2 Chronicles 5:13-14; 20:15-22
The bible encourages, exhorts and commands us to praise God. Praise brings forth breakthrough in our lives.
How many would like to see . . .
A. Breakthrough in some circumstance / situation?
B. Breakthrough in your own Christian experience / life of faith?
Either: (1) feeling dry; (2) seems to be a ceiling over your level of renewal.
C. Breakthrough in our church’s expression of praise and worship can be found in. (Ps. 71:14) Today I want to share with you about the breakthrough power of praise. Let me read to you, to launch out with today, from Psalm 150. READ: Psalm 150. (Then paraphrase as follows . . . vs. 1 Praise Him if you’re here, praise Him if you’re there.
vs. 2 Praise Him if He’s done this for you, praise Him if He’s done that for you.
vs. 3-5 Praise Him if you can play any kind of instrument, praise Him if you can just crash a cymbal.
vs. 6 FINALLY - if you don’t fall into any of the above categories
IF YOU’RE BREATHING WILL YOU PRAISE HIM?! He’s worthy of it!
The Bible encourages us, and exhorts us, and even COMMANDS us to "PRAISE" the Lord.
What is praise?
"Oh, that’s easy ------- you may say. Praise is the three fast songs we sing to start the meeting, and then worship is the three slow ones we sing after that!" ------- Is that right?
NO IT’S NOT!
Did you realize that in the New Testament the words praise, worship, glory, and honor are ALL translated from the same one Greek word?! It’s true; the word is "doxa", and its base meaning is GLORY. How it is translated depends solely on the context. If there is any difference between praise and worship it is simply that WORSHIP is how we esteem God - it’s the attitude of adoration in the heart. You can worship God without a sound. PRAISE, however, is the articulation of that adoring heart. When we praise God we give vent and voice to our heart of worship. So, worship has to do with ESTIMATION. Praise has to do with ARTICULATION. But both mean to give God esteem - to commend Him highly. So, when the Bible tells us to "PRAISE" Him, it’s calling us to give vent to our adoring heart. Worship can be silent, but praise NEVER is. Whether the song is slow or fast, or even if it’s not a song at all but perhaps a shout or an applause, it’s irrelevant, but we are called to ARTICULATE the adoration of our hearts.
"MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE TO THE LORD!" So don’t say: "I’m praising silently". You can’t "praise" silently. You may be worshipful - you may be adoring - but "PRAISE" requires action or voice! And what I want to tell you today is that there is power in praise. There is power in lifting your voice in a song or a shout or a prayer of praise. Something happens when we applaud and magnify God.
I’m going to jump around the Bible a little today to talk about "BREAKTHROUGH PRAISE".
Here are four things that happen when we begin to praise the Lord.
Firstly: PRAISE SECURES GOD’S MANIFEST PRESENCE.
LET’S READ: 2 Chronicles5:13-14 (opening of Solomon’s Temple Solomon was dedicating the Temple).
When was the last time you saw the glory of God in such an awesome way that people were simply UNABLE to proceed with the business of doing "church stuff"? The last time God took over the order of service? I’ve ben in those meetings, and I’m hungry for them, when all sense of time is lost, and God orchestrates His own meeting. I’m NOT talking about NOT PREACHING by the way. We’ll always give primary place to the Word of God. But I’m praying for and I’m expecting the glory of God in such a way that our prepared song lists get forgotten - announcements are completely left out (people have to read their newsletter), church runs over time and NOBODY CARES. Because the praise is electric, the preaching is anointed, the gifts of the Spirit are flowing, and NO-ONE knows quite what God’s going to do next. The glory of God in His House! Now I can preach for that, and we can pray for that - but there comes a time when we’ve just got to BREAK THROUGH. In this passage we read that the coming of the shekinah glory - GOD’S MANIFEST PRESENCE - is linked with His people praising Him.
Don’t you know PSALM 22:3 - "God dwells in the praises of His people."
Praise secures God’s manifest presence.
Secondly, PRAISE SECURES VICTORY.
READ: 2 Chronicles 20:15-22 (Jehoshaphat vs. Moab and Ammon). On this occasion, "Praise became the song of the supernatural". You need a victory in some area of your life! Instead of focusing all the time on that situation, or on that mountain, START TO PRAISE HIM!
God inhabits praise!
READ: Psalm 149:6-9. Here we see the PRAISE, coupled with the declaration of God’s Word, binds the enemy in chains. Did you know that PRAISE is a very good way to resist the devil?!
(The Bible says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you!")
The devil’s most common methods of attack are to bring discouragement, negativity, hopelessness, despair into our lives - to paralyze us from within - to get our eyes off God. If that’s what he’s about in your life, then the best way to deal with him is to START PRAISING THE LORD. Get your eyes back on the greatness of God and declare His praises. Sing and shout of His love, and His faithfulness, and His goodness, and His mighty power. And you watch the enemy flee. His power of discouragement - HIS LIES - will be broken!
Hallelujah! Praise secures victory!
Thirdly, PRAISE SECURES AN UNBURDENING. READ: ISAIAH 61:3.
There are people here today carrying a burden. People weighed down by a crushing load. You’re living with a "spirit of heaviness". (I’m not talking about some demonic spirit now - that’s not what this verse means. It’s YOUR spirit that is heavy. It’s a disposition of heaviness.) Did you ever see that cartoon character (I can’t remember who it was) but everywhere he went there was a raincloud over him. You know WE can get into a defeated attitude that we feel like that. The Bible tells us, today, "put on the garment of PRAISE for the spirit of heaviness". OR, in other words, "EXCHANGE THAT SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS FOR PRAISES!"
Oh, I’ve had times when I’ve felt heavy - downcast - had that "gnawing" know in the pit of my stomach because of fear, worry, stress, anxiety. But I’ve know what it is to have it LIFT as I’ve begun to PRAISE! Sometimes, in those difficult hours of being burdened with something, praise feels like it’s just a sheer act of the will in determination. David knew that experience - he had to stir himself: "Bless the Lord oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name." But once you start to do it, PRAISE SECURES AN UNBURDENING. You exchange that heavy spirit for a garment of praise!
Finally, PRAISE SECURES RELEASE.
READ: Acts 16:25-26.
Again, the #1 lesson of this story is that the circumstances we find ourselves in ought to be irrelevant in our determination to praise God. Whatever the prison may be that you find yourself in today . . .
- A business enterprise you should never have taken on. - A relationship you should never have entered into. - Some habit or addiction from your past - you’ve given your life to Christ, but that thing is like a monkey on your back. WHATEVER is may be - begin to praise the Lord. Get your eyes off the bars and onto Jesus! Praise Him! Exalt Him! Testify of His goodness and power. PRAISE SECURES RELEASE.
Hallelujah! AND IN MY CONCLUSION: 1 Peter 2:10 (The very reason for the church’s being). If we do not praise Him, the very stones would cry out. If we do not praise Him, we won’t know the tremendous power of breakthrough that it brings!