The Sacrifice of Praise

Posted on 10/04/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***

Public Prayer Requests:

lord, I pray for guidance and wisdom
   - Owen


Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.



I love to be in Your presence
With Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
Lift my hands and raise my voice
You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice


We bring the sacrifice of praise
     into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise
     into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to you
     the sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to you
     the sacrifices of joy


I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

Just a few minutes ago, we sang about bringing the "sacrifice of praise" to God, and offering up the "sacrifices of thanksgiving" and "of joy."

Being in the presence of God and worshiping him is a place of great peace and joy, and after a time around the throne of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, it certainly doesn't feel as though you've made a sacrifice.

As Psalm 16:11 says:

11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Think about that... In the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy! There's not just "some" joy, or even "a lot" of joy; but there is "fullness" of joy -- it is complete and overflowing!

As the song says, "in the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace, troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of The King."

If you are burdened down with a load of troubles and cares, then you need to truly enter in to the presence of Jehovah.

If you have hurts and pains, or a broken heart, if you need healing of your body, soul, or mind, then you need to find that place around the throne of God, and you will find healing, as you pour out your heart in praise and worship to Him.

If something is holding you bound, whether it's addiction, fear, or doubt, then you need to lift up your voice and your heart in praise, entering his gates with thanksgiving in your heart and his courts with praise, and as you enter into deep worship in the presence of the Lord, you will taste the freedom for which your heart longs.

If you are under attack by the enemy, then you need to lift up your voice with a shout of triumph and with songs of victory and praise! And the enemy will tuck his tail and run.

So if praise is such a wonderful thing, then why does the Bible talk about a "sacrifice" of praise?

Hebrews 13:15 (KMV*) says this:

15 By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.

The sacrifice of praise... Specifically, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.

In Psalm 116:17 (KMV*), we read this:

17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

How is praise a sacrifice? Well, let's think about it for a moment.

In this passage in Hebrews, we are told to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.

Have you ever felt less than thankful? Sometimes we just don't feel like giving thanks.

After a long, hard day, when everything has gone completely wrong, and we get home and everything is falling apart there, too. It doesn't appear as though God is anywhere to be found. We're tired, frustrated, totally worn out, and totally fed up. The LAST thing we want to do is give thanks to God, unless we're being sarcastic about it.

At times like this, thanksgiving is a sacrifice; praise is a sacrifice. But just as David said he would not give that to God which cost him nothing, so our praise has the greatest value when it costs us the most.

"Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Continually. Not just at church. Not just when something wonderful happens. Not just when we sit down to eat or when we get an unexpected check in the mail.

"Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Continually. When we're at the store and there's only one register open, with a line half a mile long. When supper is burning to a crisp because a pushy vacuum cleaner salesman "accidentally" spilled a bucket of ashes on your floor before you could close the door in his face.

In times like this, the last thing we want to do is to, from our hearts, declare, "Lord, you are good! Thank you for all you have done, and for who you are! I magnify and glorify your holy name, for you are the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings! Your name is great, and is greatly to be praised! You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, and you hold all things in your hand! I worship you, Lord God Almighty, for you are worthy of my praise! Be glorified in my life now Lord; be glorified in my words, my attitudes, and my actions, right here and right now. Be glorified O Lord!"

It's a sacrifice. It doesn't come easily. It doesn't come naturally. And it will cost us our pride, as we lay down our "rights" to fume, to feel sorry for ourselves, and to be frustrated with everyone and everything around us.

But the Word of God tells us to "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." That includes times like these, and especially times like these; when offering up praise and thanksgiving to God is the most difficult thing to do, THEN it is a sacrifice in which God delights.

Of course our flesh will cry out, "Why should I bring delight to God when I'm so miserable right now?" Notice the flesh's favorite word there, "I, me, my." It's all about "me."

And that's no new struggle. In the garden, the temptation was, "I desire the fruit, and I will be wise; I will be like God, and I will have knowledge I don't already have." Not, "God is worthy of my obedience, of my sacrifice of worship and praise; I will give thanks and praise to him, not to the lust of my eyes, the lust of my flesh, and the boastful pride of life. For my God is worthy! How can I sin against my holy, just, merciful God who has poured out his own blood for my forgiveness, and who has waited so patiently for me to turn to him?"

And, so, we need to cultivate a life of praise. Not "times" of praise or even "frequent" praise, but a "life" of praise and worship.

And this is what pleases God and what brings his presence into our lives to change us, to fill us, and to equip us to do what he has called us to do.

A life of praise. A life of worship. A life of sacrifice, knowing that there is no sacrifice we could make that is truly a sacrifice when it is compared with the Glory of God to come!

We have constant opportunities to praise God. And walking in the Spirit isn't some mystical state of mind reached only by the most spiritual. Instead, it's a life of praise, as we worship God with every moment of time.

