Three Reasons To Praise God

Bible Book: Revelation  1 : 5-6
Subject: Praise; Jesus, Praise for; Joy
Introduction

One of the great joys of the Christian life is praise. Surely, if you are indeed a Christian, you have at some point been in a state of joy unspeakable and full of glory. In those moments you seem to be weightless and feel as if you could fly away to be with the Lord. I am not surprised that Elijah was carried away in a fiery chariot; I have felt like I might take that journey at some moments when I sense and know the complete and absolute presence of my Lord.

A woman who had lived a terrible and sinful life was saved. She was about forty years old at the time and her joy was so great that she could not contain it. She joined the local First Baptist Church and the people greeted her gladly. But all that of change pretty quickly. When the choir sang a rousing number, she would shout vociferously, "Well, glory to God!" Then, when the preacher talked about the cross, she would praise God saying, "Thank you Jesus!" This disturbed some of the members and they talked to the pastor about it. He discussed it with the deacons and they came up with a plan. They knew she was rather poor and that she came to church in dresses that were faded and out of style. The deacons went to visit her and they told her they wanted to send her to the local dress shop to get a brand new dress, with shoes and bag to match. She was overjoyed. Then they added a caveat. "All we ask is that you stop shouting in church." She didn't like that but she needed the dress, so she agreed. The next Sunday she came decked out in her new outfit and she felt like a queen. She took her place in the church and the service began. The choir sang about the cross and it was all she could do to hold her tongue. She had a shout in her but she tamped it down. Then the preacher opened the Word of God and began to preach about the resurrection of Jesus. Still, she held her shout within. Finally, he got to the part about our coming resurrection and our meeting the risen Lord and she could no longer contain it. Finally, she jumped to her feet, raised both of her hands and shouted, "New dress or no new dress, praise the name of Jesus!"

Sometimes we are filled with praise and we can't contain it. A lady told me one Sunday, "Preacher, I sometimes just want to shout during the music or while you are preaching." I asked, "Well, why don't you?" She replied, "People may not like it." I said, "Dear lady, all that matters is whether Jesus likes it or not, and I think it would please Him."

It may sound trite to suggest that there are three reasons to praise God and one will surely misunderstand the sermon title for today if you conclude that motivation to praise Him is limited to three incentives. Indeed, there are hundreds, even thousands, of reasons to praise God. What I want you to see today is how John was inspired to remind us of three paramount prompters to praise. In today's text we discover three royal reasons to rejoice in the presence of our Lord.

I. He Loves Us

The disciple whom Jesus loved, John, wrote these words. He points out that all of us are equally loved by the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as he, John, leaned on the breast of our Lord, we, too, can repose and rest upon the Christ. John understood how wonderful it is to be close to Jesus, and we can know that, too. If only we understand how to be prompted to praise and how to be free to praise Him.

Note three aspects of Jesus' love for the redeemed that will cause Him people to praise Him.

A. It Is A Present Love

Often we are taken back to Calvary when we think of God's love for us in Christ. That He loved us dearly is seen clearly at the cross; but we must not think of the love of Christ as being only evidenced way back then. Christ loves you right now! When John wrote these words, he penned them in a special way. He used a Greek form which declares the action to have begun in the past, but to be just as tangible in the present. How this would help us if we could but understand how much we are loved at this very moment by our Savior. He does not love us less than He loved those with whom He came in contact when He was on the earth long ago. He does not love you less today than the day He saved you. Just as you experienced His love through grace and salvation, you are living in that love and grace right now. His love is as real today as it has ever been or ever will be. The only difference is whether I appreciate it in the same way. When I become aware of His glorious presence and overflowing love, especially knowing what a sinner I am, my heart breaks open and praise floods out.

B. It Is A Permanent Love

In our day there is much love declared in the present which is withdrawn at some future date. John is showing us that Christ's love for us is not diminished. Even though Jesus appeared to John in His heavenly glory, the love of Jesus was very apparent to John. He is gone from the earth, as far as His physical presence is concerned, but His love for us is just as active. Look at Romans 8:35-39. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

In this world, there are those who say, "I love you," but then a few months or years later they may declare, "I don't love you anymore." Many hearts have been broken by fickle love, but Jesus doesn't change in the nature or measure of His love. One little boy did something for which his father strongly objected. The boy's brother turned and said, "You better not do that again or daddy want love you anymore." The father said, "Don't you ever say that to your brother. I will always love you boys no matter what you do. I may correct you and sometimes punish you but I will never, ever stop loving you!" That is the way our Savior is with us.

