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Sunday, October 7, 2018

When Praises Go Up Blessings Come Down Is Not In The Bible

This is the manuscript of the sermon I preached at Christ Church, Los Angeles October 7, 2018

There are a lot of quotes going around that well meaning people, even Christians believe are scripture, things from the Bible.  Many of them aren’t.  Of of those things is "When praises go up blessings come down".   It sounds like something that would be in the Book of Proverbs, or the Psalms, but surprise it's not in the Bible.  Obedience is what causes blessings to come down.  To hear the sermon click the YouTube link at the end of the manuscript.

Psalm 19:14 (NKJV) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

There are a lot of quotes going around that well meaning people, even Christians believe are scripture, things from the Bible.  Many of them aren’t. We’ve heard many of these things over the years in church, from our parents, other relatives, friends, and  other people we respect.   Most of these quotes are not bad in themselves, some of them are meant to encourage and inspire, but some of them are also direct contradictions of scripture.  Sometimes what we don’t really know about what’s in the Bible can actually hurt us when we confuse something that “sounds like it came from the Bible” with actual biblical truth. 

​I want to encourage you to study the Bible and to research some of the things that you hear, even if you hear it from your pastors, evangelists, prophets teachers, or whoever.  If in my sermons I refer to a passage of scripture don't take my word go read and  study it for yourself.

A quick quiz before I really get started today. Let’s start by looking at some things we hear a lot.  Which ones of these do you think are in the Bible.

     Ashes to ashes; dust to dust
     The apple of my eye
     Eat, drink, and be merry
     Like father, like son
     Eat sour grapes
     A drop in the bucket
     The Lord’s Prayer (the actual words)
     This, too shall pass
     Confession is good for the soul
     Honesty is the best policy
     The skin of my teeth

Of those that I gave here are the ones that are actually in the bible.
The apple of my eye

Zechariah 2:8 (NKJV)8  For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.

Eat, drink and be merry

Luke 12:19 (NKJV)19  And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.";

Eat sour grapes

Ezekiel 18:2 (NKJV)2  "What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge'?

A drop in the bucket

Isaiah 40:15 (NKJV)15  Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.

The skin of my teeth

Job 19:20 (NKJV)20  My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

Here's what's not in the Bible
     Ashes to ashes; dust to dust
     Like father, like son
     The Lord’s Prayer (the actual term)
     This, too shall pass
     Confession is good for the soul
     Honesty is the best policy

Today I want to talk about another saying that is used a lot and sounds very religious and spiritual

"When praises go up blessings come down"

This is the title of a popular worship song.  It sounds like something that would be in the Book of Proverbs, or the Psalms, but surprise it's not in the Bible. Some people have thought that it’s origin is from Psalm 67 which calls God’s people to praise Him and for Him to bless them.
Psalm 67:1-7 (NKJV)1  God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah2  That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.3  Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.4  Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth. Selah5  Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.6  Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.7  God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
First let’s take a look at praise.  The dictionary definition of praise is  the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.
There are seven Hebrew words translated praise in English.
Yadah  means “to throw” or “extend or throw out the open hand” therefore to worship with extended hand”  
Towdah comes from Yadah and means to extend the hands as well but more specifically, to declare openly, freely, unreservedly. Admit as real or true. Confession.
 Shabach is to loudly give adoration to God in the form of testimony.
Barauch is "to kneel or bow as an act of adoration."
Zamar is to make music accompanied by the voice. To celebrate. To sing songs of praise with instruments.
Halal is to rave or boast upon the Lord. (Hallelujah” comes from this base word)
Tehillah is to sing Halah.
There are three Greek words translated praise in the New Testament
Agalliao means to jump for joy, to leap to exul
Proskuneo means to prostrate oneself in worship; to reverence, to adore; to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand
Thriambeuo means to make an acclamatory procession, to conquer, to celebrate a victory, to triumph..
 All ten of these words contain the idea of giving thanks and honor to one who is worthy of praise.
The phrase, “when the praises go up the blessings come down”, sounds to me like a transaction where when I do this, you do that.  In the case of our praises of and to God it presupposes that all I have to do is praise Him and He has to bless me because that’s the transaction. What if I rob somebody and then praise God, what if I lie on someone and it causes them harm and then I praise God, will He bless me.  That’s not what the Bible says.

God can’t be manipulated into blessing by praise!  Praise is empty, and useless if it doesn’t come from the heart. Empty praise isn’t true praise.  That’s really what it means when it says that we worship God in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24 (NKJV)23  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.24  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Nowhere in the Bible does anyone praise God with the intention of being blessed because of their praise.  The instances of people praising God isn’t to get anything from Him, but they praise Him for what He had already done for them.  They don’t send praises up to be blessed they send them up because they have already been blessed.  Their praise and ours should not be a tool to get but thanksgiving for what He has done.  In other words don’t praise to get blessed because you are already blessed.

 Obedience Brings Blessing

We aren’t blessed because be praise we are blessed because we are obedient.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)8  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

This verse shows that we will be successful when you do what the Bible says and obey what it teaches. It’s pretty simple.

Proverbs 10:6-7 (NKJV)6  Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.7  The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.

Here are some examples of blessings resulting from obedience. 

Genesis 22:18 (NKJV)18  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
Deuteronomy 4:39-40 (NKJV)39  Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.40  You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time."
Proverbs 3:1-6 (NKJV)1  My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;2  For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.3  Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,4  And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV)7  When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
John 14:23-24 (NKJV)23  Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.24  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
Matthew 6:33-34 (NKJV)33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
You can count on God’s blessings that obedience brings.
Hebrews 11:1-6 (NKJV)1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.2  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.3  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.4  By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.5  By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.6  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
No “when the praise go up the blessings come down” is not in the Bible and there is no promise in the Bible that blessings come from praise.  However, there are promises of blessings coming from obedience.  The saying should be “when obedience goes up, the blessings come down”.  By the way, that’s not in the bible either but it really happens.

Praise is not a tool to “get”.  It is our response of gratitude for what God has already given.

Now think about salvation.

Scripture tells us that we can’t do anything to obtain our salvation.  It’s a free gift. All you have to do is admit that you are a sinner and need help. 

Ephesians 2:8 (NLT)8  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

If we could earn our salvation by “helping ourselves”, what would be the point of faith in Christ and His sacrifice.  The truth is that nothing we can do, no matter how good or noble, can justify us before God Almighty. 

Romans 5:6(NLT)6  When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

Romans 3:28 (NLT)28  So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

The only requirement is that you acknowledge the fact that you need Him, that you believe in Him and His sacrifice, and His Word says that you will be saved.

Romans 10:9-13 NIV If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Sermon Audio

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