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Sermon on Practical Praise from Psalm 150 (with thanks to Bob Kauflin’s “Idolatry on Sunday Morning”, link provided) June 8, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Praise, Psalms, Religion, Sermons.


Psalm 150:1-6


Thirteen times the word “praise” is used in this chapter. The focus of this chapter, though, is not praise nor is it worship but rather the one whom we are to praise. Our LORD God Almighty, our God and Savior Jesus Christ.


A. We are invited to come to God and praise Him (verse 1).

§ The sanctuary is not strictly a building but rather the place of God’s holiness.

§ God’s holiness is not limited but is a great as His creation (compare with Psalm 102:19).

B. We are reminded of why we should come to God and praise Him. The LORD is worthy of praise – He is the Almighty One (verse 2).

“…the goal of gathering as God’s people is not to feel something but to see and remember something. That “something” is the Word, works, and worthiness of God, especially as He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1).

If I pursue goose bumps or heightened emotion during a meeting, God becomes simply one of numerous options I can choose to seek them from. This doesn’t minimize the importance of pursuing encounters with the living God characterized by profound emotion and awareness of the Holy Spirit’s active presence. Scripture is filled with examples of longing for (Psalm 84:1-2) and delighting in God’s presence (Psalm 126:5-6). But I become aware of God’s nearness by dwelling on His nature, promises, and acts, not by pursuing an emotional fix” (adapted from “Idolatry on Sunday Mornings” by Bob Kauflin,




§ See Judges 5:31a for a description of what is meant by “mighty acts”, “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But let those who love Him be like the sun When it comes out in full strength <01369>.”

§ His excellent greatness means that His greatness is abundant. He never wears out although His is always operating at full strength.

C. We are to use everything and everyone to praise the LORD (verses 3-6).

§ There is no instrument that should be left out.

As St. Augustine says here, “No kind of faculty is here omitted. All are enlisted in praising God.” The breath is employed in blowing the trumpet; the fingers are used in striking the strings of the psaltery and the harp; the whole hand is exerted in beating the timbrel; the feet move in the dance; there are stringed instruments (literally strings); there is the organ (the ugab, syrinx) composed of many pipes, imposing combination, and the cymbals clang upon one another. —C. Wordsworth quoted in the “Treasury of David”.

Now this brings us to an interesting question. I say interesting because it is constantly coming up. People want to know, what style of music should we use to praise the LORD? Should we stick to hymns? Should go to a more contemporary style of music? Is rap or a heavy metal style appropriate for praising the LORD? Certainly this psalm was not written to address this issue but the indication is that everything else being equal, there is no musical style that cannot be used to praise the LORD. Now I understand that everything is not equal. The issue is complicated by the fact that our main concern is usually not praising the LORD but getting to use the style that we like and prefer. How this issue shows the ungodliness of our hearts. We believe rumors and lies and are ready to pass along the least bit of gossip based on the attitude that our style of music is the best.

Now I would prefer to sidestep this issue but since this issue is constantly a hot topic, I want to take just a few moments to give you some principles whereby you can govern your attitude toward music.


1. Allowing the style of music to dominate your thinking, schedule, time, or desires reveals the presence of idolatry (1 Corinthians 6:12-13a; 10:23-11:1).


“What is our greatest hindrance in worshipping God? We could come up with a number of potential answers.


“Our worship leader isn’t very experienced.”
“The services are too planned/spontaneous.”
“The songs are too complex/simple.”
“The band/orchestra/organist/guitarist sounds bad.”
“There are too many new/old songs.”
“Our church is too big/small.”

Ignoring for a moment that all these statements refer to a meeting context, they reveal a profound misconception about the hindrances to true worship. Contrary to what we might think, our greatest problem doesn’t lie outside us, but within our own hearts. It’s the problem of idolatry…

God makes it clear in

Exodus 20 that he will not tolerate any competition for the allegiance and affections of our hearts. “You shall have no other gods before me.” That succinctly describes idolatry…

We foolishly think idols can provide for us what only God can give. They tempt us every day, all day. It’s not surprising, then, that even my ten year old daughter, Mckenzie, deals with idols. One of her primary idols is “not taking showers.” Otherwise known as the idols of control and pleasure. She confessed to Julie and me today that for the past three days she’s only been

pretending to take a shower. (For some reason, most ten-year-olds find taking showers as appealing as scratching a chalk board for ten minutes.) After working through a tearful confession with my wife, and learning of her discipline (no playing with friends for three days), we talked about her heart. I explained to her that not taking a shower was an idol for her. She thought that remaining dirty would bring her happiness. Instead it led to deceiving those she loves the most and dishonoring the God Who created her for His glory. And it definitely didn’t deliver on the happiness promise. Ultimately, idols never do.”

“Whenever I think I can’t worship God unless “X” is present, I’m making a profound statement. If “X” is anything other than Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I’ve moved into idolatrous territory. Idolatry is always evil, but the idols we pursue aren’t necessarily evil things. They are evil for us because we value them over God…

Music must be wisely chosen for its ability to serve both the lyrics and the congregation in order to truly honor God. But thinking that we need a certain type of music to truly engage with God is, at its root, idolatry…The complementary idols of familiarity and comfort are often revealed in the words, ‘We’ve never done it that way before…’” On the other hand, “…NEWNESS can also be an idol. We’re convinced that some fresh, different, never-been-done-before [style] will make our congregational worship more effective. Or powerful. Or appealing.” (Again with thanks to Bob Kauflin,


2. I have no rights when it comes to music (1 Corinthians 8:9-13; Romans 14:14-15:3).

§ There is no person that should be left out when it comes to praising the Lord (Revelation 19).


Next week: Nehemiah 4:7-15 – Dad, Is Your God Awesome?




1. edar - November 7, 2009

wow… im so blessed to your ministry may God bless you ALL!

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