C. It Is A Plentiful Love

"He loves us..." His love is bountiful and the supply never runs low. John was writing this letter to the Christians scattered across Asia in the ancient world. Christ had enough love for each of them and for all of them. The need of one would not preclude the need of another from being met. Like the feeding of the 5,000 on the hillside, Christ could feed each one with plenty left over. He has what you need. You cannot exhaust the reservoir of His love. He wrote this also for us!

D. It Is A Personal Love

John was exiled on an island, but God knew where He was and came to him. John was not separated from God's love no matter how far he might be separated from other creature comforts. You may think that God does not know the Isle of Patmos on which you are now suffering, but I assure you that any thought of that kind is foolish, He has not forgotten you.

You are loved with a personal love. The woman who touched his garment with the withered finger of illness was picked out among the throngs of people. Christ felt her faith and met her need. He will do the same for you.

Maze Jackson tells of going to the Holy Land and seeing two shepherds bringing their sheep to a river for water. The sheep proceeded to intermingle with each other. Maze wondered how the shepherds would separate them. After a while, one shepherd stood a short distance from the sheep and began to call out with a loud voice in words which Maze could not understand. Some of the sheep came out of the water and followed that shepherd. The other shepherd stood across the way and called out with similar words. Then the other sheep followed him. Maze said that the incident reminded him of what Jesus said, "I know my sheep, I call them by name, and they follow me." Maze said he tried to copy those shepherds and called out in a loud voice, but he could not even get a goat to follow him!

O, dear friend, Jesus calls you with a personal love to follow Him. If you will hear His voice and come to Him, He will make you one of His own. You see, he loves you today even if you are not one of His own. He is calling to you. To be one of His sheep, simply respond to His voice and come to Him.

II. He Loosed Us

John provides us with yet another reason to praise our Lord. He reminds us that we who are saved are people who have been loosed from our chains. It is important for us to remember that sin is not just a stain, it is a chain! Sin binds the sinner with cords which a man cannot break or loose. Only one person overcame sin, death and hell, and broke the chains of sin's grip - that One was Christ! Think about the chains He has taken from us.

A. He Has Loosed Us From The Shame Of Sin

Sin has a terrible guilt associated with it. When we come to Christ, He forgives us and removes our guilt. Like the prodigal who came home to the father, we are received and the rags of ruin are removed from our sinful backs. We are clothed the robe of righteousness which only Jesus can supply.

Now, let me share something important with you today. There is someone here who has sinned greatly since you became a Christian. At times you still feel the guilt of what you did; however, you clearly confessed that sin to Jesus and asked Him to forgive you long ago. So, why do you still feel guilty? I can tell you this, Jesus never makes us feel guilty about a sin that has been forgiven. There are only two reasons you will remember it. One, Satan will remind you to keep you in defeat. The old devil doesn't want you praising God; He wants you to feel as if you are unworthy and unable to serve God. Two, you may remember the sin because God is warning you that you have a weakness which might show up again at some point. He doesn't want you to feel guilty, but rather he wants you to be forewarned of the sin which does easily beset you!

You can be sure of this, all sin that is honestly confessed to God no longer holds you in its grip. The stain and chain of sin is broken in the blood of Jesus.

B. He Has Loosed Us From The Slavery Of Sin

In John 8:34-36 we read, Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Sin makes you a slave. It controls you. It masters you. But Jesus sets you free from sin. It is not that you no longer sin at all, it is that you are no longer a slave to sin. It has always been interesting to me that the Christ rejecting sinner claims he will not be told what to do. He claims to be free, but he is anything but free. He is bound to his sin. He is a slave to his appetites. He is a slave to his selfish motivations. It is the Christian who is free. When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! Jesus sets us free from slavery to sin.

C. He has Loosed Us from the Sentence of Sin

Sin has a terrible consequence associated with it. Sin must be punished. Jesus took our sentence at the cross and bore our iniquities at Calvary. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all." The sentence of death and hell are removed.

Imagine a criminal standing before the judge with chains on his hands. He is about to be led out to the hangman where he will die an agonizing death for his crimes. But the judge declares that another has taken his place and died for him. The prisoner is ordered released. The guard removes the heavy chains and lets the prisoner go. What do you think that freed man would do? I tell you what he would do; he would jump for joy and shout and dance. He would hug his family and friends. Then, he would honor the one who took his place. Well, that is a picture of our lives as Christians. My sentence of death has been removed because Jesus died for me. In essence, I guess you could say, I settled out of court. Long before I was to stand before the judge, I accepted the pardon. My friend, if you wait till court day, the day you stand in the judgment, it will be too late. You must accept or reject God's offer of forgiveness NOW.

