Matt Hagee - The Attitude of Praise
If you brought your Bibles, turn them to Psalms 34, as this morning, we conclude the sermon series "What a way to live" with this message, "The Attitude of Praise". We've considered worship as being the most important thing in the relationship that man has with God, because Jesus told us, in John 4, that the father is seeking individuals to worship him. We considered the kind of worship that we have to bring. That God is not mocked, with the same heart that you give, that's the same way you're going to receive. God knows when you're worshiping him in spirit and truth, and God knows when you're just up and performing. Today we're going to look at praise as an attitude. It is a mindset. It's something that you can do each and every day, and it's one of the most powerful ways to live, because the Bible tells us, in Psalms 22, that the Lord is enthroned upon the praises of his people. That means when you praise God, his presence literally invades your life and changes the atmosphere that you're breathing.
When God's presence shows up, you begin to operate in what the Bible calls "The fullness of joy". When his presence shows up, the brokenhearted are mended and restored. When his presence shows up, sighs of sorrow become shouts of joy. When his presence shows up, captives are set free, because "Whom the son sets free is free indeed". Sick are healed because he is the great physician. When his presence shows up, and his glory fills the house, praise becomes the anthem of those who have been redeemed by grace divine, and the song of victory that we sing, because we are more than conquerors through Christ. Praise is the ballad that the bride of Christ sings to him, because he has redeemed us, and he has washed us in his blood, and he has made us heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
Praise, on a daily basis, should be the echo of your heart that fills the chambers of heaven with the glory that only God deserves. And it should haunt the halls of hell and remind them that they have been defeated by the name that is above every name, and that matchless name belongs to Jesus Christ. Praise is an attitude. And it is truly the only way for a child of God to live. Read with me Psalms 34. If you're there, say, amen. "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me. And let us exalt his name together".
Heavenly Father, today we invite your presence into this sanctuary: that as we exalt your mighty name, our lives will be forever changed because of who you are and what you have done. For these things, we give you praise and honor and glory. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Psalms 34 begins with one of the most important words that's involved in the act of praise, and that word is "I". Why? Because praise is personal. Say that with me. "Praise is personal". David gets to the root-level matter in a moment, when he says, "I will bless the Lord at all times". One of the most important things that you need to understand is that you have to make the conscious decision to praise God. It's not something that's just going to overwhelm you, and you can't help it, it flows out of you. No, you have to make up your mind that God is worthy to be praised. Hebrews 10:25 says, "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together". Hebrews, or Psalms 34:3 says, "Let us exalt his name together".
There is an appropriate time and place to corporately worship God. But the only way that corporate worship works is when you choose to worship God, and I choose to worship God, and we do it together. Because my praise does nothing to liberate you, and your praise does nothing to liberate me. But when I offer my heart, and you offer your heart, that's when the Lord is enthroned upon the praises of his people. Praise is personal. And praise is a sign of maturity. Praise is evidence that you realize where your blessings come from. I don't know that any of us would expect a hearty "Thank you" from a three-month-old child for fixing breakfast. "Gee, mom, that was great". No! Because when they're 90-days-old, we don't expect them to show us the gratitude that we deserve: they're not mature enough. They don't understand that you're the provider. They don't understand that you're the protector. They don't understand that everything they have was given to them by their parents. And they don't have the expectation of gratitude and thanks, because they're too immature.
There are a lot of God's kids that are the same way. Not giving God praise proves that you don't know where the good things in your life come from. The problem is, is that many of those children in God's house have been at it longer than three months. Some of them have been here for a lifetime, and still can't realize that it's God that has given you every good and every perfect gift. I read a story in a medical journal that was talking about caretakers and individuals who devote themselves to taking care of the invalid. And in this particular article, they featured a mother who had given every day of her motherhood to an invalid son, who had severe disabilities. He was so severely disabled that he had no cognitive ability to recognize one person from the other. He was blind. He was hard of hearing. He had no conscious way to communicate.
Medically, when they got done listing all of his symptoms, in essence, he was just a heartbeat inside of a body. And every day, for 15 years, his mother fed him, his mother clothed him, his mother spoke to him, his mother took care of him, his mother loved him. And the interviewer was asking her, "What was it like to live a life giving yourself to someone so sacrificially"? What she had to say was both heroic and sorrowful at the same time. She said, "I am his mother. God gave him to me. And it is my honor to live my life for my child". But then the sorrowful part was when she said, "The only thing that I would wish to be different is that just once, I want him to realize that I'm mama. You see, he doesn't have the ability to understand the difference between you and me. I don't mean any more to him than the next person. But just once, I want him to know that it was his mother that took care of him. Just once, I want him to know that it was his mother that watched over him. Just once, I want him to know that it was me that was right beside him all along".
And when I read those words, I thought to myself: this is just like some people who don't realize that it is God. It is God who takes care of you. It has been God that protects you. It is God that provides for you. It is God that heals you. It's God that got you out of bed this morning. It's God that hung the sun, the moon and the stars in the heavens. It's God that created the ground that you walk on. It's God that gave you the very breath that you breathe. Every moment that you live. Every move that you make, every day that you exist, it is God's goodness, it is God's grace, it is God's mercy on display, it is time that we realized where the good in our life comes from, and we give that great God a shout of praise!