Colossians 3:17 (KMV*) says this:

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

And 1 Corinthians 10:31 (KMV*) says,

31 Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So if we say something, whether it's out loud or under our breath, whether it's to a stranger or someone at home, whether it's verbal or something we just say to ourselves in our minds, we are to do it in the name of Jesus, giving thanks with it to God.

What would happen if we all did this? Better yet, what will happen when you start doing this? Your life will change. It won't become easy, but you'll have a strength you never had before, growing day by day, because the presence of God will begin to grow in and around you.

And then we read that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do it all to the glory of God.

Whatever we eat or drink? How are we supposed to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the glory of God? How are we supposed to drink an iced tea to the glory of God? Is this just words, or is there something here that is so all-pervasive that it should saturate every single fiber of every single moment of our life?

Let's consider 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (KMV*):

4 For every creation of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving;
5 For it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.

We generally think of this passage as referring to giving thanks for our meals. But this is not a magical formula for making sure our food is blessed. Instead, we see here a spiritual principle, and the principle is true for all of our life.

And we see three main elements in these two verses, three things that sanctify the things in our lives, so that everything we say, think, eat, drink, and do is sanctified and set apart for the glory of God. And those three things are:

The Word of God

Thanksgiving, the Word of God, and Prayer. And this sanctifies "every creation" of God.

Can eating a peanut butter sandwich and glass of milk be an act of worship? It most certainly can and should be!

For something to be sanctified means that it is set apart for God. That word translated "sanctified" means this:

To make holy, to separate from that which is profane, to dedicate to God, to consecrate, to free from the guilt of sin, and to purify by the renewing of the soul.

So, yes, I guess peanut butter can be holy; jelly can be dedicated to God; iced tea can be consecrated to God.

We're supposed to be good stewards of our bodies, but that's a good topic for another time. Regardless, if we have a busy day and have to grab a cheesburger and fries, we can truly say we're eating a holy cheeseburger, if we're receiving it with thanksgiving, the Word of God, and prayer.

Now, it's not some magic formula, that if you say, "Thank you Lord for this cheeseburger," and if you quote a Scripture and then say "In Jesus name, Amen," then presto-chango, it's a supernatural Happy Meal.

Instead, it's a way of life.

We don't just thank God some times, or when something significant happens. Rather, we thank God constantly, continuously offering a sacrifice of praise through thanksgiving.

We don't just apply the Word in church or in big decisions. Rather, we apply the Word of God to every breath; we eat, breath, and sleep the Word of God. It is our Bread of Life, and becomes the foundation of even every single thought we choose to think, as we bring all others captive to the obedience of Christ.

We don't just pray before meals, at bedtime, and in church. Rather, we pray without ceasing, having never-ending fellowship with God.

And in living a life of continuous, never-ending thanksgiving, the Word of God, and prayer, ALL things in our life are made holy; ALL things in our life are separated from that which is profane; ALL things in our life are dedicated and consecrated to God; ALL things we think, say, and do are free from the guilt of sin; and our souls are purified and renewed by the Spirit of God.

What does a day living like this look like?

When you wake up in the morning, it is a great gift from God. He kept you safe during the night; your heart continued to beat, and while you were unconscious to the waking world, you took breath after breath. And now you're awake, God has given a brand new day!

So with a thankful heart, you tell the Lord "good morning."

Maybe you didn't sleep all that well. Maybe your bed is hard, or you had to sleep on the floor. Maybe it's too hot, or maybe it's too cold. Maybe the things you will have to face today are enough to make anyone wish they hadn't woken up at all. And yet, you bring the sacrifice of praise, the sacrifice of a thankful heart.

And instead of glorifying your problems, or glorifying the enemy, or glorifying the flesh, you glorify God with your thoughts, your words, and your attitude.

"Lord, I thank you for this day! For this is the day the Lord has made, and you make all things good; so I will rejoice and be glad in it. I surrender myself to you today, Lord, and I place all these things I have to face today into your hands. Walk with me today, Lord. I want to glorify you in all things."

O, to glorify God in all things. If we would only ask God to bless and be glorified in all things, I think our lives would change.

Without being sacreligious, could we really ask God to bless us and be glorified as we have an evening completely alone with our boyfriend or girlfriend, delighting in the romantic temptation instead of obeying the Word of God and running away from temptation?

Could we really ask God to bless and be glorified by the tax form we're about to fill out with incomplete information or lies?

Could we really ask God to bless and be glorified by the movie we're about to watch in which we'll be poluting our minds with cursing and sex?

Instead, "Lord God, as you said in 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20, I am not my own, but I have been bought with a price. My mind is not my own, and I ask that you give me wisdom and strength to glorify you with what I choose to watch this evening. Help me to recognize things you hate, so that I can hate those things too."

One last thing I'd like for us to consider before we close today is this: Without the working of the Holy Spirit in us, we can't live a life of the sacrifice of praise. We can't glorify God in all we do. Everything we do, say, think, and even eat and drink, cannot be made holy, dedicated and consecrated to God, and be free from the guilt of sin.

