January 11, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I try to regularly engage in prayer as a daily discipline. But more than a discipline, I want to communicate with God as a child with his Abba Father! (See Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). My Father in heaven is the One who sent His Son Jesus Christ to save me! But I still have much to learn concerning prayer. And one thing in particular I need to learn is how to better praise my God! David testified in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” I want to make that a goal for my prayer life – His praise shall continually be in my mouth!
As a matter of fact, praise is offered to God 182 times in the Psalms alone! And in Psalm 22:3 we learn, “…You are holy, who inhabit the praises of…” Your people! So, if you want to draw near to God, praise Him! And in the New Testament (Hebrews 13:5) we are told, “…let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”
Where can we best learn to praise our Lord? I believe the book of Revelation is a good place to start. So I am beginning a series called Revelation Praise! Here is the first lesson on “How to praise God!” from Revelation 1:4 through 6:
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace
from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven
Spirits who are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful
witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the
earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own
blood, and made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be
glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
• Revelation 1:4 – “…to the seven churches which are in Asia….” These seven churches (see Revelation chapters 2 and 3) are thought to represent all congregations over all the earth throughout the history of the Church Age – from Pentecost (see Acts 2) to the Rapture (see I Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 4:1, 2). So this last book of the New Testament applies to you, Christian! And, by the way, Revelation is the only book of the Bible that carries the promise of God’s blessing if we read it with understanding! (See Revelation 1:3). Praise Him for His Church!
• Revelation 1:4 – “Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come….” I find two broad reasons to praise the Lord in this short portion of Scripture:
✞ He gives us grace and peace! Grace is God’s undeserved favor! We certainly don’t deserve such favor! We deserve His eternal wrath and judgment which would mean we would be assigned to hell forever! But He gives us grace! I think a Scripture that shows this grace is Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We were His enemies! But He made His own Son His enemy on the cross, that we might become His friends! (See John 15:14, 15; II Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 1:21). Praise Him for His grace!
✞ Jesus is described as the One “…who is and who was and who is to come….” He is eternal! He is God! He is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit! He died “…once…to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Hebrews 9:26). And now, “…He ever lives to make intercession for [us].” (Hebrews 7:25). What is more – and especially as we live in this old sinful world – He will come again, this time as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). Praise Him for His eternality – and for His coming reign upon the earth!
• Revelation 1:4 – “…and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne….” Seven in the Bible is thought of as the number of perfection! Here, the Holy Spirit is introduced as seven Spirits – the perfect Spirit! Praise Him for His perfect Holy Spirit!
✞ He is the one who draws us to the Savior, wooing us, leading us to put our faith in Him! (See John 6:44). The unpardonable sin is when we push the Spirit away – or attribute to evil spirits His work of drawing us to Christ (see Mark 3:22-30).
✞ The Holy Spirit is the permanent seal given by God and dwelling within us to show that we are the Lord’s possession! (See Romans 8:9, 16; II Corinthians 1:22).
✞ He is the guarantee that God will complete in us the work that He started! (See I Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 1:13, 14; Philippians 1:6).
✞ He is the energizing force working within for us to live out the Christ-life! (See John 7:38, 39; Romans 8:13, 26; 15:19; Galatians 3:5; 5:16; Ephesians 5:18-21; I Peter 1:2).
✞ The Holy Spirit produces within us the fruit of the Spirit! (See Galatians 5:22, 23), and gives us His gifts (see Romans 12:6-9; I Corinthians 12:7-11).
We have only here covered verse 4 of our three-verse featured Scripture! But I think you can see that we can learn a lot about praising God from the book of Revelation! There is more to come in the next blog – and in several more blogs in the future.