AGCC Sun. a.m. 3/23/1997

#5

"LET US OFFER UP SACRIFICES OF PRAISE!"

TEXT: Heb. 13:15-16; Rom. 12:1-2

INTRO: Mention the word "Worship" to someone and see how they respond! To

most people the idea of "Worship" is something that happens on a Sunday

morning in a building somewhere called a Church. For some, the conditions

have to be just perfect in order for them to worship...too often people don't

enjoy worship unless things are just right, thus we are good at finding all kinds of reasons to avoid Church...imagine the world acting like this!

ILLUS: The reasons why I'm giving up sports: football in the fall, baseball in the summer, basketball in the winter. I've had it all. I quit attending sports once and for all, and here are my 11 excuses:

1. Every time I went, they asked for money.

2. The people I sat next to didn't seem friendly.

3. The seats were too hard and not comfortable at all.

4. I went to many games but the coach never came to call on me.

5. The referees made decisions that I couldn't agree with.

6. The game went into overtime and I was late getting home.

7. The band played numbers I'd never heard before and it wasn't my style of music.

8. It seems the games are always scheduled when I want to do other things.

9. I suspect that I was sitting next to some hypocrites. They came to see their friends and they talked during the whole game.

10. I was taken to too many games by my parents when I was growing up.

11. I hate to wait in the traffic jam in the parking lot after the game.

Worship and praise is not something that comes just from the right conditions

around us, it comes from the heart and from our life....we are always worshipping...it is not just what happens on Sunday morning!

PROP. SENT: The Bible will teach us that both our LIPS and our LIFE should be

offering up praise to God continuously.

I. PRAISE FROM OUR LIPS! Heb. 13:15; Rom. 12:2

A. A New Communication Heb. 13:15

1. Notice in the text the link that makes this new communication possible:

"Through Jesus....."

a. Praise and worship cannot happen without coming through Christ!

b. Praise is not just something we do, it is what we are and who we are

connected to....connected to Christ makes praise even possible!

2. Notice here also the sense of praise being "continual"!

a. It is not just at Church where praise from our lips is suppose to happen!

b. The reason it is called a "sacrifice of praise" is because it won't always

be convenient or when we simply feel like it!

c. There is a real sense here that how we communicate all the time is a

part of worship, every word from our lips should be "praise" in some

form or fashion to God reflecting Christ in our lives.

3. Our lips should confess praise and gratitude at all times reflecting Christ's

reality in our lives!

ILLUS: Alexander Whyte, the Scottish preacher, always began his prayers with an expression of gratitude. One cold, miserable day his people wondered what he would say. He prayed, "We thank Thee, O Lord, that it is not always like this."

4. It is our language at home, work, and Church that is in view in the passage,

that our lips are offering up to God 'CONTINUALLY' a sacrifice of praise!

a. How should this impact that way we talk about others?

b. How should this impact that jokes we tell co-workers on the job?

c. How should this impact our speech around home and family?

d. As well as how we enter into the service at Church!

5. too often it is far easier to express praise in a worship service than it is in

day to day routines...yet the sense of "continuously" and "sacrifice" here indicates the daily routine as well as the Church service.

B. A New Communion Rom. 12:2

1. It is clear that what we say comes from how we think...hence how this passage fits well with the "fruit of lips" issue in Heb. 13:15!

a. We speak how we think! (see Luke 6:45 "out of the heart the mouth speaks")

b. If we are to offer up a sacrifice of praise as the "fruit of our lips" on a

ongoing basis, it will have to spring from the way we think in our hearts

and minds!

2. Paul writes here to express the importance of "conformity"....but to be

cautious not to conform any longer to the thinking of this world!

a. The world has little concern for worship and praise of God...and if we

allow the world's influence to infiltrate our entire thinking processes we

will find our sense of worship distorted as well!

b. The world puts little value on verbal expressions to God...it is a low priority if one at all!

c. We must be careful that the emphasis of the world does not become ours! (See Philip. 4:8-9 We are to think on the right things, not part of

the natural man.)

ILLUS: Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.

3. The problem for many Christians today is that we have too compartmentalized our lives into chunks... we think of worship as only this "chunk" of time spent in Church on Sunday a.m., and don't see how

worship is a part of the rest of our week or our activities!

a. We should develop a "worship" mentality in everything!

b. We would be completely different as people if we really had a "KINGDOM OF GOD" mentality over everything in our daily lives and

not just when we are in a Church building!

4. In the strictest sense...everything we do is a part of worshipping God, and

all our daily mundane things in life are a part of that expression!

ILLUS: A budget is a theological document. It indicates who or what we worship. --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 375.

a. Think about how the emphasis in our lives would be changed if we really thought this way?

b. Everything we say and everything we do tests and approves the will of

God ... hopefully our lips and our actions will show "His good, pleasing

and perfect will!"

5. The idea here is to have our minds transformed by God's Word so that we

are no longer conformed to this world and its way of thinking

a. The Greek word translated here "transform" is "metamorpho" from which we get our English word "metamorphosis" from. The idea is that we change from the way the world thinks to the way God thinks, a process of becoming something new and different!

b. This is no doubt a process...worship always is!

c. The renewing of our minds will enable us to think very different from

this world, and by thinking different we will speak different!

d. This will enable us to have the fruit of our lips worship God continuously!

II. PRAISE FROM OUR LIVES! Heb. 13:16; Rom. 12:1

A. A New Compassion Heb. 13:16

1. As soon as the writer of Hebrews talks about the "fruit of lips" as a sacrifice of praise he moves to his next thought tying this together with "do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

a. The "fruit of lips" results in the "fruit of living" & vice versa!

b. What we SPEAK we tend to SHOW! (remember in school "SHOW & TELL") and what we SHOW we tend to SPEAK!