As it says in Zechariah 4 (KMV*), "'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." And Philippians 2:13 says "It is God who works in you both to will and to do that in which He delights."

Have you had that infilling with the Holy Spirit? I'm not talking about being born again, that time when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. I'm talking about a filling, a saturation to overflowing, a filling that results in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy or speaking in tongues.

Now, I'm not saying that everyone who speaks in tongues or prophecies is filled with the Holy Spirit, because anyone can babble, and I've heard all sorts of attempts at prophecy that come from the person's own mind, imagination, and emotions, and not from the Spirit of God.

But God won't leave you wondering. And let's think about what it means to be "filled" with the Holy Spirit. That means to overwhealm, to satiate, to permeate, to saturate; it's much more than a "warm fuzzy" or "goose bumps." It's the creating, life-giving resurrection power of Almighty God, and if that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, it will bring life into your mortal body, and when you are filled to overflowing, overwhealmed, permeated, and saturated with that Holy Spirit, he will give you the power to rise above a life of walking mostly in the flesh and never being able to move forward and mature in your walk with God.

So knock and keep on knocking. Seek and keep on seeking. Ask and keep on asking. Don't give up. You have been called to give a never-ending aroma of worship ascending into the heavens, giving glory to the Most High God, as you do all things in Jesus' name.

When you do something in someone's name, you are representing them, you are asking in proxy to them. It is as if they are there doing that thing through you.

A few minutes ago, we read in Colossians 3:17 (KMV*):

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

If we are supposed to do every single thing in the name of Jesus, that means that in everything we say or do, we are representing Jesus. He is saying and doing those things by proxy. It is as though he is here saying and doing those things through us. After all, we are representatives of Christ. It is his holiness we wear, not our own.

Are we good representatives of Christ? He lived perfectly according to the Scriptures we've read today. He lived a life of sacrifice, a life of praise, a life of thanksgiving. All things in his life were sanctified by thanksgiving, the Word of God, and prayer.

That's why all things in Jesus' mind, heart, mouth, and hands were holy, separated from the profane, dedicated and consecrated to God, free from the guilt of sin, and why his soul was pure and constantly renewed.

Living this kind of life is called walking with God, as we fellowship with him and seek to please him in all things.

I don't know about you, but as I mentally apply these Scriptures to my life, I think of things that need to change. And it can be a frightening thing to carry this through to every thought, every word, and every action.

But you can do ALL things... How? Through Christ who strengthens you, not through the efforts of your own flesh.

Trying to live a life of praise in your own flesh will only wear you owt. So, desperately seek after the Holy Spirit, that filling to overflowing, and God will honor you as you seek after him, humbling you so that you can live life more and more for his glory.

And as you encounter things that need to be cut out of your life, consider it a sacrifice of worship.

Perhaps God will point out your romance novels sitting on the shelf, things which are full of things which displease God and pervert the gift of romance and sexuality he has given us. Burning these books may hurt emotionally, and you can declare that you are doing this as a sacrifice of worship to God.

I'm not going to belabor this point any longer, but I hope these seeds of God's Word will continue to grow in you.

And if God is speaking to your heart, if the Holy Spirit is calling to you, drawing you, then answer him today. It doesn't matter how many times you may fail in the future, and there will be plenty of times; what matters is that you surrender your whole self, your whole mind, your whole heart, and your whole life to Jesus.

Anyone here who's on the ministry team can come stand at the front now.

Perhaps there's someone here today or listening outside of the virtual world and you just aren't sure you're saved. If your next breath were to be your last, you're just not sure where you would spend eternity.

Well, this is your invitation. Come to Jesus! Not after you clean yourself up, because you'll never be able to do it on your own; but come just like you are. God knows it all, and sees it all, and he loves you in spite of your sin. He loves you just the way you are, and thanks be to God, he loves you too much to just leave you that way.

Just cry out to him now in your own words. Ask him to forgive you for your sin, and to wash those sins away. Agree to follow him and to obey him. And he will roll away the stone that you've been carrying around with you for years, and he will give you a brand new start!

For most of us, there are plenty of things in our lives, whether thoughts, attitudes, words, or actions, that come to mind when we consider whether everything in our lives glorifies God. So today, join me in dedicating yourself to live the life of one transformed by grace -- a life of a constant sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, prayer, and the Word of God; and everything in our life will be made holy, will be separated from the profane, will be dedicated and consecrated to God, and we will be freed from the guilt of sin as we are purified by the renewing of our souls.

This altar is open. If you want to start your walk with God today, or if you want to dedicate yourself anew to life a life of praise, or if you just want to pray, worship, and spend some time in the presence of the Lord, you're all invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.

If you'd like someone to pray or speak with you, you're invited to instant message me or someone else on the ministry team.

If you need to go, you're dismissed, and I pray the Spirit of the Living God will be present with you in a fresh and living way.

After this time at the altar, you're all invited to gather in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.

Come, and let's offer our lives to God as a sacrifice of praise!