A LIFE OF EXTRAVAGANT PRAISE
Excerpts of Pastor Trevor Akindele message at the Sunshine Service on Sunday, December 24, 2017
Bible Text: Hebrews 13:13-16 [AMP]
We are in Christmas season, and some may ask what is the reason for Christmas? There are many reasons for Christmas; however, it is a time to reflect and think about the reason for the season. Christmas means Christ Mass; the celebration of Christ - the anointed One and His anointing. When Jesus was born, Heaven and earth rejoiced because through Jesus Christ, God's Kingdom will be established upon the earth again (Luke 1-30-33; Luke 2:11; Luke 2:13, 14 & 30); as the King of all kings and the Saviour of mankind was born as a man.
Jesus' purpose was:
1. To pay the price of sin with His death on the Cross.
2. To reconcile man to God by His shed Blood on the Cross.
3. To restore man to dominion by His resurrection from the dead, and impartation (Genesis 1:26).
The reason why people find it difficult to rejoice when there is praise is because they have forgotten where they are coming from. Every opportunity to praise and thank God becomes an opportunity to show gratitude to the Most High. Think about it, why would God put everything He has done at stake? He did so because of you. John 3:16 tells us that "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." Jesus Christ died for us and that was the only way we could be reconnected to the Father. Man has already sinned, and the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. In other words, by the law of genetics, the day Adam sinned, every man born after becomes a sinner. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD." The word death here means separation from God. Whenever you sin, you are spiritually disconnected from God. If God can the pay the price of sending His Only begotten Son, in order for you to be saved, what else can't He do for you? God allowed this most gruesome process of pain, suffering and shame to show us clearly that He loves us. As we open our hearts to allow Him take over our hearts and love Him in return, God is pleased. God loves you the way you are, but He will be happy if you love Him the way He loves you. You can start where you are by fellowshipping with God, praying to Him, and studying more of His Word. If only you could talk to God and wait on Him, the solution to your challenge is inside of you.
Jesus came to restore us back to dominion. Hence, it will be a colossal shame if Jesus paid such a price and you did nothing with it. God wants His people back as citizens of Heaven so that they can have the privileges of Heaven; free from the stranglehold of sin and over all the power of the devil and His agents, so that they can hear the voice of God, live right, prosper, and also help others to live right and prosper.
You should rejoice that Jesus was born. If Jesus had not been born, there would have been no hope for man (1 Corinthians 15:57). Jesus loves you and you should respond by always thanking, praising, acknowledging, blessing, and glorifying His Name (Hebrews 13:15). This is a lifestyle of extravagant and continuous praise. God desires praise because it is for your own good.
As you commit to this lifestyle, expect the following:
1. As you praise God, you are honouring Him (Psalm 50:23a), and as you honour Him, He will honour you in return (1 Samuel 2:30c). Whenever you thank God, you are setting up yourself to be honoured.
2. When you sacrifice by continually praising God (Hebrews 13:15), expect all-round peace (Proverbs 16:7).
3. When you acknowledge God all the time, He will give you divine direction and you will make no mistakes (Proverbs 3:6).
4. When you confess the Name of Jesus (1 John 5:15&17, Matthew 10:32), God dwells in you and the love of God is perfected in you.
5. When you glorify the Name of the LORD, you will have dominion (Jeremiah 30:19&22, Genesis 49:8-10). Praise is what births dominion. Whenever you are focused on a life on extravagant praise, the authority to rule will rest in your home.
When you experience all these, the Bible advises that you should be sober and walk circumspectly because the days are evil (1 Peter 5:8), and you need to constantly redeem the times (Ephesians 5:15-18). In addition, you need to be prayerful (Mark 14:38). However, sin is a problem (Psalm 119:11). One of the things that makes you not to sin against God is when you know the consequences (Joshua 1:8). When you sin against God, you are disconnected from God; God is displeased, His blessings for you are put on hold, the enemy can easily attack you, and control you. So therefore, you cannot afford to sin, so that you are not cut short.
God is committed to you, He will never leave or forsake you, but you can leave Him thinking you are doing yourself good. If walk away from God, you cannot make Heaven. It is important to note that God is committed to you because you are made in His image and likeness. God is looking for people who are committed to Him. The reason Jesus died and rose from the dead is to raise an army that can do the work of God on earth.
In conclusion, you may be celebrating Christmas but you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. What God wants from you is you - a relationship with Him. The most important thing is to be certain that your name is written in Heaven and you are a citizen of Heaven (Luke 10:20). If you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you don't have time, you can't guarantee tomorrow. Time is short. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ and let God draw you to Himself. If you are willing to repent and surrender your life to Jesus Christ, then pray this prayer right now: Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; I now confess Him as my LORD and Saviour, wash me clean with the Blood of Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me, and write my name in the Book of Life. Thank You Father!