Think of a person that you know well whom you profoundly appreciate and deeply respect. It can be anyone from any period in your life. Focus on that person. Do you have him or her in mind?

Do you admire this person? Could you explain to me how this person touches your life? Could you list the qualities that you admire in this person? Could you illustrate what an exceptional person this man or woman is?

Could you talk to me about this person? Could you compliment this person? Could I hear your respect and admiration in your words and voice?

  1. Do you ever talk about God the way you talk about this person?
    1. I want to talk to all Christians this morning. From young Christian to old Christian, I want you to think with me.
      1. Do you realize the good experiences that you have in your life that exist because you made peace with God?
      2. The most distressful times I ever experience are the direct result of the loss peace with another person.
        1. When peace dies, my stress and anxiety are horrible.
        2. The absence of peace with someone affects my whole life--my eating, my sleeping, my attitude, my thought process, my anxiety level.
      3. If God had not made peace with you through the blood of Jesus Christ, one of two things would be true of your life.
        1. Either you would have no conscience at all.
          1. You would be hard, indifferent, uncaring, selfish, and mean spirited.
          2. Or you would be consumed with guilt--guilt would eat you alive.
        2. What would your life be if you never worshipped, never prayed, never had a godly thought, never knew any Christian, and had nowhere to turn when times get tough and bad things happen?
      4. You would do what most people do who live that existence.
        1. You would enter a deep depression that made you angry at the world.
        2. Your life would be a hell, and you would make other people's life a hell.
        3. You would try to escape the pain and misery of your existence by running to alcohol, or running to a pill, or smoking a joint, or involving yourself in the kinds of pleasures that temporarily make you numb and unfeeling.
        4. You would probably work hard five days a week doing something you hate just so that you could try to escape for two days a week.
    2. Do you have any idea of what God does for you every day of your life?
      1. Do you think the only things God does for you are hypothetical religious things that are not real and have no every day value?
      2. Because God is not your slave, because He does not do everything you want the way you want when you want, do you think He really does nothing?
      3. Do you have any idea what your life would be like for just twenty-four hours if God did absolutely nothing for you?
    3. When Noah climbed off the ark with his family and stepped on dry land, Noah knew what God had done for him.
      1. Maybe Noah was like us--while building the ark, maybe he thought about all he was doing for God.
      2. When he climbed off the ark, he knew he did nothing for God, and that God did everything for him.
      3. While he was building the ark, Noah lived among extremely wicked people.
        1. How wicked?
        2. Genesis 6:5,6 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
        3. Those wicked folks did not offer sacrifices to God; in fact those folks did not "waste" their time thinking about God.
      4. Do you know the first thing Noah did when he climbed off that ark on dry land? He offered a sacrifice.
        Genesis 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
        1. Why did Noah offer a sacrifice?
        2. Did God command, "Noah, when you get off the ark, offer me a sacrifice!" No.
        3. Then why? Noah was grateful, and he thanked the God who was worthy of all the honor and praise that he could give him.
        4. And his sacrifice arose as a soothing aroma to God, an aroma that God treasured.
      5. "I guess that God likes the smell of burning meat." No.
        1. Noah was profoundly grateful to God for what God did for him.
        2. God was touched by Noah's gratitude.
    4. That is the heart and soul of the sacrifices offered to God that touch God and deeply please Him
      1. Why do people give sacrifices to God?
      2. "Because they have to in order to obey God!"
        1. There is no question about the fact that people who believe in and trust God must obey Him.
        2. But to think that they do it because "they have to" misses the point of the sacrifice.
        3. You can do exactly what God commands you to do in the name of obedience, and still insult and deeply offend God.
        4. If you doubt that, you need to go home and read Isaiah 1.
      3. Sacrifices given to God that do not express sincere gratitude insult God.
        1. If the sacrifice does not come from the heart, it is an insult.
        2. If the sacrifice does not come from sincere appreciation, it is an insult.
        3. If the sacrifice does not honor God, it is an insult.

  2. Christians offer a different kind of sacrifice to God, but they offer sacrifices for the same reasons, the same purposes.
    1. The author of the book of Hebrews talked about the Christians' altar and sacrifice in Hebrews 13.
      1. God sacrificed Jesus on our altar.
      2. Because God sacrificed Jesus, we can offer sacrifices to God.
        Hebrews 13:15,16 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.
        1. The fruit of our lips is our continual sacrifice to God.
        2. Our lips praise God for all that He did and is doing for us in Jesus Christ.
        3. To prove the sincerity of our praise, we also offer the sacrifices of doing good and sharing.
    2. The primary way that Christians praise God publicly today is through songs.
      1. The primary place that we praise God by song is in our worship assemblies.
      2. We sing without musical instruments because all evidence indicates that the early Christians sang without musical instruments.
      3. Does the New Testament specifically condemn using musical instruments while singing praise to God? No, the New Testament does not even mention musical instruments in Christian worship.
    3. There are only two brief references that talk about Christians singing.
      1. In Ephesians 5:17-20 Paul said this to the Ephesian Christians:
        Ephesians 5:17-20 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
        1. The context of this instruction does not focus on worship but on life.
        2. Instead of being foolish, understand God's will.
        3. Don't fill yourself with wine and go around singing the drunkard's songs.
        4. Fill your life with the spirit, and sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that come from your heart and honor your Lord.
        5. Constantly give thanks to God in the name of your Lord Jesus Christ.
      2. Paul said this to the Christians in Colossae (Colossians 3:14-17).
        Colossians 3:14-17 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
        1. The perfect cord that unifies Christians is love.
        2. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts and be thankful.
        3. Let Christ's word live in you richly; use wisdom in teaching and encouraging each other.
        4. With hearts that are thankful to God, teach and admonish each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
        5. Let everything that occurs in your life honor the Lord Jesus, and through him give thanks to God.

  3. In our emphases on worship, we missed an emphasis of basic importance.
    1. Before Jesus died for us, it took many correct things for God's people to worship collectively.
      1. It required the right place, a tabernacle or a temple, a priesthood, an altar, and animals to be sacrificed. All those were necessary for Israel to assemble and worship.
      2. For Christians to assemble and worship, it takes hearts, minds, and voices.
        1. We are the priests (1 Peter 2:9); we are the temple (1 Corinthians 3:16); and we are the sacrifice (Romans 12:1,2).
        2. The true worship of God depends on nothing more than the hearts, minds, and voices of Christians.
    2. Consider carefully:
      1. Many of you would be deeply offended if we used a musical instrument this morning because the New Testament says nothing about musical instruments in Christian worship.
      2. But some of you who would be offended by the use of musical instruments do not sing.
        1. The New Testament says nothing about musical instruments in worship.
        2. The New Testament instructs Christians to sing.
      3. We need to understand that it is not the melody of the voice that thrills God; it is the melody of the heart. You sing to praise. You sing to say "thank you."

Consider all God does for you each day of your life. Together, let us offer a sacrifice to God with the fruit of our lips. Let us praise Jesus with our songs.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 10 October 1999

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