Hebrews 13:15 Let's take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus' name.
Since these Jewish Christians, because of their witness to the Messiah, no longer worshiped with other Jews, they should consider praise and acts of service their sacrifices—ones they could offer anywhere, anytime. This must have reminded them of the prophet Hosea's words, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises" (Hos_14:2). A "sacrifice of praise" today would include thanking Christ for his sacrifice on the cross and telling others about it. Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others.
Our lips should confess God's name in praise. Yet, in your typical day, how many times do you hear God's name used profanely? Christians should turn their frequency toward praise! Praise God early in the day before the rush, then again in the hurried middle, and at the end as business winds down. Offer Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise.
Billy Graham wrote, "Ingratitude is a sin, just as surely as is lying or stealing or immorality or any other sin condemned by the Bible." He then quoted Romans 1:21, one of the Bible's indictments against rebellious humanity. Then Dr. Graham added, "Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness."
We can read much about thanksgiving in the book of Colossians. The apostle Paul had never been to the church in Colosse, but he had heard all about it from Epaphras. He knew it was a church under attack by false teachers, so he prayed fervently for this congregation (Colossians 1:9-14; 2:4-7).
Among his requests, Paul asked that they would give joyful thanks to the Father because He had rescued them, moving them from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son (1:12-13).
Then he told them to make sure and: Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, . . . and be thankful. —Colossians 3:15
We too need to be thankful for what Christ has done for us.
Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersbe illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.
Let's take time often to recall how God has rescued us from eternal death and has given us eternal life through His Son. May we "continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
"Lord, this question really challenges me today. 'What is pouring out of my mouth?' Is it thanksgiving? Crankiness? Praise? Complaining? Your Word says that 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' So what is pouring out of my mouth will tell me a lot about my heart. You have blessed me in so many ways. Please forgive me for the times that complaints have spewed from my mouth more than praises. Thank You that You have come to my RESCUE! I too often take that for granted. Today, my heart is full of praise, now I want it to 'pour out of' my lips! In Jesus' name, amen!"