The Sacrifice of Praise
I read a blog piece a few days ago by Pace Hartfield, Worship Pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Tx, that I wanted to share with you because it speaks so much to where we are in today’s worship services. Here is an excerpt:
“Today we have a totally different mindset as we go to worship God. Instead of walking into the Church with sacrifice on our minds, we walk into Church thinking about ourselves. We come into a worship experience with a consumerist mindset. We rate our experience with God based on whether or not we liked the music or the message. And the ironic thing about all of this is that the worship experience shouldn’t be about us. Our worship is for God’s consumption, not ours. He is the consumer, not us. And as for rating the service – if anybody should be doing the rating it’s Him.
“Now I realize that because of Christ’s work on the cross one sacrifice has been made for all and that the sacrifice of blood is no longer required. Christ blood doesn’t cover our sin, it washes our sins away. Praise God! But let’s not miss it here. Our worship should still be costly. Romans 12 tells us that our very lives are to be presented to God as ‘living sacrifices.’ When we remove the cost of worship we remove the altar in worship. When we remove the altar in worship we remove the ability to be ‘altar-ed’.”
Heb 13:15 states, “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.” AMP It’s important to understand why praise is a sacrifice? Sometimes it takes a great deal of effort to override our feelings and praise God (whether in a corporate or private setting). Maybe life isn’t all we would like it to be at the moment. Maybe we’re too occupied with problems and worries.
More often than not, the sacrifice of praise is an attitude. Look back at Hebrews 13:15. The sacrifice is said to be thankfulness. Why would giving thanks be associated with sacrifice? I believe mainly because it takes a degree of humility to be truly thankful. It’s an admission that you need someone else’s help. That they were able to do something you couldn’t, at least at that particular time. Col 1:12 acknowledges that without Christ we are unqualified and unfit. 1Th 5:18 tells us to give thanks in everything which is basically us admitting we don’t know what is best.
The Believers Bible Dictionary explains it this way. “The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of those lips that acknowledge His name. The only worship that God receives is that which flows from redeemed lips.” When we don’t offer genuine thankfulness and praise, we become like those Isaiah spoke of in chapter 29 verse 13. “These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. Because they act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it.” The Message Matthew Henry’s Commentary goes on to say, “he rejects the proud and self-righteous, abhors mere profession.”
Dr. John Barnett, writes in Discover the Book, “If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship.” A true sacrifice of praise is one that KNOWS apart from Him we can do nothing and is willing to be changed by the One for whom nothing is impossible.