Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the written judgment— this honor have all his saints. Praise the Lord! —Psalm 149:6-9
“ANTIPAS” is a name that’s relatively unknown to most, but the Lord knew who he was! “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write: ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells”’” (Rev. 2:12-13).
The term “martyr” means “witness,” and it became a synonym for those killed for their faith in the first century. Tradition tells us that those assigned to execute this dear man, known for his love and kindness to others, pleaded with him to recant his belief in Jesus, saying to him, “But Antipas, the whole world is against you,” to which Antipas replied without hesitation, “Then I am against the whole world.”
This is the honor of the saints, including yours and mine. To praise God in the face of persecution and to declare His supreme power and authority is one of the greatest acts of love we can show to our Lord and before the lost. There is power in the very name of Jesus to break every chain. (See Acts 3:6; 16:18; 19:13; Rom 1:3-4, 1 Cor 5:4; etc.).
The importance of public praise is that power is innate within it to break not only chains, but to heal broken hearts, forgive sin, “restore the years eaten by the canker worm,” grant hope, give peace that passes understanding, bring joy, destroy the fear of death, etc. The world needs to hear these things! They won’t hear them in the classroom or on television. Unless they do some serious searching they won’t run across these truths online. God has given us mouths to speak with, and He longs to fill those mouths with His words, because they alone contain life, healing, strength, and the love that passes understanding. First Chronicles tells us, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place” (16:23-27).488
The Lord is great and worthy of all praise, and we must declare His glory by preaching and praising Him to all nations. Why? We’re instructed to do so in many places in the Bible. For example, Peter wrote: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who . . . now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Remember: corporate praise blesses God and strengthens our spiritual unity; in personal praise we express our thanks and trust in the Lord; public praise declares God’s power and authority over all creation, even when much of that creation has turned against Him. It’s vital that we praise our God because it blesses Him and strengthens us, drawing us closer to Him. How can we praise Him publicly? Tell a nonbeliever that God is good. Praise the Lord in the hearing of someone lost in his or her sin. Leave tracts behind you when you use a public restroom or on a table in a restaurant. Tuck one into the envelope before you send off that bill. Probably not many will be read, but that’s not up to you! Our job is to spread the good news, praise the Lord, and seek to do His will. The rest is up to God. Your “going public” may be the very means that rescues someone from the jaws of hell.
Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.