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27 September, 2013

Faith - Part 5

Hebrews 13:15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”

Today I have been feeling so lousy I cannot even sit down for a long period of time. I thought about not putting a post out today, but the Lord confirmed in my heart that it was not an option. This morning He gave one of the verses that is pleasing to His heart and all my meditation was on this verse. As I read Hebrews 13:15 (even though I am reading the book of James right now, but I keep going back to Hebrews just to see what God wants to speak to me about and God did speak to my heart about this verse. He confirmed how this verse brings Him lots of joy when His little puny beings understand it and put it into practice.  My next question to God was, what does it mean to you personally? In the way I formulated the question, I was thinking, how do you want us to live it out God? God knew what I meant because He can see my heart and He also knows what I am thinking.

But when I asked the question, I felt that I asked it for you guys as well, those people that I know He is using my blog to reach out to. At the same time, I asked the hard question, not because I am trying to poke the bear, (one of the pastor’s wives made a comment about me and said  that I have that bad habit with God, I cannot leave well enough alone.)  Call it whatever you want, but I feel the need to go and get it straight from His mouth. Secondly, I do not want the fear of pain to hold me back and deprive me from the joy of ministering to Him or the joy of knowing that He is pleased with me and I bring a smile on His face so to speak. It is a priority in my life.  It was an awesome thing to hear God said to me “you already know how to grab hold of this verse, but it felt as if He was saying, you already put it into practice in your life. Then He showed me those 2 verses of surrender that I know so well and already talked about in several of my past posts: Romans 6:13 & Romans 12:1 He said just link them to your post.

So, I set out to look for a sermon on Hebrews 13:5 since it is so pleasing to God. I found few sermons but they mostly focus on part of the message that is in verse 15. Praising God with our lips He loves that, but He wants us to start from the beginning so that we can avoid dead works. He not only taught me that personally and the hard way, but it is right there in verse 15, one single word makes all the difference. He is asking for a continual “sacrifice” of praise. A sacrifice to God does not have to be an extravagant gesture, it could be something as simple as denying the self for the day and spend the whole day thinking about Him. This is something we can learn to do in the spirit, which means we do not have to stop moving around living our lives. Anyway, I finally found one sermon that represents what I have been taught by Him and I am leaving you with Charles Spurgeon’s words.

 A Life-Long Occupation

Hebrews 13:15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name"

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It is instructive to notice where this verse stands. The connection is a golden setting to the gem of the text. Here we have a description of the believer's position before God. He has done with all carnal ordinances, and has no interest in the ceremonies of the Mosaic law. What then? Are we to offer no sacrifice? Very far from it. We are called upon to offer to God a continual sacrifice. Having done with the outward, we now give ourselves entirely to the inward and to the spiritual. Moreover, the believer is now, if he is where he ought to be, like his Master, "without the camp." What then? If we are without the camp, have we nothing to do? On the contrary, let us the more ardently pursue higher objects, and yield up our disentangled spirits to the praise and glory of God. Do we come under contempt, as the Master did? Is it so, that we are "bearing His reproach"? Shall we sit down in despair? Nay, verily; while we lose honour ourselves, we will ascribe honour to our God. We will count it all joy that we are counted worthy to be reproached for Christ's sake. Moreover, the apostle says that "Here we have no continuing city." Well, then, we will transfer the continuance from the city to the praise — "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." If everything here is going, let it go; but we will not cease to sing. If the end of all things is at hand, let them end; but our praises of the living God shall abide world without end.

I. First, then, concerning a believer, let me DESCRIBE HIS SACRIFICE. "By Him therefore."

1. See, at the very threshold of all offering of sacrifice to God, we begin with Christ. We cannot go a step without Jesus. Without a Mediator we can make no advance to God. He is that altar which sanctifies both gift and giver; by Him, therefore, let our sacrifices both of praise and of almsgiving be presented unto God.

2. Next, observe that this sacrifice is to be presented continually. Not only in this place or that place, but in every place, we are to praise the Lord our God. Not only when we are in a happy frame of mind, but when we are cast down and troubled. The perfumed smoke from the altar of incense is to rise towards heaven both day and night, from the beginning of the year to the year's end.

3. The apostle goes on to tell us what the sacrifice is — the sacrifice of praise. Praise, that is, heart-worship, or adoration. Adoration is the grandest form of earthly service. We ascribe unto Jehovah, the one living and true God, all honour and glory. Praise is heart-trust and heart-content with God. Trust is adoration applied to practical purposes. Praise is heart-enjoyment; the indulgence of gratitude and wonder. The Lord has done so much for me that I must praise Him, or feel as if I had a fire shut up within me.

