice the incarnational life- where every part is sacred and blessed

• Build up some praise credit

Of course- it’s not too late to praise God. In fact we are told (1 Thess 5:18) to ‘give thanks in all circumstances’

- but it’s hard to SUDDENLY praise God in church… brilliant circumstances.. tough circumstances…. When we haven’t got in the practice of it

o Illustr: the Spirit of the disciplines, Dallas Willard. Can’t expect to act like the SOM suddenly when we haven’t been living like Jesus ALL the time. (as a carpenter, even!). We want to do what is right, but avoid living the life that would make it so. We’re like the athlete that wants to win the race but never trains… lives the life for it.

Part of the right Christian walk is thanking and praising God for the GOOD.

- take time to reflect, on what they are, now.

And without the praise, the job is incomplete.

Lk 17:12 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"

LK 17:14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.

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