SERMON PREACHED AT ST MARK’S ANGLICAN CHURCH AT THE END OF 7 FRIDAY PRAYER AND FASTING HELD ON SUNDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 2021 BY 10:00AM
THEME: GIVE ME MY GARMENT OF PRAISE
TEXT: ISAIAH 61:3 Matthew 18:19; Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13; John 15:7; John 15:16; John 16:23–24; James 1:5–6; James 1:17; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:14–15
Matt.18:19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
Matt 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, yif you have faith.”
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. John 14:13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 15;7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
and in that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from athe Father of lights, be with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
1 John 3:22
and mwhatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and ndo what pleases him.
1 John 5:14-15
And this is hthe confidence that we have toward him, that iif we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
“To give to them who mourn, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:1,3)
God through the Scripture, promised to give us the oil of joy when we are mourning and grieving over the loss of loved ones in our life, and the loss of things we wanted to hold on to. It does not have to be the death of a person for us to feel mourning and sorrow, it can also come from the mental anguish & suffering over the loss of something we hoped for all of our life, but it was taken from us, and would never belong to us again. Last year was our year of Prophecy fulfilled, yet there are many of us who are still expecting. Until those needs are supplied we will not be happy. That is why something must be done today that will complete your life’s joy. God will dry your tears and replace your sorrow with joy — He can do that because He knows your future, and the joy of the blessings He has planned for you will far outweigh any loss you have experienced. The third precious promise we are given in this Scripture is the one we are going to talk about today. God promises to give us “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness/despair.” By using the words, “the garment,” God is telling us it is not just a garment to cover up heaviness, shame,frustration,poverty,fear,joblessness,hunger etc. but the only garment that will drive away a heavy spirit — and that is the garment of praise. A garment is a piece of clothing that you put on to cover yourself. So the garment of praise is a spiritual garment that you put on to cover your spirit. In other words, a garment of praise is a garment to put on the inside of you instead of the outside. And the spiritual garment of praise is the only one that is designed, by the designer (God) to be just the right size to cover and replace the spirit of heaviness. We can all remember the days when we were in the mood to wear a certain dress. But after we put it on we didn’t like the way it looked, so we took it off, laid it on the bed, and went and got a different dress – but after it was on, it just didn’t look right — so we just tossed the dress on the bed and go back to the closet. Some of our dresses go out of fashion. We do the same thing with our spiritual garments – Most time having taking God’s promise in His Word, we allow doubt and unbelief to come in and we put that on for a while. That’s followed by a critical spirit about ourselves, and by the time we change that, a negative spirit has come, we use that one on our past, our present and our future, followed by depression and finally the spiri t of heaviness that fastens itself on our spirit, soul and body. Now it’s really late! – have to choose – either go back to the original garment – the garment of praise – and begin to open our mouth and speak forth words of praise to God for His love and mercy, or allow the spirit of heaviness to keep us in spiritual bondage until it robs us of our joy, turns our dreams into ashes, and causes a mental break down. It’s a choice – our choice – we’re the only ones who can make it for ourselves. We recognize that the garment of praise is a spiritual garment, but there are many similarities between a spiritual garment and one made from material. We want to find out why God didn’t just say He would give us a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. He had a specific reason for saying “the garment and the spirit.” God was actually the one who made the very first garments ever made. He made them for the first man and the first woman Adam & Eve. “For Adam and also for his wife the Lord God made long coats of skins and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21.
Since that time garments have been used for three different purposes:
(1) to cover something (we don’t have to wonder what it was with Adam and Eve!).
(2) to denote (show) a position or office that a person held.
(3) to show some important event that was happening in their lives.
Some preachers and judges wear long garments today to show what office they hold just as they did hundreds of years ago. So a garment told much about a person:
- A garment of pure white linen showed all Egypt that Joseph was in command
- A purple garment was only for a king.
- A black garment like ashes was for widows mourning for their husband.
- A garment of sackcloth (gunny sacks) was for those in grief & great loss.
- A colorful garment was provided for each wedding guest by wealthy hosts.
- A garment for shepherds was made of skins.
- A garment for soldiers was red.
- Angels garments were long, white, and shining.
- Garments for priests were of finest white linen.
They had to wear these garments to come into God’s presence to praise Him. They were to enter His gates with thanksgiving in their hearts and praise on their lips. In order to offer the sacrifice of praise (adoration and worship), we too have to put on the spiritual garment of praise as a priest unto God to come into His presence. “You also, as a living stone are built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices (of praise), acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)
2 In the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, Jesus is receiving praise because He died (and rose from the dead), and has redeemed us (bought us), by His blood to present us to God. He has made us kings and priests unto God. We will rule and reign with Jesus when He comes back to earth!! And when we stand before God, He will clothe us in white robes – a garment without spot or blemish. He made the first garments, and He will make the last. What a privilege we have been given! Yet most Christians don’t have any idea of who they really are in Christ, and if they do have an idea, they don’t believe it. You be different! Choose today to wear your garment of praise and walk in the holy office God has given you! for the garment of praise (Isa. 61:3).