4. The text evidently deals with spoken praise — "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name"; or, as the Revised Version has it, "the fruit of lips which make confession to His name." So, then, we are to utter the praises of God, and it is not sufficient to feel adoring emotions. "Well," saith one, "I cannot force myself to praise," I do not want you to force yourself to it: this praise is to be natural. It is called the fruit of the lips. Fruit is a natural product: it grows without force, the free outcome of the plant. So let praise grow out of your lips at its own sweet will. Let it be as natural to you, as regenerated men, to praise God as it seems to be natural to profane men to blaspheme the sacred name. This praise is to be sincere and real. The next verse tells us we are to do good and communicate, and joins this with praise to God. Many will give God a cataract of words, but scarce a drop of true gratitude in the form of substance consecrated. This practical praising of the Lord is the life-office of every true believer. See ye to it.

II. We will, secondly, EXAMINE THE SUBSTANCE OF THIS SACRIFICE. "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually."

1. To praise God continually will need a childlike faith in Him. You must believe His word, or you will not praise His name. Doubt snaps the harp-strings. Question mars all melody. Unbelief is the deadly enemy of praise.

2. Faith must lead you into personal communion with the Lord. It is to Him that the praise is offered, and not to our fellow-men.

3. You must have also an overflowing content, a real joy in Him. Be sure that you do not lose your joy Rejoice in the Lord, that you may praise Him.

4. There must also be a holy earnestness about this. Praise is called a sacrifice because it is a very sacred thing. When life is real, life is earnest: and it must be both real and earnest when it is spent to the praise of the great and ever-blessed God.

5. To praise God continually, you need to cultivate perpetual gratitude, and surely it cannot be hard to do that! Remember, every misery averted is a mercy bestowed; every sin forgiven is a favour granted; every duty performed is also a grace received. Let the stream leap up to heaven in bursts of enthusiasm; let it fall to earth again in showers of beneficence; let it fill the basin of your daily life, and run over into the lives of others, and thence again in a cataract of glittering joy let it still descend.

6. In order to this praise you will need a deep and ardent admiration of the Lord God. Admire the Father — think much of His love; acquaint yourself with His perfections. Admire the Son of God, the altogether lovely One; and as you mark His gentleness, self-denial, love, and grace, suffer your heart to be wholly enamoured of Him. Admire the patience and condescension of the Holy Ghost, that He should visit you, and dwell in you, and bear with you.

III. I want, in the third place, to COMMEND THIS BLESSED EXERCISE.
1. "Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually," because in so doing you will answer the end of your being. Every creature is happiest when it is doing what it is made for. Christians are made to glorify God; and we are never in our element till we are praising Him. Do not degrade yourself by a less Divine employ.
2. Praise God again, because it is His due. Should Jehovah be left unpraised? Praise is the quit-rent which He asks of us for the enjoyment of all things; shall we be slow to pay?

3. Praise Him continually, for it will help you in everything else. A man full of praise is ready for all other holy exercises. The praises of God put wings upon pilgrims' heels, so that they not only run, but fly.

4. This will preserve us from many evils. When the heart is full of the praise of God, it has not time to find fault and grow proudly angry with its fellows. We cannot fear while we can praise. Neither can we be bribed by the world's favour, nor cowed by its frown. Praise makes men, yea, angels of us: let us abound in it.

5. Let us praise God because it will be a means of usefulness. I believe that a life spent in God's praise would in itself be a missionary life. A praiseful heart is eloquent for God.

6. Praise God, because this is what God loves. Notice how the next verse puts it: "With such sacrifices God is well pleased."

7. To close this commendation, remember that this will fit you for heaven. You can begin the music here — begin the hallelujahs of glory by praising God here below.

IV. LET US COMMENCE AT ONCE. What does the text say? It says, "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually." The apostle does not say, "By and by get to this work, when you are able to give up business, and have retired to the country, or when you are near to die"; but now, at once, he says, "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise." Let us stir one another up to praise. Let us spend to-day, and to-morrow, and all the rest of our days in praising God. If we catch one another a little grumbling, or coldly silent, let us, in kindness to each other, give the needful rebuke. It will not do; we must praise the Lord. Just as the leader of an orchestra taps his baton to call all to attention, and then to begin singing, so I bestir you to offer the sacrifice of praise unto the Lord. The apostle has put us rather in a fix: he compels us to offer sacrifice. Did you notice what he said in the tenth verse? He says, "We have an altar." Can we imagine that this altar is given us of the Lord to be never used? Is no sacrifice to be presented on the best of altars? If we have an altar, do not allow it to be neglected, deserted, unused. It is not for spiders to spin their webs upon; it is not meet that it should be smothered with the dust of neglect. "We have an altar." What then? "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Do you not see the force of the argument? Practically obey it. Beside the altar we have a High Priest. Shall He stand there, and have nothing to do? What would you think of our great High Priest waiting at the altar, with nothing to present which His redeemed had brought to God? No, "by Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Bring hither abundantly, ye people of God, your praises, your prayers, your thank-offerings, and present them to the Ever-blessed!