Seven Reasons to Praise the Lord

John 4:23-24

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

If a young lady went up to Johnny Cash and said, “I worship you!” what would she mean by that?  Would it mean that she had every one of his albums or that her walls were plastered with his posters?  Would it mean that she followed him around to all his shows?

Worship is such a difficult act to define, but it is that – a verb.  It requires us to be active.  Worship is directed toward God, for God and about God.  It must honor HIM!

What’s the definition of worship?   Since worship is a spiritual act, let us look at a spiritual source – the Word of God.  Scripture helps define it for us.  There is a very distinct difference from what Scripture says and what we often see in church.

Too many people take their cues about what is acceptable in worship from their experiences in church as children instead of from what the Bible says.  We often substitute our traditions – “this is the way we’ve always done it” for the clear mandates of the Word of God.  So what does the Bible say about HOW we should worship?

Here are scriptures that describe how we should worship.  This is not a complete list.

Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 47:1 – Clap your hands, all you peoples, shout to God with a voice of triumph!

Psalm 66:12 – Shout for joy to God

Psalm 95:1-2 – Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious!

Psalm 95:6 – O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Psalm 96:1 – Oh sing to the Lord a new song…

Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!

Psalm 149:3 – Lift them praise His name with dancing

Psalm 150:3-5 Praise Him with the trumpet sound…the lute and harp…tambourine…strings and pipe…cymbals.

Our worship requires action and is solely for God, not ourselves.  It is to Him alone we give glory.  He desires and deserves that glory as we gather for corporate worship in His house, but our entire life from moment to moment should be spent glorifying Him.  Sometimes that means we need to evaluate what we are doing and how we do it.  Other times, we need an attitude adjustment.  When we submit to Him in our daily lives, our actions, our thoughts and our attitudes will more and more reflect Him and bring Him glory!  Have you noticed in a lot of the prayers that your Pastor prays, he asks that our thoughts, our words and our actions always be to glorify Him?

Seven reasons we should praise the Lord:

  • We are commanded in God’s Word to praise Him

Psalm 150:1 – Praise the LORD!  Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament.

  • God is enthroned in our praise

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. 

Psalm 34:3 – Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  

Psalm 99:9 – Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

Psalm 107:1-2 – Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.  

  •  There is power in praise

Psalm 21:13 – Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.

  •  It is good

 Psalm 92:1 – It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;  

 Psalm 135:3 – Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.

  • God is worthy of our praise

Psalm 48:1 – Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain.

Revelation 4:11 – You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

  • We were created to praise Him

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

  • He inhabits the praises of His people

Psalm 92:1-5 – It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound.   For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.  O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep.

Psalm 96:1-4 – Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

What is worship?

  •  Praise and Worship is conversation between God and man, a dialogue that should go on constantly in the life of a Christian.
  • Praise and Worship is giving to God and involves a lifetime of giving to Him.
  • Praise and Worship is our positive response when we realize who God really is.  Each act of our daily life should be an act of worship.
  • Praise and Worship is an outcome of the fellowship of love between God and man.
  • Praise and Worship is our heart’s expression of love, adoration and praise to God recognizing His Lordship.
  • Praise and Worship is an act by a redeemed person toward His Creator involving his will, mind, emotions showing reverence, honor and devotion to Jesus Christ.
  • Praise and Worship means “to feel in the heart.”  It is expressing in some appropriate manner what we feel.
  • Praise and Worship is “awesome wonder and overpowering love” in the presence of God.
  • It is the ability to magnify God with our whole being – body, soul and spirit.
  • It is the unashamed pouring out of our inner self upon Jesus in affectionate devotion.
  • It is the response of God’s Spirit in us bearing witness to His Spirit whereby we cry out “Father.”
  • It is the ideally normal attitude of a rational creature properly related to His Creator.
  •   It is extravagant love and extreme obedience. 

Real worship defies definition; it can only be experienced.

Habakkuk – 3:17-18 – Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Psalm 57:9 – I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations.

Psalm 66:8 – Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard.

Psalm 66:2 – Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.