2. What we do as good to others is also a part of our worship of God, it will

bear fruit at some point in our lives as well as theirs!

ILLUS: Many years ago two young men were working their way through Stanford University. At one point their money was almost gone, so they decided to engage the great pianist Paderewski for a concert and use the profits for board and tuition. Paderewski's manager asked for a guarantee of $2,000. The students worked hard to promote the concert, but they came up $400 short. After the performance, they went to the musician, gave him all the money they had raised, and promised to pay the $400 as soon as they could. It appeared that their college days were over. "No, boys, that won't do," said the pianist. "take out of this $1,600 all your expenses, and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work. Let me have the rest."

Years passed. Paderewski became premier of Poland following World War I. Thousands of his countrymen were starving. Only one man could help, the head of the U.S. Food and Relief Bureau. Paderewski's appeal to him brought thousands of tons of food. Later he met the American statesman to thank him. "That's all right," replied Herbert Hoover. "Besides, you don't remember, but you helped me once when I was a student in college."

3. The world does not just look at what we "say" but also what we "do" in

determining what kind of "worshipper" we are!

a. The world will rarely criticize our worship style if they know our

lifestyle is also godly!

b. We show people what a "sacrifice of praise" is not just by the way we

verbally worship on Sunday mornings, but how we live Monday thru

Saturday!

4. God is pleased with our "sacrifices of praise" when they come from both our LIPS and our LIVES!

a. The idea from God's standpoint is that our LIPS match our LIVES!

b. Since this "sacrifice of praise" is suppose to be "continuous" it is suppose to be a constant flow from both our lips in a "worship" service,

and from our lives in "willful" service!

B. A New Commitment Rom. 12:1

1. Here Paul picks up this very theme...

a. to worship means to give up more than a couple of hours on Sunday a.m. to offer worship as LIP SERVICE, it means to offer up our own bodies as a LIVING SACRIFICE!

b. To offer up our bodies as a "living sacrifice" is "pleasing" to God!

c. The only problem with a "living sacrifice" is that it has a tendency to

"crawl off the altar when the fire gets hot under it!"

2. This really means that God should get the best of us!

a. For too many Christians, Christianity is like a weekend thing you do, and so it is treated like "going to the movies" or going somewhere else,

it doesn't have the commitment of the best from us all the time.

b. Only western Christianity has this concept of compartmentalizing our

relationship to God....many other religions see their commitment to their gods as all embracing, their gods always get their best, not their

leftover time and resources!

ILLUS: A missionary tells of a woman in India holding in her arms a weak, whining infant, while at her side stood a beautiful, healthy child. The man of God saw her walk to the banks of the Ganges River and throw the robust youngster to the crocodiles as an offering, and then turn toward home again still clutching the sickly child to her bosom. Tears were running down her cheeks when he stopped to question her concerning her shocking actions; however, she proudly replied in defense of her conduct, "O sir, we always give our gods the best!"

c. Can we say that God gets our very best, or just whatever we have leftover in time, resources, and priorities?

3. It is always too easy to see a sacrifice as something we give, or even something we do, but we need to see the sacrifice as OURSELVES!... a

living one!

4. Paul says that such a living sacrifice in view of God's mercy is a "SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP" !

a. The word "spiritual" here in Greek is "LOGIKOS" from where we get our word "LOGICAL" from!

b. In view of God's mercy it is only LOGICAL that we offer up our bodies as

a living sacrifice for God to use!

c. This is both "reasonable" (KJV) and "logical"!

d. Why would God want just the worship of our lips without the worship from our lives?

5. If we are to offer up "sacrifices of praise" we must be willing to offer up our

lives as living sacrifices, this will then include what comes from our lips!

a. When done out of love, this sacrifice will not be viewed as a LOSS, but

as GAIN!

ILLUS: It is told that in the First World War there was a young French soldier who was seriously wounded. His arm was so badly smashed that it had to be amputated. He was a magnificent specimen of young manhood, and the surgeon was grieved that he must go through life maimed. So he waited beside his bedside to tell him the bad news when he recovered consciousness. When the lad's eyes opened, the surgeon said to him: "I am sorry to tell you that you have lost your arm." "Sir," said the lad, "I did not lose it; I gave it -- for France."

Jesus was not helplessly caught up in a mesh of circumstances from which he could not break free. Apart from any divine power he might have called in, it is quite clear that to the end he could have turned back and saved his life. He did not lose his life; he gave it. The Cross was not thrust upon him; he willingly accepted it -- for us. -- William Barclay, Gospel of John

b. too often we think of "sacrifice" as a painful loss, but in reality it is

a joyous thing... "holy and pleasing to God" ...

c. to God, the content of our worship is wrapped up in the character of the

worshipper!

6. The real life of "worship" then is both what comes form our "LIPS" and from our "LIVES" !

a. So did you come this morning "to worship" or as "a worshipper" ?

b. Are you "continuously offering up to God a sacrifice of praise" or just

when you are in the "service" ?

c. Is both your LIPS and your LIFE engaged in praising God?

7. "LET US OFFER UP SACRIFICES OF PRAISE!!"

CONCLUSION: The concept of "praising God" is far more reaching than just what happens on a Sunday morning worship service! It is also far more reaching than a song of praise or two! The crowds on Palm Sunday were quick to praise Christ with their lips, but not with their lives! Praise is a lifestyle of glorifying Christ and not just lips that gush "Glory to God in the highest"! Did you come TO worship, or did you come AS a worshipper!? Let us offer up sacrifices of praise through our lips and our lives!