Thursday, December 17, 2015


Image for sermon The Power of Praise
Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.  (2 Chronicles 20:22)
Last century brought two world wars, and there is reason for concern that a third may come in this century—and is building even now.  Be that as it may, one thing is certain—we are in an age-old spiritual conflict between God and Satan.  Both demand worship, and that is why worship involves warfare.  In 2 Chronicles 20 we observe this battle and discover God has given us a powerful weapon—praise!  This is how the Jews routed their foes and how we can live in victory as well.
We have a fierce FOE (v.1).  The Moabites and Ammonites were allies in arms—a real enemy attacking God’s people.  Our warfare is spiritual, but no less real.  Satan is ever seeking the worship only God deserves. This is how a beautiful angel became the devil (Isa.14:12-15). One third of the angels bowed to him and were cast out with him!  Satan used the same line to entice Adam and Eve, “You will be like God.”  He would test the Last Adam, Jesus, similarly, by offering Him the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would offer him worship.  The devil’s obsession with having worship and his hate toward God means that he will fight against true worship at every point.  Yet, it also means that the power of praise is how we can thwart the enemy.
God’s people can be a mighty FORCE (v.18-22).  Jehoshaphat responded to the enemy by seeking God and fielding an army (v.3-19).  The weapons used, however, would not be carnal—they would be spiritual.  The choir would lead the battle and faith would bring the victory!  It was God’s power that would be unleashed and prevail, and the channel through which God’s might would flow would be the praises of His people!  We may not realize the significance of our songs and the power of our praise, but rest assured, Satan knows and will do all he can to keep us from true worship.  The early church had little money, negligible influence, and yet conquered the greatest military power the world had known.  Within a few centuries, the Roman legions proved no match for the Christian soldiers.  A worshipping church experiences winning warfare.
This must then be our driving FOCUS. 

Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”  (v.20)
As we look to God, lean on Him, and loudly praise Him, He is glorified and pleased to pour out His power.  Authentic worship from the heart—that springs from a sense of urgency, that is expressed with a depth of intensity, will yield lives of victory.  The gates of hell will fall before such a church.  Go to countries where there is persecution and poverty and you will find such fervent and sincere worship.  It is not mere religious activity!  American casual Christianity has produced the lukewarm heart of the church at Laodicea.  They boasted, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” but Jesus said they were actually, “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked….”  (Rev.3:17) The church is too often inhabited by consumers looking to be gratified than a church of celebrators desiring for God to be glorified!  How will we respond to this truth?

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