Worship our way:

  • God is the conductor
  • Pastor/Worship Leader is the performer
  • Congregation is the audience

Worship God’s way:

  • Pastor/Worship Leader is the conductor
  • Congregation is the performer
  • God is the audience

Inferior to Superior

John 2:1-12

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.  And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”  Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.  Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.  When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.  And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”  This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.   After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

  • The water made wine
  • The ordinary made extraordinary
  • The plain and simple made special
  • The inferior made to be superior
  • A life of sin, no hope within.
  • Struggling alone, no hope, no joy

INFERIOR

  • A light turns on, the Spirit calls
  • We receive Christ, old habits gone

SUPERIOR

  • Outcast, chained, in bondage torn
  • Tired and lonely, no friend to call our own.

INFERIOR

  • We cry out to God, we bow our head
  • We weep in sorrow for what we have done
  • New hope dawns

SUPERIOR

  • He broke my chains and set me free
  • His banner over me is love

INFERIOR TO SUPERIOR

Psalm 25:4-5 – Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.

When we find Christ

  • The crooked way is made straight
  • The difficult becomes manageable
  • The storm gives way to sunshine

Inferior to Superior!

Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.  Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

Yet will I trust God anyway. When darkness gives way to light, I have assurance – Even though I’m tried I shall come forth as gold.

When we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we have His promise.  He will be with us.  There will be difficult times, but He will be there.  He is a shelter in the storm. 

John 16:33 – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

YOU ARE WITH ME

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Dwell in the house of the Lord – that’s superior

We live in the inferior now – but the superior awaits!

The Eternal Word

John 1:1-5, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

2 Timothy 4:2-4 – Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Word

  • Will meet your need – physical, spiritual, emotional, financial
  • Will convict of sin and cause you to repent
  • Will rise up within you and give you strength in time of need
  • Will set you free
  • Will lighten your load
  • Will take your guilt away
  • Will give you comfort in times of stress, sickness, loneliness
  • Will give you joy

Nehemiah 8:1-12 – Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.  So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.  Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.  So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.  And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God.  Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.  Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place.  So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.  And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.  Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”  And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

At the time these words were proclaimed, the Israelites had just returned from captivity in Babylon.  Under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people had rebuilt Jerusalem’s ruined walls.  And now they set their signs on reestablishing the temple and restoring the nation.

At this point Nehemiah called a special meeting at the city’s water gate, within Jerusalem’s rebuilt walls.  Some 42,360 Israelite men were on hand for this meeting.  Standing alongside them were 7,300 servants, including 245 singers.  Altogether, about 50,000 people were gathered.

First came the preaching of God’s Word.  Scripture says the people were hungry to hear it.  Ezra brought the Law before the congregation both of men and women and “all that could hear with understanding.”

These people did not need to have God’s Word pushed on them.  A consensus of hunger had developed among them.  They were fully prepared to submit to the authority of God’s Word.  They wanted to be governed by it, to make their lives conform to its truth.

Amazingly, Ezra preached to this crowd for five or six hours, “from the morning until midday.”  Yet no one noticed the time.  “The ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the Law.”  These people were totally captivated by God’s Word.

What an incredible scene.  You simply would not see such an occurrence in any American church today.  Yet, true revival can never take place without this kind of all-consuming hunger for God’s Word.  When God’s people grow weary of hearing His Word preached, a spiritual death begins and the joy of the Lord departs.

You may have heard the phrase “sermon tasters.”  This term is about 200 years old, originating in London during the mid-1800.  At that time, the great preacher, C. H. Spurgeon delivered sermons to 5,000 people every Sunday at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.  Across the city, Joseph Parker also preached anointed messaged.  And other fiery pastors preached throughout London, delivering deep, revelatory, prophetic words.

It became a popular sport among wealthy Londoners to hop in their carriages and race across the city from one church to another, sampling the preaching of these ministers.  Each Monday in Parliament, exclusive meetings were held to discuss which preached delivered the best sermon and who brought forth the deepest revelation.

These gadabouts were dubbed “sermon tasters.”  They always wanted to lay claim to some new spiritual truth or revelation.  But very few practiced what they heard.

At the water gate in Jerusalem, however, there was no eloquent preaching, no sensational sermon.  Ezra preached straight from the Scriptures, reading for hours on end.  As the people stood and listened to God’s Word, they grew excited.

At times Ezra was so overcome by what he read, he stopped to “bless the Lord, the great God.”  The glory of the Lord came down powerfully and everyone raised his hands in praise to God.  “All the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen’ with lifting up their hands.”  The people humbled themselves before God, in brokenness and repentance. 