III. He Lifted Us

He has made us to be a kingdom of priests. as we are told in Revelation 5. This means that we have both a royal nature and a priestly nature. Kingship and priesthood reside in every believer. Jesus has taken us from our chains and lifted us to the heights of glory. You will note that the passage does not say that this is something he will do but it is something He has already done! You are already King and Priest! Glory to His name.

I remember a preacher friend of mine who took me water skiing! I fell off the skis and the life jacket I was wearing slipped up around my arms so that I could not swim. I bobbed up and down in the water like a float on a fishing line. I could only get a breath each time I bobbed up out of the water. I felt as if I were going to drown. He turned the boat around and came roaring back after me. When he lifted me up, I was gloriously and deliriously happy! Before he got to me, I could see the shore but could not get there. I needed someone to reach down and pull me out of the watery grave I was about to sink into. That preacher's hand was a lifesaver to me. Let me tell you about another far more important hand that pulled me out long ago. The nail-scarred hand of Jesus reached down on the day I believed in Him as Savior and Lord, and pulled me out of my sin and shame. He picked me up out of the miry clay and set my feet upon the Rock. I was sinking deep in sin, as the songwriter said, far from the peaceful shore. Jesus knew I was in danger. He called to me and I trust Him, and He thrust His mighty hand down into the waters and pulled me out. He rescued me and saved me that day.

Let me tell you that His arm is not weakened that He cannot save. He still reaches down and pulls poor souls out of the depths of despair. He will save you today. Believe in Him. Repent of your sin. Call on Him. He will reach down and rescue you from a wasted life and a woeful death.

A. Lifted To A New Power

When Jesus lifts one up, He lifts us to Kingship. This speaks of power and authority. You have been given a place in the kingdom of God and you are part of the royal family. You have a new power which was not yours in your former life. This power, provided through His Spirit, grants you the ability to do certain things.

1. A Power Over Self

You do not have to give in to your selfish motives and ambitions. You have the Holy Spirit to strengthen and to guide you. You no longer have to yield to every little whim that crosses your mind. You can deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus!

2. A Power Over Society

You must not depend upon the world to give you your sense of worth. It is not your money, your position, or the world's applause that should thrill you. It is the smile of God that brings joy to your heart. John was receiving a word from God on the Isle of Patmos and that word informed him that in this world he would have tribulation, but that Jesus had overcome this world! As children of God, we do not follow the dictates and habits of society. We have been rescued from the desire to please this world or have this world please us.

3. A Power Over Satan

You can stand clad in the armor of God. You can know Satan's wiles and ways. He does not exercise power over you. Resist him and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

B. Lifted To A New Position

You are a priest unto God. A priest is one who can handle holy things. He has been set apart for holy service. A priest had the right to go into the presence of God. Every Christian is a priest and can go boldly to the throne of grace. We read this also in Revelation 5:10. We see this also in 1 Peter 2:5 and again in 1 Peter 2:9. But does it mean when God declares that we are priests?

1. An Entrance To God

The priest could go into the Holy Place and Holy of Holies to minister before the Lord. When Christ died at Calvary, the Bible records that the veil of the Temple was torn in two. The veil was the separation between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, where it was believed the very presence of God dwelt. The veil was torn from top to bottom, meaning that God had opened a way for all who wished to come to have access to Him. Jesus tore open the entrance into the very presence of God. You and I have that entrance and thus are called priests of God.

2. An Exaltation Before God

A priest brought a sacrifice before the Lord. But we, as priests before God, do not need to bring a slaughtered animal or the blood of a goat or bull. Jesus paid the penalty for us. What sacrifice then do we bring? We bring a sacrifice of practice and a sacrifice of praise. The practice relates to our walk with God as recorded in Romans 12:1-3. The praise is our lifting up of the Lord in thanksgiving as recorded in Hebrews 13:15. We lift Him up through our walk and our worship. Every true priest must do both!

3. An Exhibit For God

We are evidence of God's grace. We are an exhibition of what God does! He saves poor, wretched sinners like us. We do not come to church here to act like we are better than others, we are a showcase of what God wants to do for all people who are trapped in sin. We are to be witnesses for Him in this world. A priest stands for God. You are to be such a priest for Him.

Let others see Jesus in you!!! So, praise Him, child of God!

Come to Him, all who would know peace and purpose in life! He loves you, He will loose you and He will lift you!

Conclusion

Those whose hearts are filled with praise, come bow down before Him today. Let us fill up the altar of God this morning in gratitude and praise.

Those who need the Lord, who hear His voice calling you to salvation, come now. He will lift you out of your sin. He will loose your chains. He will set you free. He will be a song in your heart and a shout on your tongue. Now we will sing. Now let us respond!