A Life of Praise
At the end of history there is a scene where Jesus, The Lamb of God, is standing triumphant and victorious. He was the Lamb that was slain, but now He is alive and He is receiving praise from angels and people from all languages and nations for His great suffering. The great question for today is, “has Jesus, our redeemer, received the reward of His suffering from our lives?”
Prayer is a privilege, not based on or own merit, but on our redemption through the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. Prayerlessness is pushing God to the margins of our life. Praying without ceasing means being always ready to pray, as well as planning times of prayer. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we pray all that is consistent with His name and character. All kinds of prayer are valuable: praise, gratitude, repentance, lament, and petition.
There are times when even a devout follower of God can feel abandoned by God. The writer of Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 feels spiritually overwhelmed. He is cut off from corporate worship and is taunted by those who despise God. He begins to preach to himself, “Hope in God…” reminding himself to put his confidence in God, his rock and salvation. As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts…
Psalm 96 was written for the day of celebration when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem. David expresses exuberant joy that is based on the knowledge of God and repudiates the idols of the surrounding nations. He worships in awe and longs for others to become worshippers in the same way. When we give to the Lord, we acknowledge that all we have is already God’s, honor Him with exuberant joy, and give back to God for the sake of the nations.
Are we living out our faith in such a way that we bear the repercussions of living and sharing the Gospel? Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, but they were able to worship and praise God because they expected to suffer persecution, and they knew that their situation and served to advance the cause of Christ. Their concern for the new believers at Philippi and their commitment to the advance of the Gospel was the outpouring of a life tuned to the will of Christ.
We were created to live a life of praise. Praise is our chief end and is our highest priority and privilege. The Song of Moses at the Red Sea in Exodus 15 is an example of how praise should be our response to the salvation, character, uniqueness, and promises of God.
In Psalm 145, David is resolved to live a praise saturated life every day. His praise is fueled by great thoughts about God. When we extol God, we elevate Him to a high place in our thinking and view Him as glorious. In response to God’s transcendence, David humbly praises God for His attributes and His acts.
A life of praise starts with knowing the God who is worthy of our praise. The Psalms are preoccupied with God and can teach us many truths about Him. As we read the Psalms, we should ask ourselves, “What does this psalm teach me about God?” In Psalm 100, we are told to worship the Lord with wholehearted joy, reverence, and gratitude.
In this first message in the new sermon series, “A Life of Praise,” Pastor Mitchell Gregory examines Luke 1:46-55. Mary’s song of worship upon receiving the angel’s news that she will bear Jesus, the Messiah, teaches us much about how to live a life of praise. Mary praised God in the depths of her soul. Her praise flowed from a mind and spirit saturated with scripture. She praised God for His power, holiness, mercy, and faithfulness.