When we put on the garment of praise, the joy of the Lord covers us like new clothing. As we come to Him with praise, He gives us joy.
But if we’re not careful, the circumstances in life can cause us to revert back to that old garment of heaviness. The Lord may bless us, but we take His blessings for granted and forget to thank Him for what He has done for us. Or we begin to have some kind of trouble and worry about it. We stop praising God. Before we know it, we’ve lost our joy.
At those times we need to get down on our knees and have a prayer meeting—just us and the Lord. We need to start praising Him. We’ll come out joyful because we will receive into our spirits what I call “spiritual vitamins” that will energize us. We’ll have a new spring in our step because we’re charged up with the power of God.
Are you worn out by the cares of this world? Has it been a long time since you expressed your appreciation to the Lord for all He’s done for you? God wants to give you a new garment—the garment of praise—for that heavy spirit!
We are coming into an era when it will take intense prayer and reaching the heart of God for us to live victoriously in this world. How do we do that?
We begin by putting on our garment of praise—giving praise and worship to the Lord. We may praise God with heartfelt words of thanks, or we may sing or play worship music. Either way, praise is the vehicle that ultimately puts us in touch with our Heavenly Father.
There’s an old saying that “when the praises go up, the blessings come down.” Yet more than that, through praise we enter into the very throne room of God!
Don’t let your Christianity become just a way of life. God wants it to be a joyful experience! He is saying in Isaiah 61:3, “My child, I have given you a new garment, the garment of praise. Put it on and rejoice in Me!”
Understanding the miracle power of praise!
Recognize that though we pray according to God’s will and receive in faith, we must recognize that praise is the spiritual signature required to take delivery of our answered prayer parcels. When we pray, God answers; but when we praise, He steps in with all His power and might.This is why we can praise our way out of every valley into the high places of life. Therefore, it is not enough for us to believe, we must also engage in fervent praise to harvest answers to our fervent prayers (Psalms 47:5-7, 67:6; Habakkuk 3:17-19; Acts 16:25-30).
Moreover, thanksgiving and praise constitute the spiritual live wire of our prayer life. This is because we secure access in prayers through praise and also take delivery of answers through same. That is what qualifies praise to be the covenant sickle of harvest for answered prayers (Psalm 100:4; Philippians 4:6; Joel 3:13).
For instance, when Jesus got to the tomb of Lazarus, He turned on the key of praise to take delivery and said, “…Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” Thereafter, He called forth Lazarus and the Bible records, “And he that was dead came forth…” (John 11:41-44).
BUT, WHAT IS IN PRAISE?
Praise is a mountain-moving force: We must recognize that even though God has released certain blessings to us, they are being contested by the enemy (Deut. 2:24; 1 Cor. 16:9). For instance, when Daniel waited on the Lord in a fast for 21 days, the Bible records that the answer was dispatched on the first day; however, the prince of Persia withstood the delivery until help came from heaven (Daniel 10:12-13).
Let us understand that there are resistances that we must contend with, before we can possess and take delivery of answers to our prayers. One of the ways through which we clear these resistances is through the medium of mountain-moving praise. This is not casual praise, but warfare praise.
Let us examine some scriptural examples that qualify praise as a mountain-moving force.
- When Judah was confronted by terrible enemies, they prayed and fasted. Then, God instructed them to appoint singers and they sang to the war-front. When they began to sing and praise God, God set ambush against their enemies and they were all smitten (2 Chronicles 20:22-23).
High praise is the medium through which we provoke help from above, to level out the barriers on our path. Furthermore, we understand from scriptures that when praise is perfected, our enemies are silenced. Thus, it is wisdom to engage the potent weapon of praise (Matthew 21:16).
- When the wall of Jericho stood as a barrier against the children of Israel, the sickle of praise leveled that wall and they conquered (Joshua 6:20).
- When the Israelites sang their way out of Egypt, God’s presence was in their midst and it cleared every barrier off their way. For instance, when they were confronted with the barrier of the Red Sea on their way to the Promised Land, it parted at their appearance. Even the mountains and the hills gave way to them.
It is important to understand that God dwells in the praises of His people and we invoke divine presence through praise, which clears off every barrier on our path (Exodus 15:1-5; Psalm 114). However, we discovered from scriptures that God’s Word is a major facilitator of praise (Jer. 15:16; See also Psalm 56:10).
We must recognize that revelation of the Word stimulates joy and that joy springs forth praise. That is why people who walk in revelation are ever joyful, because praise focuses on the efficacy of what is written and not what is happening.