Please note – this meeting did not include any exciting stories to stir up people’s emotions.  There was no manipulation from the pulpit, no dramatic testimony.  There was not any music as yet.  These people simply had an ear to hear everything God said to them.

Will last forever – God’s Word remains the same.  It is the same today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.  Under God, it is the ultimate source of our knowledge of God, His nature and His will.  It is also the ultimate authority in all matters of religion, faith, practice, morals and ethics.  The reliability of the Bible as the Word of God has stood the tests of time and circumstances for thousands of years.

Psalm 119:89 – Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.

Numbers 23:19-20 – God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.

The Bible is, in written form, the revelation of the eternal Word of God.  The enduring quality of the Bible as the Word of God, stands in sharp contrast to the mortality of humankind.  Even those who live the longest are in this world but for a short time.  Millennia pass, generation after generation pass, even whole nations pass away, but the Word of God endures forever.

In this continuously changing world, the bible is a pillar of stability.  The Bible is old, but it is not outdated.  It is not a retired set of instructions.  It is not out of circulation.  It is in this modern world where it seems morals are declining every year as much or even more in demand than it has ever been.  It still today contains truths and principles which remain the same for every person, regardless of nationality, for every place around the world and for every generation. 

Is Your Worship From the Heart?

Luke 19:28-40

When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,  saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.  And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”  So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”  Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.  Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:  “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”  But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Sadly by the end of the week, the crowd was calling “Crucify him!”

Is your worship from the heart, or the kind of worship that could go from mass hysteria to mob violence?

We are physical, spiritual, social creatures.

The emotions that we reflect at various times in our lives are a part of these different elements.  When we are happy or depressed, joyous or sad, these emotions are the result of

  • Our physical well being
  • Our psychological outlook
  • Our spiritual relationship with the Creator

In extreme stress due to sickness, loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, marital problems, our entire being – body, soul and spirit or physical, spiritual and social are affected.

Here is the scene – Jesus’ triumphal entry. There were those who knew this Jesus

  • Mary Magdalene
  • A blind man
  • A crippled man
  • A leper
  • Others who had been touched in some way miraculously, wondrously by Jesus
  • Then there were those who only cried out “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” along with those who really knew Him, who really had a relationship with Him, but were expecting a King, an earthly rule, a change from the Roman occupation they were experiencing.  Expecting someone to set them free of Rome and its bondage.  Their cries were “Hosanna”, but what did it really meant?  Was it “What can I get out of this man being King – more money, more prosperity, an easier life style, a better job without Rome breathing down my neck?  Wow!  I could have a much easier life.” 

Just a few days later those who were caught up in the emotional frenzy of the day – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – would be equally caught up in the emotional frenzy of the crowd who would cry out, “Crucify him!”

Who do you suppose really loved Jesus, the ones who had experienced a change in their life, their body or those just momentarily caught up in the events of the day?  It was hard to tell probably.  Their voices were all raised; they all shouted praises; it all sounded great. 

But there was a difference.

  • The ones who had really experienced a change in their life, the sinner, Mary Magdalene, the beggar, the lame man, the blind, all now restored – their praise was from the heart.
  • The others, part of the crowd, their emotional high was probably not too different to see, to hear, but there was a difference.  Their cry of “Hosanna” was for selfish reasons, was for what they wanted.

Is it really any different today?

We come into the church; we worship, we sing praises.  For those whose lives have really been touched by the Master, those whose sins have been forgiven, there is praise from the heart – the emotions of the heart, the soul, the spirit from way down deep inside.  Rejoicing, praising and worshiping God for who He is and for what He has done in their life.  Their worship is from the heart.

The others are giving lip service.  There may be emotion, perhaps frenzied, perhaps on the whole appearing not different from others, but theirs is worship from the lips, from being in the church, from perhaps longing or desire.  But their worship leaves them unchanged in their everyday life because there has not been a change in the inward man.

Their cry of praise, of worship could just as easily be cries of (do we dare say “crucify him”) for their life has not been touched by real change.

What kind is your worship?

Jesus is in the House

Luke 7:36-50

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.  And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”  So he said, “Teacher, say it.”  “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”  Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”  And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”  Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.  Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”  Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

The invited guest – Jesus was invited to dine with one of the Pharisee in his home

  • Customary hospitality
  • Greeting with a kiss or embrace
  • Water was provided for washing the feet
  • Oil was provided for anointing of the head
  • They reclined at the table

The uninvited guest –

She was not an invited guest, but she heard that Jesus was in the house.

