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TEXT: I Corinthians 6:20
SUBJECT: Baxter on Glorifying God #2
Tonight, with the Lord's blessing, we proceed in our study of Richard Baxter on Glorifying God. Baxter was an English Puritan pastor who wrote much--and very well--on practical living for Christ.
To glorify God means to praise Him with your thoughts, your words, and your deeds. You ought to do it because the Lord deserves your praise. The Hymn of Angels should be your song too,
"You are worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honor and power".
Last time, we looked at glorifying God with our hearts. This is of primary importance--"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" says the Proverb. Devout words and daring deeds for God are polluted when they spring from a dirty heart. Unlike the Scribes and Pharisees, we've got to clean--not only the outside of the cup--but the inside as well. Glorifying God begins with reverent and loving thoughts for Him.
But it doesn't end there. Our text says we're to glorify God with our bodies as well as our souls. Why? For three good reasons, at least: (1) God created our bodies to praise Him; (2) Jesus Christ redeemed our bodies to praise Him; and (3) The Holy Spirit indwells our bodies to praise Him.
One way we glorify God with our bodies is by putting our tongues to His praise. The Psalmist did that,
"I cried to Him with my mouth and He was extolled with my tongue".
"My tongue shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long".
"...My tongue shall show forth Your praise".
The Lord want you to do the same,
"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD; you praise the LORD".
We do this by speaking well of Him as often as we can.
"...Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips..."
This is good for you, of course. For nothing makes you happier than praising the Lord. It's also good for those who hear you. But most of all, it's good for God. Though He doesn't need your praise, He still likes to hear it.
Baxter can help you on this one. He offers ten Directions for doing it. But the first one is so long, we'll only get to it tonight. And so, if you want to glorify the Lord with your words...
REMEMBER HOW GOOD IT IS TO PRAISE THE LORD.
"Conceive of this duty of praising God according to its superlative excellencies, as being the highest service the tongue of men or angels can perform".
When you think of putting your words to good use, what comes to mind? Winning the lost? Preaching a sermon? Comforting the sad? Rebuking the proud? Telling someone, "I love you"? All are good, of course, but none equals the importance of praising God! That is the highest good to which you can devote your words.
Baxter proves it in ten ways.
1.God is worthy of your praise.
a.You ought to glory in His power.
"It is giving to God His chief due. Oh, how great praise does the Almightiness deserve which created and conserves all the world and overrules all men to do whatever He wills--
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised and His greatness is unsearchable..."One generation shall praise His works to another and declare His mighty acts..."I will speak of the glorious honor of Your Majesty and of Your wondrous works; and men shall speak of the might of Your terrible acts, and I will declare Your greatness..."
b.You ought to glory in His wisdom.
"What praise does that knowledge deserve which extends to all things that were, are, or ever shall be? And that wisdom which orders all the world! He knows every thought of man and the secrets of the heart--
"Known to God are all His works from the beginning of the world...His understanding is infinite".
c.You ought to glory in His goodness.
"What praise do His goodness and mercy deserve, which is spread throughout all the world and is the life, the hope, and the happiness of men and angels!"
"His mercy is great unto the heavens...Oh, how great is His mercy to those who fear Him!"
If the Lord is supremely worthy of your praise, you can do nothing better than praise Him.
2.God made your mouth to praise Him.
"It is the end (or, goal) of all God's wonderful works, and especially the end which man was made for, that all things might praise Him".
According to Psalm 145:3, everything praises the Lord. But most things do it unwittingly. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork". They pay tribute to God's power and wisdom--but not with words. That's okay because God gave them no mouth.
But He did give you one. And He gave it to you for His glory. Why don't you use your mouth for what it's for? It's not for boasting; it's not for cursing; it's not for lying; it's not for idle chattering. God gave you the gift of speech so He could hear you praising His Name.
If God gave you a mouth to praise Him, you can do nothing better with it than praise Him.
3.Praising God is a work that you can share with angels.
"It is the work of the most excellent creatures of God, the holy angels".
After the Fall of Man, angels were left as God's most glorious creatures. So glorious, in fact, that whenever they appeared to people, they scared the dickens of them! In most ways, we don't measure up to the angels.
But in one way we can: In praising God. That's what they do without ceasing; we can join them in their happy work. That's a high privilege. And we ought not to miss it.