Right now, you get to make up your mind, because praise is personal. But praise is not only personal, praise is also powerful. It changes things. Praise changes not your circumstance, but your perspective. Praise enables you to realize that you can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength. Praise is something that, when you begin to do it, you experience what the Bible calls "The joy of the Lord," and "The joy of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow".
Praise is how you realize that my God shall supply all of my needs, according to his riches in glory. What David says in Psalms 34 is, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all". He said, "Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever". Child of God, praise is powerful enough to change your life! Look at what praise did in the Bible. How did the walls of Jericho come down? With a shout of praise. There was no brilliant military strategy. There was just an obedient army of children of God who were willing to lift their voice in a shout of triumph to the God who can do all things. For seven days, they walked around that problem in frustrated silence. But the moment that God anointed that shout of praise, what seemed impossible became a pile of rubble, because prayer and praise are powerful. Look at what praise did for Jehoshaphat. He's a king in Israel, for those of you who are thinking I'm making this name up.
Who would name their kid Jehoshaphat? Must have been a family thing. Jehoshaphat is a king in Israel. He restores worship and the reading of the Bible. He's a righteous king at a time when Israel was having a hard time finding kings. In his righteousness and his willingness to live for God, he's attacked by the enemy. Have you ever noticed that when you start to live a life sacrificially in praise to God, things start to pop up? Three weeks ago, "Lord, I'm going to live my life in praise for you". How many of y'all had a hard two weeks? Why? Because the enemy is attacking you when you start to fulfill the one purpose for which you were created, which is to praise the Lord. He wants you so distracted, he wants you so distraught, he wants you so worked up and so worried that all you do is count your complaints instead of thank God for your blessings.
So here's king Jehoshaphat: he's done what the Word of God has required of him to do. And here comes an enemy who's going to attack him. And he hears from people who have been attacked by this enemy that tell him, "You don't stand a chance". Jehoshaphat goes to the Lord in prayer, and the Lord sends word. He says, "Send worshipers". Send worshipers in front of your warriors. Send people who are going to praise me in front of those who are carrying the sword and the shield, and let this battle belong to the Lord. Some of you need to hear that today. Before you go on the fight, you need to go into heavenly places in praise, and let your battle belong to the Lord.
Jehoshaphat did exactly what the word of the Lord said. And the Bible says that on the day of battle, he didn't even soil his sword, because every one of his enemies was destroyed. What did that? The power of praise. How were Paul and Silas let out of prison? The power of praise. How did David defeat his giant? The power of praise. What brought Daniel out of the lion's den? The power of praise. What I'm here to tell you today is that some of you have spent way too much time talking about what you're going to do. What are we going to do about the country? What are we going to do about the economy? What are we going to do about the future? What are we going to do? You need to stop talking about what your going to do and start praising God for what he's going to do, and what he has already done. You've been walking around the impossible problems in your family for long enough.
It's time to give God a shout of praise and bring the walls down. You've been held captive by situations long enough. It's time to give God the praise and glory he's worthy of, so he can shatter shackles, and break chains, and destroy yokes, and lift burdens, and make a way where there seems to be no way. You've been looking at that giant walking at you long enough. And today is the day to declare, "You've come to me with spear and sword, but I come to you in the name of the Lord". Child of God, the victory is yours through the power of praise! Praise is personal. Praise is powerful. But praise is also not optional. We think we get options in this life. Well, I don't have to if I don't want to. What you don't understand is that God in his grace has given us volition. And volition is a big fancy word meaning the power to choose.
Now, there are people in power today that want to take away your volition. That's a different sermon on a different Sunday, but just know I can get anointed about it all by myself. But even God gives you the power to choose. "Choose you this day whom you will serve". You who are on the Lord's side, come to me. But the issue of praise is settled in heaven. Philippians says that "God has highly exalted him, and given him the name that is above every name: that at the name of Jesus, all of those in heavenly places should bow: and at the name of Jesus, all of those in earthly places should bow: and at the name of Jesus, all those who are under the earth should bow and glorify him, because Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father".
If you take your power of choice and choose not to praise him, you're not taking glory from God: he's still glorious. You're not taking power from God: he's still awesome. You're not taking anything from God, but you are depriving yourself of what praise can do in your life. Praise is not optional. The Bible says it clearly. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord". Quickly, I want everyone in this room just to take in a big-old, deep breath of air. I mean, like you walked five flights of stairs, getting into the church today. Now let it out. Right there, you have just officially ordained yourself as an instrument of praise in the Kingdom of God. With that one breath, you've said, "I've got a purpose, because God believes in me. Therefore, I'm going to give him a sacrifice of praise with my whole heart today".