  • She came into the house knowing that everyone knew of her sins.  She was “an especially wicked woman.”  A social outcast – devoted to sin. 
  • She came at great risk.  In the Old Testament sinners were required to live outside the camp.  You were not to eat, associate with or even touch those who were “unclean.”  She made her way through the house, through the large crowd knowing that those who were there would be whispering or perhaps even talking out loud about her as she passed by.  There was a good possibility that she would be thrown out or even stoned.
  • When she saw Jesus, she set her eyes on Him and him alone, not looking to the right or left, not caring what others thought or said about her.  She gave Jesus her full attention, humbling herself in His presence. 
  • She wept in His presence, allowing her tears to fall on Him.  Her tears were important to Jesus.
  • She wiped His feet with her hair
  • She kissed His feet affectionately.
  • She anointed Him with the expensive perfume.  She gave Jesus the very best she had.  Costly – rate – worth a year’s wages for a working man.  The alabaster container alone was worth a great deal of money.  “A compact fine-textured white and translucent gypsum often carved into objects.

The container had to be broken in order for the perfume to be released.  The Gospel according to John says, “and the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  She allowed herself to be broken in His presence.  The whole house was filled with the fragrance of her worship.

The Pharisee

Luke 7:39 – Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him—for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin). (Amplified Bible)

Jesus’ Reply

  • We should never criticize, judge or look down our nose at how someone else worships.  We do not know where they have come from.
  • What Mary did was important and monumental that Jesus did not want us to miss it.  Her story is told in each of the four gospels.  In Matthew 26:13 and Mark 14:9 Jesus says, “I tell you, where the good news is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told also in memory of her.
  • Satan would like nothing more than to convince us that we are not worthy to be in God’s house or we are not worshipping correctly.  Jesus teaches us the simplicity of worship in this account.

Jesus is looking for a people who will

  • Come into the house
  • Come as they are
  • Humble themselves
  • Not care what others might think or say
  • Set their eyes upon Jesus
  • Give Him their full attention
  • Give Him their best
  • Allow themselves to be the alabaster contained broken in His presence that the perfume of worship may fill the house as they honor and reverence Him
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to lead them in perfect worship.  Like Mary, you will not leave the same as you came.  You will be changed.

Jesus told her to go in peace.

  • Shalom – peace  –  completeness, welfare, health, to a whole, sound perfect – nothing missing – nothing broken
  • Sozo – saved, healed made whole

Anointing at Bethany

Matthew 26:6-13

And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”  But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.

  • In the House of Simon the Leper, a Woman Anointed Jesus. (v. 6)

Little is known about Simon.  He was probably a leper who had been healed by Jesus.  Tradition says he was the husband of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus but we have no actual proof. According to Jewish law, Simon would be an outcast if he were still a leper.  In Mark 14:3-9, this same story we see Simon in the house and at the table. He was obviously cured. 

Simon’s house was large enough to entertain Jesus and all His disciples at the same time.  It can be assumed that Simon was a man of means and perhaps because of his healing he wanted to show his gratitude to Jesus and therefore gave a dinner in His honor.  

John 12, tells us the woman was Mary, and Lazarus was at the dinner.   Judas is singled out as making a comment about the use of the oil.   Matthew states “the disciples were indignant” while Mark’s account says “there were those present who were indignant.” 

  • The Anointing was an Act of Love and Faith in the Lord Jesus. (v.7)

Mary’s anointing of Jesus was an act of faith and love, demonstrating her love by giving a very precious thing to Him.   She anointed Jesus to show how much she appreciated, loved, and believed Him to be her Savior, her Lord, her King, the true Messiah.  Should we not also give of ourselves unto the Lord to show our love?

Mt. 6:20 – but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Luke 12:33 – Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

Philippians 3:8 – Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.  

  • The Anointing was a Sacrificial Gift, a Commitment Beyond Common Sense. (v. 8-9)

The anointing was sacrificial.  It was worth 300 denarii.  A denarius was a small silver coin worth a laborer’s daily wage, (Matthew 20:2) so the value of the perfume was costly, valued at approximately a year’s wage.  Perfume was a precious item to women of the day and Mary was taking a most precious possession and giving it to her Lord.

