Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."


He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it...."

Matthew 16:13-18


Nobody in apostolic days ever imagined there was such a thing as "being saved"---and then going on all by yourself, just you and the Lord. They understood that once you're born again, you're part of the fellowship of the redeemed.


God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

I Corinthians 1:9


...that fellowship is not just you and Jesus, but you and Jesus and all the redeemed - the church, God's church, God's kingdom an earth, the Body of Christ.


"...on this rock will I build my church..."


And nobody in apostolic days dared to tamper with the Lord's work of building His church. It never occurred to them to sit down and discuss, "Attendance was down last Sunday, what can we do to build it up? How can we get more members?"


All the believers had to worry about was to stick to the business of proclaiming the gospel to the world and let God add to the church as He would. When needs and pro­blems came up, they went before the Lord and sought His help - and got it.


"What do we do when the Greek widows complain that the Jewish widows are getting more food?"


"What do we do when they have Peter locked up in jail?"


...There was always an answer, and the answer was always from the Lord.


If we are together in an assembly it's because the Lord is still building His church. What do we have in common, but Jesus?


- He brought us together.

- He holds us together.

   - He helps us with every need and problem that arises,


- if we take it to Him.


For instance, there are two very real needs in all our churches:.


1. There is a need to learn how to praise God corpor­ately...


... so that whether we're using a liturgy, or worshiping "freestyle," we are letting the Spirit and the words of scripture lift us into God's presence.


... so that when we are singing hymns or choruses or praying, we are truly one before the Throne in worship.


True praise ... not some cult-like activity where hundreds of spiritual robots go through motions together, but where, even though our outward approaches to the Throne may differ, still we're in unity. Praise that is true and pure and beautiful before the Lord, coming from our hearts as the Spirit directs us.


2. There is also an urgent need for laborers, not only in the harvest beyond, but also in the house of prayer....


...especially for the thankless, monotonous tasks that make it possible for us to be a well-equipped, well-nourished, gospel army. 


- People to be responsible in the nurseries.

- People to help get dinner ready at pot lucks.

- People to help cleanup.

- People to help with music and singing.

- People to visit the sick and shut-ins.

- People to write letters.

- People to work the streets.

- People to provide regular dependable transpor­tation.

- People to do the thankless adding and subtracting and paying bills.


No assembly of believers can function with power if it doesn't have an army of people to do the thankless jobs..


Two needs:


1. More praise.

2. More laborers.


The temptation is to sit down and map out a solution. But the solution, if it's going to be valid, has to come from the Lord Himself.


You don't go to man when you need to learn praise.

You don't go to man when you need laborers,


- You go to the Lord of the harvest.


Surely we understand this principle in the area of money. We take liter­ally our Lord's promise that if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all things, including funds, will be added to us.

                                              So, we never beg,

      we never ask for pledges,

     we never even bring the financial needs before the people except when we vote on the budget once a year. When things get tight we take it before the Lord – and, every time, the need is met. The Lord provides enough so that we can support ministries beyond our own fellowship in places near and far.


If we as an assembly should reach a place where the money isn't coming, free-will, from the hearts of believers who know the importance of being faithful in the unrighteous mammon, we'll shut down the whole thing, rather than beg for a penny. We would  take it as a sign from God that it's time to close.


And so these two needs for more true praise, and more laborers have to be approached in the same way. They have to be taken before the Lord of the church, remembering that He alone is the builder..


- He knows what we need better than we do.

- He cares more than we do.


...remembering too that Jesus builds His church through the intercession of His saints.


1.  We need to be clear in our minds as to what we're asking for when we ask for more true praise.


"Lord, give us a spirit of true praise!"

and we picture uplifted hands and heavenly chanting sweep­ing over the congregation – and that may well happen. But true praise is something much more than that. True praise of God is to serve God well---body, soul, and spirit.


"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Come before his presence with singing."

Psalm 100:1-2


If our joyful noise to the Lord is real, and our singing in His presence truly music to His ear, we're going to be serving Him gladly, as we serve Him well.


"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God... "'

     Revelation 3:1-2


The church at Sardis had a name of being alive. If you went to their meetings you heard wonderful praises. But those praises were not real. Because their works were not perfect in the sight of God, their works were not wholehearted ... glad.


- Nobody was found to gladly do the thankless jobs.


- Nobody was willing to be tied down with commitment to some boring duty.


But that's what praise is. It's the offering up of the body as a living sacrifice,

committing it gladly to the thankless,


                                            gloryless jobs in the service of God without grumbling.


"I appeal to you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship." (Your praise!)


How does Jesus live to His Father's praise? By emptying Himself of His glory, taking the form of a servant, and serving obediently even unto death.


How does Paul live to the praise of God? Through great endurance in afflictions,










So if we're asking the Lord to shower us with a spirit of true praise, we're really asking Him to help us to yield ourselves to a spirit of glad service in the thankless places and the cruddy jobs.


Make a joyful noise....

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Come before his presence with singing.


2. And we need to get clear in our minds what we're asking for when we're asking for more laborers.


    "Lord, give us more laborers!"


... and we picture fifty people gathered for street work on Saturday ... more help in the nurseries ... help for the pot lucks ... drivers that are faithful as a clock ... men and women reaching out into the city boldly proclaiming the gospel ... somebody going down to Bolivia to help those missionaries ... five more store fronts opening up in Skid Row. All this and more may well happen. But every laborer who is truly serving the Lord with gladness is a person whose heart is on fire with praise and thanks­giving toward God.


"Tarry in Jerusalem," said Jesus, "until you are clothed with power from on high."


And when that power came their hearts overflowed with thanksgiving for the wonderful works of God. Then they went forth to the harvest.


Who are these laborers who get the work done? People who have first learned to enter into God's gates with thanks­giving and into His courts with praise ... who have learned truly to be thankful unto Him and bless His name.


They work diligently with songs of praise in their hearts ... they continually renew their strength. You can't wear them out!


They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength....


What does it mean to wait on the Lord, if not praise Him? Adore Him?


And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"

Revelation 4:6-8


Are these living creatures wasting time?


Through these living creatures, and others like them, the Son of God holds the universe together!


And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18


Jesus is building His church all over the earth, including the place where you are. As we lay these two needs before Him we can be sure that our very desire to pray for these things is coming from Him. And we can be sure that He is going to give us these two miracles in the coming days in greater measure than we could ask or think:


- A spirit of true praise to serve the Lord with gladness.


- May we be open to it!


- An army of laborers who will joyfully live and die to His praise.


- May we be found among them!