Summary: This sermon makes three points about praise. 1. Praise gets your FOCUS on God. 2. Praise increases your UNDERSTANDING of God. 3. Praise helps build your CONFIDENCE in God.
Three Benefits Of Praising God
For centuries being a worshiper of God has meant offering the right sacrifices – following the right set of rules – obeying a certain set of guidelines and worshipping on the right day week or in the right place.
Do you remember the woman at the well? Jesus is trying to tell her about living water, He points out the mistakes she has made in her life. Do you remember what she does? She tries to change the subject. She says, “What about this worship thing? Where do you think we should worship? My people worship over here, but your people say we have to worship in Jerusalem. What do you think?”
Jesus answer is that there is a time coming when people will be able to worship wherever they want, however they want, as long as they worship in Spirit and in Truth.
One of the greatest problems we have today – with worship – is the same problem humans have had down through the centuries. We as humans have a tendency to make worship mechanical. We think we need a certain type of building. We think we need a certain order of the service. We think the worship songs we sing should be a certain style or that they should be a certain tempo. We think that in order to encounter God, we must approach Him at a certain time, in a certain place and on a certain day. But God is not limited by our limited concepts of worship. He wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
When I was a child and I did something wrong my parents would always make me apologize. There were times when I didn’t want to apologize. So I would have to say the right words, “I’m sorry.” But I really wasn’t. I wasn’t sorry one little bit. The words were there – but I was not sincere. My parents wanted a sincere apology. I didn’t give it. The words of my mouth were the right words - but my heart was as far as the east is from the west of what I was really thinking. There was an apology – but there was no sincerity. It kind of reminds me of the passage Jesus quotes from the Old Testament in Mark chapter seven:
’This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me.’ Mark 7:6-7 (NKJV)
God would rather hear sincere heart felt worship than routine ritual. Because we get caught up in methodology today – we face the same problems that the worshipers down through the centuries have faced. We get stale.
We come to worship and we are not changed. We come to worship and we are not challenged. We come to worship and we don’t have an encounter with God. Worship has become liturgy rather then a life giving experience. Jesus has told us that He has come to give us life – but we must encounter Him in a way that is pleasing to Him. We must find Him. We must touch Him. We must praise Him. Look at our focal verse today.
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)
This verse from Hebrews is talking about a true encounter of worship. It is talking about a continuous attitude of worship. Praise is to be our prevalent method of worship and acknowledge of God’s presence. In the Old Testament the fire on the alter in the Temple was never to go out. It was to burn continually. It was never to be extinguished – so too – our praise is to be a continuous offering to God. Today I want to talk about three benefits you can receive from praising God. The first is:
1. Praise gets your FOCUS on God.
We need praise. We need to be grateful for the good things we enjoy and we need to express our gratitude. When good things happen to us we need to be thankful to the one who gives us the good things. Look at what it says in the book of James:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (NKJV)
Look at where the focus of this verse is at – it’s on the “Father of Lights – with whom there is no shadow.” That is a song of praise. My Father has no darkness. My Father has no deceit. My Father has no alternative motives. He is pure love. He is pure light. He is pure mercy. He gives me grace. He gives me forgiveness. He gives me love. He gives me every good and perfect gift that I have ever received. Wow! Praise God! When we look at what God has given us – we can not but help praising Him.