Imagine the scene.  A bottle of perfume worth a whole year’s wages being broken and poured upon the head of Christ.  Common sense would say “sell it” and give the money to the poor.  There were those that questioned what she did.  Is it any different today when we feel deep within us that we need or want to do something for the Lord?  Others question our motives, our sanity, our ability to deter- mine real values.  Like Mary, it did not matter the comments, she did what she desired to do for the Lord.  He was the most significant person in her life and she desired to honor Him in this way

Matthew. 7:3 – And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

Romans14:4 – Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:13 – Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

True love sacrifices self, gives of itself – all that one is and has.  Love is not really shown when we give only what we can afford.  It is when we sacrifice, dig deep into our lives and finances and give of ourselves, all that we are and have, that we really show love.  The more we sacrifice the more we show love.          

There is a strong message in Mary’s act – a strong message on giving much and giving sacrificially.  But note well that the gift and sacrifice were made out of a heart of genuine love and faith in Christ.  This is the most important thing to keep in mind about Mary’s gift:  her heart and life were wholly focused upon Christ.  That is how our giving must be.

Sacrifice is sometimes more important than common sense.  Sometimes sacrifice should take precedence over common sense.  Sometimes common sense must be stretched into sacrifice.  Sacrifice is what brings about enlarged horizons, growth, development, advancement, more and more of whatever we are doing.   In fact the more we sacrifice under God’s care, the more growth, development, and advancement we see.  Name the field, the area, the work – the principle holds truth.  The more we sacrifice under God’s care, the more advancement we witness.  There is a place for common sense, but there is a greater place for sacrifice.

There is one area that we often shrink from and ignore, and do not allow the principle to take effect: the area of giving money or of tithing.  We do not want our easy living and wealth to be touched.  Because of evil hearts, men have allowed money and the power to purchase to become the object and judge of life.  Too often a man’s image, esteem, power, influence, and rights are determined by how much he has.

  • The Anointing was a Grasping of Opportunity.  (v. 10-11)

The disciples in word and thought censored Mary and condemned her act, but Christ defended her.  Mary’s anointing was a good work.  Jesus gave two reasons why her act was justified.

The anointing was a “good work” a work poured out upon Him personally; that is, it was a personal gift.  It was not a gift to an idea or program of His.  This fact, that it was done to Him personally, made the difference.

The opportunity for her to show her love would not always be there.  Christ would soon be gone and ascend to heaven.  He would not be there for her to show her love to Him directly.  The poor would always be there and Mary could minister to them but he would be gone

John 4:34 – Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

John 9:4 – I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

Ephesians 5:16 – redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Opportunities do pass.  In fact, they pass rapidly.  If we do not act and act immediately, we miss the chance forever.  The privilege of witnessing, of helping, of growing, of advancing, of improving, and discovering – on and on the opportunities arise and if we fail to act, the opportunities pass on never to return, and we lose the chance to ever reach out and help and  improve and change and grow.  The great tragedy to many lives are summed up in two simple words:  missed opportunity.   

What others think, even their condemnation and censorship, should never keep us from showing our love and faith in the Lord Jesus.  Our witness should always be strong for Christ, just as strong as Mary’s was: strong in grace and kindness, in courage and unashamedness.  Our works and gifts should first of all be given to Christ personally.  Our thoughts should be upon Him, concentrating and not wandering as we serve and give.  They should be performed and given as though   they were being laid at His feet.    

  • The Anointing Pointed Toward the Burial of Jesus, His Death.  (v. 12)

Christ stated here “She did it for my burial.”  He said that her love and faith and the anointing of His body pointed toward His death.  In simple terms, Mary’s love and faith, gift and anointing was a witness of anticipation.  She was witnessing to the Lord’s death by looking ahead to it.   Today we witness His death by looking back to His death, the fact that He did die for the sins of the world.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I Corinthians15:3-4 – For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

I Peter 2:24 – who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

I John 2:1-2 – My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

  • The Anointing was an Eternal Memorial.  (v. 13)

Her devotion by the anointing was an eternal memorial.  Christ honored Mary because she had honored Him.  He will memorialize the faith and love of any believer who so sacrifices for Him – throughout all eternity. 

Ps. 112:6 – Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

Prov. 10:7 – The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.

