Sermon: Celebrate God



Purpose: To show that we celebrate God, not the worship service

Celebrate God

Shall we celebrate the worship service or God?

Isaiah 38.15–19

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 21, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Scripture Reader and Reading: Paul Hannan – Psalm 136.1–3

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs praising God


  1. Should anything bring us more joy than knowing God?
    1. Knowing that God dwells with us, and
    2. that someday we shall see His face
      1. ought to fill our hearts with an exuberance
      2. that nothing else can match.
  2. Let us celebrate God!
  3. In the following passages I will use the American Standard Version of 1901.


  1. Let Us Celebrate God
    1. Celebrating God is a legitimate activity.

      4 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of Jehovah, and to celebrate and to thank and praise Jehovah, the God of Israel… (1Ch 16.4, ASV of 1901).

      18 For Sheol cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee:
      They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
      (Isa 38.18)

    2. Some people frown on the idea of celebrating, because
      1. they have seen this scriptural idea abused or perverted, hence
      2. they back away from any indication of celebrating God.
    3. The abuses include:
      1. Celebrating the act of worship itself,
      2. Making it a carnival atmosphere,
      3. Losing all sense of orderliness, and
      4. Making the worship what we like instead of what pleases God.
  2. Let Us Celebrate God Not the Worship
    1. Some mistakenly celebrate the worship instead of God.
      1. A couple of years ago a man told me
        1. that the one thing he did not like about the Churches of Christ
        2. is our lack of instrumental music.
      2. He said that to him worship was a celebration.
      3. He could not celebrate God unless the man had something that he liked.
        1. He wanted a celebratory atmosphere
        2. rather than an activity wherein we honor God.
          1. We honor God by the things that He likes.
          2. He wants to hear the instrument that He created.
      4. However, if your goal is to feel good,
        1. you will do what we want and
        2. try to use God to justify it.
          1. If we want to celebrate God,
          2. we will do what makes Him feel good.
    2. Worship is a celebration, not of itself, but of God.
      1. Hezekiah wanted to celebrate God (Isa 38.18).
      2. The king of Judah did not look merely to experience
        1. the joys of worship, but
        2. the joys of worshiping God.
    3. How we celebrate God.
      1. We celebrate God by keeping His wishes.
        1. If we want to show God our joy for Him,
        2. we will do what He says.
      2. We celebrate God by
        1. ministering to Him,
        2. thanking Him, and
        3. praising Him.
          1. This is the context of First Chronicles 16.4.
          2. This fits in with the dictionary definition of “celebrate”:
            1. to praise or honor publicly; to extol.
            2. Hence, something done in the assembly of the saints.
            3. That is the context of First Chronicles 16.
          3. Interestingly the word celebration is related to the word celebrity.
            1. A celebrity receives public praise.
            2. Should not then the ultimate celebrity be God?
        4. Hezekiah celebrated God by praising Him in public,

          16 O Lord, by these things men live;
          And wholly therein is the life of my spirit:
          Wherefore recover thou me, and make me to live.
          17 Behold, it was for my peace that I had great bitterness:
          But thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption;
          For thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
          18 For Sheol cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee:
          They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
          19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day:
          The father to the children shall make known thy truth.
          20 Jehovah is ready to save me:
          Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments
          All the days of our life in the house of Jehovah.
          (Isa 38.16–20)

          1. Notice that Hezekiah addressed himself to God.
          2. Hezekiah recognized God as the preserver of life.
            1. The king in verse 17 gave God the credit
              1. for saving him from death and
              2. for forgiveness of sins.
            2. Hezekiah’s whole celebration of God covers verses 10–20.
              1. Therefore the king would sing to God (v. 20); and
              2. we celebrate God when we sing to Him!
  3. Let Us Celebrate God Because of His Omnibenevolence
    1. David was moved to appoint Levites to celebrate God continually, because
      1. God had been good to the former shepherd,
      2. making him the king of Israel, and
        1. because the ark of God, the presence of God,
        2. had arrived in Jerusalem (1Ch 16.1-4).
    2. Notice Psalm 136.
      1. The first three verses command us
        1. to give thanks to God (or celebrate God),

          1 Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good;
          For his lovingkindness endureth for ever.
          2 Oh give thanks unto the God of gods;
          For his lovingkindness endureth for ever.
          3 Oh give thanks unto the Lord of lords;
          For his lovingkindness endureth for ever…
          (Psa 136.1–3)
      2. Then the psalmist gave 25 specific reasons to celebrate God.
        1. Each verse gives the general reason why God should be thanked,
        2. “for his lovingkindness endureth for ever.”
          1. The psalm ends with the same commandment of thanking God and
          2. the general reason why.
      3. We could add to this list our own reasons both
        1. things that God has done for the church
          1. (even as this psalm talks about Israel), and
        2. things that God has done for each one of us
          1. (which Hezekiah did).
    3. Heaven recognizes the omnibenevolence of God and celebrates Him,

      8 And the four living creatures, having each one of them six wings, are full of eyes round about and within: and they have no rest day and night, saying,

      “Holy, holy, holy,
      is the Lord God, the Almighty,
      who was and who is and who is to come.”

      9 And when the living creatures shall give glory and honor and thanks to him that sitteth on the throne, to him that liveth for ever and ever, 10 the four and twenty elders shall fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and shall worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

      11 “Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God,
      to receive the glory and the honor and the power:
      for thou didst create all things, and
      because of thy will they were, and
      were created.”
      (Rev 4.8–11).

      5.9 And they sing a new song, saying,

      9 “Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, 10 and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.”

      11 And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 saying with a great voice,

      “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”

      13 And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them, heard I saying,

      “Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever.”

      14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshipped (Rev 5.9–14).

      1. Should we do less?
      2. How many reasons do we have for celebrating God?


  1. Celebrate God by letting Jesus bring you to God,

    10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings (Heb 2.10).

    1. Do everything for Jesus and for His glory.
    2. See that everything is of Jesus.
    3. Therefore, He authored our salvation,
      1. becoming the Author of our salvation through suffering.
      2. Having done that He can now bring many sons to glory,
        1. who will then celebrate God.
        2. Fulfill your reason for being here and celebrate God.