If God let's us do the work of angels, by all means, let's do it, by praising the Lord.
4.Praising God fits you for heaven.
"It behooves us to learn and practice that work which in heaven we must do forever; and that is to love and joyfully praise the Lord. Earth is but the place of our apprenticeship for heaven".
This is a very good point. How does one become a journeyman carpenter? By doing an apprenticeship. He starts off not knowing which end of the hammer to use. But as he works at it, he gets better. Until, after several years and much practice, he becomes a real carpenter.
What do you want to become? You want to become a glorified saint. What does that mean? It means praising God forever. And where do you learn to do that? Right here on earth.
Heaven is one big choir. If you want to fit in there, you'd better learn to sing the praises of your Redeemer. Starting now.
5.God saved you to praise Him.
"The design of your redemption engages you to praise the Lord".
Earlier, he said you were made to praise the Lord; and that's right, of course. But not only were you "made" to do it, you were also "saved" to do it.
This the whole point of our text, I Corinthians 6:20. Because you are "bought with a price", you're obliged to "glorify God".
Other verses say the same thing, I Peter 2:9 is one of them:
"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".
Ephesians 1:6 says God chose us,
"For the praise of the glory of His grace".
When our hearts are right, we feel the obligation of praise that comes from our salvation,
"Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation...and my lips shall sing aloud of Your righteousness and my tongue shall show forth Your praise".
"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You".
Obviously, God did not save you accidentally or for no particular reason. He saved you so that He might have your praise. Why don't you give it to Him?
6.Praise is the best way to express what is in your heart.
"Praise is the very breath of love and joy and gratitude".
Every believer--even the most lukewarm and backslidden--loves the Lord who bought him. How can you better express your love for Him than to sing His praises?
7.Praising God is a means of grace.
"Our hearts burn within us as the glorious name of God is magnified. It has the most pure and spiritual and elevating upon the soul; and therefore, tends to make us more holy by the increase of these graces".
This is a very sharp comment. Praising God not only expresses your love for Him--but increases that love! Praising the Lord has a way of intoxicating the person who's doing it. Ravishing the heart for Christ.
8.Praising God is good for your assurance.
"Praising God tends to vanquish all hurtful doubts and fears".
In two ways: (1) It keeps you near God and nothing will revive your spirit like the Divine Presence.
But, (2) it also has a way of increasing faith in His goodness, faithfulness, and mercy. If you're praising the Lord as merciful, kind, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, and so on, what's going to happen to your assurance?
It's going to increase. For, although your sins are great, it occurs to you that your Savior is even greater!
People often try to gain assurance by the non-stop confessing of their sins. But that's no way to do it. Spend some of that time praising the Lord for His infinite mercy!
9.Praising God will sweeten your devotions.
"It makes religion sweet and take off the weariness of it...whereas they who set themselves only to the works of humiliation--self-examination, confession, mortification--put themselves in grave danger by making religion into a grievous and undesirable thing".
Another excellent point! If praying makes you tired, maybe it's because you're spending more time confessing your sins asking for things than you are praising God for his grace and for the things He has already given you!
Praising God will make your worship much more pleasant. Preachers need to remember this, too, as they lash out at their people in God's Name. They are better led than driven. The best way to get people to obey God is not hammering away at their duty or the danger of not doing it. No! The best way to do it is to make God seem worthy of their obedience, service, and sacrifice!
10.Praising God pleases Him.
"No duty is more pleasing to God than the cheerful praises of His servants. He loves your prayers, tears, and groans--but your praises much more".
Another good point. The Lord is sympathetic, of course. He "Catches our tears in His bottle and writes them in His book". But think about it? What do you like hearing better? Good news or bad? How many problems your friend is having or how much he loves you?
We all prefer good news to bad. And so does God. Maybe you should tell Him some once in a while! And that means praise Him.
11.Praising God is good for the lost.
"It acquaints the world with the nature of true religion, removes their prejudices, refutes their objections, and honors Christ".
How do you present your religion to the world? As something that makes you gloomy all the time. If you do that, why would they want any of it? Or, do you present it as something wonderful! Something they should want?
Praising God--not in a phony way--but from the heart is the best witnessing you can do. You make Him look good to others. You let them know your Master is a whole lot better than theirs.
CLOSE AND APPEAL
If you want to praise God, think of how good that is. Psalm 92:1-2.
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