You are here as an anointed vessel to go into heavenly places and lift the mighty name of Jesus, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, above every circumstance and situation. And through that power of praise, you're going to see God move in your life like you've never seen him move before. If you're having a bad day, praise the Lord. If you're enjoying sweet success, praise the Lord. If the world around you is falling apart, praise the Lord. Because no matter what you're going through, if there's breath in your lungs, he is great and greatly to be praised! And you say, "Well, pastor, you just don't understand. I was raised differently. I was raised seriously. And church is serious to me. I can't do what you're suggesting I do, because church is a serious place for serious people".
Let me help you understand: I too was raised seriously. Dad quit school because of recess: he don't play. Some of you got it. Others of you are wondering. And having lived my entire life in church, here's what I know about church. Church is a serious place. It is a place where people who had serious problems, with serious situations, and serious needs, they were seriously without hope, and seriously on their way to a place called hell. They came in contact with a pure and holy God, who seriously gave the greatest gift that could ever be given. His name is Jesus Christ, and he seriously redeemed them. And he seriously healed them. And he seriously set them free. He seriously made a way where there seems to be no way, and he has now grafted us in as heirs and joint heirs with God our father in heaven. And I believe with all of my heart that a God like that deserves a very serious amount of praise!
You say, "Well, I'm just not comfortable doing that". Well, you better get comfortable before you get to heaven. Because if you think I'm excited down here, when I get there, I'm gonna lose it. Praise is not optional because praise is a sign of life. Notice what David said in Psalm 34:2. He said, "My soul shall boast in the Lord". Say that with me, "My soul shall boast in the Lord". He was letting you know where praise comes from. It doesn't come from the physical part of you: it comes from your soul. God will only accept worship from your soul, that spirit and truth that Jesus was talking about in John 4. And when you read the Bible, in the Psalms it says, "The dead do not praise the Lord".
Now, it's not talking about the physically dead. It's talking about the spiritually dead. When you don't offer God praise from your soul, it means that you are spiritually flatlined. Do you want to show the world, the flesh and the devil that everything that they've tried to do to destroy you didn't work? Don't just keep existing. You know, there's that show, the walking dead. And that describes a lot of people who come in and out of church every week. You're physically alive, but you're spiritually dead. Why? Because the bitterness of your past has stolen your song of praise. Your problems today are greater than you can tolerate. The world that you're facing tomorrow has got you so filled of fear that you can't open your mouth and give God the glory that he's worthy of. What I'm telling you is if you want to show all of heaven and earth that you're still alive, lift your hands and raise your voice, and begin to magnify the Lord with me. And let us exalt his name together. Let it be your battle cry to announce to the devil:
I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit. You've tried to steal my joy, but I'm still praising the Lord. You tried to destroy my family, but I'm still praising the Lord. You tried to steal my health, but by his stripes, I am healed, and I'm still praising the Lord. You've tried to take my peace, but because God is for me, who can be against me? I'm still praising the Lord. You tried to take away my harvest, but he opened up the windows of heaven and he poured out upon me blessings that I cannot contain. So I'm still praising the Lord. You tried to shatter my hope, but he's a God of all hope. I'm still praising the Lord. I'm going to walk through this valley with my hand in the hand of Jesus Christ, my king, and I'm gonna sing praise in the morning, and I'm gonna sing praise in the noontime, and I'm gonna sing praise when the sun goes down, because that's the kind of God I serve! I'm giving him all of my praise, because he's great and greatly to be praised!
Give the Lord a shout in this house today! I want you to stand to your feet. Praise is personal. Praise is powerful. But praise is not optional. And right now, I want this room to become the throne room of God's grace in your life. So right where you are, lift your hands and open your mouth, and begin to give God thanks. Begin to give him praise. Begin to give him glory and honor that he and he alone is worthy of. Some of you have been facing problems for which you have no solution. God's about to solve your problem, because in his presence is the fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures evermore. Today he is going before you to defeat your enemies because the battle you're in belongs to the Lord. Today his presence in this place is bringing spiritual and physical healing that's going to restore your soul for his namesake. He's going to take you to places you never thought you could go, because he and he alone is making a way where there seems to be no way. Lift your hands and give him praise. Open your mouth and magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together:
Father, today I thank you that the enemy has been defeated. Today I thank you that your provision is more than enough. Today I thank you that your name is above every name, and it is great and greatly to be praised. I thank you that your presence is in this place, because you promised us where two or three of us would gather, there you would be in our midst. So we're here to give you honor. We're here to give you glory. We're here to give you all that you are worthy of, and we bless and we magnify you in this place today. We honor you, King of kings and Lord of lords. We honor you, Jesus Christ, our redeemer, our Savior, and our faithful friend. We honor you, Holy Spirit of the living God. Flow in this place. Flow in every life. Flow in every heart: that we might leave this place, set a fresh fire in our soul today: that we might echo the anthem of our praise in the streets of this city until every captive is set free, until this place is burning with revival, in Jesus' mighty name, in Jesus' mighty name. Thank you for setting us free. Thank you for what you have done. Thank you for what you are doing. You are worthy.