Liar, Lunatic, Lord – Which is It?

Matthew 21:1-11

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”  All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:  “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”  And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”  So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus Deliberately Fulfilled Prophecy

  • Special Mission – secure a donkey and her colt
  • Special Point – deliberate fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9
  • A warning to Jerusalem – The King comes – He comes meekly – He comes upon a colt

Jesus Deliberately Received Worship from His Disciples

  • They obeyed his instructions without question
  • They used their own clothes for a saddle

Jesus Deliberately Received Worship from the People

  • They received Him as King
  • They received Him as Messiah
  • Son of David
  • Lord
  • The Highest

Jesus Deliberately Aroused Questions About Himself

  • Question:  Who is this?
  • Answer:  Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee

Jesus Deliberately Demands Our Acceptance or Rejection

  • Liar
  • Lunatic
  • Lord

Lord, Liar or Lunatic

Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.  He called men to forsake all they had and followed Him.  He claimed that if they would do so, He would grant them eternal life.  We have two alternatives here:

  • His claims are false – or
  • His claims are true

If His claims are false –

  • He knew these claims were false = LIAR
  • He did not know these claims were false = LUNATIC

If His claims are true = LORD

“I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.

C. S. Lewis from his book, Mere Christianity

Teach Us to Pray

Matthew 6:9-13

In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Hallowed by Thy name

  • Jehovah Jireh (My Provider)
  • Jehovah Rapha (My Healer)
  • Jehovah Nissi (My Victory)
  • Jehovah Shalom (My Peace)

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

  • Pray for God’s will in different areas of your life
  • Pray for your family
  • Pray for your place of work, your school
  • Pray for your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country, the world
  • Pray for those who have authority over you and yours

Give us this day our daily bread

  • Ask God for your basic needs
  • Ask God for the needs of your family

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

  • Ask God to forgive you for specific areas of your life where you have failed/sinned
  • Ask God to cleanse you from secret sins, revealing to you as you err, those that you are not conscientiously aware of
  • Ask God for grace to forgive those who have sinned against you

Deliver us from evil

  • This is spiritual warfare
  • No “Now I lay me down to sleep” or “Oh GOD!” prayers

For thine is the kingdom, power and the glory

  • Lord, You are in full control
  • Lord, have Your way in all these areas
  • Lord, You are worthy to receive glory, honor and praise

Matthew 26:40-41 – Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:8-13

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

  • “Our Father” – The Paternal Need:  When you pray, all needs are met by the benevolence of a loving Father.  This address to the Heavenly Father recognizes your relationship with Him.  You must first come on the basis of a relationship secured for you in the atoning work of the blood shed on Calvary’s cross by the One, Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:19-22 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

  • “Hallowed be Your Name – God’s Presence:  Enter His presence through praise.  You have constant access to God’s throne through praise and worship.  Wherever you will praise Him, He will come and establish His rule.

Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

  • “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done.” – God’s Priorities:  Declare that His kingdom priorities will be established in yourself, your church, your nation.  God desires to rule in every situation that concerns us.  As you set yourself to first seek His kingdom reign, you will find all that you need and more.

Romans 14:17 – for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

  • “Give Us” – God’s Provision:  Jesus told us to pray daily, asking Him to supply all our needs.  God has already provided to meet our greatest need by sending Jesus to die for us.  How much more can we expect Him to meet our daily needs from His vast storehouses of blessings?

Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

  • “And forgive us” – God’s Forgiveness:  We need God’s forgiveness and we need to forgive others.  Daily set your will to walk in love and forgiveness.  This step opens the door for a greater flow of God’s grace in our lives, and the Lord will use this to bring freedom to others.

Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

  • “Do not lead us into temptation…deliver us from the evil one.” – Power Over Satan:  Pray a hedge of protection about yourself and your loved ones, and verbally put on the armor of God.  Seek to walk in righteousness and the Lord will guide you.  Resist the work of Satan, and you will have victory.

Job 1:9-10 – So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Ephesians 6:14-18 – Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Psalm 37:23-24 – The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

  • “For Yours is the Kingdom” – Divine Partnership:  Praise God for sharing His kingdom, power and glory with us.  God daily calls us to partner in what He is doing.  We can join in His plans by daily walking in open communication and relationship with Him.

2 Timothy 4:18 – And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

John 17:22 – And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: