The Weapons of our Warfare – Praise and Thanksgiving

2 Cor. 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but are mighty through God to destroy strongholds.

The power is not in the weapons, it’s in our God who works through us and the weapons He provides.

Jesus is building a Praising, Praying, Proclaiming and Preparing Community

All these are Worship!

A reminder from our previous sessions re engaging in Spiritual Warfare as a community

Relationship

  • with our Commander in Chief
  • and with one another

Authority

  • Obeying His commandments from Love (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3)
  • Submitting to His authority (Eph. 1:22-23)
  • Submitting to Godly order (Eph. 4:11-16)
  • Submitting to one another (Eph. 5:21)

Three levels of engagement

Personal (2 Sam. 23:9-12; Gal. 2:4-5)       – mainly individual, personal discipline and training

Defensive (Eph. 6:11, 13-14; 1 Thess. 5:8) }  better together
Offensive (Matt. 10:7-8; 2 Cor. 6:3-10) }

Note the weapons and the battleground in 2 Cor. 10:3-4 NB The meekness and gentleness of Christ in v.1 – there is no better place to have these qualities developed and tested than in community – family and church! Flesh = inherited selfishness (Ray Stedman)

Praise and Thanksgiving as Spiritual Weapons.

1.      Starts with our personal discipline

Psa. 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise – like soldiers reporting for duty and receiving instructions! You have to go in (in worship) before you can go out (to serve Him).

Heart attitude – attitude of gratitude – has to be internal, otherwise it’s just a performance. John 4:23

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Note – our Father is not looking for worship, but for worshippers

Spirit – not flesh; internal – not external only Psa. 51:16-17

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Truth – nothing hidden; Psa. 51:6

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

truth Greek aletheia means nothing hidden, nothing concealed

2.      But it’s corporate too:

How often do we hear, ‘Let us now enter a time of worship? Shouldn’t we be worshipping God at all times?

There is a fairly well-known chorus that goes ‘I worship you, almighty God, there is none like you. We worship you, O Prince of peace, that is what we long to do …,’ based on Jeremiah 10 v 6. We tend to sing ’WE worship you almighty God’, for there is something so profound about our total unity and concentration on Him, the One who is worthy to be praised. Suddenly we are connected to Someone who is longing to connect with us.

(Ginnie White “Worship – a lifestyle?” Sword Magazine Mar/Apl 2019)

God gives us pictorial illustrations of the priority of corporate praise:

  • Order of tribes camped round the Tabernacle – Judah (which means praise) on the East, in front of the entrance to the Tabernacle court. As Psa. 100 v.4 says, “Enter His courts with praise”:
  • Judah was also the first tribe in the order or marching. Following immediately behind the Ark, representing God’s Presence, and in front of the Tabernacle materials, representing service to the Lord – praise flows out or worship and leads to service:
  • Also illustrated in 2 Chron. 20:17-26 Jehoshaphat sent the Levites into the battle up front praising the Lord and it brought confusion to the enemy – they started killing one another. God’s order confuses the enemy, who is the god of disorder

3.      Praise and thanksgiving counteract the lies of the enemy:

  • In the Garden of Eden, the enemy questioned God’s character, His Word and His provision
  • Praise declares the truth of Who God is, describes His character and rejoices in His Word
  • Thanksgiving declares the truth of what God has done
  • They bring us into right relationship with the Triune God. Reminds us that He is God and we are not! While our enemy wants to usurp the place of God in our lives.

4.      Where does Praise come from?

It is the purpose for which we are called 1 Pet. 2:9

Should come from the heart:

  • Our knowledge of God
  • Our knowledge of His Word
  • We are commanded to praise, invited by others – “Praise the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together!” (Psa. 34:3)
  • Through our experiences in life and our testimony
  • Despite our experiences in life – David wrote many Psalms praising the Lord even when he was in distress (see list at end)
  • From Gratitude
  • From enjoyment of God:

“The most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise …

I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least…Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible

I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.”

(quote from C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms)

5.      What does Praise produce?

  • Changes defeat into victory Psa. 8, 24, 149
  • Calms distressed spirits – David, harp, Saul
  • Keeps our minds off ourselves Phil 2
  • Puts us in right relationship with the Lord Phil 2
  • It’s good medicine Prov. 17:22

6.      Why should we be thankful?

It is the will of God for us 1 Thess.5:18

  • It is gratitude expressed
  • For our salvation:
    • Work of our Saviour
    • Who always lives to make intercession for us
    • We are receiving a Kingdom Heb. 12:28
    • access to the Throne Jer. 33:3
    • For our sure hope Heb. 6:19
  • Because we are blessed
  • Essential to supplication Phil. 4:6
  • Because God likes to be asked
  • Glorifies God 2 Cor. 4:15
  • Brings Peace Phil. 4:6-7
  • Defies Satan’s lies Psa. 84:11
  • Leads to contentment Phil 4

7.      Who or what does Praise and Thanksgiving change?

  • Us
    • gives us a right perspective about ourselves
    • magnifies the Lord
    • Sets our focus
    • Deepens our faith Psa. 136:1
    • Strengthens us 1 Tim.1:12
    • Helps us live in the present Eccl. 7:10
  • Our circumstances
    • shifts things in the heavenly realms, e.g. at Jericho, Paul & Silas at Philippi
    • Produces abundance  John 6:11, Matt. 15:36 Jesus gave thanks
    • Brings life out of death  John 11:41
  • Others e.g. the Philippian Jailer and his household Acts 16:25-26
  • Our enemy – praise brings confusion e.g. Jehoshaphat sent the choir into battle 2 Chron. 20
  • Brings joy to God, He delights in it because it blesses us and triggers the worship of Heaven (Rev. 4 & 5)

Psalms for praise (and help)

Pointing to The Messiah (and/or quoted as such in the N.T.) 2, 8, 16, 22-24, 40, 41, 45, 68-69, 72, 89, 102, 110, 118, 132
Praise with shouts and singing 33, 47, 66, 81, 95, 96, 98, 149, 150   .1.1
Praise for God’s personal blessings 18, 30, 34, 40, 92, 103, 107,. 113, 116, 118, % to
Praise for God’s blessings to Israel 77, 68, 100, 108, 124, 126, 129
Praise for God’s awesome majesty 8, 24, 29, 46, 50, 90, 93, 114, 145
Praise for God’s law 19, 119
Nature 19, 65,104, 147, 148
Rest in God’s goodness 4, 11, 23, 27, 63, 67, 91, 115, 121, 125, 139
The history of God and the people of Israel 78, 105, 106
Jerusalem and the temple 48, 84, 87, 122
Songs of war and vindication 35, 58, 76, 79, 83, 109, 137
A plea for help in time of trouble 5, 17, 25, 31, 61
A prayer when near despair 39, 42, 43, 55, 73, 77, 86, 88, 102, 130
A prayer for forgiveness and help 6, 32, 38, 51, 143