84th Church Anniversary
Reverend Dr. Damone B. Jones, Sr.
Senior Pastor Bibleway Baptist Church
“It’s a Good Time to Praise His Name”
Psalms 100 (NRSV)
A Psalm of thanksgiving and praise.
A loud public noise that signals a feeling or a future action. It can refer to an instrument, a noise signaling the start of a battle, or a verbal shout of joy in the midst of worship. This kind of praise is always unashamed, there is no embarrassment, guilt, and shame. This kind of praise is always unreserved. There’s no suppression or holding back and acting cute. It’s unrestricted, there are no constraints or limitations. You can do whatever the spirit moves you to do whenever the spirit hits you. This kind of praise is fueled by something going on internally with the person that is offering the praise. The worshipper refuses to allow a circumstance, a situation, or a problem to inhibit, retard, or restrict their praise. This is an I’m going to praise him no matter what kind of praise, and an I’m going to do it because I need to give God some praise. You can be broke and busted and praise him no matter what, you can be used and abused and still praise him no matter what. You can be targeted and attacked and still praise him no matter what. You can be beaten, battered, and bruised and still praise him no matter what. You can be mistreated and mishandled and still praise him no matter what. You can be rejected and forgotten sitting there surrounded by people feeling lonely and still praise him no matter what. Praise is not about your situation or circumstance, praise is formed or driven by worship, and worship is honoring God not for what he does but based on who he is. Praise him because of who he is, it shouldn’t be praise and worship, but worship and praise, because it’s about who God is.
*Make a joyful noise to the Lord because it’s about who he is, not who you are, who you think you are, or who you want to be, and that’s why God gave you, his word. His word is his revelation of himself, and when he got ready to save you, he took the word made it into flesh, and called it Jesus who is the Christ.
*Who is God? 2,500 times he is called Elohim, the God of power and might. 48 times he’s called El Shaddai, the breasted one that nurtures all his children at the same time. 434 times he’s called Adonai, our Lord, and Master. 6,832 times in scripture he’s referred to as Jehovah the self-existent one. God is saying if you really want to get to know him you must understand that knowing Him is based on knowing that He is and exists. He was past tense, he is present tense, and he always shall be future tense. You name someone based on their characteristics. The name of God (Yahweh) is so holy that you can’t verbally pronounce it because your heart is a mess, and what comes out of your mouth will be a mess as well. You can’t speak the name of Yahweh because your heart is sinfully wicked. God is here just because he is.
*Who is God? He is spirit, he is one, he is triune, and he is self-existent and self-sufficient. He is eternal, infinite, he is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. He is wise, immutable, sovereign, incomprehensible, and inscrutable. He is holy, righteous, just, true, faithful, good, patient, long-suffering, merciful, gracious, glorious, unique and if you don’t get yourself together, he’s wrathful.
You can’t praise him until you know who he is. He is what he was, he was what he is, and what he is and was he always shall be. History can find no beginning for him, space cannot contain him, boundaries are not set for him, no distance is beyond him, no height is above him, and no depth is below him. Circumferences cannot encircle him, ages do not time him, time does not age him, time cannot outlast him, millenniums do not apply to him, eternity is ever-present with him, no destiny can be decreed for him, and words like, stop, start, and finish have no reference to him. Philosophy cannot explain him, human logic is not deep enough to reason out his eternal existence of him, and human imaginations run out when trying to fathom his eternal duration of him. Nouns are too feeble to find a human name that is precious enough for him, verbs break down when trying to declare works that are wrought by him, adjectives cannot describe him, and mathematics cannot calculate him. All things were made by him, all things consist in him, all things exist because of him, and the final word is always with him. No power can dethrone him, no king is equal to him, no army can defeat him, no atheist can disprove him, no son is like his son, Potiphar could not find fault in him, Herod could not kill Him, Satan could not beat him, death couldn’t handle him, and the grave couldn’t hold him. You’ve got to know who he is.
*Make a joyful noise to the Lord, he rules and reigns with wisdom and sovereignty and does it with precision and finality that’s the God you serve. Wherever your feet happen to be standing that’s your all. From North Philly to South Philly, West Philly to South Philly, the suburbs to the hood, New York to California, North Dakota to Texas, Maryland to Montana, Russia to Rwanda, China to Cuba, Honolulu to the Himalayas, Australia to the Americas, Iraq to Japan, he still deserves all of your praise.
*Serve the Lord with gladness. People with attitudes won’t like it. Serve means to work, toil, or plow, it means to work as a slave. You say you serve God but have done nothing. Serve means to work, but it also means to worship, to give honor where honor is due. Worship is when a child of God recognizes who he is, and then begins to respond to what God means in their own personal lives. He means something to you that he does not mean to someone else. It is bowing prostrate before God in humble submission to his Lordship over your life, where you express appreciation for God’s involvement in your life without hesitation and reservation the way you see fit. Serve is a command, you are not asked to worship him, it is not a suggestion that you worship him, it’s not just a good idea to worship him, you are commanded to worship him. Whenever God gives a command the only real response from a real Christian is to do whatever he says whenever you get the opportunity. Worship with gladness, that’s with pleasure, joy, happiness, and excitement. When you worship God, your attitude is important in your worship. If you’re not sure if you want to be here, then you can’t worship right. If you’re worried about how long the preacher will be you can’t worship right. If you’re thinking about where you go after you leave service, then you can’t worship right. If you’re worried about who’s looking at you, and no one is, then you can’t worship right. If you’ve been in sin all week long and have not repented, then you can’t worship right. Attitude is everything when you come to worship.
*Come before his presence with singing. It’s not just singing, it’s more than a melody, a harmony, or carrying a tune, it’s making a joyful noise. God is more interested in what comes out of your heart. You can do more with your heart than you can with your voice. You should do this because he is God. He is the one that made you, created you out of nothing. God speaks and things just happen because he’s God. God is refining what has already been made, removing the impurities, to polish stuff. You’re already made, but God will make you better. You have been some places and done some things and have stinking thinking that God must put his elbow grease into it to get some of the impurities and smooth out some of the rough edges. God made you and as time goes on, he develops you, strengthens you, and matures you. Sometimes he does it through trials and tribulations, but when he gets done with you, you come forth just like pure gold.
*Another reason to praise him is through the difficulties of life God is still working on you. God is the one that made you, and not you yourself, so you are not in a position to believe that you can own yourself. You can’t do whatever you want to do. It’s not taking care of you, it’s God that takes care of you and provides for you. God is the one that heals you, fights off your enemies, he does for you when you can’t do for yourself. Since he’s been doing all that for you, the least you could do is enter his gates with thanksgiving, the least you could do is enter his courts with praise, the least you could do is be thankful unto him and bless his name. Anything else ought to be left outside, and as difficult as it may be sometimes the least you can do in his presence is leave all the other foolishness outside. That means if you're mad at someone, leave it outside. If you’re upset about something leave it outside, if you have an ax to grind leave it outside if you woke up with an attitude and kept it all day leave it outside, you’re still nursing a grudge with someone for a long time leave it outside.
*God’s mercy is everlasting. Your sin can’t outrun his mercy. Thank God, he hasn’t punished you the way you deserve to be punished. You deserve to be punished for what you did last night before you put on your white, punished for what you thought since you’ve been here today, but the Lord is merciful.
*His truth endures through all generations. The same God that blessed your grandparents, blessed your parents, and he’s the same God blessing you right now in this very moment. God is still in the blessing business and will bless your children.