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A Sacrifice Of Praise




"15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."   Hebrews 13:15-17
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day.
We are so glad to have you here with us today

I'd like to start off by saying that through Christ, we should offer to God sacrifices of praise and good deeds, which please Him. We glorify God both by a life that continually praises God and by practical good deeds. I believe that the only way that you can truly glorify God is by truly enjoying His presence in your life. If you are a joyless, miserable Christian, gritting and grinding your teeth as you endure to the end, you aren’t exactly a great advertisement for how good God is!

Contrary to what some believe, we do not to gain forgiveness in sacrifice, we possess forgiveness in Christ. Our sacrifices are offerings of thanksgiving and praise. They are not to be just occasional, when we can manage to find the time, but continual praise and thanksgiving. I would like to point out, that everything we do in our Christian life is through Christ.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

Father,  we thank You as always for Your Word, the rich and wonderful truths that help to shape our lives. We thank You for what Your Spirit teaches us. Help us O' Lord, to carry out the things that we learn, that we would make the application to our lives, that it would be visible to the watching world. 

Father, we again ask in Jesus' name that today You would touch the hearts of those receiving this message, that they would give their life to Christ, making Him Lord and Savior of their lives. Mat it all be for Your great glory, Christ's sake and Your increase.
In Christ's precious name we pray
Today's Message: A Sacrifice Of Praise
Over the last several messages, we have been talking about Christian Ethics, God's standards of behavior to govern the lives of us as Christians. We have found that God is a God of order, that God is a God of principle and in His Word, God gives us some very clearly defined standards of behavior.

All the way through the book of Hebrews, he has been presenting the new covenant and now within the framework of a new covenant, knowing Christ, living in the age of grace. I believe that he wanted the Jews to know, that it’s the same God of laws, it’s the same God of rules, the same God of ethical standards of morality that you knew in the Old Testament. 

Next, he gives these ethics because they bring the Christian joy. They bring joy to the Christian. To be obedient, to do what God wants you to do, results in being fruitful. It results in productivity and being joyous. God also wants us to live lives that fit His moral and ethical standards, so that we might give a clear witness to the watching world. The world depends upon the consistent pattern of our witness through godly living. The concept that the Christiana should live within the framework of the system, doing as the world does, is completely foreign to Christianity. We saw last time, that in our relationship with God, He wants us separated. The next thing we saw, if you will remember, is that God wants in relation to Himself is sacrifice. The sacrifice of praise, the sacrifice of a holy, a pure life, and sharing with others. With such sacrifices, God is well pleased.

Open your Bibles with me to the thirteen chapter of the book of Hebrews. Today, we will be looking at verses 15-17.

I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, while we prepare our hearts for a Word from our Lord.

"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."     

In verse 15, he begins with "Through Him then" Who is Him? Well, we find the answer in proceeding verses 12-13, "Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach."

Praise flows from a heart that has been brought into submission to God and His Word. It is to be a steady, never ending stream. When we see that His justice and holiness, along with His mercy and love, are upheld at the cross, where the Son of God bore the wrath that was due for our sins, we will continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to Him!  

Separation and sacrifice were the two first ethics in relation to God. Our command reaches beyond our weekly services. If you are going to take living for Jesus seriously, it will cost you. In fact, he even defines what the sacrifice of praise is, so wealth and health prosperity preachers can't distort it. Jesus is the head of the Church, the foundation of the Church and is all through Him.

Occasionally dropping Bible verses and Christian rhetoric into a conversation is not exactly what God had in mind. Attending Church is not enough. God wants us to continually speak of Him in all we say and do. Let's look at verse 15 again, "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." Just living a "good example" is not enough. The point here is to continually offer the sacrifice of conversation. The sacrifice of praise.

In verse 16, he says "And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." While it is important that this is on the list, we must not forget that this is second on the list. However, though it is secondary, it is not to be neglected. It is secondary to testifying the about the message of the Gospel. Notice he mentions two things, doing Good. Do not neglect to do good. 

As part of our mission, we are to reach out in community with service. In other words, we are to focus on what we can do to be His hands, feet, mouth and heart. There is much talk in the world today about what we can do, however, there is very little action. As Christians, we are to be more than hearers of the Word, we are to be doers! We must make the most of every opportunity to serve people outside the walls of the church.

Donating, sharing what you have. Christianity has always been a theology of doing good and sharing. We are called to share the message of the gospel, our health through the things we do for others and our wealth, sharing what we have with those who do not have. Here, the writer of Hebrews is admonishing us not to neglect sharing and giving. 

There are many Christians who believe that what they do is what they give. And, in some cases that's fine. Especially when we have not been blessed with financial resources that others have been. But, sometimes, we justify not giving financially by what we give in other ways. I believe that is important that we stop making excuses to spend our resources on our own comforts and realize such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Our giving may meet the recipients needs, but is it worthy of our Lord? Does our giving testify to His greatness. 

Verse 17, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." 

Here, is is talking about the sacrifice of cooperation. In other words, respect. Let me make something clear,  I am not complaining about a lack of respect. I have been overwhelming blessed with a loving and faith flock. However, I have known many church leaders who have faced a tremendous lack of respect. One who even chose to retire over the blatant disrespect he was shown.

Many Christians today wince at the word "obey," especially when it comes to church leadership. And, in some cases, rightfully so, as many a pastor has led a church in the wrong direction. Many stubborn, strong personalities in church leadership have caused significant damage in a number of churches. In fact, so many that we shy away from following someone in leadership. And to be honest, I would be terrified to be a pastor of a church who blindly followed me. 

Therefore, I contend that the words "cooperate with" would serve any pastor and congregation well. That does not mean that you always have to agree, it does however, means that someone in the position of church leadership is worthy of your respect. I believe that we must respect the position that God has given them. Now, if you happen to disagree with them, which does happen from time to time, do it respectfully! To call into question ones authority, is to accuse God of making a mistake. And, to rebel against that authority, is to rebel against God. If you are unable to resolve a disagreement with church leadership, pray for them and trust God to do the work. Pastors need loving input, caring feedback, friendly advice, direction and wise counsel. Not constant ridicule and criticism.

Paul tells us in I Timothy 5:17-18, "The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

And, in I Thessalonians 5:12-13, "But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another." 

It is my desire that we grow and mature spiritually, encourage one another, not to become shallow Christians who look the part. I want us to produce spiritual fruit, lots of fruit. By focusing on God's Word, keeping Christ as the head of the church, getting out the gospel message, sharing what God has so richly blessed us with, with others and respecting one another, we will be a healthy church. And, when we give God glory He deserves, God will bless us in response to our worship of Him.

In Closing..

If you come away from church having scrutinized the choir, the worship team, the organist, the sound, the ushers, and the message, you have missed the point of being here. If you have come to church with the goal of being blessed, then, we have lost track of why we are here. It should be on our heart to bless God.

If I have distracted you, in any way, from powerfully expressing God’s greatness, I sincerely apologize. The hour is quickly approaching, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, and God is seeking such people to worship him now.  God wants more people in His kingdom. He is not willing that any perish. We must learn to let go of our preoccupation with self, and turn our attention to what God really wants. We don’t come to church to worship; if we are doing this right, our whole life is an act of worship. We come to church because we are worshipers. Worship is about a heart that gives its all to God. He is worthy of our praise.

Because, it is not about me and you, it is about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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