Sermon #98                                                       Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Thanksgiving

     Text:            Hebrews 13:15-16

     Readings:     Bobbie Estes & Larry Brown

     Subject:       Sacrifices of Faith

     Date:            Tuesday Evening—November 26 , 2002

     Tape #         X-34a



(Hebrews 13:15-16)  "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."


Thursday our nation will celebrate a national day of thanksgiving to our God for his great, wise, good and bountiful providence. I realize that for most it will be no more than a day off from work, a day of revelry, or a day of family gatherings. Those things are fine. But I hope you and I will, particularly, during this season, turn our hearts to our great God and Savior in thanks giving and praise.


To that end, I want us to look at Hebrews 13:15-16 for a few minutes. May God the Holy Spirit cause us to hear and heed the admonition here given and give us grace to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” We will look at these two verses word by word and line by line. So keep you Bible open before you and follow me through the text.


I.By Him


By him”—Everything begins with Christ. We cannot worship God without Christ. We cannot come to God without Christ. We cannot be saved without Christ. In all our approaches to God, we must have Christ. When Paul says, “by him,” he means…


·        By faith in him.

·        Through his mediation.

·        By the merit of his blood.

·        On the ground of his righteousness.


A.    So my first word is to you who have not yet come to God “by him.I bid you now, right where you are to come to God by him.


(Hebrews 7:25)  "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."


1.     The Lord Jesus himself calls you to come to him.


(Matthew 11:28-30)  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


2.     This is the day for you to come to Christ.


(1 Corinthians 6:1-2)  "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? (2) Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?"


3.     The Lord God, in his Word, promises salvation, eternal life to all who come to him by faith in Christ.


(John 3:16-18)  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."


(John 3:36)  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."


(1 John 1:9)  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


(1 John 5:10-14)  "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:"


B.    Children of God, let us always and ever have our hearts and minds fixed upon Christ, consciously coming to God by him.


At the very threshold of all worship and of all sacrifice to God, we begin with Christ. We cannot go a step without Christ. Without a Mediator we can make no approach to God. Apart from Christ there is no acceptable prayer, no pleasing sacrifice of any kind. “By him therefore”—we cannot move our lips acceptably without him who suffered without the gate. The great High Priest of our profession meets us at the temple door, and we place all our sacrifices into his hands, that he may present them for us. That is just the way we want it. If we could do anything without him, we would be afraid to do it. We are safe only when Christ is with us. We are “accepted in the beloved,” only “in the beloved.” And our sacrifices are acceptable to God only because of his great sacrifice. Yet, because of his great sacrifice, our sacrifices are acceptable to God by him!


(1 Peter 2:5)  "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."


Behold our great Melchizedek meets us! Let us give all to him and receive his blessing, which will repay us a thousand-fold. Let us never venture upon a sacrifice apart from him, lest it be the sacrifice of Cain, or the sacrifice of fools. Christ is that altar which sanctifies both gift and giver. “By him” therefore let us offer our sacrifices unto God.


Illustration: Officer Peter O'Hanlon was patrolling on night duty in northern England some years ago when he heard a quivering sob. Turning in the direction that it came from, he saw in the shadows a little boy sitting on a doorstep. With tears rolling down his cheeks, the child whimpered, "I'm lost. Take me home." The policeman began naming street after street, trying to help him remember where he lived. When that failed, he repeated the names of the shops and hotels in the area, but all without success. Then he remembered that in the center of the city was a well-known church with a large white cross[1] towering high above the surrounding landscape. He pointed to it and said, "Do you live anywhere near that?" The boy's face immediately brightened. "Yes, take me to the cross. I can find my way home from there!"


II. “Therefore


By him therefore”— The word “therefore,” as you know, points us back to the context.


A.    First, "We have an Altar" (13:10). Christ is is the Altar upon which we offer sacrifice to our God.


B.    Second, Christ has sanctified us "with his own blood" (13:12).Therefore we are worthy to come to God.


C.    Third, we must go forth unto Christ "without the camp." We must go forth unto him, bearing his reproach, serving the interests of his kingdom, his glory, and his people.


III. “The Sacrifice of praise to God


"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God”—We have no carnal, material altar; and we offer no carnal, material sacrifices. The sacrifices God requires are sacrifices of the heart.


(Psalms 51:15-17)  "O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. (16) For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. (17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."


(Psalms 51:19)  "Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar."


A. The first sacrifice we present to God is Christ, our sin-atoning Substitute.


·        Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah


B. The second sacrifice is ourselves.


(2 Corinthians 8:5)  "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."


(Romans 12:1-2)  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."


“As Christ gave Himself for us, we now give ourselves back again to Him. Hereby alone can we know that we are saved: not only by believing in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, but by yielding ourselves up to His government, as living sacrifices for His use.”                                                              (A. W. Pink)


C. Here, we are called to offer the sacrifice of praise to God.


·        Our Creator

·        Our Providential Benefactor

·        Our Preserver

·        Our Covenant God

·        Our Heavenly Father

·        Our God, the God of All Grace


(Psalms 100)  "A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. (2) Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (3) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (5) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."


