Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord

Extolling the virtues and the resulting deeds of another is a great encouragement and spurs us on to do more of the same! And it feels right to cheer one another on toward reaching our potential. When it comes to praising God, rather than motivating Him, instead we are celebrating the perfection of who He is and are communicating gratitude for what He has done for us. This adoration and thanksgiving may be in the form of song or prayer or by our actions. It may we alone or alongside others. We may preplan a time every say for such an outpouring, or it may spontaneously pour forth from us as we unexpectedly witness a moment of His greatness revealed.

Tell Others

Long before Jesus stated the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), the Old Testament was filled with passages encouraging God’s people to tell others about how great God is:

  • “I will tell of Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You” (Psalm 22:22).
  • “With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord; and in the midst of many I will praise Him” (Psalm 109:30).
  • “Praise the Lord!  I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly” (Psalm 111:1).
  • “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

Formed to Praise

Does honoring God with your words feel natural? It would make sense, if so, for God has actually created us for the very purpose of praising Him.

  • “That a people yet created may praise the Lord” (Psalm 103:18).
  • “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise” (Isaiah 43:21).
  • “Praise is becoming to the upright” (Psalm 33:1).

In the Old Testament, God rebuked individuals who spent their time exalting men, false gods or themselves (Daniel 5:23). How much of our time and words are spent praising things that really don’t matter? In the New Testament, we find that the people that embrace the fact they were created to praise God are the ones who have obeyed the gospel and submitted to Jesus Christ. Thus the choice to become a Christian, the choice to have one's sins forgiven, is in itself a choice to spend the rest of our lives joyfully proclaiming the greatness of God to others: “So that you may proclaim of excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Well, how are we doing? We cannot look around for others to assume this wonderful task, it is ours. May we ever remember that it is we who are the people charged with extolling the wonders of God to a dark and lost world. Is God the primary object of our praising or is it something else? No wonder Paul said we are to spend our time dwelling on things that are “worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). 

The Urgency

  • “Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?” (Psalm 30:9).
  • “The dead do not praise the Lord” (Psalm 115:17).
  • “Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. It is the living who give thanks to You… A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:18-19).

Unfortunately, some have read the above passages and have erroneously concluded that there is no life or consciousness after death — that the dead simply ceases to exist. Though they may wish it so, this is not the point of this scripture, for life after death is quite certain (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Matthew 22:32). The point here is that death ends the chance to tell others about God, praise Him to others, and join in the various opportunities for public worship that exist here. May we never miss the urgency to teach our children and proclaim God’s greatness to the world, for death brings with it the cessation of such opportunities.

Misguided Praise

At times we are warned about seeking the praise of men and the dangers that are associated when people seek to flatter us. In fact, we are in fact tested by how we respond to the praise we receive in life (Proverbs 27:21). How wise that we are encouraged by God to refrain from singing our own praises and are instructed to instead simply allow truly deserved praise to come from without and from unbiased sources (Proverbs 27:2). All are drawn to the humble in heart. And no one enjoys a braggart.

There is Plenty to Talk About

Let's avail ourselves of the rich blessings that await those who habitually converse about God’s marvelous past, present and future deeds.  (Psalm 9:11; Psalm 78:4; Psalm 105:2; 106:2 “Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord, or can show forth all His praise?”). The realities of all the expressions of God's goodness can never be exhausted; there is simply so much that we could talk about when it comes to the amazing things that God has done. That explains why a number of passages speak of praising God continuously (Psalm 34:1; 35:28) for He is worthy (2 Samuel 22:4). For starters, He has given us:

  • The gift of Jesus Christ, adoption as children of God, forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:3ff). The hope of eternal life: Titus 1:2
  • The opportunity to hear the gospel and obey it before we died. That God did not give up on us.
  • The Scriptures that clearly inform us how to live and tell us all about how blessed we are.
  • The local support group that we have in the church.
  • So many answered prayers.
  • Providential rescuing from so many bad things that never happened.
  • God’s providential care of the nation in which we live.
  • All the many second chances — the opportunities to repent after some foolishness.
  • That God is kind and merciful, never misuses His power, and would never lie or tempt us.
  • That God does not hold a grudge, that He is willing to forgive: Isaiah 1:18
  • The amazing relationships that God has created for us to enjoy, such as marriage, the family and the church.
  • For many, the parents who loved us and gave us a good foundation: 2 Timothy 3:15
  • For many, a good mate: Proverbs 19:14 “a prudent wife is from the Lord”.
  • Children: Psalm 127:3
  • The beauty of this Creation filled with good things for us to see and enjoy: 1 Timothy 4:4
  • The fruitful seasons on this planet that enable us to eat well and provide for our families: Acts 14:17
  • And for most, a mind and body healthy enough that we can work and provide for our families.

It Is Fitting

  • Praise is becoming to the upright” (Psalm 33:1). Of all people, the righteous know best how worthy and amazing God is. We have truly experienced His mercy and He has graciously answered our prayers.
  • “He is your praise and He is your God” (Deuteronomy 10:21). I believe that the idea here is that God should be the main focus of our praise. The verse may, however, carry with it the idea that the person who lives a godly and unselfish life is typically a person who is also admired by others. Thus, in placing God first, and seeking praise for Him and not ourselves, we actually end up receiving more praise than if we had simply lived with the goal in mind of amassing power or popularity.

Praise Him Even When It Makes You Look Bad

Joshua told Achan after he had been singled out by God, “Give glory to the Lord… give praise to Him” (Joshua 7:19). That is, humbling ourselves, admitting our sin, repenting and owning up to the fact that only God is always right — is another way of praising Him. Thus, one of the most significant aspects of praising God is admitting  we have sinned, that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, acknowledging how very desperately we need His forgiveness and our firm understanding that He is the Only Way (John 14:6).

Mark Dunagan  |
Beaverton Church of Christ  |  503-644-9017