Hebrews reads to a people who have taken their eyes off of the prize. The writer threw them a lifeline with this book as an exhortation to remain faithful, to hang in there. The sum way they accomplish this is by keeping their eyes focused on Jesus, listening intently to His message from the Father (Heb. 1:1-4; 12:1-3). At the last chapter of the book, the writer gives some very practical commands for these people to keep their eyes on Jesus. Of note, is the command given in Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore, by Him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Consider for a moment principles for consideration from this verse.
All praise we can offer to God is made possible by Jesus. All beauty in the heavens or on the earth is attributed to God by Jesus (Col. 1:16-17). Consider the goodness of the plan of salvation by God through Jesus (Jas. 1:17-18). These things were set in motion by the Father, revealed by the Spirit, but were accomplished ultimately through the willingness, obedience, and ability of the Son. By the Son, we have access to the Father in prayer, in grace, in salvation, and in praise (John 14:6; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Heb. 13:15).
When we offer praises, we are offering sacrifices to God. Worship to God demands that we bring Him something. In fact, man is never to approach God in worship without anything to give Him. Among the sacrifices we offer are: ourselves, our generosity, our tender hearts, our finances, and our praise in word and in song (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:16; Psa. 51:16-17; Phil. 4:14; Heb. 13:15). Give God the very best of the fruit of our lips as sacrifice because of our Perfect Sacrifice.
Our sacrifices of praise are to be offered continually. The Old Testament priests were working continuously in offering sacrifices, because the problem of sin was never fully dealt with. When Christ came, He offered a sacrifice once for all and sat down: His work as High Priest was done forever (Heb. 10:12-13)! What greater way could we show our appreciation for the work of Jesus than to speak and sing praises for God continually?
When praises are offered to God, they are to be coupled with thanksgiving. Giving praise can be generic, but it is more meaningful when it is specific. A father can tell his child, “I’m so proud of you,” but how much more meaningful is it when the father praises something specific, “I’m so proud that you shared your toy with your sister. You’re becoming just like Jesus!” When we offer songs of praise and thanks to God, thanksgiving must be a part of our worship. The songs we sing should always tell of His excellent greatness and let Him know specifically how thankful to Him that we are to be His people and to call Him our Father. Such will keep Him near to our hearts and keep us near to His.
Graeber Road church of Christ