What is involved in this matter of praise to God?


1.     The sacrifice of praise involves the adoration of his person, ascribing to him all the honor, and glory, and majesty that belongs to him as God alone.

2.     Adoration, praise, implies a delight in him.

3.     This praise, adoration, and delight in God implies a confident trust of him as God our Father.—We not only believe that he is—We believe that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.—We trust him, delight in him, and find satisfaction with him.


When we understand who God is and delight in him, we understand that he always does right and always does us good. As we trust him, and delight in him, giving praise to him, we praise him for all his works, both in providence and in grace.


(Psalms 92:1-5)  "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: (2) To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, (3) Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. (4) For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. (5) O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep."


(Psalms 92:6-9)  "A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. (7) When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: (8) But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. (9) For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered."


(Psalms 92:10-11)  "But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. (11) Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me."


(Psalms 92:12-15)  "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. (13) Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (14) They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; (15) To show that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."


4.     This praise, adoration, and delight and confident trust of God our Father arises from a heart of true, intense love for him as God.


(1 John 4:19)  "We love him, because he first loved us."


(Psalms 116:1-2)  "I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. (2) Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live."


(Psalms 116:5)  "Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful."


(Psalms 116:8)  "For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling."


(Psalms 116:12-13)  "What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD."


(Psalms 116:16-18)  "O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. (17) I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. (18) I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,"


IV. “Continually


"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.”—O for grace to do so! Worship is not something we are to do at specific, appoint times only. It ought to be the habit, the dress, the adornment of our lives.


·        In Prosperity and in Adversity

·        In Wealth and in Poverty

·        In Sickness and in Health

·        In Good Times and in Bad Times


Our circumstances do not reflect any change in our God. He is good, always good, only good, and righteous altogether.


Illustration: Allen Gardiner experienced many physical difficulties and hardships throughout his service to the Savior. Despite his troubles, he said, "While God gives me strength, failure will not daunt me." In 1851, at the age of 57, he died of disease and starvation while serving on Picton Island at the southern tip of South America. When his body was found, his diary lay nearby. It bore the record of hunger, thirst, wounds, and loneliness. The last entry in his little book showed the struggle of his shaking hand as he tried to write legibly. It read, "I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God."


Imagine that! Not a word of complaint, no childish whining, no grumbling at the circumstances—just praise God for his goodness. His words and his life too were a sacrifice of praise because of Christ's sacrifice for sin.


V. “The Fruit of Our Lips


"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips.”—There is a reference here to Hosea 14:2.


(Hosea 14:2)  "Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips."


·        Confessing Faith

·        Songs of Praise

·        Let our conversations be flavored with the praise of our God.


(1 Chronicles 16:9)  "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works."


(Psalms 105:2)  "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works."


(Romans 11:33-36)  "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."


(Ephesians 1:3)  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"


VI. “Giving thanks to his name


"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.”—Thanksgiving is the essence of worship and praise. Let us engage in it continually—Privately!—Publicly!—Continually! Give thanks to God for…


·        His Name.

·        His Son.

·        His Purpose.

·        His Grace.

·        His Providence.


VII. “Do Good


(Hebrews 13:16)  "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."


Here Paul puts his admonition into shoe leather. He is telling us that gratitude and thanks giving, praise and worship make people gracious, kind, and generous. When he speaks of us doing good, notice that he is not talking about what men look at, approve of, and applaud as good, but doing good to one another. That is exactly how our Lord describes good works in Matthew 25:31-46. To do good is to…


·        Love one another.

·        Help one another.

·        Communicate with (provide for) one another.


VII. “For with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”


(Hebrews 13:15-16)  "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."


Our sacrifices of praise, thanks giving, and love are not meritorious before God. What we give is but what God has given us, and cannot be profitable to him. Yet doing good in this way, when it is done in faith, springs from love, and is directed to the glory of God, is well pleasing to him. These sacrifices are preferred by God to those legal sacrifices and sacrifices of works by which men strive to gain his favor.


(Hosea 6:6)  "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."


Illustration: A crippled boy was once hurrying to catch a train. Carrying gifts under his arm, he was struggling with his crutches. Suddenly, a man bumped into him, knocking his parcels in all directions. The man then paused and scolded the boy for getting in his way. Another gentleman, seeing the youngster's distress, quickly picked up the scattered gifts and slipped a dollar bill into his pocket, saying, "I'm sorry! I hope this makes up for your trouble." The child who couldn't remember being shown such kindness, called after him, "Mister, thank you! And sir, are you Jesus?" "No," replied the man, "but I am one of His followers."


God is pleased when, as our sacrifice of praise, we do good. Christ is our sacrifice for sin. In response we are to bring our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and to do so particularly in doing good and communicating to others.


·        Hospitality

·        Generosity

·        Care


What is your response to your Savior? What is mine?

[1] I have no use for crosses or any other religious symbols. They are nothing but idolatry. I use this story simply to illustrate my point.